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Suppose I write a program for playing a game very similar to the US TV game show where contestants "answer" with questions, and publish it as FOSS. Could a TV studio company with the same name as a consumer electronics manufacturer sue me for copyright infringement if I didn't include any graphics or sound effects from the show?

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  • Graphics and sound effects are not the only copyrightable elements. If you don't violate copyright, but if you name your game similar to a trademarked name (e.g. who wants to be a millionaire), that is a trademark issue.
    – Brandin
    Jun 14 at 14:32
  • What elements are copyrightable? No, I wouldn't use a similar name, or even mention the show in the documentation.
    – Someone
    Jun 14 at 14:43
  • Anything that would be considered an original creative work, would be automatically a copyrighted protected element. See: copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html The general idea or abstract rules of a game (e.g. guess missing letters to spell a word, answer a multiple choice question, etc.) would not be protected, but the way it is expressed might be. For example, copying the rulebook from a chess game that you bought is not OK, but making your own chess game to exactly follow those rules, and explaining the rules in your own original text, would be fine.
    – Brandin
    Jun 14 at 15:01
  • @Brandin thank you! Would the same thing apply to a TV game show? Chess is old enough that the original version would be in the public domain even if ideas could be copyrighted, but the game show would not. I might not even publish rules for playing the game other than what's actually in the code, and rely on players having watched the show and being familiar with its rules.
    – Someone
    Jun 14 at 15:37

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