As many tabletop and also computer games have quite unique themes for characters I'm wondering there if those can be copyrighted and thus similar ideas brought to court for copyright infringement?

As example if we take a computer game like Prototype. Then the character theme would be "undead shapechanger who needs to absorb others in order to take on their shape and needs to absorb his own kind in order to increase his powers".

Going mainly there about European law, but I think US law is similar enough there.

1 Answer 1


Copyright protects expression, not ideas. However, it is possible for characters to be protected if they are sufficiently developed, especially distinctive, and become the expression rather than just a vehicle for expression. The delineation of idea/expression with regard to fictional characters is not uniform across jurisdictions (it even differs between US districts).

I should emphasize that this is a case-by-case analysis, and it would be impossible to give a blanket "yes" or "no" answer to this question, but a "general character theme" would likely not be protected by copyright, if I have understood your use of that phrase correctly.

  • I'll try to come back to add case references tomorrow
    – user3851
    Apr 17, 2016 at 6:30
  • kk tnx let me know pls via comment when you have done so that I don't overlook it
    – Thomas
    Apr 17, 2016 at 16:10

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