Who Owns a Quiz?

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants"
Isaac Newton
"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal"
T. S. Eliot
"There is nothing new under the sun"
Ecclesiastes 1:9

We recently had an incident where a couple of users on the "other" quiz site were taking many of our new quizzes and posting them as their own. It was very infuriating to the original creators, especially to see the copycats basking in the positive attention their quizzes received. Fortunately, Stewart contacted one of the admins on the other site and they very graciously agreed to remove the stolen quizzes.

Plagiarizing another person's content is never okay. But what about a quiz "idea"? Who owns it? That's a lot trickier question.

One of the problems we've had from time to time is a "gold rush" mentality on the site. Some users see that we are featuring a lot of quizzes along a similar theme, and try to "stake their claim" to obvious extensions of the series. Sometimes, they have even bullied other users who made their own quizzes.

There's a big difference between creating an original idea, and slightly modifying an existing idea. So who really owns a quiz idea? I'd say there are a few factors.

  • Who did it first?
  • Who did it best?
  • How much work did it take to create? Someone who spends hours slaving over an SVG map deserves more credit than someone who puts together a sloppy, unsourced quiz.
  • And finally ... is the idea original? If not, no one owns it.

So, in short, we will always try to reward people who come up with great quizzes and original ideas. We will strictly prohibit any blatant plagiarism. But, when it comes to ideas, every great artist builds on the ideas and achievements of others. Sometimes, in deciding which quizzes to feature, we have to make a judgment call. It's not always easy, but we will do our best.

+5
Level 47
May 5, 2020
What is the "other" quiz site?
+24
Level 77
May 5, 2020
Probably Sporcle. I don't know if mentioning it is banned or something, but it's the obvious alternative.
+14
Level 34
May 6, 2020
Yep, people on Orcspel were copying many quizzes from JetPunk, most notably the "Countries that beat" series. The copied quizzes have since been removed form the Orcspel website though.
+1
Level 61
May 6, 2020
Orcspel?
+24
Level 83
May 6, 2020
On Orcspel they refer to us as PetJunk.
+9
Level 51
May 6, 2020
Shh! We don't say the S word, so we say Orcspel @ChineseChen.
+2
Level 42
May 6, 2020
No! It's Orcspel
+4
Level 44
May 6, 2020
I use both. :) No reason to not use different quiz sites instead of focusing on one
+8
Level 65
May 8, 2020
I used to use both. Sporcle has gone way downhill. It's completely overrun with ads, and in its effort to find new quiz formats, it has developed a lot of really cumbersome interfaces that make everything run very slowly. Most significantly, a lot of their quiz ideas are just really contrived and tedious. "Name the countries whose sixth letter is T" is just not a very interesting premise. One of the things (among many) that I like best about JetPunk is that pretty much every quiz has some level of educational value, even if the subject matter isn't really "important." You can always learn a new piece of information on a JetPunk quiz. On Sporcle, that's only the case on about half the quizzes. Plus the user comments on JetPunk are about 1,000 times better, at least in part because JetPunk doesn't use the middle school-style upvote/downvote system. Sporcle does, and it leads to a lot of performative and pandering commentary.
+1
Level 44
Sep 27, 2020
Look at this on sporcle https://www.sporcle.com/games/bradenzhang/sporcle-or-jetpunk I got the wrong answer
+9
Level 70
May 6, 2020
This seems more relevant now than ever before. Thanks.
+1
Level 80
May 6, 2020
Does this have anything to do with why some of my "sequel" quizzes never got featured? I never thought of it as being a "copycat"... and I wasn't trying to "gold rush" either, I don't really care about moving up the ranks of quiz makers I only ever tried to make quizzes I thought might be fun to take that others might enjoy taking. If I saw a quiz idea that I liked that I thought hadn't been fully milked of all its potential I'd do a sequel. Though, a couple times those did end up getting featured so maybe not...

Anyway, I never thought of it as plagiarism. would often link back to the original quiz, or at the very least number mine so that it was clear there were others that came before. But I guess I can see how some would see the line as a little fuzzy.
+10
Level ∞
May 6, 2020
This doesn't relate to you at all, @kal. You are neither a copycat nor a stake claimer.
+10
Level 70
May 6, 2020
"This doesn't relate to you at all, @kal" is a sentence that comes up in my head more often than not while scrolling through different comment sections on this site... I never wrote it, but just sayin' =P
+2
Level 80
May 8, 2020
I was just asking a question. In the instances where I was not asking a question but rather responding directly to someone, they were referencing me. Whether they admit it or not. But thanks for your 2 cents, Hatem. When I wrote my comment I was definitely wondering what you'd have to say about it and hoping you would respond with your thoughts. :)
+1
Level 76
May 6, 2020
There is some legal background to this and it can be quite complicated. If you want to read some basics (for the US): • https://www.copyrightlaws.com/are-ideas-protected-by-copyright-law/ • https://ocpatentlawyer.com/four-types-intellectual-property-protect-idea/ • So the idea itself can't be protected, but creating an original quiz gives it an automatic copyright security. A judge might then decide at what point of similarity that copyright is violated.
+13
Level 58
May 6, 2020
I don't think trials will take place over mere quizzes XD.
+15
Level 54
May 6, 2020
We should hold a Jetpunk court
+3
Level 51
May 6, 2020
We might not have the money. :(
+2
Level 17
May 11, 2020
I'm not talking about making a court, but I liked the idea of ​​making one. The problem would be choosing the judge, jury, witnesses, and others. We already have accused, but we need to think about these other things, by the way, judge and jury cannot belong to Sporcle or JetPunk. Promoters can be either Quizmaster or Stewart. Sporcle would need to find a lawyer. May justice be done!
+4
Level 57
May 6, 2020
A simple way to avoid stealing someone else's quizzes is to simply ask if you can use their idea and expand on it in your own quiz. The most likely reason for saying no is if the original creator was planning on doing it themselves.
+4
Level 26
May 6, 2020
Very nice and instructive blog. Now, there's no shadows area, all is very clear. And the Sporcle incident is a bit ridiculous...
+6
Level 75
May 6, 2020
I did a Tokyo Subway quiz a while back but did it without an SVG map - since then two others have done the quiz with a map, and as such their quizzes are far better than mine. I applaud them for doing so, and as such I have made the decision to set mine to private, as I'd rather other users do their quizzes, even if mine was first. My philosophy is - if you can make it better than what we already have then do it. Never looked at the other quiz site so no idea, but it's not hard to imagine that plagiarism happens from time to time.
+1
Level 71
May 6, 2020
Do you ever mind a user continuing a series that you have started? Or not since we would just be getting another usually good quiz on the site.

E.G., do you mind when things like Name a Valid Country #2 are made?
+7
Level ∞
May 6, 2020
No, I don't mind at all! But if someone makes a #2 of an existing quiz, that doesn't mean we'll feature it, or that other people can't make their own #2.
+1
Level 71
May 6, 2020
Good to know!
+1
Level 49
Jul 16, 2020
Yeah, I will make a Countries that Beat Taiwan quiz.
+6
Level 71
May 6, 2020
I try to go through the search function prior to making a quiz in case the idea or even quiz has been done before. However with so many quizzes and variations of the quiz titles it can be an impossible task. There are many quizzes on the system that have had zero takers. This doesnt mean they are bad quizzes but maybe the title puts people off. Someone may make an identical quiz but with a different title, would this be construed as plagiarism when the maker may have searched his own title and not found anything similar?
+5
Level 71
May 6, 2020
I don't really think it is considered plagiarism if you don't copy anyone else's work and don't know they have done it already first.

For example, if some Egyptian guy invented the wheel in 3000 BC, but the Incans had already done it in 3500 BC, it wouldn't really be plagiarism for the Egyptian guy to say he invented the wheel if he couldn't have known the Incans already had.

There are probably multiple historical details wrong with that, but I think it gets the point accross.
+7
Level 68
May 6, 2020
Agreed. Creating the same quiz by chance, just means you both had a good idea. Though it's always good to check as much as possible whether a quiz has been done beforehand just in case. Even then, if you feel you can do the "exact" quiz better, just ask the original maker. More often than not they'll probably let you expand on theirs.

This doesn't mean you can use that as an excuse to extend others' series by playing dumb though.
+4
Level ∞
May 6, 2020
The whole points of this blog article is that a quiz on the same topic is NOT plagiarism. There are more than 100,000 quizzes on the site. And, let's be honest, most of them are not the highest quality. I wouldn't want anyone to not make a quiz because someone did something similar earlier.
+6
Level 42
May 6, 2020
Jetpunk is way better than Orcspel
+1
Level 17
May 8, 2020
Wow! I didn't even know about this Orcspel! Glad it was corrected, by the way, here in Brazil, plagiarism is CRIME!
+1
Level 17
May 8, 2020
By the way, Sporcle
+4
Level 70
May 17, 2020
ORCSPELLLLL!!!
+2
Level 17
May 11, 2020
Cool you put a biblical passage!
+1
Level 45
May 13, 2020
Sometimes, they have even bullied other users who made their own quizzes.. This is true, it happened to me once but I cope. I am made of steel. And this statement, One of the problems we've had from time to time is a "gold rush" mentality on the site. Some users see that we are featuring a lot of quizzes along a similar theme, and try to "stake their claim" to obvious extensions of the series is something I try to avoid but also fall victim to. But again if the quiz is good then does it matter if it is similar to another quiz? I would say it is the quality that counts more than the idea.
+2
Level 35
May 16, 2020
shmorcle
+2
Level 67
Jun 12, 2020
"Who did it best?" I agree and disagree with this. You would rather play a quiz with an SVG rather than a plain text quiz. However, if the SVG person did it second, they should credit the text quiz creator, since they did execute the idea first.
+1
Level 45
Jun 22, 2020
I agree and disagree with this blog
+1
Level 32
Sep 11, 2020
Quizmaster please check out my quizzes and try to feature them. Thank you. I truly appreciate it.
+1
Level 21
Oct 17, 2020
Quite an unusual blog. I even play sporcle but I can't find a way to be a sporcle quizzer
+1
Level 21
Oct 17, 2020
unusual blog