(Topic ID: 165029)

Are instruction cards text copyrighted?


By dantina

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 17 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by dantina
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    #1 3 years ago

    If I were to make original artwork instruction cards with the existing instruction text for sale, is that a copyright violation?

    I understand I cannot use a games artwork, because that would be a copyright violation.

    Yes I am aware there are many sites that offer cards to print for person use for free, but these would not be for personal use.

    Thanks

    #2 3 years ago

    The FONT style can be registered then have a copyright applied to it.

    #3 3 years ago

    *Technically* any bodies of text are copyrighted.

    However, it is highly unlikely anybody will chase you down for a one-off item (since the cost of a lawyer doing anything would not be worthwhile for a one-time thing).

    If you want to go into mass production, then you'll probably have to work something out with the license holder (Stern, PPS, PBResource, etc)

    If you're reproducing instruction cards as part of a larger service (such as restoring an entire pin), then again, probably not worthwhile for a license holder to bother with. And technically, it's a restoration/replacement/substitution of the original (presumably damaged) item and not a new sale.

    #4 3 years ago

    If there was a manufacturer's logo, that would be trademarked.

    #5 3 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    *Technically* any bodies of text are copyrighted.

    Nope.

    1. A statement of facts cannot be copyrighted as there is nothing creative embodied in same (e.g. a baseball score)

    2. A creative description of the events that led to the score is copyrighted at creation (e.g. the play-by-play depiction of the same game.)

    Where the line is in the OP's case isn't clear at all but a bland statement of game rules facially looks to be closer to #1 than #2.

    Remember that copyrights come into existence at the point of creation; registration of a copyright changes "actual damages" into the risk of statutory damages (if you get sued); the latter is BAD NEWS, which is why people register copyrights.

    Other potential issues are, as noted, a custom font if one was created and used (which can be and probably has been copyrighted) and any logos which may be on the card (which, for all intents and purposes should always be considered trademarked because they essentially always are.)

    #7 3 years ago
    Quoted from Tickerguy:

    1. A statement of facts cannot be copyrighted as there is nothing creative embodied in same (e.g. a baseball score)

    Not quite--the ideas or game rules themselves can't be copyrighted, but the written text explaining them are.

    Put another way, a technical manual is not particularly "creative", but it can be copyrighted--even though it just composed of written facts, procedures, schematics, it is still a written work authored and owned by someone. This is why PBR can enforce Gottlieb copyrights for manuals and parts catalogs.

    #8 3 years ago

    So if I add a rule and take out a rule, or slightly change the verbiage and do not use their text font, I should be pretty safe?

    I would fall more into the "If you want to go into mass production", and this is a small part of a bigger project, and I don't want to pay royalties on the bigger project for this small part.

    Thanks for every ones input.

    #9 3 years ago

    Fonts on their own are copyrighted design materials. Changing the font on a body of text will not change the text itself.

    Honestly, if you're going to be mass producing someone else's materials, it's better to get permission rather than trying to toe the line and use the materials, but be technically actively trying to avoid not using them. Copyright owners want compensation for the use of their materials and want to make sure it isn't misused to reflect badly on their brand.

    Look at the mess Kevin got into with Predator. Extreme example, but the same general concept applies; he didn't have permission to use the IP and materials, and got shut down for it.

    #10 3 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    *Technically* any bodies of text are copyrighted.
    However, it is highly unlikely anybody will chase you down for a one-off item (since the cost of a lawyer doing anything would not be worthwhile for a one-time thing).
    If you want to go into mass production, then you'll probably have to work something out with the license holder (Stern, PPS, PBResource, etc)
    If you're reproducing instruction cards as part of a larger service (such as restoring an entire pin), then again, probably not worthwhile for a license holder to bother with. And technically, it's a restoration/replacement/substitution of the original (presumably damaged) item and not a new sale.

    Don't give Gottlieb trademark owners any ideas.

    #11 3 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Fonts on their own are copyrighted design materials. Changing the font on a body of text will not change the text itself.
    Honestly, if you're going to be mass producing someone else's materials, it's better to get permission rather than trying to toe the line and use the materials, but be technically actively trying to avoid not using them. Copyright owners want compensation for the use of their materials and want to make sure it isn't misused to reflect badly on their brand.
    Look at the mess Kevin got into with Predator. Extreme example, but the same general concept applies; he didn't have permission to use the IP and materials, and got shut down for it.

    I would NOT use their font, just change or remove one rule and add one rule.

    I don't have problems paying the people on copyrighted stuff, already gave PPS about $5,000 this year. Stern will talk to you when they want to, even if you want to give them money.

    I had one project that I was working on (not this one) that would have retailed for $250. I had one item on the project that cost me 50 cents to reproduce. Because of that 50 cent piece, I was going to have to pay $50 ($250 x 20%) royalties. So I completely changed that project, and now I am paying 20% royalties on a $100 item, which I feel it fair.

    Plus sometimes for that 50 cent part it takes up to 6 months to get permission.

    This project is another larger ticket item that is using a under $1.00 part, so I don't want to pay royalties on the entire project.

    Back to the question at hand, I won't use their font, I won't use their artwork. Because their are so many rules, if I remove a rule and add 2 rules am I OK? Or if I use my own words to describe the rules, am I OK?

    This project fall into that area also, I won't be

    Again, thanks for all feedback.

    #12 3 years ago

    Marco sells them with zero changes, straight from the manual, part number and all.

    http://www.marcospecialties.com/control/keywordsearch?SEARCH_STRING=instruction

    #13 3 years ago
    Quoted from Litedpinballmods:

    I would NOT use their font,

    Like I mentioned earlier, a font style is its own thing and has little to do with a body of text, unless it is part of a trademarked logo. You can buy fonts and use them however you see fit.

    http://www.1001fonts.com/
    http://www.dafont.com/
    https://www.myfonts.com/
    https://www.fontsquirrel.com/

    As for just tweaking something to make it your own--it still might be considered a derivative work. Completely rewriting something in your own words might do it, though.

    But--I am not a lawyer or expert here. And again, instruction cards aren't exactly a big ticket item on their own, but if it's part of a larger, more expensive project, then someone might take notice.

    #14 3 years ago
    Quoted from FlipperMagician:

    Marco sells them with zero changes, straight from the manual, part number and all.
    http://www.marcospecialties.com/control/keywordsearch?SEARCH_STRING=instruction

    Marco has existing agreements (presumably blanket agreements) with Stern, PPS, PBResource, etc.

    [edit]: Thinking about this a bit more, if you buy an officially licensed product and include it with another product, I'm pretty sure you would still have to negotiate an agreement to use a product within another product, since copyright owners have the right to specify how their IP is used/presented.

    For example, if you buy Disney Princess figurines and start selling Disney Princess cakes with the figurines on top, technically Disney would probably want to have a say in how that was presented.

    #15 3 years ago
    Quoted from Litedpinballmods:

    Back to the question at hand, I won't use their font, I won't use their artwork. Because their are so many rules, if I remove a rule and add 2 rules am I OK? Or if I use my own words to describe the rules, am I OK?

    Just rewrite the rules in your own words. Most of the stock cards only gloss over the game features anyway.

    #16 3 years ago

    ^^ That

    **Facts** are not copyrightable material.
    **Expression** is copyrighted *when it occurs.*

    If you *observe* that dropping all five targets in a bank lights Extra Ball the first time, and Special the second, and state that in your own words, you are stating *facts.* The facts cannot be protected.

    The *expression* is protected at the time of creation (by you, by them, etc.) and often is registered (it's not expensive to do so and in fact is easier now than it used to be since you can upload digital copies rather than having to mail them) so as to make possible statutory damages.

    #17 3 years ago
    Quoted from metallik:Just rewrite the rules in your own words. Most of the stock cards only gloss over the game features anyway.

    Yes, that looks like the best plan.

    Thanks everyone for your help.

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