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synth_cat

specifics on copyrighting

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I am interested in copying a game. I went to copyright.gov and tried to read up on how to publish a game. However, the instructions were a bit vague. I just wanted to know if anyone could answer some specific questions about how you register a copyright for a game. - First off, the site states that "computer programs" should be registered as Literary Works. But the site also states that if a program is "predominantly visual" it should instead be registered as Visual Art instead. - Which form should I use, Form TX or Form PA (I think this ties into whether I want to call my game a Literary Work or Visual Art, but I'm still not sure.) - The site states that for computer programs I must send the "first and last 25 pages" of my source code. This seems pretty ridiculous. My game is modular, and the one piece of code which contains my main loop (and any concept of "beginning" or "ending") is only a few pages long. How have you guys handled this issue? - Am I supposed to send a working .exe of my game? The site was very vague and brief on this point, so I wanted to make sure. Thanks for any help on these questions!

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First, you have copyright protection the moment you create your stuff. The protection is automatic and requires no formal registration. Even placing a copyright statement is no longer required, although it is HIGHLY recommended practice.

Registering your copyright in this country is only needed if you intend to eventually enforce your rights through the courts. Even though the registration fee is small, it often isn't worth it unless you honestly intend to spend the tens of thousands of dollars in an eventual lawsuit.

If you decide to register, it should be a literary work. Just submit form TX and include fifty pages of code that significantly distinguishes your code. The entry point is a good for the first few of the 50, the rest is up to you.

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Registering your copyright in this country is only needed if you intend to eventually enforce your rights through the courts. Even though the registration fee is small, it often isn't worth it unless you honestly intend to spend the tens of thousands of dollars in an eventual lawsuit.


The main reason I am doing this is that I am trying to get my game published, and I figure publishers will want me to register my copyright.

I'll look into using Form TX, though I'm not sure I remember seeing that option.

So, is it true that I have to send my actual program on CD? I'm guessing I couldn't send the demo - would it have to be the full version?

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Original post by synth_cat
The main reason I am doing this is that I am trying to get my game published, and I figure publishers will want me to register my copyright.

Frob's rights, it isn't worth the money. The publishers won't care (not for a mobile game).

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So, is it true that I have to send my actual program on CD? I'm guessing I couldn't send the demo - would it have to be the full version?
Phone the copyright office and ask them what they need. Or better yet don't because, as mentioned, it will cost more than the game will actually make in sales and the protection you get is worthless unless you have the tens of thousands of dollars needed to go to court.

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...it will cost more than the game will actually make in sales...

What do you mean? The registration costs about $65 + mail taxes and so. Or were you talking about an eventual lawsuit cost?

I have a small question on the same subject here. Can I register my work to the US Copyright Office if I am NOT an american citizen and I don't live in USA?

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However, the instructions were a bit vague.
No, they are not, they almost auto-complete comparing to the forms from my own country [lol] About the pages, it's quite simple, consider printing your entire code (each module being like a chapter) as it would be a book - I do this after major projects just to amaze myself about how much work I put in that stuff [smile]

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Original post by LeChuckIsBack
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...it will cost more than the game will actually make in sales...

What do you mean? The registration costs about $65 + mail taxes and so. Or were you talking about an eventual lawsuit cost?
Yes. As explained in the second half of the sentence. The extra protection of a registered copyright relates to what you get if you sue someone. If you can't afford to sue what is the point of spending the money? Especially when indie games seldom make much. If the game sells super well in the first month or two then register the copyright.

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Original post by LeChuckIsBack
I have a small question on the same subject here. Can I register my work to the US Copyright Office if I am NOT an american citizen and I don't live in USA?


Why would you want to do that ?

The US copyright registration system is outdated as the US has signed the berne convention so not even US citizens has to register anything. (You can still protect your work in court, allthough proving that you really are the author might be harder)

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