How much does it cost to copyright a game?

If you’re a game developer, you know how important it is to protect your intellectual property. Copyrighting your game is one way to do this – but what does it cost?

In this article, we’ll explore costs associated with copyrighting a game and what you can expect during the process.

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What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal right giving the creator of an original work, such as a game, the exclusive rights. These include the rights to reproduce or distribute their original works and derivatives.

Copyright protects an idea’s expression, not the idea itself. In the context of games, copyright protects code, art, music, and other creative elements.

What are some costs associated with copyrighting a game?

There are costs associated with registering a US copyright for your game, including:

  • Filing fees: The cost of filing a copyright application with the U.S. Copyright Office varies depending on the type of work being registered and the method of registration. For games, the fee for electronic registration is $65 per work, while the fee for paper registration is $85 per work. Generally, there’s no reason to do a paper registration, though.
  • Attorney fees: You can file a copyright application yourself, but many developers hire an attorney to help with the process. Fees can vary widely depending on the attorney’s experience and location. Need help from an attorney? Jump over to my contact page to get in touch!
  • Other expenses: There may be other expenses associated with copyrighting a game, such as getting contracts in place to transfer rights to your game studio, or conducting a copyright search via a third-party.

What is the process of copyrighting a game?

  1. Determine ownership: Before copyrighting your game, you must determine who owns its copyright. In most cases, the game’s developer owns the copyright, but there may be exceptions, such as if the game was developed as a work-made-for-hire or the rights were assigned to a publisher. Also, if you don’t have any agreements in place with your contractors, you may not own the rights in the content they provided!
  2. Prepare the application: You can prepare the copyright application once ownership is determined. This involves filling out the appropriate forms, providing a description of the work, and preparing submission of the work to the U.S. Copyright Office.
  3. Submit the application: After preparing the application, you can submit it to the U.S. Copyright Office. Find whether to submit electronic or hard copies here.
  4. Wait for approval: Once you have submitted the application, you will need to wait for it to be approved. This can take several months, but you can check the status of your application online.
  5. Receive the copyright certificate: If your application is approved, you will receive a copyright certificate from the U.S. Copyright Office. This certificate serves as proof that you own the copyright to the game.

What are the benefits of copyrighting a game?

There are numerous benefits to registering copyright in your game, including:

  • Legal protection: Copyrighting your game provides legal protection against infringement. If someone copies your game or uses its elements without permission, you can take legal action to stop them.
  • Exclusive rights: Copyrighting your game gives you exclusive rights, such as control over copying and distribution. This means that you can control how the game is distributed and used by others. While technically these rights exist from the moment of “fixation in a tangible media”, there isn’t much you can do with them without a registration.
  • Increased value: Copyrighting your game can increase its value, as it provides proof of ownership and legal protection.

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Copyrighting your game is an important step in protecting your intellectual property by ensuring that you have ownership and exclusive rights.

While there are costs associated with copyrighting a game, the benefits are significant. If you’re a game developer, consider copyrighting your game to protect your investment and increase its value.

Need help copyrighting your game? Jump over to my contact page to discuss my flat fee copyright service.

Zachary Strebeck

Zachary Strebeck

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