$30.00
Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
36 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Design Queries and Problems

Subject: when should i copyright my game rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ibrahim Uddin
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
hi i am in the process of finishing my game and was wondering when the best time i should copyright it before putting it on market or after it becomes successful
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RegalPanda wrote:
hi i am in the process of finishing my game and was wondering when the best time i should copyright it before putting it on market or after it becomes successful


I think the first thing you need to do is to read a bit more about what copyright actually is.
22 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gianluca Casu
Belgium
Ixelles
Bruxelles
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In fact you have to be clear on what means copyright of a game.

A game , meaning the mechanics, the rules and the general workflow CANNOT be copyrighted per se.

Things of your game you can copyright:

- The name
- The WAY the rules are written (IE the text)
- The art of the game
- If present, you may patent mechanic pieces that are part of it ( Like a special dice tower that gives cubes)

Just to be clear: If I take dominion, change the cards' name, art and description, rewrite the rule and repackage with another theme, I'm completely in my right, even if it is the SAME game.

Courtesy wants you do not do this, but courtesy is rarely seen in a tribunal.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lee Broderick
msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
eddy_sterckx wrote:
RegalPanda wrote:
hi i am in the process of finishing my game and was wondering when the best time i should copyright it before putting it on market or after it becomes successful


I think the first thing you need to do is to read a bit more about what copyright actually is.


To expand on this a little bit, copyright is not like a patent. You don't register anything, you merely assert your right as an originator.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg Gresik
United States
Bolingbrook
IL
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
[/url]
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
chris thatcher
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
or after it becomes successful


It may not..
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Anon Y. Mous
msg tools
mbmb
capricorn_tm wrote:
In fact you have to be clear on what means copyright of a game.

A game , meaning the mechanics, the rules and the general workflow CANNOT be copyrighted per se.

Things of your game you can copyright:

- The name
- The WAY the rules are written (IE the text)
- The art of the game
- If present, you may patent mechanic pieces that are part of it ( Like a special dice tower that gives cubes)

Just to be clear: If I take dominion, change the cards' name, art and description, rewrite the rule and repackage with another theme, I'm completely in my right, even if it is the SAME game.

Courtesy wants you do not do this, but courtesy is rarely seen in a tribunal.


The name would be a trademark, the rules text and art would be a copyright, and a physical device that's part of the game would be a patent. These are three very different things with completely different sets of laws governing them, lumping them together into one category is extremely misleading.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Look on my works ye mighty and despair
United Kingdom
Huddersfield
West Yorkshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You should talk to a professional. Preferably a professional lawyer, rather than a professional basketball player or something.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Osiris Saline
Australia
Red Hill
Queensland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Yeah, ahead of anything else, asking a public forum for advice on something when you should be doing this stuff privately with a legal representative (if you aren't sure what copyright/patents do) is not ideal.

I know being involved in creative output can make the best of us overly excited to talk about them & publicly source help, but more often than not, doing your research privately and then filling in EVERY gap with the help of full on professionals is 100% necessary.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Walt
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
In memorium. Bob Hoover died 25 Oct 2016 at 94. In WWII he was shot down in a Spitfire and stole an FW-190 to escape. He spent decades at air shows flying Ole Yeller, shown
badge
Please contact me about board gaming in Orange County.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MythBusting: Game Design and Copyright, Trademarks, and Patents (US Law)

Long story short:

As soon as you create art or writings, they are copyrighted. US law gives you some advantages for registering your copyright with the Library of Congress.

A trademark is need to protect a brand name.

A patent is needed to protect rules. It's very expensive and likely to be refused due to the huge amount of prior art. It also doesn't protect the rules for long.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Liam
Scotland
flag msg tools
admin
badge
I am BGG's official honey trap
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Moved from General Gaming to Design Queries and Problems
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ibrahim Uddin
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
so all in all my game can be copied either way lol
my game title is somewhat unique and if i make the game with the title someone else has to come up with another name and cant use my game name is that right?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Harper
United Kingdom
Wantage
Oxfordshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RegalPanda wrote:
my game title is somewhat unique and if i make the game with the title someone else has to come up with another name and cant use my game name is that right?


They could use the same title. If you assert a trademark over the title, then if someone else creates a game with the same title, you could challenge them legally to prevent them using it, but that would almost certainly get really expensive really quickly.

Probably the best protection that is both available and affordable is to tell everyone about your game and title somewhere like here, then if someone rips you off, we can all point at them and say, "uncool, dude!" It's not a strong protection, but being a relatively small business, reputation and image is important, and nobody around here wants a rep as a rip-off artist, so that seems to mostly work.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ibrahim Uddin
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Haha thanks Rob i think once i have finished with the boardgame i shall reveal the epic name for my game plus i don't think my game would be that successful for people to steal the name and all but who knows the guy who made monopoly was an engineer and the person who made scrabble was an architect
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Leighton
England
Peterborough
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
polyobsessive wrote:
RegalPanda wrote:
my game title is somewhat unique and if i make the game with the title someone else has to come up with another name and cant use my game name is that right?


They could use the same title. If you assert a trademark over the title, then if someone else creates a game with the same title, you could challenge them legally to prevent them using it, but that would almost certainly get really expensive really quickly.


Although if it was the same name and same mechanics and some of the same look of box then you would also have a case for 'passing off'.

However even if you have trademarks you would still have to take the issue to court. How deep are your pockets?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Nowak
United States
Greenville
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
You have paid retail for the last time.
badge
The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - GKC
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RegalPanda wrote:
Haha thanks Rob i think once i have finished with the boardgame i shall reveal the epic name for my game plus i don't think my game would be that successful for people to steal the name and all but who knows the guy who made monopoly was an engineer and the person who made scrabble was an architect


The woman who made Monopoly was a socialist.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Somerton
Australia
North Ryde - Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
Duplicitous!
badge
I don't play to win - I play for enjoyment and social interaction.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is still a rather niche hobby and as such is fairly insular and protective. Most people familiar with the environment will have done their research and are highly unlikely to name their game the same because you really do want your game to be differentiated in the crowded market.

Creating a game called Monopoly or Dominion is not a clever move - you really need a name that is significantly different from any established game.

All of us in this community want to see more designers succeed and for our hobby to grow, but many new designers come here with unrealistic expectations about the potential success of their game.

Be aware that you are entering a saturated market - the number of new games published this year alone is enormous, and it just keeps growing. You only have to look at the quantity of new games released at Gencon or Essen to see the growth. Combine this with the hundreds of Kickstarter projects and games being produced by indie designers and publishers.

In fact a search of the database for games published in 2016 alone reveals 42 pages of games @ around 100 games per page.

Not to deter you in any way. But unless it is truly groundbreaking and revolutionary, the chances of it making big sums of money are quite remote. So investing big own money on patents and trademarks simply isn't worth the effort.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ibrahim Uddin
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
im sure it was some guy ? Charles darrow
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ibrahim Uddin
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
i need to look at this database and my game isnt a copy of monopoly and scrabble i have tried to make an online rpg type game into a boardgame i decided to go crowdfunding to finish off the art work for the characeters.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Harper
United Kingdom
Wantage
Oxfordshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RegalPanda wrote:
im sure it was some guy ? Charles darrow


Paul was referring to Elizabeth Magie, who invented "The Landlord's Game", which Darrow ripped off to make Monopoly.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ibrahim Uddin
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
wow i did not see that coming haha so monopoly was ripped off :o
i heard the same thing about who wants to be a millionaire the guy who invented the game got nothing and the person who ripped it off made millions off of it
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Harper
United Kingdom
Wantage
Oxfordshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RegalPanda wrote:
wow i did not see that coming haha so monopoly was ripped off :o
i heard the same thing about who wants to be a millionaire the guy who invented the game got nothing and the person who ripped it off made millions off of it


Yeah, it does happen, but I'm sure it is rare. And for every person who made a million by ripping someone off with a game design, there must be a great many who have wasted their time, lost their friends, maybe even lost their house. And going from a basic idea to having a successful product takes a hell of a lot of effort.

Usually the games that get ripped off are the ones that are already successful.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ibrahim Uddin
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
yeah,
well thank you you all have saved me alot of time and money

once the game is complete i will show everyone and hopefully get you all to review it and some to even play test it to let me know what they think of it
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Leighton
England
Peterborough
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
anomander64 wrote:
This is still a rather niche hobby and as such is fairly insular and protective. Most people familiar with the environment will have done their research and are highly unlikely to name their game the same because you really do want your game to be differentiated in the crowded market.

Creating a game called Monopoly or Dominion is not a clever move - you really need a name that is significantly different from any established game.


Up to a point Lord Copper.

For example there was Hellas at Spiel this year which is different to the established Hellas.

Of course Monopoly and Dominion are far more well known than Hellas, but Hellas is a moderately well known game. Also of course both games called Hellas are very different and packaged differently too. I think very few people will get confused about which Hellas they are buying.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Walt
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
In memorium. Bob Hoover died 25 Oct 2016 at 94. In WWII he was shot down in a Spitfire and stole an FW-190 to escape. He spent decades at air shows flying Ole Yeller, shown
badge
Please contact me about board gaming in Orange County.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RegalPanda wrote:
wow i did not see that coming haha so monopoly was ripped off :o
i heard the same thing about who wants to be a millionaire the guy who invented the game got nothing and the person who ripped it off made millions off of it

On the other hand, the current game manufacturing culture, at least among enthusiast game publishers, is that the designer trusts the publisher and the publisher is trustworthy because the bad publicity for mistreating a designer would damage the publisher. In that culture, a few designers have made millions.

It's just a few millionaires because most games only sell a few thousand copies. To make a million, you have to sell a million games, which is not easy. However, as I say, it has been done by designers who just offer their game to publishers, or show it off at conventions until a publisher notices.

Most publishers run away from game designers who try to "play lawyer" and seek trademarks and such. The lawyers' fees would destroy the profits of any average few-thousand-copies game, and a publisher has to assume that any game will be at best a modest success until the market proves him wrong. (It's also usually the designer's job to come up with mechanics, but the publisher's job to theme the game and name it.)

The situation can be a little different if you're self-publishing, but it's still probably not worth the expense of lawyers.

I don't know what your background is, but I'll just note that sometimes someone will design a game coming from outside of board gaming. This tends to end badly because they are unaware of the literally tens of thousands of board games created in the last ten or twenty years. It's more important to develop a good game than protect a naïve game.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.