Re: [18xx] copyright protected components of 18xx games
----- Original Message -----
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 "as a whole" are only protected to the extent that they are
> > "chinese-copied": similarly, the specific wording of individual rules
> > 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
> > the other company's.
> > But the underlying ideas--by definition of copyright--cannot be
> > 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
> In theory one could patent the underlying ideas: but, insofar as
> > I am aware, no one has ever undertaken this (expensive and
> > process.
> 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
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.
>Could be. OTOH, the hobby has been around for a long time and Hasbro iscertainly 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.