Video game copyright concerning the idea/theme

I was wondering what the law is on this?
Say I create a specific new idea, I’m aware of
many time traveler stories and can say none are like mine,
and then a kid makes a plan to make a similar game…
I wouldn’t even think to threaten a kid with lawsuits,
but does this in effect open a floodgate for anyone,
including bigger companies to just do what they want with the idea?
I’m wondering if 2 years from now, blizzard or something comes out with
a similarly themed game, could I sue them?
On a side note I’d like to announce my new game called: CRUSH’N THINGS!
EDIT I actually started this picture as a joke and then 4 hours later I’m still working on it :smiley:
Maybe I can see if THUMP STUFF ever wants any fan art. :smiley:

You can’t sue anyone over an idea. The only way you’d have a copyright claim is if they used actual content from your game, like if they took models or sounds from your game. You might also have a claim if they used your character designs - which is harder to prove. There are varying degrees of this stuff. You could make a game and call it “Rampage” and be totally safe so long as it wasn’t monsters destroying cities. You 'd also be safe if you made monsters destroying a city that were different from the Rampage monsters, and then called it “Crush Stuff”. The gameplay is not something you can copyright, which is why most modern games are all just ripping each other off or ripping off older games.

There was actually a huge storm in the indie gaming world not too long ago (and it’s still sorta ongoing) about a guy who trademarked the word “Edge”, who then sued an indie dev because he named his game “Edge”. It’s more complex than that, but basically people have been throwing their poop at each other over that lawsuit for months. You can read about it at the TIGSource forums. That thread is over 100 pages, and people are still posting updates and comments in there, so check it out.

So I doubt you’ll ever have a claim on Blizzard for copyright infringement. Even if they were going to copy your gameplay, they’d alter it slightly, alter your character and level designs and make their own engine and models. You might have a case if their game looked incredibly like yours, but many companies have sued each other for similar reasons and almost all of them have failed. The old personal computers were overloaded with 8bit ripoffs and remakes of NES, MS and PCE games. There was a whole cottage industry surrounding ripping off the hottest NES game at the time.

But don’t let that stop you. Street cred is marketable. Getting ripped off by some other company would only make your games that much more popular if you marketed them as “The game Blizzard ripped off” or whatever. :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s pretty crazy that a basic story idea isn’t protected…I’ve also heard of the trademarking
of words and emocons, but also I remember D.C. comics sued Captain Marvels company
(before D.C. aquired Captain Marvel) because of the costume simularities.
It could also be some other company besides Blizzard, I just used that
as an example, I actually hear Blizzard is pretty cool.
Probably it would be one of those other hated conglomerates…
“I need some more cocaine money!!” says the (not blizzard) CEO.
That’s half of the reason I’m making this in different formats, this way I might
actually have a chance of being able to sue. Even screenplays and short stories
have different aspects of copyright protection, it’s pretty ridiculous.
These have to be old laws set in place by the movie industry lobbyists.
Short stories have an extra layer of protection as compaired to screenplays,
and I think that’s why in screenplay writing forums there’s this undercurrent of
having it ‘have to be in the correct screenplay format’ …they’re maniacs about
the formatting, and I think maybe it’s because it frees them up to just take the idea,
like if it’s not exactly a stellar script, but the premise is great, then they can get a
better writer to polish everything up. If the writer is already good,
then it’s more of a “Okay… Everything looks good… You’re hired!” type scenario.
I guess if you really want to protect your work, write a short story to go along with it? :smiley:

basic story ideas, themes etc are really really too generic for any copy protection…

the whole sparkle of creating an “IP” is that you create a universe so compelling that other things get compared to it… that it spawns imitators… that will always seem “secondary” to your thing…

of course, others can take the same “base material” and inhabit it with a creative spirit that makes THAT the standard…

look at “antz” and “a bugs life”… look at “madagascar” and “the wild”… thematically far too close for comfort… but from any kind of legal perspective… each unique and not infinging each other…

That’s what I’m worried about, because I’m not an entire studio. :smiley:
I think I can make something halfway entertaining, it’s just difficult
to juggle so many of the different things needed for game development.
I guess I can go at my own pace, and Squiggly is right about street cred.
I can always say mine has a speed of light theory in it :smiley:

and for some reason it decided to post that crap again when I pulled the browser up again…

Sorry bout that…

But you’re far more likely to get ripped off by someone like Tim Langdell than by any sort of legitimate game studio. There are a lot of conmen in all areas of media. There’s “The Asylum”, a film studio that specializes in ripping off the latest blockbusters, My Langdell and several others who steal art and crap for their games, LOTS of little indie guys who are just dumb and don’t realize that you’re not allowed to do that sort of thing…

But most people know to steer clear of those types of people. Just worry about the game and then worry about marketing the game and having a nice pro-looking website, etc. Don’t alter your ideas because you’re afraid of getting ripped off.

I’ve seen a few Asylum movies! :smiley:
That’s true, actually I just saw an obama interview where he says the most
successful people he knew didn’t worry about money, and that same theory
probably applies to getting ripped off as well. :smiley: Just concentrate on getting the job done.
I’ve known weasly guys like that asylum guy you mentioned, that’s probably a
little why I go apesh!t over this kind of stuff.

I love the asylum. As bad as their movies are, most of them are also quite hilarious and cheesy, and they do pick up the occasional original concept. Megashark Vs Giant Octopus is still one of my favorite flicks of this year. It’s the best / worst movie I’ve seen in some time.

I like Full Moon Entertainment also, but I think they went bankrupt.
I can’t think of any asylum movies, but I know I’ve seen probably 5 or 6 of them,
when I used to get the Blockbuster unlimited monthly movie rental pass.

Everybody thinks they’re the first person in the world to have an idea. :no:

Well, sometimes this is the case, but most everything is born of influence.
I’ve been thinking about how the copyright system is setup, and I think it’s
geared to favor corporations rather than individuals. In some sense it may be
good for publicity, like yesterday while I was on the computer I left the T.V.
on the History Channel, where there was an all day marathon devoted to the
Davinci code. I think there were three 2 hour specials, where they delved into
Dan Browns novel, with renactments etc., which could be seen as unsanctioned publicity for the book,
or a completley legal editorial review, but on the other hand I never want to see The actual Davinci code again,
or actually read his novel, because I’ve already sat through 6 hours of it.
I kind of want to study copyright law now just out of curiousity to who was involved
with any major decisions. I’ll bet if someone actuall dug in there they would find stuff like:
‘In 1945 Judge Thompson purchased a yacht and a three story villa off new hampshire.’ type stuff.
Then you take a look at business trademarks and a person can take
control over a emocon. Supposedly the man who trademarked this wink emocon :wink: , (not this gif)
can charge companies whatever he wants for the rights to use it, even in posts
such as this, although he says he never would. Imagine getting an email where
he wants ten thousand dollars because you used an emocon in a forum. :smiley:
Plus if burger king decided to make their new mascot a clown like Mcdonalds,
there would be a 90 billion dollar lawsuit filed immediately. It’s crazy.
I guess the only thing is to try and do as good as a job as possible,
this way it could make a good submission, for consideration for employment. :smiley:

He couldn’t go around suing for that wink emoticon now even if he wanted to. That’s also trademark, not copyright, And his unwillingness to sue over it’s use has damaged his ability to ever do so in the future. He could try to sue someone now, but all you’d have to do is point to the hundreds of thousands of times it’s been used in the past without his ever attempting to protect his property.

The thing on the history channel was probably authorized, and thus they probably paid him to air that. Or his publisher. It depends on what sort of contract Brown has with the publisher. Dan Brown might not be making that much money at all from these movies and shows and stuff if the publisher has the rights for that stuff. Contracts can be a bitch.

Copyright was born with the printing press. Printing companies were just taking copies of existing books and printing their own copies of them. The original publishers had a problem with that, and so they developed copyright to deal with the problem.

And it would take more than a clown to set off a valid lawsuit. Jack In The Box i think has a clown as a mascot. Or a jester or something. Anyway, he doesn’t look much like Ronald. They’d have to actually copy Ronald for there to be a legitimate claim of IP damage. It would have to be mistakable as Ronald or cause confusion.

I just saw on wikipedia that Willard scott from
the today shows ‘weather segment’ invented Ronald Mcdonald. :smiley:
Yeah, I bet the publishers have a clause to allow them to promote the work
without payment, and at the same time they can relicence out under the catagory
of promotion. I’m sure Dan Brown is at a point where his management can
get around this, unless he’s locked into a contract, or doesn’t realize. :smiley:
“What the hell is this all over the history channel!?!” Says Dan Brown.

I should add I meant Full Moon Entertainment earlier, and not
just some weird phrase for horror movies: “I too also like the horror shows of the night”
Most of their movies really are terrible, I only really like CASTLE FREAK.