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How to prevent someone from stealing my game

L

llljjj007

Guest
Hello, I have a simple question. The game I'm making is almost finished and I will soon be looking for beta testers to play it. But I'm afraid that if I send them the .exe installer, they will just steal the game and pretend it's theirs, they can sell it etc... Can this happen? If yes, what can I do to prevent it (besides just trusting them)?
 

Ad_Mc

Member
You can burn a copy onto a cd. Post it to yourself making sure it's date stamped. Don't open the envelope as it will become proof that you developed it first if it comes to it.
 

Ad_Mc

Member
You can burn a copy onto a cd. Post it to yourself making sure it's date stamped. Don't open the envelope as it will become proof that you developed it first if it comes to it.
Also, they wouldn't have the game maker code, just the exe. It's like having a wav or mp3 but not the separate audio and midi channels of a song.
 
L

llljjj007

Guest
Also, they wouldn't have the game maker code, just the exe. It's like having a wav or mp3 but not the separate audio and midi channels of a song.
Yes, but that's more than enough to steal the completed game.
 

Nocturne

Friendly Tyrant
Forum Staff
Admin
I'd worry more about creating something that somebody wants to steal in the first place.
THIS!. 100%... If your game is going to be a big hit, it will be cloned (sometimes even before it is released) or cracked in some way regardless of anything you do, and if it's not going to be a big hit then who really cares? Worry more about making your game great and forget about the slim chance that someone will hack it to steal the code...
 

Ad_Mc

Member
THIS!. 100%... If your game is going to be a big hit, it will be cloned (sometimes even before it is released) or cracked in some way regardless of anything you do, and if it's not going to be a big hit then who really cares? Worry more about making your game great and forget about the slim chance that someone will hack it to steal the code...
Put the guy \ girl down before they've even finished making their game already !
We all hope it turns out to be a good seller, and like the others said it can be copied unless you have the backing of a major publisher or a good lawyer.
But, in the short term, you can use the posted cd idea to at least prove it was yours in the first place. If a major does pick up on it, they can use that proof to put injunctions on the clones.
 
You can burn a copy onto a cd. Post it to yourself making sure it's date stamped. Don't open the envelope as it will become proof that you developed it first if it comes to it.
This is not good advice. In many countries -- including the USA -- this provides no legal protection. Google "poor man's copyright" for more information.

https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html said:
I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.
 

SnoutUp

Member
The "CD solution" sounds funny, when developer has all the code and assets, but whatever.
Just brand all over that game if you're that worried. Add beta-specific splash screen, messages, modified logo, button linking to your website, etc.

Also, if you're worried that your beta testers will steal the game, maybe you should think about choosing better beta testers.
 
This is not good advice. In many countries -- including the USA -- this provides no legal protection. Google "poor man's copyright" for more information.
While it's not registration, it's still proof that the work was originally yours. Your work is protected by copyright law, whether you register with the state or not.

Snoutup hits the nail on the head though. Having a million WIP files of the project and assets dating before the beta release is proof that the work is yours already, anyway.
 

Ninety

Member
Game ideas get stolen if they make money. I've seen a hundred posters here getting themselves worked up about their idea being stolen and not once have I seen it actually happen. Like others have said, focus on making a good game first. For everything else, the copyright advice in this thread is a good starting point.
 

RangerX

Member
This is not good advice. In many countries -- including the USA -- this provides no legal protection. Google "poor man's copyright" for more information.
People are mixing up 2 very different things: Intellectual property and Copyright. Copyright is a legal protection against copying and only registration makes it real.
What you are protecting by mailing your own stuff to yourself is your Intellectual property -- that this creation is yours, invented by you.

So basically, mailing your own stuff to yourself doesn't count as copyright -- But it totally can proove its your intellectual property.
 
People are mixing up 2 very different things: Intellectual property and Copyright. Copyright is a legal protection against copying and only registration makes it real.
What you are protecting by mailing your own stuff to yourself is your Intellectual property -- that this creation is yours, invented by you.

So basically, mailing your own stuff to yourself doesn't count as copyright -- But it totally can proove its your intellectual property.
Mailing a CD to yourself does nothing when there are several easy ways to fake this kind of thing. Like the following basic example:
  • Take a blank, unsealed envelope and write your address on it
  • Mail the envelope to yourself
  • Put your CD into it, then seal it
And @SnoutUp already has the right idea. It doesn't matter if you have a postmarked CD at all. You have months or even years worth of GDDs, images, code, and so on that are already protected by copyright from the simple fact of being on your hard drive. You can claim copyright infringement, plagiarism, or whatever, and even the simple fact that the tester does not have the source code is a major point in your favor.
 

JackTurbo

Member
Copyright is a legal protection against copying and only registration makes it real.
Actually in most countries copyright occurs automatically at the point of 'permanence' or 'fixation", which to put it simply, is as soon as its more than an idea. Even just a GDD would qualify for this.

Most countries do not even maintain an official register of copyrighted works, generally only trademarks and patents are registered. The US does have a federal copyright register, however it is voluntary and isn't a requirement for a work to be 'copyrighted', as the US is also a participant in the Berne Convention which is where international copyright law originates from.

Here in the UK we have no official copyright register, but there are private services that offer 'copyright registration'. In reality all they're doing is publishing that so and so, created x and the date that it was 'registered'. These aren't official in any real capacity and are only really of use as evidence if you end up going to court. Are these services worth it? - I dont think so, anything date stamped online (such as a facebook page or post) has essentially similar weight in court. Plus the mountains of supporting work and documents most games have would be more than enough to prove ownership once in court.

There is also no legal requirement to feature a copyright notice on a work for it to be considered copyrighted. So even if your work has no legal notices on it what so ever, it is still your copyright.

*Disclaimer* As a designer by trade who does a lot of freelance work I've made it my business for a long time to be very aware of IP law. However I am no IP lawyer. If you've got a valuable IP read up on your country's specifics in depth and if necessary consult with a lawyer that specialises in IP law.

For other brits out there, here is a simple overview of our IP laws in the UK: https://www.gov.uk/copyright
 

RangerX

Member
Interesting how its a bit different depending where we are. As far as I am concerned, in Canada you can't copyright something without going through the paperwork and Intellectual property is automatic.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
I'm agreeing with the "If you're worried about beta testers stealing the game, you should get better beta testers" view... that should be the easiest way of cutting the knot. And having a beta-specific splash screen that tells customers that they've been fooled and should contact you and/or take legal actions would hopefully deter the beta testers from just reuploading the game somewhere; if they modify the game to remove the splash screen, they're thrifty enough that they probably can get through any other measures you use to stop spreading the game, so it's probably not worth the effort adding any more in-depth DRM than that.
 
Interesting how its a bit different depending where we are. As far as I am concerned, in Canada you can't copyright something without going through the paperwork and Intellectual property is automatic.
Ranger, it's not different in Canada. Your work is copyrighted at time of creation in basically every developed country on the planet. Why don't you Google this, instead of just guessing/making stuff up over and over again?! X'D
That said, it may be more of a pain in the ass to get anything done in court without registering in Canada and elsewhere. That doesn't mean your work isn't copyrighted to you, though.
 

Posh Indie

Member
I like the trend of developers tricking people into admitting fault. You can also have a lot of fun with this and it generates some media buzz. Put some code in your game that after a set date (some time after the beta would be complete) some subtle but strange behavior starts happening. When someone reports it as a bug or a design flaw you can say something ambiguous like, "No, it's a moral flaw" and leave them confused. And if someone is actually crazy enough to put your game on, say, Steam... let us just say they will not have a fun time with the backlash when there is nothing they can do to help "their" customers.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
Perhaps you live in different parts of Canada? I wouldn't be surprised if the french and english parts have differences.

There's no location info on the OP's profile page, so we technically can't be sure they live in a developed country (which countries exactly count as developed under your definition, by the way?)
 
(which countries exactly count as developed under your definition, by the way?)
The kind that fit the definition in English, the language we're speaking? What kind of question is that?
"What kind of pages count as "profile" pages under your definition, by the way?" :p
Edit: I'll humor you, though!

The blue ones. :p
 

RangerX

Member
Just for confirming Canadian info - (from gov website)

Generally, an original work is automatically protected by copyright the moment you create it. By registering your copyright, you receive a certificate issued by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office that can be used in court as evidence that you own it.
Your copyright exists in Canada during your lifetime and for 50 years following your death. After that, the work is in the public domain, and anyone can use it. This is true for most works, but there are exceptions.
It is automatic. I mixed "intellectual property" as something else while its not. But you need a certificate if you want any push in court.
 

MishMash

Member
I wouldn't worry too much about this, if someone has access to your game and distributes it and it does well, then you should have full proof that you developed the game, meaning it would be a pretty straightforward legal case to win. As far as preventing it from happening in the first place, you can just do something simple like watermark your review copies, or add password locked screens that they need to pass. Even though they have the password, the game wouldn't exactly be in a release worthy state and it would be clear that the product was not intended for distribution yet.
Also, if you had plenty of links to your site and your own name, it would be quite hard for someone stealing the game to go in and change a whole bunch of stuff without the source.

The other really simple thing is to just only release demo versions of your game that have a limited amount of content, or a time lock (that restarts the game after say 30 minutes). This means that even if your game got leaked, it still only acts as a demo, and you (having witheld the full version) may now even benefit from a leak by having a player base waiting to invest in the full game, if its good.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
The kind that fit the definition in English, the language we're speaking?
So all the english-speaking countries has some sort of common agency for social matters that judges whether all the other countries in the world are developed or not? Sure, the US keeps thinking it's one big country instead of 50-ish separate ones despite their internal differences, but don't go dragging in the UK, Botswana and Sierra Leone in this...
 

Ninety

Member
Yal, "developed" is a common word in English. There are obviously going to be differences in the exact categorisation but everyone knows what's meant when someone refers to "developed countries". It's a general term in casual English not a geopolitical thesis. No need to be difficult.
 
So all the english-speaking countries has some sort of common agency for social matters that judges whether all the other countries in the world are developed or not? Sure, the US keeps thinking it's one big country instead of 50-ish separate ones despite their internal differences, but don't go dragging in the UK, Botswana and Sierra Leone in this...
You are being silly. Was your country orange on that map or something? I gave you the definition you asked for. :p
 

Ehsan

Pirates vs Clones
Isn't uploading your files on cloud storage like dropbox the same thing/better as/than posting it to yourself with mostly the date being in unclear ink?

Idk about .exe files but apk files on google plays beta testing options, the apk is secured. Maybe there is an option for beta testers on gamejolt as well where files are secured. Nevertheless, a splash screen might work the best (as someone above said) if you don't trust your availible testers.
 
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Tthecreator

Your Creator!
I had a few beta testers on the forums. I don't know them at all, I know only the real name of a single person.
Yet they were nice to me and didn't give me any trouble. Maybe I just happened to find the right people? Or maybe most people here are just nice?
Anyways I wouldn't really bother with this. When I had my asset beta-tested.
I gave my testers a watermarked version with secret comments and some sudle code changes, but I ended up not needing them.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
You are being silly. Was your country orange on that map or something? I gave you the definition you asked for. :p
I'm asking for the designation of the definition you're using, e.g. "IEC 61140". But sure, if you wanna go with "dude, the one all the english-speaking people use, of course" and lose all your credibility in the process, I can roll with that.

I could find an official UN source that states that there is no established definition for the term 'developed country'. (footnote c). So you're claiming the United Nations Statistics Division is wrong or something? Tsk, tsk. You're the one that's being silly.
 
I'm asking for the designation of the definition you're using, e.g. "IEC 61140". But sure, if you wanna go with "dude, the one all the english-speaking people use, of course" and lose all your credibility in the process, I can roll with that.

I could find an official UN source that states that there is no established definition for the term 'developed country'. (footnote c). So you're claiming the United Nations Statistics Division is wrong or something? Tsk, tsk. You're the one that's being silly.
Cool story, Yal.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
Cool story, Yal.
You could at least put as much effort into your replies as I'm putting into mine, researching that took time <__<

But I guess there's no point in resistance when you know you're gonna lose the argument? You might be borderline xenophobic, but I'd appreciate if you could just accept this with dignity instead of wasting everyone's time.
 
@Yal, you're going off topic. This topic was about how to prevent beta testers stealing games. It then got into a bit of copyright discussion because that's the natural expansion of the original discussion. The question was answered simply: any would-be thieves would be in serious legal trouble unless you make stupid decisions like giving them your source code and notes or GDD. The discussion is done. There's nothing left.
Bringing in geopolitics, offhanded accusations of character, and criticism of the English language is not at all necessary.

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/developed-country
 
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B

Benito

Guest
can you create demo version for test the game.
In my game i have one "special" room for check new options before of include in other rooms and one "principal room" for include the principal code of interface.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
can you create demo version for test the game.
In my game i have one "special" room for check new options before of include in other rooms and one "principal room" for include the principal code of interface.
Yes.
  1. Change things as required for the demo.
  2. Compile a standalone version of the game and name it something along the lines of "demo".
  3. Change the things back.
  4. Compile another standalone version and name if "full game".
  5. The demo and full game versions of the game now are different from each other.
By 'change things', I mean things like "remove objects from rooms" or "rearrange room order". Don't delete resources from the resource tree, that's always kinda risky.

You can do things like making certain resources only be included in certain builds of the game automatically, but I'd say it's a bit overkill for what you're trying to do, and AFAIK it's only possible in GMS Professional and not GMS Standard so you might not even have access to build configurations.
 
K

Karl Burnett

Guest
It's very unlikely that will happen. What's very likely is what someone mentioned above - the game being cloned. This happened to me.
My game Codestorm was released and some #@! $ decided "oh that's cool, I'll make a Gamesalad and Corona template and sell it in the marketplace". As a result there were loads of crappy template clone versions of my game flooding the app stores. I had a few of them removed but it was really all just a waste of time.
Now, Codestorm was an extremely simple score gatherer I built in Unity over a few days. If you make a game like Super Meat Boy that's not exactly an easy task to rip off! So I suggest making the best quality game you can and put a lot of time into it. The people who rip your games off aren't going to spend six months or a year ripping off a game- they're after stuff they can knock out in a couple of days.
If they DO steal the exe beta, you'll have evidence and Steam or whomever you want to sell through will shut them down instantly.

Hope this helps!!!
 
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