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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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paladin5500

Seeking advice about protecting my ideas/IP

7 posts in this topic

Edit:  As the thread title states, I'm looking for actual, detailed advice, not yes/no lists.  If you're going to answer my questions, please do elaborate and leave some detailed answers that both answer my questions as well as give me some advice about how I should proceed. What I should do now and what I should do later. Do I need a trademark? Do I need to form a company before I start releasing anything? When it comes to protecting a fantasy world IP, how would I go about getting a copyright on something like that? It's obviously quite different from simply copyrighting one story, since a world concept is always changing and I can imagine the laws would work a bit differently. Etc. etc.  Please describe the plan you think I should follow to have the best chance of protecting my IP.  Both in my own country and abroad. Thank you for your time. 
 
 
Hello, I'm an amateur game dev who's been working, in my spare time, for some years now on developing some games. Classic RPG's mostly.  I feel like I'm reaching a point where I may be ready to start releasing some games beyond my close circle of friends. 
 
I would say I'm a relatively creative person and probably more of a fiction writer than a game dev... I'm much more into story development than programming, for example. I have a friend who works with me and handles a lot of the programming side of things. 
 
I've spent several years developing a very detailed and immersive fantasy world which I use as the setting for my games and stories.  
 
So, this brings me to my dilemma...
 
I'm very protective of my ideas and IP, as most writers and artists would be. I've put years of my life into it. So, I'm very concerned about releasing games (some of which may be free) and having my ideas/IP stolen. 
 
I realize good ideas are pretty easy to come by and there's 7 billion other people out there that may (and probably are) better at world building and game design than me... and that I probably don't have too much to worry about realistically. However, this doesn't ease my fears in the slightest.  I'm just a writer that wants to tell my stories and share my world with others while using a medium I highly respect... without some larger company or random scam artists coming along and stealing it all away from me. 
 
I do plan to always fully manage every aspect of my rpg projects myself.  
 
I currently live in the U.S. but my game releases would probably be mostly digital downloads online. 
 
 
My Questions:
 
1. How should I go about legally protecting my IP and my stories and characters in general and for the long term?  
 
 
2. What should I do in the short term to protect my IP before I start releasing games that use my IP as a setting?
 
 
3. In preparation for worst case scenarios, how should I go about making sure my IP is protected from team members or contractors who may work with me for a while then decide to take my ideas and run?  
 
 
4.  Is my IP always legally separate from any art, music or programming I hire someone else to do for the games?  Is there any way that an artist or programmer can legally argue that they hold some legal rights to my IP because they supplied art, music or programming skills to it? If so, is there any way to avoid this trap? 
 
 
5. Since I would be releasing games for download online... is it possible that someone from some other country could try to steal the rights to my IP and get away with it because of different laws?  If so, is there any way to prevent this? 
 
 
6. Do I really need to hire or consult with a lawyer or some sort of legal consultant about this first?  If so, what sort of legal professional should I look for? 
 
 
7.  Anything else I should know about the legalities of IP ownership or watch out for?  Helpful advice is appreciated. 
 
 
I know some of these questions are probably pretty basic but I'd be the first to say that I'm a writer not a lawyer. I wouldn't be asking legal questions in the first place if I knew anything about this. So I would really appreciate some helpful answers and advice. 
 
 
Thanks for the help! 
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Updated original post to be more clear about what I'm looking for.  Still looking for answers. 

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Sorry, I hope I don't come across as rude, but please don't add to previous posts. If you have more questions or need more clarification based off answers given, then please ask in a new post. Going back and editing the post just makes it confusing for the other members to keep track of especially if this had taken off and been more than one page.

 

Honestly, I believe taking some time to read through Tom's site is a great idea as it has a wealth of knowledge. Also maybe invest in a book or such on copyrights, trademarks, and such.

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If you need more 'specifics' I would recommend getting in touch with a lawyer. It should be your first stop.

No matter how 'friendly' we can be, none of us is legally liable in case any advice here is incorrect. 

Tom's given you very valuable intel to start from, now you need a lawyer. Get one. Seriously.

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