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Author Topic: Game modification and copyright. What should I do?  (Read 397 times)

Kekistani

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I'm a World of Tanks player from the North America server, and I've been working with another player on this crosshair modification. I go by the username Kekistani, and he's known as yop0poy.

Since I have no clue about things like intelectual property and copyright, I decided to ask for help.

In short, what I want is a simple document stating that we:

1. Don't charge players to use the crosshair modification;
2. Don't charge players to distribute the crosshair modification;
3. Basically don't want money for it, but would gladly accept Gold donations;
4. Would like people to mention our nicknames, contact information, link of the forums' topic where we'll publish the modification and also keep the modification files' names in case they distribute it;
5. Would like to do something about people publishing our mods as if it was theirs. We don't want a lot of trouble but in case someone does that, we'd like to at least have the right to point at the person and say "this modification was created by us, stop lying about it" since, you know, even though it's just a hobby thing we put the effort into designing, animating and coding it.

As for Wargaming, which is the company that created the game, I don't think they would ever bother since they even encourage people to create modifications and they include a specific folder on the client to place mods.

So, is there anything we can do? I really have no idea where to begin with, and honestly I don't see why a timestamp service like Digistamp or Safe Creative wouldn't be enough to prove it's our creation. Anyway, thoughts? It's kinda screwed up that not only you have to study computer science and graphic design but you also need to know all about copyright. :P
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artchain

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Re: Game modification and copyright. What should I do?
« Reply #1 on: 10-01-17 at 09:08 pm »

It's kinda screwed up that not only you have to study computer science and graphic design but you also need to know all about copyright. :P

Actually, that's just the start.  If you are a creative professional, you really should learn the basics of Intellectual Property law.  And, depending on where your career takes you, you'll probably need to learn about contract law, leadership and management, business finance, marketing and branding, and a whole lot more.


Now, on to your question.  You'll need to have a License Agreement, and require anyone who downloads you mod to accept the license (a click-to-accept checkbox will work.  It sounds like the Gnu Public License (GPL comes pretty close to the terms that you are looking for:

https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.en.html

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Kekistani

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Re: Game modification and copyright. What should I do?
« Reply #2 on: 10-02-17 at 12:00 am »

It's kinda screwed up that not only you have to study computer science and graphic design but you also need to know all about copyright. :P

Actually, that's just the start.  If you are a creative professional, you really should learn the basics of Intellectual Property law.  And, depending on where your career takes you, you'll probably need to learn about contract law, leadership and management, business finance, marketing and branding, and a whole lot more.


Now, on to your question.  You'll need to have a License Agreement, and require anyone who downloads you mod to accept the license (a click-to-accept checkbox will work.  It sounds like the Gnu Public License (GPL comes pretty close to the terms that you are looking for:


Thank you for the suggestion! I'll look into that and if everything's alright I'll just create a basic .EXE setup file with the License Agreement. At first I was thinking about simply having the .WOTMOD (that's the World of Tanks archive extension used to store the .SWF mods) files available for download with a .PDF having the License Agreement, but a simple .EXE setup is pretty easy to do and much more convenient to make sure people will actually read it – i.e. mark the check box and never care about what it says.

I also asked one of the game administrators if they're OK with people having a License Agreement for their mods stating that donations in the form of in-game goods are welcome.

This is yet another forum that goes into my bookmarks bar, I have a collection already. :P

Once again, thank you very much for your help!
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CRfan

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Re: Game modification and copyright. What should I do?
« Reply #3 on: 10-07-17 at 08:24 pm »

artchain writes, “If you are a creative professional, you really should learn the basics of Intellectual Property law.”

artchain is so right!!!  Too many creatives lack basic legal (IP) and business skills.  Photo, film, animation, gaming, writing, journalism, and other art school are negligent for not providing their students with substantive business & legal training.  No wonder young creatives are frequently exploited by business and the media. 

Kekistani writes,   “…honestly I don't see why a timestamp service like Digistamp or Safe Creative wouldn't be enough to prove it's our creation.”

If you’re based in the USA, skip using any time-stamping tool to prove your authorship (it’s similar to the Poor Man’s copyright of mailing yourself a sealed envelope with your work inside).

If you register your creative works with the US Copyright Office before publication or within five-years of first publication, you receive presumptive proof (prima facie evidence) that you have a valid copyright, and the facts stated in your copyright registration application are valid.  Having your copyright Certificate of Registration in-hand helps prove your creation, authorship, and its corresponding copyright to a federal judge and others (see 17 USC § 410(c)).
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