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Copyrights and Licenses

Many new game designers tend to be a bit skittish about sharing their ideas, for fear they will be pirated. At some point, if you're going to pitch your idea or seek help from others about getting it made or published, you'll need to share your material.


Visiting the U.S. Copyright Office website,, to gain information about what can be copyrighted is a solid first step in understanding what copyright will and won't protect. Copyright law gives the creator of a creative effort the exclusive right to control who can make copies or make works derived from that original work.

The government has a fact sheet specifically about games. In part, it says:

Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles. Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author's expression in literary, artistic, or musical form.


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