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68

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. These are things I've heard many times over and have no reason to doubt. Game mechanics cannot be copyrighted or protected in any fashion. I could make a game called "Crystallized" that was Bejeweled, in every imaginable way, and as long as I didn't copy the art from Bejeweled (either directly, or by drawing ...


19

Well, let's talk about intellectual property, since that's really where it seems like your focus is right now. Before I continue, though, I just want to briefly mention that you also want to make sure that you understand where you stand with other aspects of the law as well, things like taxes (Do you have to charge some kind of sales taxes? What sort of ...


13

Other answers have covered trademarks and copyright pretty well, but do not forget patents. Many game mechanics developed in the early days of gaming are patented. The 2 that I know of are minigames while the main game loads (Ridge Racer), and jump-in multiplayer (Gauntlet). That is why you almost never see these features in any games, even though they are ...


8

Copyright expiry depends where you live. The simple answer is that they are copyright, and you can get sued. (More likely you'll get a cease-and-desist shutting down development of your game and threatening legal action.) If you really want a pokemon-style game, create your own unique game world and characters and use those.


8

Hire a lawyer. The earlier the better -- you should have done it already to draw up contracts concerning who retains what IP if people leave or disagree, et cetera. See this article on the legal issues related to ad hoc, indie development teams (written by a real lawyer, which I am not, so my advice is not legal advice).


8

You need a lawyer and this is not legal advice. That said, being free usually makes no difference at all "game concepts" usually cannot be subject to copyright, but in many perverted jurisdictions apparently are subject to patents regardless of being legal or not, remember you can be sued anyway: if you can't afford to defend yourself you'd better play ...


7

Game mechanics are not subject to intellectual property controls. Names can be trademarked and any game code or assets are subject to copyright protection. There is some legal precedent for going after games that are "close" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexulous) but that was in an Indian court so I know much less about their IP laws (see also: the various ...


6

First get yourself a copy of Business and Legal Primer for Game Development. It is an invaluable resource, not just in the legal department. They have a chapter or two on this sort of thing, and it's comprehensive. If you're in any doubt about the status of things or who will claim ownership, I'd do what Josh Petrie suggests, and right away.


6

Usual caveat: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, the relevant laws vary from country to country, city to city, etc. The basic concepts are these: you own one instance of the truck. You can sell your instance of the truck to someone else (according to the first sale doctrine, which states that the Copyright owner's distribution rights only apply ...


5

I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. What follows is a basic overview of the issues that may surround the material you've brought up. Music: Read the license on your music. You've purchased it for personal use on personal devices, not for distribution. Movies featuring a popular song didn't buy a CD from a store and copy it into their movie; they ...


5

While I doubt you will find anything that lists games that are in production stages. (The Industry usually remains a bit more tight-lipped about such things than the film industry does) The rest of what you are looking for is handled relatively nicely by MobyGames EDIT: Almost forgot, GiantBomb Also has the same sort of Data.


5

http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law ...


5

You should consult a lawyer. It may be possible to do this, depending on the products in question, your legal jurisdiction, the legal jurisdiction(s) in which the products have IP protections, and so on. You're going to need a lawyer to help you unravel all the tangled, varied license legalese though. You specifically cite the example of laptops, and the ...


4

Are there any legal ways to acquire the rights to make a derivative video game? Yes, it's frequently done. The game is owned by a live company, so how would I contact them correctly and negotiate for the rights to the content? Find their contact information on the web. Typically with a "Contact Us" page. You're likely not going to find a "Use ...


4

Depending on your jurisdiction, simply using your title (and perhaps marking it with a ™ symbol) may qualify it for protection as an unregistered trade mark. The Wikipedia article is pretty short, so let me quote it in its entirety: An unregistered trade mark is a trademark which does not benefit from the protection afforded to trade marks through ...


3

Foreword: Anything related to laws will always be in a gray area, because the case outcome ultimately comes from a handful of people. Others have accurately pointed out that game code and assets fall under copyright law and that product, company, etc. names fall under trademark law. However, although others have pointed out that you cannot copyright game ...


2

Most of the concept art you're likely familiar with from big names in the industry was produced for a game, while the artist was in the employ of some company. That often means the ownership of the copyright falls to the company itself. It's similar to how all the code I've written while working for my current employer is not mine to keep if I were to leave ...


1

Copyright protecion lasts for the life of author and 70 years based on the the longest living author if jointly created or if work of corporate authorship, works for hire, or anonymous and pseudonymous works, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation.


1

Check out some of the books in the answer to Legal Resources?, specifically Business and Legal Primer for Game Development.


1

Great question, what better way to ask about copyright than through games, which encompass all forms of media and IP. First off, be aware that an idea cannot be patented. Second be aware that the copyright depends on the national law you are recommended to adhering as a natural citizen. There are for instance some difference in interpretation of Fair Use in ...



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