Re: Re: Re: Copyrights and derivitive works

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Posted by M. Arthur Auslander on December 09, 1998 at 11:05:36:

In Reply to: Re: Re: Copyrights and derivitive works posted by Tim Dugger on December 09, 1998 at 07:28:14:

: The reason I am concerned deals with the following:
: ****
: U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress

: FL 108


: The idea for a game is not protected by copyright. The same is
: true of the name or title given to the game and of the method or
: methods for playing it.

: Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author's
: expression in literary, artistic, or musical form. Copyright
: protection does not extend to any idea, system, method, device, or
: trademark material involved in the development, merchandising, or
: playing of a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in
: the copyright law prevents others from developing another game
: based on similar principles.

: Some material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to
: copyright if it contains a sufficient amount of literary or
: pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the
: rules of the game, or the pictorial matter appearing on the
: gameboard or container, may be registrable.

: In order to register the copyrightable portions of a game, you
: must send the Copyright Office the following elements in the same
: envelope or package:
: 1. A completed application form. If your game includes any
: written element, such as instructions or directions, we

: recommend using Form TX, which can be used to register all
: copyrightable parts of the game, including any pictorial
: elements. When the copyrightable elements of the game
: consist predominantly of pictorial matter, Form VA should
: be used.
: 2. A nonrefundable filing fee of $20.00.
: 3. A deposit of the material to be registered. The deposit
: requirements will vary depending on whether the work has
: been published at the time of registration.

: If the game is published, the proper deposit is one complete copy
: of the work. If, however, the game is published in a box larger
: than 12 x 24 x 6 inches (or a total of 1728 cubic inches) then
: identifying material must be submitted in lieu of the entire game.
: (See "identifying material" below). If the game is published and
: contains fewer than three 3-dimensional elements, then identifying
: material for those parts must be submitted in lieu of those parts.
: If the game is unpublished, either one copy of the game OR
: identifying material should be deposited.

: Identifying material deposited to represent the game or its 3-
: dimensional parts shall usually consist of photographs,
: photostats, slides, drawings, or other 2-dimensional
: representations of the work. The identifying material shall
: include as many pieces as necessary to show the entire
: copyrightable content of the work including the copyright notice
: if it appears on the work. All pieces of identifying material
: other than transparencies must be no less than 3 x 3 inches in
: size, and not more than 9 x 12 inches, but preferably 8 x 10
: inches. At least one piece of identifying material must, on its
: front, back, or mount, indicate the title of the work and an exact
: measurement of one or more dimensions of the work.

: ***6/4/93***

: Copyright Office * Library of Congress * Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

: ********

: According to this, it appears that we can create new material for the game system in question since the system itself cannot be copyrighted. It also appears that by refering to the system in the original works, we are following the Fair Use
: rules. This appears to mean that we can write original material, to be used with that game system (and we do specify that it is for use with that system, so we are not trying to claim credit for something not of our making), and that it would not be a copyright infringement (in the nature of a derivative work).

: Does anybody else have an opinion on this? Or know of any recorded cases which may support this position?
Must see what you started with and what you did. Basically; even the Official information said you couldn't copy. Fair Use is a good try. Without seeing it, I'd bet on their prevailing.
At my firm we try to get there before trouble.
M. Arthur Auslander (
Auslander & Thomas, 505 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018
212-594-6900, fax 212-244-0028
ELAINE's Workshop: Early Legal Advice Is Not Expensive

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