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Markets for our writing sounded about like the closest category for publishing questions, so I'm posting this here.

I'm working on a video game loosely based on a book I'm writing. I'm going to be hiring other people to do work on the game, so I went ahead and preregistered copyright on the game, due to the collaborative nature.

It's likely I'll need to send portions of the book to artists in order to draw artwork in the game. Is it advisable to preregister copyright for the book? I was not sure if a future [major] book publisher may only want the book copyrighted through them once published. This was my main hesitation. I have considered hiring an artist for cover art and illustrations for the book, however.

Note that preregistration is different than registration.

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Preregistration entails three basic needs tests: the work is unpublished, is in process for commercial publication, and is a motion picture, sound recording, musical composition, literary work being prepared for publication in a print or digital or live performance form, computer program (includes video games), or marketing artwork.

The sole purpose of preregistration is to mitigate against infringement while a work is in progress and of a project type in which infringement before debut is common; original works that include partial for-hire content, for example.

A full copyright registration of a project, of a preregistered work, too, must be filed within three months of publication, or within one month of a discovered infringement and no later than three months for an as yet unpublished work, in order to occasion the full force and effect of copyright law; otherwise, intellectual property law courts must dismiss any infringement litigation. Early preregistration in and of itself is wise and is a best practice if the project type is prone and vulnerable to infringement.

Otherwise, copyright is assumed for any work in a fixed and tangible form and not heretofore disseminated to a public in any piece or part or whole to any substantive degree.

Numerous legal advantages accrue from timely copyright registration: right to sue for legal fee recovery, sue for statutory damages awards for egregious infringement and plagiarism, protections from Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, SLAPPs, and protections from adverse motions for summary judgment, adverse motions in limine, and adverse motions for outright litigation dismissals.

Timely to mean in advance of publication debut and after a work is in a fixed and tangible form, absent inconsequential, incidental, and minor edit revisions.

A pendent novel based upon a video game is a derivative work, and it, too, would entail its own judicious and timely preregistration and registration. Note that a creator's milieu is subject to copyright protections under the derivative works protection clause of the law.

[ December 17, 2018, 11:53 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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I would highly suggest also that if this is something of a serious unique business venture that you do your due diligence and make sure there is nothing already copyrighted out there of similar fashion. Remember, just because you don't see something on the open market doesn't mean its not in development or being sat on.

I have started writing unique ideas only to find someone publish the same/similar idea months later showing they had it long before I did.

Just a thought, better safe than sorry,


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Anymore, traditional publishers respect a creator's copyright rights, if somewhat sometimes begrudged. A substantively revised version is all but certain for a major house's needs anyway, and entails a new copyright registration, which supersedes an earlier registration. Any competent and sensible house would at the least respect a creator's protective foresight. Who registers a property, creator, publisher, or agent, or otherwise (a trust estate, for example), is a negotiable contract aspect if accepted for a house's publication.

[ December 19, 2018, 10:27 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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