Q:

Is it legal to print Yahtzee score cards from the Internet?

A:

Quick Answer

It is legal to print generic Yahtzee scorecards from the Internet, because according to U.S. copyright law a company may not register a game or its mechanics for exclusivity, and competitors are free to produce similar games. However, copyright laws protect written and visual material accompanying the game as literary and visual art, so users may not legally distribute score sheets produced for recent editions of the game, which fall under the law's jurisdiction.

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Full Answer

Edwin S. Lowe was the first to trademark the game Yahtzee and produce it commercially in 1956. He owned the rights from 1956 to 1973 before he sold the copyright to Milton Bradley. Milton Bradley in turn retained the rights until 1984, when the company sold the game to the Hasbro company.

There is a trademark protecting the name "Yahtzee." Although copyright laws protect the specific design of the score sheet in terms of artwork, they do not address the concept of the score sheet. For instance, an individual may not scan, reprint or distribute Yahtzee score cards nor produce an exact copy for sale. However, an individual is free to produce his own variation of the chart and distribute it for mass consumption. An individual is also free to print a copy of an alternative score sheet.

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