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How much does it cost to copyright a game?


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#1 3DModelerMan   Members   -  Reputation: 941

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 08:11 AM

How much does it cost to copyright a game, and maybe trademark a slogan for the game? I don't know much about copyright stuff, so sorry if this was a bad question.

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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8692

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 09:18 AM

Copyright is automatic and free. It costs somewhere around $30 to register a copyright, if you're a US citizen. Go to copyright.gov
Don't know about trademark registration.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 Dan Mayor   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1712

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 09:27 AM

If the Government forums seem a little daunting you can always go through legal zoom. They offer copyrighting, company registration and trademarking.

Digivance Game Studios Founder:

Dan Mayor - Dan@Digivance.com
 www.Digivance.com


#4 3DModelerMan   Members   -  Reputation: 941

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:02 PM

Oh good that's alot easier than I thought it would be. At what point should I actually register a company and copyright the game? Before I show it off everywhere? Like for example: to a publisher?

#5 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8692

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 12:33 AM

The game is automatically copyrighted (at no cost to you) the instant you've created it.
You should register your business when you start making money or otherwise have to do anything official (like pay taxes).
I strongly recommend you go visit your local Small Business Administration office. Ask them all sorts of basic questions like these. For no cost. http://www.sba.gov
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#6 Obscure   Moderators   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 12:48 AM

At what point should I actually register a company...

When someone offers to do business with you.

and copyright the game?


When you have the $100k necessary to take someone to court for copyright infringement.
Copyright doesn't need to be registered. Doing so makes it easier to sue and increases the compensation you would get - but that is no use if you don't have the very large amount of money necessary to take legal action.
For now put a copyright notice on the game "copyright [your name] 2011". If a publisher expresses an interest in the game then you can worry about (and pay for) setting up a company and registering the copyright.

Likewise Trademarks. The game name/logo will gain trademark protection when you start using them to trade. Registering costs several hundred $ for each country you register in which may well be more money than the game actually makes. When someone shows some interest in actually doing business, then consider registering a trademark. Until then just use stick a "TM" by the logo (not an R in a circle symbol, which can only be used with a registered trademark).
Dan Marchant - Business Development Consultant
www.obscure.co.uk

#7 3DModelerMan   Members   -  Reputation: 941

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 08:33 AM

So that's enough to where if I show the game to a publisher, they can't just steal the exact game and use it? I know they could steal the general idea if they wanted. But they couldn't specifically produce my game?

#8 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8692

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 11:15 AM

Anybody can make a game similar to your "idea" anytime. Don't waste time worrying about somebody stealing your "idea" - you can't protect an idea.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#9 3DModelerMan   Members   -  Reputation: 941

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 04:31 PM

I know, but if I give the publisher my game to test out, can't they just publish it right off the bat with no deal if I don't get the copyright stuff out of the way?

#10 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8692

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 11:46 PM

So you're saying your game is SO GOOD that every publisher would be willing to break the law and give you good reason to scream foul to the world. Or maybe they'd just kill you, then the screaming foul thing goes away...?

First off, they're not that evil.
Secondly, your game is not that good.
Thirdly, they have plenty of money and can afford to buy your game twenty times over -- they don't need to steal it. Cheaper to buy it than deal with the fallout from ripping you off.
Fourthly, if you're that worried about having your creation stolen, then sure, register your copyright before you begin the submission process with a publisher.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#11 Obscure   Moderators   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 04:06 AM

I know, but if I give the publisher my game to test out, can't they just publish it right off the bat with no deal if I don't get the copyright stuff out of the way?

I have known one or two developers over the last ten years who got ripped off by dodgy publishers but they were small crap publishers who were about to go bust and a bit of research would have shown that they weren't people to do business with. Apart from that publishers simply don't steal games - it isn't worth the hassle and the bad rep they would get would stop future devs working with them. Besides which they don't need to rip you off by breaking the law when they can do it legally by getting you to sign a complex contract that ends up giving them all the benefit from the sales of your game.

Publishers stealing your game isn't going to be a problem. Your first problem will be making a great game and then getting them to even look at it.
Dan Marchant - Business Development Consultant
www.obscure.co.uk

#12 3DModelerMan   Members   -  Reputation: 941

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 08:07 AM


I know, but if I give the publisher my game to test out, can't they just publish it right off the bat with no deal if I don't get the copyright stuff out of the way?

I have known one or two developers over the last ten years who got ripped off by dodgy publishers but they were small crap publishers who were about to go bust and a bit of research would have shown that they weren't people to do business with. Apart from that publishers simply don't steal games - it isn't worth the hassle and the bad rep they would get would stop future devs working with them. Besides which they don't need to rip you off by breaking the law when they can do it legally by getting you to sign a complex contract that ends up giving them all the benefit from the sales of your game.

Publishers stealing your game isn't going to be a problem. Your first problem will be making a great game and then getting them to even look at it.





I know my game isn't that good. But I was just confused how everything worked. Because I wanted to be able to show it around, but I didn't know what I had to do to be on the safe side. Thanks for the advice.




#13 Obscure   Moderators   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 02:57 AM

I know my game isn't that good. But I was just confused how everything worked. Because I wanted to be able to show it around, but I didn't know what I had to do to be on the safe side. Thanks for the advice.

If it isn't that good no one is going to steal it (or publish it) so you don't need to worry.
Dan Marchant - Business Development Consultant
www.obscure.co.uk




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