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Protecting Your IP

NitthNitth AustraliaMember Posts: 3,903 Uncommon

Hi,

I have a couple mmorpg ideas. However i would like to know what messures could be put inplace to protect my propertiy or copywright it?

 

Thanks in advance mellkor.

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Comments

  • GTwanderGTwander San Diego, CAMember Posts: 6,035 Uncommon

    Nothing unless you get it published in *some* format and pay upwards of 2800 bucks to legally own the rights to the "universe" your IP takes place in. The name itself is another thing entirely, I'm fairly sure, so expect to pay more to copyright that as well. This is why publishers usually end up with the rights to this stuff though, because the average Joe ain't got the funds to do it himself... and they won't do it unless they see it making money, so if a publisher is willing to do something like this for you, then you have a good idea that it may actually go someplace.

    Writer / Musician / Game Designer

    Now Playing: Skyrim, Wurm Online, Tropico 4
    Waiting On: GW2, TSW, Archeage, The Rapture

  • mmogawdmmogawd some city, CAMember Posts: 732

    you don't need to pay anything to 'protect your copyright' to begin with.  Write it, and it's yours.  You may later need to pay to defend it, however.

    That being said... I'd bet money that nothing you have  come up with is going to be totally original anyway.  By keeping it to yourself, you're just limiting valuable feedback.

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöMember Posts: 19,282 Rare

    Even the big companies get their stuff stolen and steal from eachother.

    M59->EQ->Wow->Rift...

    People with good lawyers like JK Rowling (who herself ripped of Neil Gailmans "Books of magic" including the silly glasses and the owl) seems to be able to protect at least some of their ideas but unless you sell a lot of books or movies things are really bleak.

    If you get a really good idea you can bet most other games will add it soon in a patch or next expansion.

  • UknownAspectUknownAspect North Jersey, NJMember Posts: 277

    Unfortunately that's the reality of it.

    I've been in the same position before, creating worlds and ideas and putting them to paper.  But the fact is, as long as you write the ideas down, if someone does steal the ideas you can always take them to court when they make money off of it....... if you can prove it was your idea first. ;)

    MMOs played: Horizons, Auto Assault, Ryzom, EVE, WAR, WoW, EQ2, LotRO, GW, DAoC, Aion, Requiem, Atlantica, DDO, Allods, Earth Eternal, Fallen Earth, Rift
    Willing to try anything new

  • anemoanemo Member Posts: 1,007 Uncommon

    At the level the people on this forum will work on.   They will never need to worry about anything that comes close to idea theft, as essentially anyone in a position to do anything is more likely to A) have their own ideas B) borrow from a major idea/TM/brand.

    Another thought you need to consider is that if an idea is truely innovative you'll have to shove it down peoples throats, do a little dance, give them a blessing or 10, and maybe possibly prove that you're related/not to them.

    Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

    "At one point technology meant making tech that could get to the moon, now it means making tech that could get you a taxi."

  • ScrimMalteseScrimMaltese Freedom, ALMember Posts: 469

    Look at Warhammer lore, then look at the original Warcraft lore. If you can find much difference between the 2, post back here, because there is virtually none. 

    This goes to show, that all you have to do is change the letters around in some words, and you have a new IP. Blizzard tried to license the Warhammer IP for the original Warcraft games, but when they were turned down by Games Workshop, they continued with the game anyway. I wonder who's laughing now?

    However, I would rest assured that nobody really cares about your MMORPG ideas. Every Tom Dick and Harry has their own ideas and some of them have the means to produce them. No idea is really better than any other idea, it's really all about the execution of that idea. Thinking that anyone is going to steal your ideas, without actually producing a product and making millions off of it, is a rather far fetched. 

  • ScrimMalteseScrimMaltese Freedom, ALMember Posts: 469

    Originally posted by Gemma

    Your game idea sucks, noone wants the idea
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_221/6582-Why-Your-Game-Idea-Sucks

    That has to be one of the most awesome articles I've ever read on the Escapist. I like it so much, I'm putting it in my signature.

  • MeowheadMeowhead New Carlisle, INMember Posts: 3,716 Uncommon

    Originally posted by Gemma

    Your game idea sucks, noone wants the idea
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_221/6582-Why-Your-Game-Idea-Sucks

    Huh, reading that article made me think... the guy who wrote Toejam & Earl ONLY has 100 game ideas?  Man, game developers sure are concise and good at keeping their idea list pruned. :(

  • GTwanderGTwander San Diego, CAMember Posts: 6,035 Uncommon

    Originally posted by Meowhead


    Originally posted by Gemma


    Your game idea sucks, noone wants the idea
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_221/6582-Why-Your-Game-Idea-Sucks

    Huh, reading that article made me think... the guy who wrote Toejam & Earl ONLY has 100 game ideas?  Man, game developers sure are concise and good at keeping their idea list pruned. :(

    That was a great read, and totally makes me feel guilty of my first moments in this section, where I acted like my shit doesn't stink. I've completely gotten over that, realised that theft simply doesn't happen, and put up over a dozen concepts (on top of convincing others they might as well too). I guess that's the first phase of being a designer, having to get over yourself.

    As for TJ&E's "idea list", I highly doubt that includes what is written on napkins during a creative bender. That's more along the lines of completely fleshed-out proof of concepts. I'm running over 50 atm, and that's a fraction of the actual "game ideas" I have had. I trim it down based on marketability, but it's gotten to the point where I really can't vouch for one over the other. My early ones are truly pet projects I would love to see to completion, but the later ones are just that much better due to practice. I wouldn't be butthurt over seeing any of them seeing the light of day as a real game, because there are other things I can do with the universe's themselves (books, screenplays and graphic novels - and nobody is going to steal those either).

    Writer / Musician / Game Designer

    Now Playing: Skyrim, Wurm Online, Tropico 4
    Waiting On: GW2, TSW, Archeage, The Rapture

  • MeowheadMeowhead New Carlisle, INMember Posts: 3,716 Uncommon

    Originally posted by GTwander



    That was a great read, and totally makes me feel guilty of my first moments in this section, where I acted like my shit doesn't stink. I've completely gotten over that, realised that theft simply doesn't happen, and put up over a dozen concepts (on top of convincing others they might as well too).
     
    I've actually known for a while that nobody is going to come steal my game design, but I kind of wish they would.  I mean, I could always point and say 'Hey!  Look, I got my game done, and I didn't have to do any work!'.  Plus, if I was extra lucky, they'd realize I'm the sort of fool they could make work more on the project without having to pay me any more than they do their janitor.
    Meowhead.  Degrading himself for the convenience of others.  That's my motto!
  • drbaltazardrbaltazar drummondville, QCMember Posts: 7,856 Uncommon

    Originally posted by ScrimMaltese

    Look at Warhammer lore, then look at the original Warcraft lore. If you can find much difference between the 2, post back here, because there is virtually none. 
    This goes to show, that all you have to do is change the letters around in some words, and you have a new IP. Blizzard tried to license the Warhammer IP for the original Warcraft games, but when they were turned down by Games Workshop, they continued with the game anyway. I wonder who's laughing now?
    However, I would rest assured that nobody really cares about your MMORPG ideas. Every Tom Dick and Harry has their own ideas and some of them have the means to produce them. No idea is really better than any other idea, it's really all about the execution of that idea. Thinking that anyone is going to steal your ideas, without actually producing a product and making millions off of it, is a rather far fetched. 

    have you actually read the whole warhammer lore?i read some and it is very different from warcraft .and has been going for way longer in books.read it you ll be surprised .some part of warhammer are in technopart of the galaxy(sgu style)other planet are so backward in time because everything was pretty much destroyed that they had to adapt their fighting style .etc frankly the lore in warhammer is very vast way bigger then warcraft in fact .only recently warcraft tried to copy warhammer lore (book)the mmo is only a very tiny part of the lore .if we putted eve,warcraft,call of duty together in the same mmo it would begin to look like warhammer lore(just begin )if i recall it goes forward and back in time also.

    as for the ip protection idea!i wouldnt put too much effort in it!if it was me i would dev a game for microsoft browser thing or facebook.way more player.(probabably faster to dev too.

  • GTwanderGTwander San Diego, CAMember Posts: 6,035 Uncommon

    Originally posted by drbaltazar



    as for the ip protection idea!i wouldnt put too much effort in it!if it was me i would dev a game for microsoft browser thing or facebook.way more player.(probabably faster to dev too.

    Facebook-style games deserve their own thread... because they are eeeeevil.

    Never has there been as serious of a game addiction than with the kind of games that *force* you to stop playing, and check in periodically. It's amazing imo, because you can only do so much in one sitting, then the game tells you to stop and come back later when it will let you play it a little more. It gets people to actually put up with it... even worse, it gets people to set aside actual time to check back in and handle this ridiculous business.

    Yeah, I wish I thought of it first... I never played any of these facebook apps before, but I tried out Hemp Tycoon on AdultSwimGames.com for half a week. Then I figured out what was really going on, refused to go any further, but was in awe of it's deliciously evil tactics at hand. *muahaahha*

    Writer / Musician / Game Designer

    Now Playing: Skyrim, Wurm Online, Tropico 4
    Waiting On: GW2, TSW, Archeage, The Rapture

  • drbaltazardrbaltazar drummondville, QCMember Posts: 7,856 Uncommon

    grin!yep give us a candy !went i have tasted it one lick take it back put it in a fridge in 3 hour give me another lick etc!hahaha !good thing its not smoking cause there would be some murder somewhere lol!

  • TartletonTartleton Hamton, NHMember Posts: 37

    Originally posted by drbaltazar


    Originally posted by ScrimMaltese


    Look at Warhammer lore, then look at the original Warcraft lore. If you can find much difference between the 2, post back here, because there is virtually none. 
    This goes to show, that all you have to do is change the letters around in some words, and you have a new IP. Blizzard tried to license the Warhammer IP for the original Warcraft games, but when they were turned down by Games Workshop, they continued with the game anyway. I wonder who's laughing now?
    However, I would rest assured that nobody really cares about your MMORPG ideas. Every Tom Dick and Harry has their own ideas and some of them have the means to produce them. No idea is really better than any other idea, it's really all about the execution of that idea. Thinking that anyone is going to steal your ideas, without actually producing a product and making millions off of it, is a rather far fetched. 

    have you actually read the whole warhammer lore?i read some and it is very different from warcraft .and has been going for way longer in books.read it you ll be surprised .some part of warhammer are in technopart of the galaxy(sgu style)other planet are so backward in time because everything was pretty much destroyed that they had to adapt their fighting style .etc frankly the lore in warhammer is very vast way bigger then warcraft in fact .only recently warcraft tried to copy warhammer lore (book)the mmo is only a very tiny part of the lore .if we putted eve,warcraft,call of duty together in the same mmo it would begin to look like warhammer lore(just begin )if i recall it goes forward and back in time also.

    as for the ip protection idea!i wouldnt put too much effort in it!if it was me i would dev a game for microsoft browser thing or facebook.way more player.(probabably faster to dev too.

    They've diverged, but Warcraft was the bastard stepchild of a failed Warhammer RTS that Games Workshop reneged on. You're probably confusing Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy (which are as unrelated as Warcraft and Starcraft.) The original  Warcraft was a rip off of Warhammer Fantasy (just as Warhammer Fantasy was a rip off of all the fantasy before it.) Warhammer 40k is something else entirely, it's a transposition of gothic fantasy into a far future dystopian sci fi.

     

    However yes, Warcraft is now a legitimate IP in it's own right thanks to years of cultivation by Blizzard.  Now the only thing they have in common are some general aesthetics which are not unique within the realm of Fantasy.

  • eye_meye_m Notta Chance, ABMember Posts: 3,313 Uncommon

    I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in the path this thread went.  A person asks a legitimate question, and gets a couple basic answers and then everything diverts into another direction altogether. I guess that is the nature of forums. So sorry if I divert again.

     

    I am also wondering about sharing ideas and how to insure that I maintain protection of the efforts that I've done.  I would think that the main thing to have is a completed work that can be documented and dated, but I honestly don't know if that is enough. I also don't know if asking here is going to reach anyone that actually would have a clue anyhow, but it's worth a shot. I want to discuss my ideas with people in the hopes that I will find more people to pool efforts with, however I don't want to simply watch my efforts be taken over by someone else.  Is there anyone that could offer advice other then give up? 

    All of my posts are either intelligent, thought provoking, funny, satirical, sarcastic or intentionally disrespectful. Take your pick.

    I get banned in the forums for games I love, so lets see if I do better in the forums for games I hate.

    I enjoy the serenity of not caring what your opinion is.

    I don't hate much, but I hate Apple© with a passion. If Steve Jobs was alive, I would punch him in the face.

  • anemoanemo Member Posts: 1,007 Uncommon

    Ideas are quite litterally usesless, to create an awesome game the ideas will take you around 10 manhours.   maybe 20 to create a fuly fleshed out system.

    Where it matters is implementation.   You start counting time here in man-months and eventualy in years.   This is what is valueable.   Even some simple like a solitare re-implentation for a phone app has time counted in at least a man month.

    When you get to implementation what matters is that everyone is on the same "page".   someone treating the project seriously as an investment, is completely different than someone working on "proof of capability"(IE protfolios).   As a matter of fact their IP interests are around 160 to 180 degrees away from each other.

    ________

    If you have "real" interest you could try books ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1584504927/ref=nosim/gamedev ), I haven't touched it for real but when it comes to legal advice it tends to be a hell of a lot cheapre to spend a few thousand on "real" advice before being surpriised.

    And to be honest there are a few awesome legal packages that around a few hundred that have been prepared by real laweyers and reviewed, specially for game projects.  so the real cost for starting is a lot lower than almost any other bussiness "start".

    Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

    "At one point technology meant making tech that could get to the moon, now it means making tech that could get you a taxi."

  • khanstructkhanstruct Stevens Point, WIMember Posts: 756 Uncommon

    Originally posted by ScrimMaltese

    Look at Warhammer lore, then look at the original Warcraft lore. If you can find much difference between the 2, post back here, because there is virtually none. 
    This goes to show, that all you have to do is change the letters around in some words, and you have a new IP. Blizzard tried to license the Warhammer IP for the original Warcraft games, but when they were turned down by Games Workshop, they continued with the game anyway. I wonder who's laughing now?
    However, I would rest assured that nobody really cares about your MMORPG ideas. Every Tom Dick and Harry has their own ideas and some of them have the means to produce them. No idea is really better than any other idea, it's really all about the execution of that idea. Thinking that anyone is going to steal your ideas, without actually producing a product and making millions off of it, is a rather far fetched. 

    Actually, that's because World of Warcraft was originally supposed to be World of Warhammer, but they lost the rights to use it, so they just changed the title.

    But! Medieval Fantasy is Medieval Fantasy, and they all copy from each other. But, you don't see Tolkien stomping around his house, pouting about it... assuming he were alive.

    No one wants your idea, no matter how awesome you think it is.

    Still, the moment you have an idea, its yours. If, for some reason, you feel the need to take Blizzard, Bioware, or anyone else to court to claim they stole it, you just have to prove it... and good luck.


  • Plasuma!!!Plasuma!!! Albuquerque, NMMember Posts: 1,872

    You can best protect your IP by copyrighting some article describing it in full detail. It costs about $35 to do so.

    Go to www.copyright.gov to get it done online.

    I suggest you look at other examples of copyrighted documents to get an idea of how you should organize and word them, because a typical design document rarely contains enough information to differentiate it from one or another video game or multimedia IP.

    Copyrighting is more or less an easy way of getting your material published or notarized (which you should still do anyways). If you have a fear of people stealing your ideas by releasing information about them, those fears are unfounded. Actually, you should fear quite the opposite - the longer you wait to get your idea out there, the more likely it is that other people will do it before you.

  • DredphyreDredphyre Los Angeles, CAMember Posts: 601

    Originally posted by Loke666

    Even the big companies get their stuff stolen and steal from eachother.
    M59->EQ->Wow->Rift...
    People with good lawyers like JK Rowling (who herself ripped of Neil Gailmans "Books of magic" including the silly glasses and the owl) seems to be able to protect at least some of their ideas but unless you sell a lot of books or movies things are really bleak.
    If you get a really good idea you can bet most other games will add it soon in a patch or next expansion.

    Sorry, but she didn't rip off Gaiman. Neil himself has said as much, even went so far as to say he doubted she's even read any of his work.

    Fact is, as someone pointed out above, you may think you have an original idea, but the chances are really slim that your idea actually is unique.

    Also, as pointed out above, copyright automatically applies to anything you've written. You don't need to file any formal copyright.  Titles and ideas cannot be copywrited. Certain elements can be trademarked, such as Harry Potter, or Hogwarts. 

  • DredphyreDredphyre Los Angeles, CAMember Posts: 601

    Originally posted by Plasuma!!!

    You can best protect your IP by copyrighting some article describing it in full detail. It costs about $35 to do so.
    Go to www.copyright.gov to get it done online.
    I suggest you look at other examples of copyrighted documents to get an idea of how you should organize and word them, because a typical design document rarely contains enough information to differentiate it from one or another video game or multimedia IP.
    Copyrighting is more or less an easy way of getting your material published or notarized (which you should still do anyways). If you have a fear of people stealing your ideas by releasing information about them, those fears are unfounded. Actually, you should fear quite the opposite - the longer you wait to get your idea out there, the more likely it is that other people will do it before you.

    Yep. There is much truth in this last statement. There's much greater chance that someone else has thought up the same exact idea you have and is working to make it happen. The longer you wait, the less likely your idea will come out on top.

    I work in a creative field. I rarely worry about my ideas getting taken. Why? Because I literally have hundreds of ideas that I'm working on. If someone beats me to the punch (or even less likely steals an idea), I have many, many more to fall back on.

    Here's a fun fact you can contemplate. Stan Lee and his various associates developed over 500 different comic book characters. That's 500+ ! Most of them never made it far.   If you're pinning your success on one single idea that you think is fantastic, you are most likely going to fail. 

  • anemoanemo Member Posts: 1,007 Uncommon

    If you're going to seriously be working on a project, and working with people you're going to want to look at the next link.   Pretty much $300 for some nice clad legalesse, further summarized with what it the contracts cover in english(and a discount of further modifications).   If you aren't willing to spend $300 on a project it's really not a project worth doing, so don't bother wasting other peoples time.

    http://gamedevkit.com/resources.html

    Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

    "At one point technology meant making tech that could get to the moon, now it means making tech that could get you a taxi."

  • ScrimMalteseScrimMaltese Freedom, ALMember Posts: 469

    Originally posted by eyelolled

    I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in the path this thread went.  A person asks a legitimate question, and gets a couple basic answers and then everything diverts into another direction altogether. I guess that is the nature of forums. So sorry if I divert again.
     
    I am also wondering about sharing ideas and how to insure that I maintain protection of the efforts that I've done.  I would think that the main thing to have is a completed work that can be documented and dated, but I honestly don't know if that is enough. I also don't know if asking here is going to reach anyone that actually would have a clue anyhow, but it's worth a shot. I want to discuss my ideas with people in the hopes that I will find more people to pool efforts with, however I don't want to simply watch my efforts be taken over by someone else.  Is there anyone that could offer advice other then give up? 

    You're just sad that people answered him (and you apperantly) in way that you don't like.

    Let me sum up what everything everyone has said in a single sentence:

    Nobody wants your ideas.

     

    So, what I suggest is print everything on eco-friendly paper and use eco-friendly envelopes, so that when you send them to game developers and they go straight into the trash without ever being opened, it you won't be hurting the environment. Considering most game companies have HQs in very liberal places, they might even send you a thank you letter.

  • EronakisEronakis Louisville, KYMember Posts: 2,016 Uncommon

    You can do a poor man's copyright. Send it to your email or your house and never open it and put All rights reserved, with your full name and year.

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