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How can I avoide product Copyright laws? Answered

I have been asked to make a product based off of a game to market, I want to do this but I am unsure how close I can make this product to the game without encountering copyright, Any suggestion or ideas where I could look?

Many thanks

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There are potential issues with both copyright and trademark.

Copyright: You can't copy artwork directly. There are limits on how much text you can copy how directly. You probably can't copy audio/music without paying licensing fees, even if you re-perform it. You probably can't do anything which might give the impression that this is in any way an "official" tie-in to the game.

Trademark: Depends on exactly what has been trademarked, but in general: You can't copy logos directly. You can't copy characters directly even if you redraw them.

There are special-case exceptions for these -- fair use, parody, educational -- but those are very limited, and you definitely want a lawyer's opinion before attempting to assert those.

There's a lot of good information about both copyright and trademark on the web. The Library of Congress website has an excellent discussion of copyright for written works and art. Music gets a lot more complicated; the ASCAP/BMI websites have some information, as does the Harry Fox Agency (which handles "mechanical license").

In the end, remember that this is civil law. You can _always_ be sued; the only question is whether you're likely to win or lose such a suit.... and, unfortunately, whether you're able to afford to say "sure, I'll see you in court." If you aren't sure, get expert advice; if you can't afford expert advice, you may not want to take chances.

Without knowing what the product is and how it references the game, that's about the best advice I can give you.

Simple: don't copy it.

You can be similar, but not identical, especially regarding distinctive marks and playing pieces.

Have a look at Monopoly versus Make-your-own-Opoly.

The latter is very similar to the former, but made by a different company.

How similar though is where the lawyers come in......

Some of the answer depends on jurisdiction you are in.

Steve

I can't advise you, since I don't know which jurisdiction you are in.....

I would suggest a Copyright lawyer but if you have a friend/relative/friend of a relative who is a lawyer they might be able to point you in the right direction for cheap.