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Another question about copyright

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coco
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Joined: 07/27/2008

Hi!

Suppose a publisher re-writes a rulebook, changing a few things to make it more reader-friendly, but not changing any rule. Who has the copyright of that text? The author or the publisher?

Thank you.

ReneWiersma
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Joined: 08/08/2008
Good question. Basically,

Good question. Basically, when you sign a contract with a publisher for them to publish your game you basically give up your rights to the game for a period of time, so that the publisher has the rights to publish it durin gthat time. I suppose that extends to the text of the rulebook as well. When the rights revert back to you, the copyright of the rulebook text revert back to you as well.

If the publisher does a huge overhaul of the rulebook so that it is very different from the original rulebook (the actual text, not the contents), it might be different. Suppose you would republish the game at a later date with another publisher, you might have to rewrite the rulebook completely as not to violate the copyright of the publisher.

This is not legal advice, just speculation from my part. There's a gray area there to be sure.

The Game Crafter
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Joined: 06/09/2009
Copyright law

Copyright law (aka Title 17) [1] provides for derivative works and in Chapter 1, section 103, paragraph b it clearly states that the author of the derivative work retains ownership and rights only to their changes, not the original work. However, case law has also shown that any work determined to be changed by more than 60 percent may be declared a new original work. So in the case where they make sweeping changes, I'm not certain who owns it.

[1] http://www.copyright.gov/title17/

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