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neonfaktory

Idea Protection when Posting Here

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neonfaktory    134
Ok, say I have a really kick-ass idea, IN THEORY. So I come on to these boards to check it with you guys, see if everything checks out. 2 days later some jerk-face reads the thread and goes OMFG thats a sweet idea. He then takes his 20-man team and, being the jerk-face that he is, implements the idea much faster than you could ever possibly do it, and sells it for fat $$$. What I''m asking is whether anybody knows if theres any kind of protection in such a situation. Perhaps the act of posting it here is kind of like an unofficial copyright? Anybody got any ideas on this? That''s the main reason I don''t post anything here... I don''t want to get shafted if someone takes them. Thanks for ay feedback

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Umbongo    214
No and no one is going to come here and steal your idea. If you want to discuss it then open thread detailing it. Chances are anyone who could throw a 20man team and $$ at it already has many of his own ideas.

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DrNecessiter    122
Well, legally if you post it for public consumption you have basically given up your rights.

Now... practically speaking... in the professional game business ideas are worth about $1.50... on a good day. Great ideas are worth nothing without the ability to execute them well. And mediocre ideas can become great games with excellent execution. And these days, most of that doesn''t matter anyway. You probably can''t get your game made without a license to a hit movie or other marketable property.

If you truly believe you have the rare and authentic 1 in 1,000,000,000 "great idea", then write it up, get an agent, and start pitching it. But keep in mind... even a blockbuster title like Tetris probably couldn''t be sold "on paper." 99% of the value of the game is in the execution. You''d be hard pressed to convince somebody that Tetris was a "great idea" via a written description.

I''m not trying to be pessimistic, but realistic. If you believe your idea is truly great, then go for it. As Umbongo said, every seasoned developer out there has their own list of "great ideas" they are dying to get made. Your idea would have to be one of those one-in-a-billion ideas to make them drop their pet projects and steal your concept.

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TechnoGoth    2937
Why does it suck if it needs a 20 man team? Most professional games have teams a lot bigger then that.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I'm a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document



[edited by - TechnoGoth on August 10, 2003 3:24:48 AM]

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evolutional    1393
quote:
Original post by Diodor
If your idea needs a 20 man team to make, it sucks.


I don''t agree.


To answer to original question - I''d say if you bounced the ideas off other people (like on this site) to perfect them and THEN sold your game, it''d not be very moral if you didn''t credit them. If your idea was so good to begin with, it''d not need the approval of the community!

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Diodor    517
quote:

If you truly believe you have the rare and authentic 1 in 1,000,000,000 "great idea", then write it up, get an agent, and start pitching it. But keep in mind... even a blockbuster title like Tetris probably couldn''t be sold "on paper." 99% of the value of the game is in the execution. You''d be hard pressed to convince somebody that Tetris was a "great idea" via a written description.



*laughs* What''s this obsession about agents, pitching, selling, written description? If I had to pick one game where implementation is largely irrelevant and the idea is everything, that should be Tetris. Come on, you don''t need suits buying your Tetris idea and paying a 20 man team to make it! You can make Tetris yourself. If only you thought about it first! How many other Tetris-like ideas, immensely fun and (relatively) easy to create are out there, waiting to be brought to light?

quote:

Why does it suck if it needs a 20 man team? Most professional games have teams a lot bigger then that.



Well, OK, it sucks unless you are Peter Molineux or the like.

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flamewill    122
neonfaktory,

Speaking as a sub-amateur, my personal conclusion is that ideas are too insubstantial to be protected. To elaborate: even products that developed from an idea can barely be protected.

If you really have to discuss the idea with other people, the only solutions I can see are:

1. In the discussions, try not to reveal your idea enough for it to be copied. Eg. only talk about a small aspect of the idea, or rephrase the topic.
2. Speak to people who you trust will not take advantage of you.

[edited by - flamewill on August 10, 2003 10:18:06 AM]

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sirko    122
"Ideas are a dime a dozen." What begins to have a little worth is a Treatment. A Specification is more worth, but without its author with his/her understanding, vision and designer notes it is difficult to implement the real fantastic game, which is described by all this visiible and unvisible facts.
If you think, your Idea is such great, write it down in a Treatment and than very detailled in a specification. That your single ideas (plural because no game is made out of one idea, but of thousand ideas and decisions) are copied this way, you can''t avoid. It would be like wanting a patent on the very used word "mama" for every usage. But if you got too much money, you can go to a lawyer and make a rights protection on your documents. But than you should strike a rights protection assurance.
Just compare the belonging cost of this with the propablitiy that your ideas(s!) and even more your documents are that good and that somebody will take it without asking you and implement it (completly without your help as autor/designer, if it comes to questions like "How is this ment?","In which way is this rule important?" and "We cannot implement this detail this way. Which of our solutions will not destroy the gameplay?").

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sirko    122
Additionally: if you post something here, it is made public. You should count on, that it is kept not secretly.
But let me arrogantly say, that I know by your question, that it would be best for you to begin with posting your documents (which you propably not yet have made) here, letting the community and more experienced hobby game designers advise you, because you are by guarantee not so far, you could work succesfully on your own.

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neonfaktory    134
Well, I don''t want this into a personal debate or anything, but I do have the design documents and all that written out as far as how my thoughts go. I made this post just because it would be nice to feel comfortable with posting them here to get a larger pool of opinions and possible problems before investing in implementation of the ideas.

My new question now is when do you think it is a good idea to spend money to patent an idea/implementation? For example, it will be no trouble to partner up with talented people in college (I''ll be there in a week) and start implementing this. I''m wondering at what point do you step back and say "this is really good... we should protect ourselves." Thanks again for the feedback.

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Obscure    175
You can't patent, copyright or trademark and idea.

When you have made your game it will automatically be protected by copyright. as you are in the USA you may then choose to officially register the copyright for additional protection.

The name/logo of your game will also be automatically protected as a Trademark (as soon as you actually start selling the game) but again you may choose to register these trademarks.

Patenting won’t really apply unless you have an element of the software that has a practical purpose (such as a new more efficient compression system). For the purposes of patent "being fun" isn't seen as purpose.

For a full description of each of the above see the 4th link from this page http://www.obscure.co.uk/faq.shtml

quote:
For example, it will be no trouble to partner up with talented people in college (I'll be there in a week) and start implementing this.

Yea starting it will be real easy. Anyone who has done a game (even a simple one) will tell you that the tough as nails part is finishing it. Don't bother rushing out to spend money on trademarks and copyright until it's finished.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions
Game Development & Design consultant

[edited by - obscure on August 10, 2003 7:40:06 PM]

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DuranStrife    100
Chances are that he can''t implement the idea as well as you would, anyway. And if you''re really an idea person, the idea will have evolved and grown more by the time you finish coming up with all your other ideas. You don''t have to post the final version.

Personally, I think that if anybody was obsessive enough to pull all my posted materials together and create Pentaverse without me, I''d be pretty damn pleased and buy the game, but that''s just what kind of dedicated gamer I am. And after I played it, I''d go back to design and make the game the way it ought to be.

Now if somebody sues you for stealing their ideas when you had the ideas first... then you''re in trouble. Lawsuits and the like are NASTY, and you don''t want to be involved in them.

Luckily, this is almost certainly not going to happen. Almost nobody is weaselly enough to prefer others'' ideas over their own. Rest assured, other people like their own ideas much better than yours''.

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Merle    122
quote:
neonfaktory wonders: What I'm asking is whether anybody knows if theres any kind of protection in such a situation. Perhaps the act of posting it here is kind of like an unofficial copyright?


I've never had my ideas challenged, and this is just my interpretation, so eat some salt with this. ;-)

For copyrights, I believe that if you can prove you had an idea before someone else and independently of them, that even if they put a product to market, you have some protection. Not sure to what extent, but pretty sure you can also go to market.

I worried about this when working on a card game, as I wanted to test it out in my local game shoppe. The advice I got was to make copies of all my documentation, well organized, with as much detail as possible. Seal it up securely (several layers) and mail it to yourself. For better security, have it notarized, or mail it to a trustworthy third party (lawyer, probably).

From what I understand, this is a "poor man's copyright". Proof that you had an idea at a particular moment in time. If the thief-jerk person tries to copy your idea, you can force the issue, and they probably won't be able to backdate their "proof".

Edit: fine, the obscure.co.uk link suggests this is a myth. But if you did send it to a trusted third party, should work. As well, if the sealant is covered by the postmark, might be okay. Public notaries should certainly be sufficient


But: I'd agree with a number of the posters, that it's not just the idea, but implementation. I see a dozen great ideas a week, but many are not feasible or are outside the scope of what I'm doing.

As for the tetris subthread: you know, if someone had come to me with the idea for tetris, I'd have probably laughed at them. "Players will drop random four-square edge-contiguous shapes, attempting to fill in rows ". Sounds like a real blast. Might be fun to debate in a forum, but nothing I would have stolen. Now, show me a prototype... ;-)

[edited by - Merle on August 11, 2003 10:15:14 PM]

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Obscure    175

Not the self addressed envelop, please lord not that again!


Don't send something to yourself. It serves no purpose because:
a) You could have added the contents after it had been through the post.
b) You can't guarantee that the post office will put the postmark exactly where you need it.
c) You could have made your own postmark stamp.

Much more importantly though it serves no purpose because it does not create any witnesses. If you go into court and claim "I own this game" the court will judge that to have exactly the same weight as if you were to go into court and claim "I own this game and I have an envelop I sent myself that proves it." - The only witness that you did what you say is you, and you are biased.

You can't call the post office as a witness. They don't keep proof of every package that they deliver and even if they did they could only give evidence regarding the package and not its contents.

You need to take the item to a credible witness such as a lawyer/solicitor and get them to make a notarised copy.

HOWEVER - all that is irrelevant because it still doesn't provide protection for the IDEA. If you have a design document that DOCUMENT is protected by copyright. I can not write the same document. However if you tell me your idea I can write my own design document and create my own game that uses your idea.

That doesn't stop you from later making your game but as mine will be out first everyone will assume yours is the clone

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions
Game Development & Design consultant

[edited by - obscure on August 12, 2003 1:44:15 PM]

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Dredge-Master    175
In case you are curious, if you post on gamedev forums, gamedev owns all the data posted on here, including any ideas you spew up onto it.

The same went for 3dRealms.


and the same again here if you enter a contest with source code, or at nehe, unless either gamedev, or nehe (depending on which contests) specify that you keep copyright to the code.


if it is an IDEA, then you have to fork out some cash and get a patent, which then needs to spread to different countries. eg, a US Patent will not hold out in NZ, unless the Patent is also issued in NZ (which it most likely will be unless the NZ patent office has a reason not to).

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Obscure    175
quote:
Original post by Dredge-Master
if it is an IDEA, then you have to fork out some cash and get a patent, which then needs to spread to different countries. eg, a US Patent will not hold out in NZ, unless the Patent is also issued in NZ (which it most likely will be unless the NZ patent office has a reason not to).

Not true! the NZ patent office WONT issue such a patent. As already mentioned in this thread you can not patent, copyright or trademark IDEAS

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions
Game Development & Design consultant

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
the idea of the envelope is that you send it via special delivery and its not opened until in court, infront of witnesses. when this happens the contents of the envelope is recorded by the court for any future court-cases

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kseh    3841
Worst case scenario, I''d figure that most people might like one idea of your game and not others and in the end wind up with something completly different anyway. Have any of the old timers around here ever posted an idea and had it "stolen"? Maybe we can let history be the judge.

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cowsarenotevil    3006
quote:
Original post by MelvinElvin
do u honestly think there''s some guy, with 20 men at his disposal, trawling these forums looking for good ideas? hah! hahahahahah! hah!


Out of all of the thousands and thousands and thousands of gamedev members, I''d be inclined to say yes, I do.

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robert4818    138
My problem is since I have no skills in developing, or programing, I have ideas that I post that I wish someone WOULD steal from me. I have an idea for a space based combat (I.E. wing commander type) MMO game that I wish someone would read and then take off and run with...odds are, it will never happen

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Way Walker    745
Not that I''ve posted ideas (I don''t have many that I consider even half-way decent, fewer still (if any) that are worthy of being talked about), but I''ve always looked at it this way:

If you tell me your idea, and we both make a game based on that idea, they''ll almost certainly look, feel, and play differently. Basically, you''d have two different games. The only case where it would be different is if you had a revolutionary (rather than evolutionary) idea, and then it''d only be a significant difference if the idea actually did revolutionize gaming.

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cowsarenotevil    3006
quote:
Original post by Obscure
quote:
Original post by Dredge-Master
if it is an IDEA, then you have to fork out some cash and get a patent, which then needs to spread to different countries. eg, a US Patent will not hold out in NZ, unless the Patent is also issued in NZ (which it most likely will be unless the NZ patent office has a reason not to).

Not true! the NZ patent office WONT issue such a patent. As already mentioned in this thread you can not patent, copyright or trademark IDEAS


Then what is idealogical property?

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