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View Full Version : Question about writing an "unauthorized" game manual.



dclary
04-05-2010, 08:49 PM
I'm going to cross post this here and in Nonfiction, only because I don't know whose skill set has the answer, and I don't think there's much crosschatter between these two forums.


I want to write an eBook guide to playing and winning at an app currently available on Facebook.

First, how important is it to get the company's permission to do this? My own screenshots of a game that is commercially available for FREE could certainly be available for me to use, doesn't it seem?

If not. then what would you consider a fair royalty I should offer their lawyers? I'm thinking 20% of gross. Does that sound right?

Maryn
04-05-2010, 09:12 PM
I think you need a real live lawyer specializing in intellectual property, or you could be in serious trouble from people whose intentions are good.

A company giving away a game is giving it away to play. They're not giving it away for others to make a profit on derivative works.

Maryn, who'd hate to see you sued

Lhun
04-05-2010, 11:51 PM
Generally speaking, they can't prohibit you from writing *about* their produkt, and screenshots fall squarely under the fair use, since a book explaining how to play a game clearly isn't a knockoff.
Practically, that doesn't mean they're not going to try to stop you, or try to threaten you into paying royalties. Unfortunately, defending your right to fair use is going to be financed out of your pocket, so the law is much less useful (or fair) than it was supposed to be.

whistlelock
04-06-2010, 05:08 AM
Are you going to be making money from something they produced?

If the answer is yes, expect lawsuits soon.

I'd head the snake off at the pass, send the company an email to see if they're open to you doing that.

Opty
04-07-2010, 04:40 AM
There are hundreds of game "walkthroughs," cheats, and strategy guides online, even for Facebook games (like Mafia Wars) that are available for free.

Why would anyone pay for one?

dclary
04-07-2010, 09:40 PM
Are you going to be making money from something they produced?

If the answer is yes, expect lawsuits soon.

I'd head the snake off at the pass, send the company an email to see if they're open to you doing that.


That's what I've done, Whistle, my question is more geared toward the second part... What do you think is a fair profit-sharing amount?

dclary
04-07-2010, 09:42 PM
There are hundreds of game "walkthroughs," cheats, and strategy guides online, even for Facebook games (like Mafia Wars) that are available for free.

Why would anyone pay for one?


Because a) there are enough people in the world who believe you get what you pay for and don't trust free materials

b) I don't believe in open source, free intellectual property. If I'm going to write it, I'm going to get paid for it.

c) I can sell ice to an eskimo. They'll buy it because I'll tell them to buy it.