How to copyright game name?

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by MrRandomizer, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. MrRandomizer

    MrRandomizer New Member

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    I'm struggling with the naming of my game. The one I like is actually used by some guy, who has opensource project at sourceforge. And I don't know whether I should copyright another name or there is no sense of doing it? I mean, I really don't want to go for some trademark like World of Warcraft, but I don't want to come accross the problem that by the end of development I found out that I can not use the initial name and I need to go with other one, because someone smart took that name and has all the legal rights upon it.
     
  2. metateen

    Moderator Indie Author

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    Here ya go on copyright:

    - 1. Copyright is automatically granted when you create your work. Your product IS legally copyrighted, even if it's NOT registered.
    And remember this: just because something is free on the net, it may still be copyrighted. Nobody is allowed to use your material, or anyone's material, unless they get the owner's permission.

    This includes title.
     
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  3. MrRandomizer

    MrRandomizer New Member

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    Thanks for your answer, it was helpful. However it is still not clear for me what can be the proof that I do own the "title". I do run the repository on GitHub, but if I just keep it, I rarely commit any changes and I do not finish the product for a long time, while meanwhile someone creates smaller product, but that is finished and ready for use by end-users. What in this case, can I still pretend to own copyright for the title of the product, which I didn't finish and who knows if I ever finish it?

    But your answer still was very helpful, meaning that I can just continue on development of my game and not care too much about copyrighting.
     
  4. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    I'm not a lawyer so don't believe a word I say :), but it depends what you are trying to accomplish. If you don't want someone to steal your game "idea" then you're pretty much out of luck. The second your game becomes popular someone will try to clone it with even better production quality. If you want to make sure no one steals the name of your game, then you can trademark the name (I did this for my current project). A copyright just makes it so that no one can legally "copy" your game in the literal sense, meaning copy the source code or binary files or scripts or stories, etc.
     
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  5. MrRandomizer

    MrRandomizer New Member

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    bantamcitygames
    Thanks a lot. I really do not care if someone steals my game idea, i run it opensource on github and it is yet very, very far from calling it a "game", its just more like a concept for future one.

    But, could you please provide a little bit more details for this part?
    Because that's actually what I am trying to avoid, not that someone "steals" it, but more like that someone don't come and say - hey, that's my game's name, you stealer! :) I really do not want to rename my project when I already got used to it's name.
     
  6. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    The first thing you should do is to search for your game name in the USPTO trademark search:
    http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=searchss&state=4809:vaupy0.1.1

    If you find names that are similar and in the same category (games or whatever), then you might want to rethink your name. But if all looks good then to trademark the name of your game, you will need to file a trademark application. I made the mistake of doing this directly through the USPTO website instead of using a lawyer. The application was immediately rejected stating that it was too similar to an existing trademark (which wasn't really similar). I later learned that unless you use a lawyer the initial application is almost always rejected. There is an accepted song and dance between the USPTO and the trademark lawyers. So I ended up spending $350 for the trademark application and then $1000 for the lawyer to fix what I had done :) I'm not sure how much it would have cost to go to the lawyer initially, but probably less than that. In the end, the trademark was granted and has to be renewed after 5 years (I think).
     
  7. metateen

    Moderator Indie Author

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    Forgot to mention that the copyright is given after publication, so if unpublished. I hope it's registered.
     
  8. leonardmowbray

    leonardmowbray New Member

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    First of all you need to fill a trademark application if you really think that somebody is trying to use your marks for the same product and services. Initially you can fill it by visiting any trademark related site on internet but my recommendation would be <link removed> .I found it very helpful.
    May be its a lengthy process to mark your site or company name, but once you will confirmed with the legal activity than your contents will be safe. No one can use it without your permission. Even if you find that someone is using the trademark of yours then you can take legal action against him/her.
     
    #8 leonardmowbray, Jan 27, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2016

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