Lets say I post some kind of information, for example a research on something, or for another example a new idea, lets say a new defined board game with its rules and all that is still in the stage of development and testing and I don't want the idea to be stolen.

Lets say I post it on a free hosting website service like Weebly for example, so the people I'm working with and possibly new people can easily interact with it to possibly help with the improvements.

And I write somewhere on there, something like "This information should, and can only be used (unless directly allowed by author otherwise) for non-profit personal use or personal entertainment, and cannot be repuplished or reclaimed, even when modified, unless it is for a non-profit informational personal use and its strictly owned by (my email here)."


Is this something that can be done simply like this? Or all of the information there will be public and free to use anyway, but why so, and how to make it otherwise by the simplest way?

Also what could be done if someone sees it, then claims to have discovered it him/her-self and that he or she haven't seen my page, that its just an accidental similarity, or even that I'm the one that stole his/hers idea?

Lastly, should I also carefully read the terms of the free hosting service I'm posting to, in case it can take ownership of anything published on it?

2 Answers 2


If you publish the idea, there isn't really a category of intellectual property protection that would disallow someone from re-using your rules for a game. (See Does reproducing a board game as a video game violate copyright?) This largely flows from the idea-expression divide, famously expressed in U.S. case law in Baker v. Selden. Copyright can protecct the literal written expression of game mechanics, but it cannot protect the mechanics themselves. Someone else is free to take the rules you expressed and write them in their own original words without any copyright violation. Therefore, copyright can't help you stop someone from reusing your rules.

Patents can grant you a monopoly on a process, but I'm not sure that game rules could qualify for patent unless they also provided some useful benefit (i.e., a patented process must solve some specific problem, other than a player's boredom).

If you kept your game secret and only gave it out in tightly-controlled circumstances accompanied by a nondisclosure agreement, then it might qualify as a trade secret, and you could seek damages against anyone who violated your control of the secret. However, deliberate public disclosure, even if accompanied by a "do not use, please" notice, immediate disqualifies information from trade secret protection, since it must be kept secret to qualify.


Not a lawyer just a copyright enthusiast offering my personal opinion

  1. You are looking for a creative commons license you can find an interactive GUI to tailor it here, https://creativecommons.org/choose/ Depending on your choices you will likely be able to encapsulate that the information should be used as non-profit and personal entertainment. I'll have to warn you that if you eventually want to turn a profit from this, you will likely encounter difficulty.

  2. This question makes me kinda suspicious and is a bit difficult to understand, but I'll assume that you're wondering if someone came upon your page and claimed that you were infringing their copyright or if someone independently produced your content.

The following link addresses this question really well but to boil it down it appears that if you can prove that the infringer had access to your work and that their work shares sufficient similarity with yours you will be able to succeed on your claim of copyright infringement.



  1. I doubt Weebly's terms allow this but you should, also you should.
  • While a CC-NC-ND license sounds like exactly what the OP wants, copyright law can only control a particular written expression of the rules, not the rules themsevles. Thus, the restrictive terms of a CC-NC-ND Creative Commons license grant wouldn't control the rules' uncopyrightable components (i.e., the game mechanics themselves).
    – apsillers
    Jun 21, 2016 at 19:51

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