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Game Name Copyrights?

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A company gets a trademark on the name and holds all rights to it. So if you make a game called diablo and make a little money, no one will care. But if you do make a reasonable amount of money, you can expect Blizzard to come and take it all from you.

Getting a trademark is not too hard or too expensive. You can do free trademark searches to find out whats available or not. Usually, you can take a look at logos and if there is an R somewhere in it, they have the trademark. If there is a TM, they intend to use it which still gives them protection.

To do a free trademark search or register one, search for it on a search engine and you''ll find it.


Good Luck

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Copyright - When you create something like music, a film, a game it is automatically copyright. No one else can copy it without your permission but they can steal the idea and make their own version.

So you can''t do another game that looks and plays exactly like Red Alert, you can''t steal their graphics and use them in another game (cos the graphics on their own are copyright as well as when they are part of the whole game) but you can do Warcraft, which is basically the same idea done from scratch.

I am fairly sure that copyright covers the title as well but even if it doesn''t you still can''t use it because it is a Trade Mark. As the words suggest this is a recognised Mark that a company uses while trading (company logo or name/logo for a product). These Trade Marks can be officially registered but they do not have to be. If the company can show that it was using the mark before you then the court will find against you.

There is also one last issue which is "passing off". If you pick a similar name/logo such as "Diabolical" or "Diabol" the company can sue you. They can claim (probably correctly) that you are trying to trick people into thinking that your game is Diablo or is associated with in in some way.

We had a well reported case of passing off in the UK. A supermarket created an own-brand biscuit called Puffin, which looked just like the more famous Penguin brand. They were sued and they lost.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I did not think they could copyright Diablo because it is not unique enough?

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hey, if I make a game called Gravity or Fire, and trademark it, no one else can make a game with the same name? How about other products? What if I make a game called Mountain Dew? Or a drink called Diablo?

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Diablo is a copyrighted name. The thing about copyrights is that they empoly the notion of "context," so within the context of computer/video games and electronic entertainment, Diablo is copyright (as are Doom, Wolf, half-Life, <insert your favorite game name here>). However, if I make a vacuum cleaner called DirtDiablo, Blizzard can''t come after me (however the makers of Dirt Devil™ can).



I wanna work for Microsoft!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
I did not think they could copyright Diablo because it is not unique enough?


Trademark, not copyright.

You trademark in a specific domain. So it only has to be unique to, say, RPGs.

If I make a tasty fruity snack cake called ''Diablo'' Blizzard can''t touch me.

If I make an isomatric RPG about gathering tasty fruity snack cakes and call the RPG ''Diablo'', I could be in trouble.

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Actually this is not exactly true. If you make a computer game called "Coca Cola" the same company will sue you to hell and back - even the trademark is orginally for a soft drink. It depends on how famous the company is.

Also you need to take a look at the laws of the countries you want to sell it on. In USA both parties need to pay their lawyer, etc. costs themselves. In Germany the losing party PAYS ALL COSTS. This means they will only sue you in USA when they are sure that it is worth the cost. In Germany (or other european countries) they might sue you just for fun - if they are sure they will win.

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The distinction comes with whether or not you can be ruled as using the name for promotional purposes. For instance, Diablo is a common reference, so as long as it doesn''t directly try and steal the game Diablo''s fame (most likely any computer/console game would qualify) then you won''t be in trouble. But as for the Coca-Cola example, Coca-Cola isn''t exactly a word or common, if I say Coca-Cola you immediately think of the soft drink. Therefore naming something Coca-Cola would be using that brand name as a promotional tool. As for Diablo, there are several products I can think of named Diablo, and since Diablo is simply a word as long as it''s not a computer game you aren''t going to get in trouble, atleast not from Blizzard.

~WarDekar

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I forget which movie it was, but I believe Blizzard forced them to change the name from "El Diablo" or the like.. arrgh, brain freeze.

-Jipe

jipe@zworg.com

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Yeah, it''s rarely a total black-and-white situation. From all the cases I''ve read about it basically comes down to whether a court could be convinced that your product''s name, packaging, etc. deceives the consumer into believing it''s associated with the trademarked property in question. If you use the name "Coca-Cola" then your product will instantly be associated with the soft drink in the mind of the consumer so you lose. So that''s why it depends on how popular/famous the trademark is, as somebody mentioned.

The one almost indisputable escape hatch in this whole mess is parody. If you write a game that''s a parody of Diablo then you could create artwork, names and logos very similar to the original material (still no direct stealing allowed) and they could do little about it.

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