Yankee Air Pirates CyberBoard PBEM Support Page Gamebox Submission Policy

The Yankee Air Pirates CyberBoard PBEM Support Page site administrators are eager to put your gamebox up for downloading by other gamers. We’d also like to see the gamebox designer get credit for what they do, ask that they share and support gameboxes to encourage the gaming community as a whole. We also acknowledge that it is the paper game publishers and designers who largely provide the means and inspiration for our hobby.

It is our desire to clearly identify to our wargaming customers who supports specific gameboxes, because the Yankee Air Pirates CyberBoard PBEM Support Page does not provide support for any gameboxes posted, except those that happen to be designed by one or more of the site administrators. We only provide a common download site. In addition, the site is run privately, and the site administrators reserve the right to apply submission and download standards as they see fit to ease their own efforts to maintain the site, and to provide legal protections and requirements for the site, as understood by those administrators. Any real legal discussion of these copyright issues is outside the scope of the Yankee Air Pirates CyberBoard PBEM Support Page.

Specifically, to protect the site the following guidelines must be applied to any gamebox and any associated files submitted for posting here.

  1. No gamebox with scanned maps or counters will be posted on Yankee Air Pirates CyberBoard PBEM Support Page unless we have explicit permission directly from the holder of the original copyright material to distribute it. Such permission must be submitted with the gamebox and any associated files.
  2. Gameboxes or any associated files containing duplication of the original game’s rules in electronic form will not be accepted unless the game is in fact an original game design by the individual making the submission, or the copyright holder provides explicit permission to Yankee Air Pirates CyberBoard PBEM Support Page to distribute it.
  3. Within the gamebox file itself, the gamebox properties description field must contain the following information:

    a. A version and release date of the gamebox. Any subsequent updates to the gamebox will be incrementally numbered and dated and resubmitted. Gameboxes and any associated files should be reviewed at least semi-annually for possible updates, and such updated files resubmitted to the Yankee Air Pirates CyberBoard PBEM Support Page.

    b. Title of the paper board game the gamebox is based on.

    c. Paper board game designer’s name.

    d. A statement describing who the copyright holder of the original physical paper board game, acknowledging the owner and publisher by name, as well as date where possible, and any other available original publication information. Most of this information is included in the original paper board game.

    e. If the game is not an original game design by the person making the submission, the following text within quotes must be present, verbatim, in the gamebox properties: “*YOU MUST PERSONALLY OWN THIS GAME TO USE THIS GAMEBOX*”

    f. Gamebox designer’s name (first and last) and e-mail address for users of the gamebox to contact.

    g. A brief description of the contents of the gamebox (i.e., board, counters, & tables), including any special notes or hints in the use of the gamebox and any associated files. This information can be contained in more detail in a separate file associated with and included with the gamebox, but information to that effect must then be substituted here.

    h. The following text within quotes must appear, verbatim, at the end of the gamebox properties description field: “See more CyberBoard gamebox files available on the Yankee Air Pirates CyberBoard PBEM Support site at http://yap.brainiac.com/pbem.htm.” (Yes, we’re advertising a bit so people know where to find more gameboxes)

  4. The person submitting the gamebox and any associated files must be the gamebox designer. Gameboxes submitted by a third party on behalf of someone else will not be accepted. The person who designed the gamebox must have a valid working email address by which they can be contacted, and such address will be maintained by the Yankee Air Pirates CyberBoard PBEM Support Page in accordance with our privacy policy.
  5. By submitting a gamebox and any associated files for us to post, gamebox designers are claiming explicit ownership of the contents of the gamebox and any associated files, and likewise granting permission for us to post their work. Designers must provide a statement that the gamebox submitted to the best of their knowledge is free of material held in copyright by other persons, and that permission is hereby granted to Yankee Air Pirates to distribute the gamebox and any associated files. 
  6. If the gamebox and any associated files do contain any material held in copyright by other persons, the requirements of paragraphs 1), 2), and 5) above regarding ownership of the contents of the gamebox and any associated files will be waived, provided proof that the copyright holder has granted explicit permission for the gamebox designer and Yankee Air Pirates CyberBoard PBEM Support Page to freely distribute the gamebox and any associated files.

If the gamebox submitted meets these guidelines, we will post it as quickly as we can. The site administrators do however have other lives to pursue as well and there may be some delays in posting. This is not because your gamebox is not great and we dislike it, or you, but simply because we have to have time to game too. This is a labor of love.


Please make sure you create not only the gamebox (.gbx) file, but also include at least a standard scenario (.gsn) file, so that your creation can be played right away. Also, please make sure that you zip all of those files together before you send them to me! I don't want a huge download waiting for me because you didn't do the polite thing and compress your attachment. All files in one zip file. And I use WinZip, so please make sure you use a fully-compatible compression program.

If that's all set then...

"By selecting the image button below, I agree with the above policy and submit the attached GameBox, which completely complies with the policy stated here.  The gamebox submitted is, to the best of my knowledge, free of material held in copyright by other persons, and that permission is hereby granted to Yankee Air Pirates to distribute the gamebox and any associated files."

I agree with and am in compliance with the above.  Please post my gamebox.

In the event you want to better understand our view on how the copyright issue affects CyberBoard gameboxes, please take some time and review the following information. Remember we are not copyright lawyers, so this is just opinion.

Originally posted to Consimworld, May 16, 2001

Since the discussion of CyberBoard, gameboxes, and copyright is always before us, I thought I'd share some of my rather extensive and long-time research into the issue.


"The idea for a game is not protected by copyright. The same is true of the name or title given to the game and of the method or methods for playing it. Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression in literary, artistic, or musical form. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in the development, merchandising, or playing of a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles.

Some material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to copyright if it contains a sufficient amount of literary or pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the rules of the game, or the pictorial matter appearing on the gameboard or container, may be registrable."

When it comes right down to it, if you publish a game that uses the concept of a zone of control that surrounds a unit, you do not "own" the ZOC concept. You own the specific layout of the rules and the arrangement of the wording that describe that concept in that game. You cannot own the words that are used to describe your content, except in the exact sequence that you have chosen to express that concept. You may attempt to trademark the words "zone of control," perhaps, but it's not likely to get approved. Anyone else may use that concept (as thousands of games have), but what they cannot do (without violating copyright laws) is *exactly* duplicate how you present that concept. The same is true of the numbers on counters: the look and feel of the counters is protected, but the values themselves are not. The charts and tables are the same, as are other graphic elements (including the map), to an extent. What one cannot do is just lift the entire work and put a new cover on it.

The point I'm trying to make as this relates to CyberBoard is this: if scanned elements of the original game are used by the gamebox designer (something I never do, BTW) it might be construed as a copyright violation by the copyright holder, since the original designer (or perhaps more precisely, the publisher) owns that design. If the gamebox designer develops his own work that does not duplicate the exact look and feel of the original design, and is only inspired by it, then the work is owned by the gamebox designer as an original work.

There is a good example of some work done for one of Rob Markham's games, "Montcalm vs Wolfe" (available at YAP under license from Rob). The map and counters for the gamebox look nothing at all like the map and counters Rob supplies in his game. Rob doesn't own the gamebox (any element of it, in fact): it is owned by Bart van Bael (aka, Pokke), who created the CyberBoard design. Bart has made an arrangement with Rob, and Rob has endorsed Bart's work, but Bart is the one who controls the distribution of the gamebox.

In my "work" with CyberBoard over the years, I have become very conversant with US copyright laws, and much of the case work associated with it. The verification of the US laws surrounding this issue can be found (as I have found them) in readings of Title 17 and associated case work. This study has become more or less a part of my participation in the hobby because of my hosting of so many gamebox files on YAP. I'm all in favor of trying to match the look and feel of the original game as much as possible, short of scanning.

I'm not trying to compete with the board wargames, but to replicate them for PBEM play. As to charts and tables, I use the gameboxes to PLAY the games, and if having the charts and tables included on a gameboard or two will help do that, then that's what goes in. I also make up new stuff and add than in as well. BTW, the charts and tables themselves are indeed copyrighted, but the data they contain is not. Make up your own charts, that's fine. It matters not for me, since I still try to make them work just like the originals (see my TWW and Omaha Beachhead GBX to see what I mean).

And again, I'm not advocating that everyone go out and whip up a bunch of wargame knock-offs in CyberBoard. I'm just trying to put some realism into the copyright discussion. It's all too easy to rattle off some locker-room notion of copyright law. It's much better when you can back it up with the facts. Chris Fawcett Yankee Air Pirates Founder and Webmaster

Disclaimer: The preceding is my own personal, totally non-professional, entirely self-educated opinion. Solid evidence that contradicts these comments is gratefully and cheerfully accepted. To Yankee Air Pirates CB PBEM Support Home Page!