Opinions on protecting your ideas from being copied

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by wastedyuthe, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. One thing concerns me about releasing my game into the app store- developers copying your icon, app name, characters etc. We have seen it before- Papi comes to mind when someone released a parachute landing app (which itself was just a copy of the Crash Landing sample project- no longer available), and used the Papi character for use in their game without permission.
    What's to stop people from using characters etc from my game? I assume some sort of copyright protection is in order, right?
    Is there any protection that Apple provide against copying in this manner?
     
  2. Frand

    Frand Well-Known Member

    Theoretically, and depending on the country you live in, every original creation of yours is protected by copyright law. You can also claim a trademark for yourself by adding "TM" to your logos etc. And you can even register a trademark to prevent other companies from registering it to themselves.

    None of that really matters, because the only one who will protect your IPs from infringement is you. If a pirate copies your character, nobody's going to sue him for illegal use of artwork than you as the copyright holder.

    Computer games have no organization to look after their common interests that I am aware of.

    If you find a product in the App Store that's a clone of your game, you can send a report to Apple and request them to take the clone down. But keep in mind, ideas aren't protected by copyright.
     
  3. mek

    mek Well-Known Member

    cost of doing business

    but answer me this

    if you don't at least put your product out in the market in the first place, out of fear of it being copied

    aren't you losing more? the opportunity costs outweigh the risks
     
  4. MrBlue

    MrBlue Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2008
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    iPhone Developer
    100% correct. It has happened many, many times already in the App Store. Wasted, if you remember when the App Store launched there were several apps taken down for various forms of trademark infringement. Copying someone's art outright is a serious offense and they can be sued for all their profits and more.

    What you don't see or hear is all happening in the background. I assure you that if the copyright holder wants to pursue damages, it is a very stressful and financially damaging process for the infringer.

    Another type of clones that's received almost no attention were the dozen or so Magic 8 Ball clones. Mattel issued cease and desist letters and all of them are gone now.
     
  5. nightbeaver

    nightbeaver Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2008
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    it is advisable to register with the copyright office but basically anything you originally create are, by law, copyrighted at the moment of their creation. so if you do create something for the appstore then the minute it goes up for everyone to see it will be copyright protected. another thing that you can do, if you make a game or app, is to put it on cd then mail it to yourself and be sure to get a reciept of mail from the post office when you do. this should be enough most courts to stop someone from infringing on your copyright but it might not be enough if you actually want to sue someone. thats why its good register your work. you should also be aware that a law suit is a costly process for both parties so it would pay to be vigilant and stop someone whose infringing on your copyright early. trademarks are similar with a few differences. something becomes trademarked when it goes on the market or registered with the patents and trademark office unregistered trademarks have the ™ symbol and registered trademarks have the ® symbol. i got most this information from the copyright and trademark offices respective websites and wikipedia(lazy method) so its easy to find more information if need
     
  6. Anders

    Anders Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2009
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    Co-owner and CTO at Color Monkey
    Sweden
    You cannot copyright ideas, just technical solutions. The only real solution is make sure your game is the best and that copies are, well, simply copies. If the copy is better than your original idea, well then you should be motivated to put them in place and do a better version.

    It is also important to remember that good ideas will always be copied, so take that as a compliment. And move on to new and better things.

    (and as a side note, I will not comment on iPint vs iBeer, even though I know which version most people enjoy the most)
     
  7. Thanks for the advice guys.
     
  8. Diablohead

    Diablohead Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2009
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    Freelancer, PC game developer
    A classic tip I have always been taught about is to mail your original work to yourself with recorded delivery, either on a data storage device or printed documents with signatures and dates, but DO NOT open the delivered package once you receive it back as that will ruin any type of record you just made, and yes keep receipts from the post office.
     
  9. Yep- this is something I will do. Cheers.
     
  10. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2008
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    Freelance interactive design and programming
    Ohio
    My plan is to make a game that everyone hates, and nobody will want to copy :) The working title is Fridge Fungus Tycoon.
     
  11. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5 Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a hit, thanks for the idea! ::runs off to make a Fridge Fungus Tycoon clone::

    --Eric
     

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