The context I am thinking of is converting a board game into a video game or app. Of course, I can't manufacture a physical copy of the game without permission, but does the same apply to a virtual version? My understanding is that copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression. This means that the board game is copyrighted, but a video game with the same mechanics is not. Is that the case?

1 Answer 1


Game mechanics are not copyright able. However, the images, words used, description of the rules are all copyright. If the original games is the source of the video game then the video game is a derivative work. If the original game is only the inspiration and the look and feel is different then this is OK. Which is which will turn on the actual facts.

  • 3
    So, if the video game implements all of the rules identically to the board game, but uses entirely original images and description of the rules, then it does not count as a derivative work?
    – Benubird
    Apr 22, 2016 at 8:48
  • If the layout of the board is not purely functional, it may also be copyrightable. Nov 5, 2021 at 19:52

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