How do I legally protect my game (and my own butt)?

  • Hiya all,

    Was wondering if anyone has knowledge about copyrighting, trademarking, intellectual properties, and all that jazz?

    1. Has anyone tried getting a trademark on their game's title? What about protecting the game's 'idea'?

    2. Is it worth it? I've been illegally downloading stuff since I first got onto the interwebs, so I know it's kind of a waste of time.

    3. My game has style that is somewhat similar to Pokemon, but none of the assets are actually taken or ripped from the game. Should I be worried about getting sued?

    Thanks team,

    King of Sofas

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  • You cannot copyright an name, logo, or idea. You can trademark a name or logo though.

    A copyright allows you to sue for damages, assuming you have any. It could cost you a few thousand bucks to retain a lawyer to do so for you, assuming you aren't one yourself. So unless you're making boatloads of money from your game and are so popular you expect others to profit from copying it, then no. Basically the only main reasonable situation is if someone else sells your game without your knowledge. Do you have a way of finding out who to sue?

    If your work is derivitive of Pokemon, you are infringing on Copyright. If you draw a Pokemon that is distinctly recognizable, you are infringing on copyright even though you drew it yourself.

    The question to ask is are there enough significant or distinct differences that show it is your original work?

    For example anyone can make an RPG about capturing creatures and levelling them up to fight, but I would avoid things like throwing balls to catch them or any sort of electric mouse.

    If you happen to make any significant money off of your work and the entity you are copying from is nintendo... Yes I would definitely be worried about getting sued.

  • So essentially, it's not worth it? That's kind of the conclusion i've come to, but I thought I would put it forward to the community to see if anyone has had any horror stories and past regrets.

    I've heard that Nintendo is one to fear when it comes to litigation. I've done my best to avoid potential problems, but due to their track record, i'm just a little worried. My graphical style is based upon their old GB games, but the actual game itself is completely unique.

    I suppose I can hold off on these worries until I become an App billionaire. I'll hit you guys up when that happens. 💰💰💰

  • Forgot to mention this in the first question:

    What about people hacking my game to unlock stuff without paying?

  • Can't do much. Unless you think you'll have a way to find out who does it.

    Again, it will cost you more to sue someone than whatever damages you'll be able to collect from them.

    Also again, if your game is worth hacking, you're probably already fabulously successful to the point where it doesn't matter.

  • Thanks for the advice oosyrag!

    I'll follow up here once all this has finished, but I found this service which seems to take care of the grunt work (for a reasonable fee).

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