ID:153556
 
Howdy.
I've searched the forums far and wide, but I can't find anything solid about:
  • General copyright laws.
  • Copyrighting a game/game concept/related articles (Characters, websites, dev team name, ect).
  • The differnce between trademarking something and copyrighting it.
  • How copyright laws work with multiple countries (Ie, do I have to copyright my game in USA, Australia, Japan, ect, or will my game be copyrighted in all automatically?)
  • What can/can't be copyrighted.
  • What it takes to breach copyright laws?

    Can anyone point me too some sites where I can find some solid facts. It's extremely hard to filter a search on this subject, since at the BYOND forum's it is debated too often, and on the general internet the keywords used by millions of websites.


    ...BYONDscape really needs an article on this stuff...
I've searched the forums far and wide, but I can't find anything solid about:

The best way to find solid information is to get in touch with the government and ask. Most government bodies offer free information services these days.


General copyright laws.

The gist of copyright is that anything you make is your exclusive protected property -- even without displaying an "All Rights Reserved" warning or a "?" symbol -- and that unless you explicitly state that the intellectual material you have created is in the public domain, any attempt to duplicate your intellectual material constitutes an act of theft.


Copyrighting a game/game concept/related articles (Characters, websites, dev team name, ect).

Copyright is automatic -- there is no procedure to go through. You retain all rights to anything you have created, and you do not have to defend those rights for them to remain legally binding. They remain legally binding in the United States and in Canada until 75 years after your death, though it may vary in other nations.


The differnce between trademarking something and copyrighting it.

A trademark is a claim on a name, phrase, title, or expression that is used for your project. Unlike copyrights, trademarks do lose legal status if you do not defend them.

The act of trademarking something is based much on the honour system. Simply adding the classic "TM" (or "MC" in French) is enough to stake a claim on your trademark. To make the claim on your trademark legally binding, you can go to any patent office, pay a fee, and register your trademark, which gives you a complete and solid foundation to keep that trademark. Since you are the registered owner of that trademark, that means that no one else has any grounds to claim that trademark. After registration, you can then use the registered trademark symbol "?" to establish to everyone nearby that you hold a solid trademark over that name, title, phrase, or expression.

However, even without trademarking (registered or not) a title, you can still claim infringement if someone creates something which is similar to yours and uses the same name. If it is nothing similar, however, then it is passed off as coincidence.


How copyright laws work with multiple countries (Ie, do I have to copyright my game in USA, Australia, Japan, ect, or will my game be copyrighted in all automatically?)

All technologically-oriented nations generally honour the copyright laws of another -- if one person in, say, France claimed copyright over something, and someone in the United States ripped it off, the U.S. Department of State would generally issue a cease and desist order to the ripper to prevent an international incident. (Though the U.S. probably wouldn't give a rat's tail these days...)


What can/can't be copyrighted.

Any non-tangible material that is your sole invention can be copyrighted; tangible materials must be patented, and words must be trademarked.


What it takes to breach copyright laws?

Anything that does not qualify as "fair use" -- the chief example of fair use being "posting an excerpt for sake of criticism" -- is a breach of copyright.


Can anyone point me too some sites where I can find some solid facts. It's extremely hard to filter a search on this subject, since at the BYOND forum's it is debated too often, and on the general internet the keywords used by millions of websites.

I can't remember where, but there was a post on this forum with a link to a U.S. Gov't website which had solid information on copyright laws.
In response to Spuzzum (#1)
I have a question...If your game was originaly coded with no demos or libraries or anything and you made the graphics could you copyright the game? (Byond game)
In response to Dession (#2)
If you made it, it's automatically copyrighted. You don't have to apply for anything.
In response to Crispy (#3)
Yes! But for the new low price of $40, you can actually have your copyright registered in the Library of Congress! But wait! Order now and we'll take a whopping $10 of the price! That's right! Only $30!!!

[It is actually $30]
In response to Airjoe (#4)
And having it registered in the Library of Congress really helps in court cases
In response to Blueseed15 (#5)
Blueseed15 wrote:
And having it registered in the Library of Congress really helps in court cases

Of course, demonstrating the file dates can do just as much.
In response to Spuzzum (#6)
For some reason I wouldn't think files dates and such would be worth much in court. Any e-document you have access to would be easily manipulated.
I would think 3rd party logs and files would be the money evidence. (Ie, HUB entry)
In response to DarkView (#7)
Which is why officially copyrighting things makes it so much easier.
In response to Blueseed15 (#8)
Here is a neat little trick, if you make a hardcopy, seal it in an envelope, and mail it to yourself. That can be used in court, because the post office will date and stamp it, and technically they're the government :P
I'd also like to know a few things:

If someone takes my icons without permission, what do I do?

If someone uses my game's name without permission [such as a "sequel"] what can I do?

If I think someone has stolen the source code somehow, what can I do?

Sure, I have lots more, but these are among the most important.

Should I contact dantom? How? Email? they never respond to anything I write. Should I get a lawyer? Would it get that complicated?
In response to Spuzzum (#1)
The gist of copyright is that anything you make is your exclusive protected property -- even without displaying an "All Rights Reserved" warning or a "?" symbol -- and that unless you explicitly state that the intellectual material you have created is in the public domain, any attempt to duplicate your intellectual material constitutes an act of theft <font color=red>copyright infringement</font>.

Copyright infringement != theft. Nothing is stolen. Copyrights are not property. If they were, we wouldn't need special laws about them. You have special rights (hence copy"right") over a piece of work you have created. You do not own the work--you own the rights. Rights cannot be taken, merely infringed upon.

"Intellectual property" is a myth.. and a dangerous one, because enough people believe in it that it's making itself law (despite no real precedent).

-AbyssDragon
In response to AbyssDragon (#11)
AbyssDragon wrote:
"Intellectual property" is a myth.. and a dangerous one, because enough people believe in it ...

I thought it was because enough big corporations with lots and lots of money believed in it.
In response to AbyssDragon (#11)
AbyssDragon wrote:
The gist of copyright is that anything you make is your exclusive protected property -- even without displaying an "All Rights Reserved" warning or a "?" symbol -- and that unless you explicitly state that the intellectual material you have created is in the public domain, any attempt to duplicate your intellectual material constitutes an act of theft <font color=red>copyright infringement</font>.

Copyright infringement != theft. Nothing is stolen. Copyrights are not property. If they were, we wouldn't need special laws about them. You have special rights (hence copy"right") over a piece of work you have created. You do not own the work--you own the rights. Rights cannot be taken, merely infringed upon.

"Intellectual property" is a myth.. and a dangerous one, because enough people believe in it that it's making itself law (despite no real precedent).

I think I see your point on the former, but on the latter, I'm confused -- what's the problem if you can claim an idea as property?
In response to Crispy (#3)
Look, copyrights are there so that other people can't make profit off or your ideas or creations. BYOND is a happy little free small rpg making community so don't freaking worry about stupid things like that. You aren't pulling in millions of dollars because of your creation, not even 1 cent for it (for the most part), so therefor why are you so worried about coypright stuff.You usually don't own the rights to whatever you make because most of the stuff you make is a fan game. If it's "origonal" then it's proablaly just some bland rpg thats the same as the others. There isn't any way for someone to copy your code unless you give it to them, but they can copy your idea. So what do you do about it? If they, lets just say, make a copy of your game, but do a better job then you did, then you should make your game better. That way there is competition of sorts between programmers and games will get better on byond. But for the rest just shut up you idiots, your not creating massive if any capital form your so called "creations" so just don't e ven say stupid things like "do i need a laywer" of "copyright infringment" or anything like that. God am I the only one here who sees how stupid stupid stupid ST U P I D this is? Idiots.
In response to Spuzzum (#13)
Spuzzum wrote:
I think I see your point on the former, but on the latter, I'm confused -- what's the problem if you can claim an idea as property?

A copyright will give the "original" person some room to uniquely profit off an idea somehow. However, once an idea is out, everybody has it. Not everyone has legal rights to somehow profit off of the idea themselves, but it becomes one more thought in their head. It's their property as well. Claiming an idea as property is falsely saying that it is only your own.
In response to Anarchy Robot (#14)
Anarchy Robot wrote:
Look, copyrights are there so that other people can't make profit off or your ideas or creations.

Not entirely. Say I make a game, and this game gets popular. Now JoeNewProgrammer decides he can do it better and makes a cheap knock off sequal (Ie, one of those "chat rooms with an attack verb").
I would want to stop him. Not because he was robbing me of profit, but because his game was ruining mine (In my eyes).

> BYOND is a happy little free small rpg making community so don't freaking worry about stupid things like that. You aren't pulling in millions of dollars because of your creation, not even 1 cent for it (for the most part), so therefor why are you so worried about coypright stuff.

This brings up the "is a victemless crime still a crime" issue. Also as I said before it's not about the money.

> You usually don't own the rights to whatever you make because most of the stuff you make is a fan game. If it's "origonal" then it's proablaly just some bland rpg thats the same as the others. There isn't any way for someone to copy your code unless you give it to them, but they can copy your idea. So what do you do about it? If they, lets just say, make a copy of your game, but do a better job then you did, then you should make your game better.

The rip off games are pretty much never better then the original, unless they are the low quality games (Ie, Chat room with verbs and a bunch of libaries taped together).
Even if it is better, it's just plain disrespectful. The owner doesn't want you to make a knock off game, then don't. That should be simple.

> That way there is competition of sorts between programmers and games will get better on byond.

No, this works in theory but if it was true we would have hundreds of great DBZ games.
Also the amount of knock-off games really plays a big part in this not working. Take the DBZ example again. Originally there were two big DBZ games, DBZO (Now DBEO) and DBZ-Spar, they had a rivalry going which lead to both projects getting really big/good over time.
Now take Zeta (Back before it's source was released). The game was crap because it was just a race to get features packed in as fast as possible. Why did it need to rush and get so many features? Because it had to compete with a thousand other DBZ games.
Friendly compotition between 2 or 3 games is great, but when it comes to knock-off games the compotition is rarely friendly, or between only a couple of games.

> But for the rest just shut up you idiots, your not creating massive if any capital form your so called "creations" so just don't e ven say stupid things like "do i need a laywer" of "copyright infringment" or anything like that. God am I the only one here who sees how stupid stupid stupid ST U P I D this is? Idiots.

This is where everyone stops paying attention to you. You go from serious points to name calling. In the forums the "Your stupid" part is just assumed.
In response to DarkView (#17)
Yay DarkView!
In response to DarkView (#17)
DarkView wrote:
Not entirely. Say I make a game, and this game gets popular. Now JoeNewProgrammer decides he can do it better and makes a cheap knock off sequal (Ie, one of those "chat rooms with an attack verb").
I would want to stop him. Not because he was robbing me of profit, but because his game was ruining mine (In my eyes).

So they should disallow all games like any of yours for fear that a better one might be made? Pepsi should be shut down because they offer competition to Coke? A computer game related example, they should have gotten rid of all of the Doom and Wolfenstein clones because someone might have made one better than Doom? (although there weren't any that were better than Doom)

This brings up the "is a victemless crime still a crime" issue. Also as I said before it's not about the money.

Fair use? If I wanted to have brand name sodas in my game, would I have to pay Coke and Pepsi money for that? Even if my game was a huge commercially released game, probably not. Heck, in a big game they'd pay you to use their name. My game is not rivaling the beverage industry, and it wouldn't jeopardize the beverage company's profits. Not everything is infringement just because you didn't think of it yourself.

The rip off games are pretty much never better then the original, unless they are the low quality games (Ie, Chat room with verbs and a bunch of libaries taped together).
Even if it is better, it's just plain disrespectful. The owner doesn't want you to make a knock off game, then don't. That should be simple.

Few bands cover songs and do them better than the original, so why do they do it? They like the song! If I really like a particular video game or computer game, I'd try to make a game just like it. I've actually done that on several occasions.

There are many games on BYOND that aren't bad, but could be much better. If its Your Net Dream to make a game that's better than someone else's, why not try to Build it?


In the forums the "Your stupid" part is just assumed.

Eesh, that's limited to only being "in the forums" now? =P
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