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Legalities of cloning a classic?

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-My design document for a Bomberman clone is off to a great start; lots of good ideas. -It's suddenly occurred to me now, is this legal? Re-making a classic, and then selling it on the web. It first came out in '83. There have been many remakes of it, but I don't know if they had to acquire costly licensing or not. -I'm actually a graphic designer so I know it's going to have high calibur eye candy graphics (keeping with the cutesy young anime-ish style that's defined Bomberman for a long time now), but could I possibly get in trouble for marketing it? Thanks! --Sharp17 [Edited by - Sharp17 on November 24, 2006 8:16:56 PM]

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I am not a lawyer, so do not consider this to be legal advice. But, there are a number of issues you need to be concerned about.

Firstly is trademark issues. Trademarks expire if they are not defended or used. However, the fact that remakes of the game have been released lately make it likely that "Bomberman" (and possibly other game related logos and brands), are trademarked. You can get details on current trademarks at http://www.uspto.gov/.

The other issue you need to worry about is copyrights. Copyrights are basically permanent, and can be asserted even if the creator of copywritable material does not officially register his/her creation. Copyrights would apply to the characters, story, and graphics of the bomberman games. One cannot even create derivative works of copywritten material.

Gameplay mechanics aren't covered by any form of IP, as far as I know. So basically, I BELIEVE you can copy the gameplay mechanics of the original game, as long as you don't borrow from the original game's story or characters. That also means that the characters and settings should not LOOK like the original bomberman game, or any other bomberman game, for that matter. Fortunately, this shouldn't be too hard to do. I would check it out with a lawyer though, just to be safe.

Also, note that, since most IP issues with software and games are copyright related, it does not matter how long ago the original game was made. A company that made a game 20 years ago and has done nothing with it since can still sue someone for creating a remake if the original company's game, if any of their copyrights are violated.

[Edited by - nimrand on November 23, 2006 9:34:34 PM]

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Its perfectly legal to clone any game as long as you don't infringe on any of their IP.

Which basicly means as long as you don't use any of the orginals:
-characters
-locations
-images
-names

basicly anything that is unique to the orginal. You can have the exact same game mechanics, but with differnt images, and levels and you should be fine. When in doubt about if you can include something play it safe and don't include it.

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Quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Its perfectly legal to clone any game as long as you don't infringe on any of their IP.
But then it wouldn't be a clone. A clone is an identical copy which is why we recommend you don't clone but you make a game "inspired by". Use the basic concept but create all your own code, gfx and level designs etc.

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