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Bhu
2009-07-22, 07:06 AM
Okay so I've decided to write a game. The odds of it ever being published are infinitesimally small, so I was gonna put it up free once I'm done. But how is a good way to ensure that I can make it stay free so that someone doesn't copy it and try to publish it for money (and try to take down my free version).

Hunter Noventa
2009-07-22, 07:10 AM
I'm not too sure, no doubt you have to register with the copyright office ( http://www.copyright.gov/ ) But other than that, make sure to put your name in the credits as well as copyright and trademark notices. All that should cover the possibility of being ripped off.

Zeful
2009-07-22, 07:12 AM
Okay so I've decided to write a game. The odds of it ever being published are infinitesimally small, so I was gonna put it up free once I'm done. But how is a good way to ensure that I can make it stay free so that someone doesn't copy it and try to publish it for money (and try to take down my free version).

Print out a copy and send it registered mail to yourself, then put it in a safety deposit box, unopened. If someone publishes it and tries to make you take yours down, counter sue for theft and copyright violation, present the unopened letter to the judge and have him open it to verify the contents. Win suit.

kamikasei
2009-07-22, 07:15 AM
Do you mean a computer game, or a pen-and-paper rulebook? If the former, software licenses (e.g. GPL). If the latter, Creative Commons (Attribution Non-Commercial, with Non-Derivative too if you want to prevent people making still-free modified versions of their own).

adanedhel9
2009-07-22, 07:18 AM
The easiest way is to slap a Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/choose/) license on it.

You don't need to register with the US copyright office unless you intend to sue someone. The only advantage that registering gives you is the ability to sue for lost income should someone violate your copyright.


Print out a copy and send it registered mail to yourself, then put it in a safety deposit box, unopened. If someone publishes it and tries to make you take yours down, counter sue for theft and copyright violation, present the unopened letter to the judge and have him open it to verify the contents. Win suit.

It's unknown if this actually works (at least in the US)- it's never been used in court (Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/legal/postmark.asp)).

Plus, you can't win any money in that suit unless you register with the Copyright Office anyway.

Cristo Meyers
2009-07-22, 07:51 AM
You don't need to register with the US copyright office unless you intend to sue someone. The only advantage that registering gives you is the ability to sue for lost income should someone violate your copyright.


This. I'm unsure if it's much different for games, but copyright is automatic (for writing, anyway) once the material is published in a fixed form (i.e: up for download on a website) in many countries. Registering the copyright only gives you the right to sue if someone infringes on your property.

Telonius
2009-07-22, 08:05 AM
Print out a copy and send it registered mail to yourself, then put it in a safety deposit box, unopened. If someone publishes it and tries to make you take yours down, counter sue for theft and copyright violation, present the unopened letter to the judge and have him open it to verify the contents. Win suit.

Fail (http://www.copyrightauthority.com/poor-mans-copyright/). Has never worked in the history of copyright law. Here's how to fake it. Send an empty letter, unsealed, to yourself. Postmark is applied, and letter is delivered. Wait until Stephen King publishes his next book. Transcribe it and print out a copy, stuff it in the envelope, and seal it. Go to court, and get laughed out of the room.

Even if you could use that, the online filing fee for the US copyright office is only $35. Renting out a safe deposit box will probably cost you more than that, leaving the poor man's copyright holder even poorer than if he'd just filed with the copyright office.

snoopy13a
2009-07-22, 01:54 PM
As long as you can prove that you originally created it, you don't even have to bother copyrighting it:


Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”

Demons_eye
2009-07-22, 08:08 PM
Fail (http://www.copyrightauthority.com/poor-mans-copyright/). Has never worked in the history of copyright law. Here's how to fake it. Send an empty letter, unsealed, to yourself. Postmark is applied, and letter is delivered. Wait until Stephen King publishes his next book. Transcribe it and print out a copy, stuff it in the envelope, and seal it. Go to court, and get laughed out of the room.

Did you miss the unopened part? I think they can tell if you open it.

Mando Knight
2009-07-22, 08:27 PM
Okay so I've decided to write a game. The odds of it ever being published are infinitesimally small, so I was gonna put it up free once I'm done. But how is a good way to ensure that I can make it stay free so that someone doesn't copy it and try to publish it for money (and try to take down my free version).

Code in a signature everywhere. Comment it in, whatever. It'll be more trouble than it's worth to remove it all, and I don't know if half of the pirates even look at the code.

Also, remove all other comments for the compiled version of the program. If you don't have any of the documentation as to the operation of the game, then copying your work is even more annoying, especially if you have a way to make it bug itself...

zyphyr
2009-07-22, 09:56 PM
Did you miss the unopened part? I think they can tell if you open it.

You missed the 'unsealed when you mail it' part..

Bhu
2009-07-23, 04:38 AM
It will likely be a card or dice based game. Since I'll be asking advice about it online, and the obvious development will be proceeding online, I felt I needed to ask.