‘Copyright’ in the Video Game Industry.

Copyright is a word that is thrown around a lot when working in the creative media. Very few creators have a strong understanding of this word. By definition, “Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution.”

So, what parts of a game is copyright-able?

Basically, the code that is used in the development process of a game is protected as “Literary Work” and the scenes that include the creative arts and the sounds are protected as an “Audio-Visual” work. However, the artwork has limited protection so as to no one can closely duplicate the work that you have created.

For example, if you are creating a character in a third person shooter game, and that character looks like Max Payne, then this could be a violation of ‘Remedy Entertainment’s’ copyright (unless you have obtained the required licenses).

Similarly, elements that a re required to make a particular scenes such as the sky, ground, scoring system etc. are NOT copyright-able. One cannot copy anything directly. This implies to different sports genres as well.

For example, in a football game, you CAN include items like the goal posts, stadiums, players, crowds, stadium designs etc., but cannot copy the whole thing as such.

Free Kick Taking in PES 2016 and FIFA 2016. Both are football games but the difference between the two games are clearly visible

Are the titles used by video games copyright-able?

NO! The titles are protected by Trademark(TM). This is a law that concerns more with the advertising, brand showcasing and business related ideas. This law also protects the titles from having similar names so as to avoid any confusion in game titles. So even if you don’t have an exact same name as another video game, you can still be found in violation if the title has a confusing similar name.

What’s the difference between Copyright and Patent?

Copyright policy is for the protection for the expression of ideas. Art works are basically considered as the ‘expression of ideas’. These include books, songs, movies, games, etc. This doesn’t protect the process through which a particular work has been created.

A Patent is a right, that is given by the government, to prevent others from creating, using, or selling your invention. It protects things such as new processes, machines, software etc. It is used to protect ideas and not the expressions.

These are just some basic points that a person in the creative industry must ought to know. People in this industry have to be aware of such things and should constantly be reminded of such things as well.


Wikipedia,. (2016). Copyright. Retrieved 3 March 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright

Swiderski, M. (2011). The Difference Between Copyright and Patent. Cjam.info. Retrieved 3 March 2016, from http://cjam.info/en/legal-informations/copyright/165-the-difference-between-copyright-and-patent