Video Game Creation: Important Copyright Laws That Protect Your Ideas

Video Game Creation: Important Copyright Laws That Protect Your Ideas

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Scott Dylan Westerlund
 | 

Did you think developing an awesome game was the hardest part of getting it on the market?

 

Think again!

 

A whopping 1 million new apps were rejected by Apple’s app store in 2020. Among those that were approved, most of them were immediately copied, re-branded, and re-released by individuals who didn’t come up with the original game’s concept.

 

Having a copycat is the last thing you want if you’re attempting to create a new video game. That’s why you need to get informed about intellectual property laws before you even start developing your game idea. You also want to make sure that you’re not infringing on the intellectual property rights of other video game creators, too. Learn everything you need to know about patents and intellectual property laws below.

 

Can You Protect a Video Game Idea? Intellectual Property Laws 101

 

Creating a video game is way more complicated than you might initially think. It all starts with a unique and captivating idea, then the whole concept grows as the creator develops the plot, scene, characters, game play, and more.

 

The last thing you want as a creator is to have your precious concepts and ideas stolen right out from under you. After all, you’re the one who came up with the idea, and you’re the one putting in the work to turn those ideas into a reality. With that in mind, investigating how intellectual property laws work is crucial to understanding how to protect your video game idea.

 

Copyright laws protect tangible ideas. That means once you’ve developed your idea into a real tangible product (like a highly developed character or a level’s design and concept), you can seek protection by law. Video games have several different types of tangible elements that could be independently protected by copyright laws, but there are some aspects that aren’t protected, too. Here are a few of the aspects that can be protected:

 

• Unique art

• Unique music

• Highly developed characters

• Parts of your video game code

• Your video game story (it can’t be general; must be highly developed and original)

• Your finished product (the entire game)

 

Trademarks can also help you protect your game’s title, logos, and characters. Patents protect your intellectual property, which means it can protect the idea behind your game.

 

What Isn’t Protected by Intellectual Property Laws

 

Copyright laws, trademarks, and patents all help protect your intellectual property and tangible video game components. Despite that, there are aspects of your video game that you can’t protect. By law, you cannot seek out protection for the elements needed for you to realize the overall video game concept.

 

For instance, your video game might include a level in space. To create the level, you’d need to create elements like planets, stars, space suits, spacecraft, and more. None of these elements could be protected unless they are very highly developed and unique. A generic spacecraft, for example, couldn’t be protected under intellectual property laws.

 

You also can’t protect the overall game idea, either. For example, there are countless first-person multiplayer shooter games, so you couldn’t attempt to protect the concept or mechanics of the game itself.

 

How to Seek Out a Protection for a Video Game Idea

 

So, how can you seek out protection for your video game ideas? It’s necessary to register your work with the US copyright office. You’ll need to fill out all the appropriate forms and get approval. Registered and certified proof of your video game idea will help you protect it in the event someone attempts to steal your hard work.

 

Are You Still Confused About Copyright Laws?

 

If you’re hoping to create the next popular video game, then you need to protect your ideas. The good news is that you can seek out protection for certain aspects of your video game by utilizing the protections provided by copyright laws. The bad news is that certain aspects of your game won’t be considered intellectual property, which means your ideas could potentially get stolen and re-used.

 

Copycats are rarely successful, though. Don’t let the influx of copycats in video game markets discourage you from creating and developing your dream video game.

 

Before you do, make sure you investigate how to protect your awesome ideas, though. If you’re still confused about copyright laws, what’s considered intellectual property, or how to seek out protection, then it’s wise to speak with a lawyer about your situation. That’s where we can help! Check out our lawyer search page now to get connected with quality lawyers in your area who can help.
 

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.

 

 
Scott Dylan Westerlund

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