Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: Legal question about reviewing rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: copyright [+] legal [+] [View All]
Matt Posey
United States
Bakersfield
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am not an expert in the law, so I have a question I was hoping this community could answer.

Say I want to write a review for a board game. We will say the game is Carcassonne since almost everyone knows of that game. I know that I can legally place a review of the game on a personal website. Is it legal though to include pictures that I took of the game? What about a partial scan of the rule book to include an example to help explain the farmers?

I ask because it might be hard to explain Carcassonne to a new gamer. Including some pictures/scans though would greatly increase their understanding. I am not making money from this review or website, but would it make a difference if I did?

Thanks for the help!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M Evan Brooks
United States
Gainesville
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I was a reviewer for several gaming magazines (Computer Gaming World, Paper Wars, etc.) and am an attorney. Although I rarely delve into patent law, there is a "fair use" doctrine, in which you could use pictures to emphasize a point in your review.

A scan of the rules is more questionable. I would advise you to avoid reproducing the rules book unless you have the permission of the copyright holder. Any particular example could be stated within the review verbiage itself.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just call me Erik
United States
Waldorf
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
evanbrooks wrote:
I was a reviewer for several gaming magazines (Computer Gaming World, Paper Wars, etc.) and am an attorney. Although I rarely delve into patent law, there is a "fair use" doctrine, in which you could use pictures to emphasize a point in your review.

A scan of the rules is more questionable. I would advise you to avoid reproducing the rules book unless you have the permission of the copyright holder. Any particular example could be stated within the review verbiage itself.


I am not a lawyer, but I would definitely say that BGG probably serves as a precedent of the legality of using pictures in your review. How many tens of thousands of images of games are here?

I'd also agree with Evan that you probably should avoid scanning the rules. State the rule in question instead.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Devon Harmon
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am a lawyer, so it will cost you 200 Geekgold for the answer
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
California
flag msg tools
mb
mst3k4L wrote:
I am not an expert in the law, so I have a question I was hoping this community could answer.

Say I want to write a review for a board game. We will say the game is Carcassonne since almost everyone knows of that game. I know that I can legally place a review of the game on a personal website. Is it legal though to include pictures that I took of the game? What about a partial scan of the rule book to include an example to help explain the farmers?

I ask because it might be hard to explain Carcassonne to a new gamer. Including some pictures/scans though would greatly increase their understanding. I am not making money from this review or website, but would it make a difference if I did?

Thanks for the help!


If you take the pictures yourself, you will hold the copyright to those pictures. The copyright, to my understanding, is created at the time the artistic image (such as the photograph) is created.

Not an IP attorney, though.

If you scan the rules, or using someone else's pictures, you're probably a bit more dicey. I would add a credit to the copyright holder of the game and then say something like "all rights reserved by their original owner. No challenge to their status is intended." An email / letter to the person who created the picture (or the rules) might get you permission to use to picture or rules for the purpose of a game review. Doesn't hurt to ask.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ggg ggg
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Alaska
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
falconeyed wrote:
I would add a credit to the copyright holder of the game ...


You cant copyright a game, just the art and the exact rules. Since you aren't reproducing either you shouldn't be in trouble there.



You should also be able to use a subset of the rules to explain something under the fair use guidelines. Quoting some small amount of text, or photo,to explain something about it is certainly allowed as fair use. In that case I probably would attribute the quote or outtake to the publisher.

And remember, anybody can sue anyone else over any issue. They don't have to be right to sue you.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Herb Petro
United States
INDIAN TRAIL
North Carolina
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I recommend that anyone in the United States interested in the subject of copyright, fair use, etc. read the excellent material compiled by Stanford University on this subject.

Main site: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/
Fair use page: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/...
Page with the quick answer to your question: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
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.