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Re: [18xx] copyright protected components of 18xx games

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  • David G.D. Hecht
    ... From: To: Sent: Monday, January 05, 2004 10:34 AM Subject: Re: [18xx] copyright protected components
    Message 1 of 41 , Jan 5, 2004
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <Michael.Bruenker@...>
      To: <18xx@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, January 05, 2004 10:34 AM
      Subject: Re: [18xx] copyright protected components of 18xx games


      > David G.D. Hecht schrieb:
      >
      <areas of agreement snipped>

      > rules...
      > > Rules "as a whole" are only protected to the extent that they are
      > > "chinese-copied": similarly, the specific wording of individual rules
      may be
      > > subject to copyright. There is actually a court case about this where a
      > > Spanish games company was found to have infringed on another company's
      > > copyright when some of their rules were found to be identically-worded
      as
      > > the other company's.
      > >
      > > But the underlying ideas--by definition of copyright--cannot be
      copyrighted:
      > > so if I restate 18xx rules in my own words, I am not in violation of
      > > copyright.
      >
      > Disagree. What about adapted books for screen-plays/scripts? Isn't
      > adapting "rewriting"?
      >

      A screenplay is a "derivative work". There are situations where adapting the
      rules could be considered a derivative work, but they would be narrowly
      interpreted.

      > In theory one could patent the underlying ideas: but, insofar as
      > > I am aware, no one has ever undertaken this (expensive and
      time-consuming)
      > > process.
      >
      > agreed.
      >
      > Let's talk about Vellani's Transformation rules. They are absolutely
      > unique. I used these rules in 1898, adapted and corrected (in my sense)
      > the rules but I feel that I have stolen this rule, at least ethically.
      > If I am understanding your answer right I did not violate the copyright
      > of Vellani.
      > Or what about 1851Moon. This game I created for my group to play 1851
      > with more than 3 players. I did not change the rules except adding new
      > trains, adding more companies, changing the map. And I used 1851 in the
      > title to characterise it as an 1851 variant. I think I stole
      > Xris'/Marks' ideas.
      >

      So then, by your argument, if I make a game in which there is a board with
      spaces and one uses a die roll to determine how many spaces one moves, this
      would be a copyright infringement? I think not.

      Personally, when I saw "1851Moon" I expected a game with a lot more
      similarities: a variant played on the same map with different rules,
      perhaps. If anything, I think your use of "1851" in the title is
      inappropriate because it seeks to capitalize on the popularity of an
      existing product!

      You say it yourself: "I think I stole Xris'/Mark's *ideas*" [my emphasis].
      Copyright is speficically *not* for the protection of ideas: patent is.
      Copyright can only protect the specific *expression* of ideas, (in this
      case) in the form of actual rules text. I agree that the underlying ideas
      are in many cases original with the designers, but that has nothing to do
      with whether they are subject to copyright.
    • Noel Leaver
      ... certainly aware of it by now. So it s reasonable to assume they re willing to tolerate us. They may however take a different view of a commercially
      Message 41 of 41 , Jan 8, 2004
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        >Could be. OTOH, the hobby has been around for a long time and Hasbro is
        certainly aware of it by now. So it's reasonable to assume they're willing
        to tolerate us.

        They may however take a different view of a commercially produced game to a
        game kit sold largely privately.

        Noel
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