Hadley, MA asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Massachusetts

Q: Is it legal to sell a dice game based on a real copyrighted game for fake currency that has no real world value

I regularly attend a LARP in which we created a dice game that is based on Pirates Rollin' Bones (https://www.amazon.com/Pirates-Rollin-Bones-Dice-Game/dp/B004RL774A).

Our spin-off version has several significant differences (6 instead of 4 sided dice, different images, slightly different rules) from the actual game. We want to market ours in our community, and the sets would only ever be traded for in game currency, but I want to make sure there are no legal issues first. In game money is never exchanged for real currency other than through, as in this case, "selling" products that you've made (real money can be spent to create items to "sell" for in game currency, but in game currency cannot be traded for real world money).

1 Lawyer Answer
Benton R Patterson III
Benton R Patterson III
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Dallas, TX

A: This is a difficult question to answer without studying the two games in detail because there are several aspects of a game that can be copyrighted. But, I can try to give a few pointers. Illustrations and the bone shaped pieces are protected by copyright. Basic game of chance concepts with dice are not protected by copyright. The fact that the new game is not sold for money would not avoid copyright infringement. Displaying, distributing, and reproducing a copyrighted work are all forms of infringement.

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