Thank you for your opinion. At least we agree you cannot copyright an IDEA, just the expression of that idea. My invention, ?Escape from Atlantis? is a board game based on the myth of Atlantis. Anyone else is free to invent a board game based on Atlantis.
What they are not entitled to do, under copyright law, is copy another person?s invention in part or whole. Would you not say ?End of Atlantis? is a copy of ?Escape from Atlantis?? Sean admits to copying my game, because he enjoyed playing it as a child.
A couple of quotes from the law on copyright might help to clarify matters. Quote: ?Copyright is infringed when any act is done without authorisation, whether directly or indirectly and whether the whole or a substantial part of a work is used.? ?End of Atlantis? has been produced without authorisation and uses a substantial part of ?Escape from Atlantis?, therefore infringes copyright.
Again; ?A substantial part is not defined in copyright law but has been interpreted by the courts to mean a qualitatively significant part of a work even where this is not a large part of the work. Therefore, it is quite likely that even a small portion of the whole work will still be a substantial part.? Take one look at Sean?s ?End of Atlantis? and compare it with ?Escape from Atlantis and I think any reasonable person would say a substantial part of my game has been copied. Therefore I conclude, yet again, that ?End of Atlantis? infringes my copyright. This is not a libellous remark as it?s true!
You say if you went to the board games section in any major department store, you would find: Sorry, Headache, Trouble, Aggravation, Parchesi. You state they are the EXACT same game, use the same rules, the only difference is Sorry is played with pawns, Aggravation uses marbles, etc.
I wonder if you?re aware that Parchisi is an old Indian game and known in the UK as Ludo? As Parchisi is several thousand years old, there is no copyright on this game. Anyone can produce a copy of Parchisi or any other old game such as chess. The same goes for the field games you list, which are all over 100 years old and do not, in themselves, come under copyright law.
Let me ask you this question. Why do you think Parker Brothers, Waddingtons and Hasbro sought a licence from me to market my game before manufacturing and distributing ?Survive?, ?Atlantis and ?Escape from Atlantis?? Why, if permission wasn?t required under the law of copyright, didn?t they simply copy it instead of paying me thousands in royalties?
Incidentally Brice, I wasn?t criticizing US Copyright law. I was pointing out to Harald, that Sean?s copyright link consists of just one page of US copyright law. A much clearer explanation of copyright law can be obtained from the UK government?s own website on Intellectual Property as it runs to several pages and is published in full.
Interested readers can click on this link and discover the true facts for themselves at; http://www.intellectual-property.gov.uk/
then see Copyright.
One final point, have you checked with Hasbro to see if they mind Sean copying their world famous game of ?Risk?? Perhaps Harald could be persuaded by you to market a CD version of Monopoly. Why don?t you Brice produce your CD version of Scrabble! and sell them on the Internet. I?m sure Mattel won?t say a word! ;o)
Sean is more than welcome to take your advice to consult an ?attorney? and evaluate the possibility of a libel/slander suit. Whilst there, he could also ask his lawyer about copyright law. I think he will very quickly find he?s made a big mistake.
You may feel free to reply to this post Brice. I on the other hand have nothing more to say or add. I wanted to write these letters for the benefit of Harald and other would be games inventors. I know how tough it can be starting out. I spent 17 years inventing games before I became successful and have now been associated with the business for 40 years. Knowing copyright law is part of the learning curve.
I would to thank Sean for allowing my correspondence to be published on his website.
Inventor and Copyright Owner of ?Escape from Atlantis?.
1st Novemeber 2005