Nathan McCullough
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Germantown
Tennessee
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Hey all, I was going to make some cards, and these cards have some equipment or whatnot that I was hoping to use names/pics of existing items.

However, I was just browsing the geek today and saw some images for Bang!

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/361305

My question is, does anyone have the rules or anything for Bang! available to let me know if they have any 'copyright/trademark' information about Company names and/or pics of the weapons, Remington, Schofield, etc.?

I found a website (http://copyright.lib.utexas.edu/copypol2.html) that said this:

Quote:
The rules for determining whether a protected work is in the public domain are set out in chart form by Lolly Gasaway. These rules are complex and somewhat hard to describe, partly because they have changed many, many times during the 20th century. The general rules (excluding anonymous works and works for hire) can be sumarized as follows:

* Any work published on or before December 31, 1922 is now in the public domain.
* Works published between January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1978, inclusive, are protected for a term of 95 years
from the date of publication, with the proper notice.

* But, if the work was published between 1923 and December 31, 1963, when there used to be a (non-automatic) "renewal term,"
the copyright owner may not have renewed the work. If he or she did not renew, the original term of protection (28 years)
would now be expired and these works will be in the public domain.
* After 1978, the way we measure the term of protection changes. It is no longer related to a date of publication, but rather
runs for 70 years from the date the author dies (called, "life of the author" plus 70 years). Further, publication is irrelevant.
Works are protected whether they are published or not.
* Finally, those works that were created before December 31, 1978, but never published, are now protected for the longer
of life of the author plus 70 years or until December 31, 2002.


The manufacturers and guns in those images were created well before 1922, so, are they free to use without any fear of Copyright/Trademark infringement/lawsuits?
 
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Dice bags!
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The guns may have been made before 1922, but the drawing may be more recent. If I drew a picture of my chair right now, the drawing would be under my copyright, even if it was a hundred year old chair. I would see if you can find information about the artwork, or find similar work that is copyright free. If you find a photograph pre-1922, or something public like a WPA photograph, you can use it.
 
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Graham Russell
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I don't have much time to post here, so I'll just say this: copyright and trademark are two different things. Otherwise, many popular brand names would be in the public domain and anyone could use them.

As for how that applies to Bang!, I'll let someone else figure that out.
 
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Nathan McCullough
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Thanks for the quick replies, I understand the difference between Trademarks and Copyrights a little bit, just wanted to see what you guys all thought. I plan on contacting the company about using their name and see what they say directly, just thought perhaps the Bang! rules would have some info on what was legal use or whatnot.

thanks again, I'll keep this updated with what I find.

-- in the meantime, I'd still like to know what those rules say (if anything!) :)

 
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T. Rosen
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One important distinction between copyright and trademark to keep in mind is that while copyrights can only last for a limited time and eventually must expire (pursuant to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution -- "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries"), trademarks can last indefinitely if the holder continues to renew the trademark.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Thommy8 wrote:
copyrights can only last for a limited time


In theory, yes. For all practical purposes something that is created today, or that was created the last few decades, will be copyrighted 'forever' unless someone invents some really good drug to make us live longer or the law changes again. Unfortunately any changes to the law are more likely to just make things worse (eg lifetime+100 years). gulp

About trademarks: No way the companies will give you the right to use their trademarked names. They have gone after computer games that tried that. That's why almost any FPS you play will have made-up names, or just don't specify what brand the guns are at all. So either don't ask them and hope they will not notice or pick one of the other solutions.
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Nathan McCullough
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Heh, I thought about naming them anyway, seeing as its just a 'friends and family' game at the moment. I don't really mind renaming them or coming up with names, but the 'real' names add something to it I think. I did call one of the companies yesterday, had to leave a message.. and of course, no call back yet. Will let you guys all know what I find out though.

Thanks for all the replies!

OH - and btw.. not sure what the deal is, but I went back down to my FLGS and picked up Bang! so I could read the rules for myself. Nada - unless I'm missing it, there's nothing in the rules about who owns the images/names of the weapons, etc. Now, granted they are hand drawn, and you can't copyright a name or caliber I -think- ? so maybe it's ok as long as you don't use the manufacturer's name ? - although I did see Winchester and Remington as the name of a weapon.. so..
 
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Byron Grimes
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As far as brand names, that's a tricky area for authors as well. Neil Gaiman has put up at least one post on his blog covering the issue. If I recall, some of it had to do with capitalization, even. Anyway, you can search http://neilgaiman.com/ for trademark and that might get you some information.

Edit: proper link added.
 
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Nathan McCullough
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Ah, sorry, I had meant to post here. -- just so you guys know, I called Colt Mfg. company and spoke with the main lawyer there (Joe Desio), he said that I can use names of weapons, images, and even the company name in the product as long as I didn't say the product was sponsored by Colt. I also couldn't use their logo anywhere. I don't want to get anyone in trouble, so I would recommend checking with the company before using images, names, etc. But in this case he said it wasn't an issue at all unless the logo was used.

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

Thanks for all the replies!
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