The Nightmare of Copyright

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Lorenze

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I was just wondering, what should a commercial dev think about when it comes to copyrights?

Like, when it comes to a song that sounds similar to another, or a title being similar to another game.

Should developers worry about this? And when is a good time to actually copyright your idea?

What else should we think about when making the game?
 
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Link

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There'll always be someone that'll try to sue someone else over copyrights. Take Zenimax vs. Mojang for example. They literally tried to sue over a single word being the title of a game (that being "Scrolls") because they have a game series with the single word in it's title ("The Elder Scrolls"). needless to say, the lawsuit failed horribly. It's always good to be observant, especially if you're profiting, but don't worry about small, 1 word similarities because they generally fail and there's probably a good chance the suer will end up failing. You might even be able to get them to have to pay all court charges.
 

Levi

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Being the indie scene... a lot of companies may be less likely to "sue". Cease and Desist and or take-down orders are more likely.

Just be mindful.
 

Gomi Boy

 
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To actually sue, a company has to prove that, A, you've infringed on their copyright and, B, that it's damaged their income somehow. Unless you're going out of your way to steal, it's unlikely you'll match both critera. Besides, hunting down indies with legal orders tends to be a PR disaster when the news gets out, so odds are they aren't going to send them around without a strong reason. No idea why Bethesda did what they did, but it was a nightmare for them and no one's likely to follow in their footsteps. Bottom line, don't worry about legal teams hunting you down unless you actually have stolen content.

As a sidenote, some people will tell you that an easy way of proving copyright ownership is to mail something to yourself. This won't actually hold up in any legal matter. Don't bother.
 
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Lord Valdyr

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An unopened letter with a federal seal and date can be used in court to prove copyright if you make something it is automatically copyright and an unopened letter proves a time period in which you had in your possession the material.The problem is there are ways to fake this depending on where you live. But if you are really worried then you might as well.
 
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Shiro

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I'll give you a straight forward answer.

dont worry about it. Not even a little. This is the RM community, not the big leagues. Even if there was a bit of copyright, you honestly shouldn't worry about it at all, nothing will happen.
 

RyanA

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Yeah, pretty much what's already said. I'd like to add as well, that copyright exists as soon as something exists in a tangible form. If you put a game up here on the internet, that games copyrighted because it's a tangible form. The only problem is proving that you own the copyright though. For this, I'd recommend putting a USB or a disc with the files on it and mailing it to yourself, have it signed and dated by the post office, have them put a stamp over the bit where the envelope seals so you can see it hasn't been opened, and put a little note inside as well saying 'So and So made this on 40th Decembuary 1337' Or something :3

I'm a musician so I really take all this copyright business seriously 3: If someone copied my songs then I would be angry and claw at their faces 3:< Only if things are a direct copy should you be worried about stuff like copyright, I wouldn't worry about little similarities, It can't be helped that some songs sound similar or games have similar titles!

Hey, bet you guys didn't know most songs in the charts are in C major and use a 1 4 5 chord progression ;3
 
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Gomi Boy

 
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An unopened letter with a federal seal and date can be used in court to prove copyright if you make something it is automatically copyright and an unopened letter proves a time period in which you had in your possession the material.The problem is there are ways to fake this depending on where you live. But if you are really worried then you might as well.
It actually can't. It's a popular rumour, but it doesn't make for actual admissible evidence. Like I said, don't bother.
 

Lord Valdyr

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It actually can't. It's a popular rumour, but it doesn't make for actual admissible evidence. Like I said, don't bother.
I'm not gonna argue with you but I assume neither of us are lawyers. All I'm saying if even if you hear a "rumor" you might as well take that extra measure. I've have been unable to find an instance where this has be tried and failed in court so until then might as well take this step.
 

RyanA

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It actually can't. It's a popular rumour, but it doesn't make for actual admissible evidence. Like I said, don't bother.
All my proffesional musician friends, two of which are teachers of music business say this is the best way to copyright and holds up in court ;3
 

Robin

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All my proffesional musician friends, two of which are teachers of music business say this is the best way to copyright and holds up in court ;3
Can you provide any evidence that it stands up in court?
 
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RyanA

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Can you provide any evidence that it stands up in court?
I don't have any proof but I don't think those pros would lie to me and everyone is learning from them ^w^
 

Gomi Boy

 
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The thing about popular rumours is that many people think they're true.
 

Touchfuzzy

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Runaway Bro in this case is correct.

There is no evidence of it standing up in US Court at the least. Its too easy to fake.
 

RyanA

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Runaway Bro in this case is correct.

There is no evidence of it standing up in US Court at the least. Its too easy to fake.
Pretty hard to fake if you use recorded delivery and keep the receipt ;3 Maybe it's just different in the UK, though 3:
 

Levi

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Pretty hard to fake if you use recorded delivery and keep the receipt ;3 Maybe it's just different in the UK, though 3:
Yeah, eh?! Out here in Canada it can be used.

As per Canada Post: "Registered Mail is a service offered to Customers who require proof of mailing and/or proof of delivery."

In the same sense that a 'Proof of Purchase' (receipt or otherwise, in some cases even ticket stubs!) can stand up in court as an alibi, so can Registered Mail be used as an "alibi" for certain works. Proving that something, whether it's a script or a thumb-drive with a song, existed at one point in time and was in a certain person's (the signee's) possesion at that time.

But again... that's Canada.
 

Touchfuzzy

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But can they prove what was in the package. The point is that you can fake it by inserting something into a sealed package. Trust me, it can be done.

Seriously, do some searches. You'll find a lot of evidence that it doesn't work that way, and not ONE case where it actually worked.
 

Robin

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I don't have any proof but I don't think those pros would lie to me and everyone is learning from them ^w^
Unless they're just wrong.

Yeah, eh?! Out here in Canada it can be used.

As per Canada Post: "Registered Mail is a service offered to Customers who require proof of mailing and/or proof of delivery."

In the same sense that a 'Proof of Purchase' (receipt or otherwise, in some cases even ticket stubs!) can stand up in court as an alibi, so can Registered Mail be used as an "alibi" for certain works. Proving that something, whether it's a script or a thumb-drive with a song, existed at one point in time and was in a certain person's (the signee's) possesion at that time.

But again... that's Canada.
Can you provide any evidence that it stands up in court?
 
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Levi

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@TouchFuzzy

Again. From Canada Post's mouth:

http://www.canadapos...Gpolicies-e.asp

To help prevent identity theft and other improper uses of products and services, identification is required to ensure mail and other services are properly provided and to permit follow up if further investigation is required for law enforcement and other legal purposes.
Seriously, do some searches. You'll find a lot of evidence that it doesn't work that way, and not ONE case where it actually worked.
You sounds very confident. What, in your opinion, is the most definitive proof that this does not work? Please cite sources.

edit:

Can you provide any evidence that it stands up in court?
I don't have the cases on the tip of my tongue, no. But while taking classes Law for my Natural Resources Compliance Diploma, we went over several cases regarding Deeds, where Registered mail was used as a 'fail safe' and stood up in defense. Of course, I can't cite my sources... so believe me or don't. :)
 
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Touchfuzzy

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Levi, all that proves is that a piece of mail was delivered, and that it was signed for. It doesn't prove WHAT IS IN THE MAIL.

Also, the onus is on the people claiming something works, not the other way around. Proving a negative is exceedingly difficult. Find one case where it ACTUALLY WORKS. If it did work, shouldn't that be easy to do?
 
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