Copyrights Trademarks and the like

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pkt
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Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#1 Post by pkt » Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:53 am

I was wondering if anyone around here could tell me what steps I'd need to go through to get my project protected from moochers and such. Some friends and I have worked a bit on a project and we don't want to see our efforts wasted. Any tips?
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Re: Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#2 Post by Voight-Kampff » Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:06 am

Well, I'm no law-talking guy. But whenever you make something, like a drawing, or a story, the copyright is automatically yours. It is your responsibility to protect it, however.

If you're worried about people stealing specific images, you'll need to put copyright notices, along with the date on them - like at the bottom of the image, or watermark it. If you're worried about people stealing your ideas...Well, there's not much you can do about that. About all you can do is document all of your ideas in an obvious, public place - like a website.

If you want a trademark, well, that sort of stuff is usually reserved for titles. If you have a logo or something like that, you can trademark it - just place a little "TM" next to the logo. If you want a registered trade mark, that'll cost money. I think somewhere in the neighborhood of $400-ish bucks, last I checked...which admittedly, was a long time ago.

The short of it is: it's up to you to document exactly when you came up with and created your ideas/images. So long as you have some sort of corroborating proof of that date, then it can be used to combat anyone who you suspect is trying to steal said ideas/images.

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Re: Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#3 Post by luminarious » Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:38 am

Or, you could opt for a more free licence.. one of the Creative Commons one for example. So that when people do use your work, they at least credit you. Cory Doctorow has written a column which explains the thinking behind CC. As it was said on some thread a while ago, if you're using an open-source engine, everyone who wants to has access to your work anyway.

On a side note, how big of an issue is it really? I mean, everyone has some emotional investment in their masterpiece, but apart from that? How much profit has there been made off of someone else's work?

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Re: Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#4 Post by pkt » Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:53 am

I plan on releasing everything CC/Open-source but not after making back some money from my ideas and characters. I'm mostly concerned about making sure everything is protected from the get go.
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Re: Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#5 Post by Greeny » Fri Dec 25, 2009 9:06 am

CC means nobody can steal your work or claim it as their own, but can distribute it freely.
You can choose to disallow adaptation of the work with CC too.

You can still technically sell it, but people will be able to take it for free. I think you should decide whether or not the money you get from selling it can compensate the cost for a commercial copyright.
You might also be able to get some money if you ask kindly for donations.
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Re: Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#6 Post by JinzouTamashii » Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:27 pm

There's different kinds of Creative Commons Attributions licenses too.
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Re: Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#7 Post by pkt » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:42 am

I heard that mailing an envelope to yourself works too. Mostly worried since I do plan on doing a decent job with this project. Also a bit paranoid admittedly. I was planning on a commercial release for anime cons and such but mostly giving it up free for download online.
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Re: Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#8 Post by Alessio » Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:38 am

pkt wrote:I heard that mailing an envelope to yourself works too.
Of course it doesn't, that's urban legend. Anyone could mail an open envelope to themselves in 2005, add other peoples' creations over the years, and then seal it in 2010. Will anyone believe you really sealed that envelope back in 2005?
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Re: Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#9 Post by Voight-Kampff » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:09 am

If you're that concerned, I suppose you could put together a series of documents and then have them notarized by a Notary Public. Probably include your script, character sheets, etc.

But again - it doesn't stop anyone from stealing your material. It just legally proves when you came up with these specific ideas, so you can combat anyone who might try to take your ideas.

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Re: Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#10 Post by Showsni » Sun Dec 27, 2009 11:55 am

I think you should decide whether or not the money you get from selling it can compensate the cost for a commercial copyright.
Um, copyrights are completely free... As soon as you've made anything, it's automatically protected under copyright. (Well, it is in most countries.) Unless you give someone permission, they're not allowed to redistribute your work or whatnot (barring possible fair usage laws).

Trademarks are a different kettle of fish. To register your game's logo or brand name as a trademark would cost £200 for one class (£50 for additional classes; that is, what kind of good or service your game represents), and probably isn't really worth it for a small scale game; it's basically just to stop other people using that logo or brand name. If you don't pay to register your trademark you can still protect it with the passing off law, but that can be expensive and difficult.

So, basically, your project is already protected under copyright and you don't really need to do anything, except take legal action against anyone breaking the copyright laws.

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Re: Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#11 Post by papillon » Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:56 pm

Things are copyrighted regardless of whether you register them, but registering them is not free. Registering it just helps provide more evidence in case the issue ever comes to court. It's not required.

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Re: Copyrights Trademarks and the like

#12 Post by pkt » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:49 am

Thanks a lot for the info I'm sure it helped other people as well.
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