View Full Version : Intelluctual property (not having to do with IGE or the like)
05-13-2005, 05:52 PM
So I wrote an article over at vanguardcrafters.com. In my excitement about being "published" I told my dad about it. I started telling him about MMOGs and what my article was about. As we talked, he brought up the idea that if SGO uses my ideas I should get paid for it. Now, to be sure, I would love if SGO uses my ideas just so that I could play them, not to mention if they are even good enough to use. I have NO interest in getting paid for them. The thing is could someone sue SGO if they used their idea from a post or something? If not, then why? Really the only reason I ask is to tell my dad. Thanks.
05-13-2005, 06:29 PM
I'd think it would be difficult for the person to prove the company got the idea from him/her. It's not uncommon for two people to come up with basically the same idea separately. And if you consider the number of fansites (including those for other, but similar, games) and the number of posts in each one, it only gets harder.
Plus, and Oloh would certain know this better than me, I don't merely coming up with an idea is enough in all cases. There are so many ideas proposed on internet forums, the poster would probably have to prove an original intention to profit off the idea. Afterall, if I'm just shooting the breeze with a guy from Ford over Instant Messenger and I toss out some spontaneous idea in that casual conversation, would I be able to sue him if Ford implemented the idea? Probably not. I think a design for implementation would stand up better in court than a broad idea, too.
Anyway, here's where Oloh tells me I'm completely wrong and to stay out of his forum. :D
05-13-2005, 08:04 PM
Well, there's a difference between patent and copyright. Copyright prevents SGO from publishing your article on their website and the ownership of the copyright is granted to you implicitely, meaning you don't have to do anything besides just publish your article for it to be protected by copyright. Patent is what would prevent SGO from using the idea presented in your article in their game, but (this is where it gets fuzzy, so I'm going to use the easy explanation) patents are not granted implicitely--you have to apply for them.
Anyway, I think that's the jist of it. Oloh can, of course, completely invalidate everything I've said when he replies. :D
05-14-2005, 10:14 AM
You'd also have to prove without doubt that you had the idea before Sigil did.
Even so, when you start putting your thoughts out there with the presumed premise that they are things you would like to see in a game, you're essentially volunteering your thoughts for that use.
Let me ask you this: If a sportscaster were to suggest a change to NBA rules while on the air, should he get paid for it if the change is actually made by the NBA?
Sorry for my delay. I have been terribly busy and we are going through some big changes in the family (little Oloh is about to be born). Anyways, to answer your question.
When you talk about someone having intellectual property, there are really three major areas (with some sub areas).
The first is called "Trademark." This law centers around the ability of a producer or manufacturer to specifically designate which products came from him. So, Sigil could not probably make their game called "EverQuests" because it would create a likelihood of confusion that they were somehow still affiliated with Sony or EverQuest.
The second is called "Copyright." Copyright protects "works of authorship." If you create certain types of things, you have the right to commercialize it. Books, music, and software are all protected by Copyright.
The third is called "Patents." Patents protect inventions. You do not have to create something for it to be patentable. You do, however, have to state what your invention does and how it will be used.
So for ideas only, there really isn't much protection. You have classify where the idea fits, and make sure its protected by something above....mostly patents. For example, lets say you think of an awesome text and story for a quest, and you write the whole thing down. Sigil could not use that quest in Vanguard. However, if you have simply an 'idea' for a quest or a quest feature, and you post it, it is not protected. "Ideas" are not copyrightable, "stories" are.
Now let's say you have an awesome idea for a quest engine. That may be a patentable invention. Before disclosing it, you should get patent protection so that no one can take your idea. Until you have such protection, it is fair game. It is important to note that there is a concept of "obviousness" under patent law...that if an "idea" is obvious, it will not be protected.
So, ideas are pretty hard to protect. You should never post about an idea that you are interested in commercializing, because it can (and often does) end up being used by someone else. It is perfectly legal to use other's ideas if they haven't gotten the proper protections. Note that this is at least one reason why companies only slowly release information...they dont want other companies to take it.
Hope this answers your question!
*munch munch munch munch* This is me eating my words, Oloh. That was fascinating reading :D
vBulletin® v3.6.5, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.