What elements of a board game are protected under copyright law?

For instance, if I were to create a video game version of Monopoly but named it “Big Business”, changed the pieces and the artwork but otherwise left the design of the board the same. Is this a violation?

Asked on September 17, 2012 under Business Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, what you describe would be a copyright violation. Copyright includes the right to control the creation of derivative or adaptive works--that is, new works or products based off elements of the existing one. You are much better off simply designing your own board and not using any elements from Monopoly.

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