Board game copyright

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
Post Reply
palatine
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 2:58 pm

Board game copyright

Post by palatine » Thu May 19, 2016 3:06 pm

Hi guys,

I was wondering whether I could pick your brains about copyright law regarding board games.

I would like to make a version of the American card game 'Cards against Humanity' which is specific to my University in order to sell. I am aware that I would need copyright permission from the owners of CAH, but I am wondering if it is possible to get around this in anyway.

My game would not share the content of the original cards, the colour of the cards, they wouldn't need to share the shape of the original cards. The name of the game need not include 'Cards against Humanity' - rather 'Cards vs Humanity or v Humanity'. I would not need to include a piece of paper with the rules on either. So, all that I would be providing, would be a box of cards with some words on them which bare relatively little resemblance to the original but would obviously be a version of the game.

Does anyone know if I would be infringing on any copyright laws?

Any help is really appreciated!

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 2038
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Fri May 20, 2016 7:53 am

Hi Palatine

There is no copyright category for board games or the ideas behind them, as such. And so any protection the original game may have will be in the writing or artwork, on the cards and the board, and the rules will constitute a literary work. It is also probable that the name of the game is registered as a trade mark.

So if you completely re-create all of the content while retaining the overall idea or concept of the game, that should avoid any copyright issues. This is what has happened with the game Risk. Trade mark infringement is more difficult to avoid if your name was fairly similar to the original, so try to come up with a completely different name, and you should be fine.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

palatine
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 2:58 pm

Post by palatine » Fri May 20, 2016 11:01 am

Thanks really helpful - thanks very much!

Nick Cooper
Experienced Member
Experienced Member
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:56 am

Post by Nick Cooper » Fri May 20, 2016 5:30 pm

It might be worth saying that the people behind CAH seem fairly relaxed about their product, even releasing the basic set free under a Creative Commons licence. It's possible that they may not have any objection to your idea, so you could do worse than simply asking them.

Other people have created and sold unofficial/parody versions and expansion packs, using various variations on the name. You could try "Cards Against [Whatever] University."

It seems the university angle has already been done.

Post Reply