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Legal issues

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I don't know where to post it so I will post it here. I'm making a bomberman style game. The main similarity is that you can also place bombs to kill monsters and other players. Everything else is different. Of course I won't name it "Bomberman" and I do not use Bomberman characted design, since these are copyrighted. My question is: May I face some legal problems if my game will use some of the gameplay mechanics from the original Bomberman game? For example, Ballistic authors sued (?) Pop Cap for Zuma. I don't wan't to have similar problems.

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Taking legal advice from a web-forum is a bad idea about 100% of the time. Spend a couple of dollars to talk to a lawyer and get a real answer.

If you can't afford a lawyer, find out where your closest law-school is and ask a law student. You can probably get a decent answer for the price of a large coffee at Starbucks.

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Quote:
Original post by fpsgamer
[not a lawyer]
Nobody will care if you make a bomber man clone.
[/not a lawyer]


Did you just become a lawyer again at the end of that tag?



Anyhow is it a commercial game?

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Quote:
Original post by marius1930
Anyhow is it a commercial game?
I'd just like to point out that whether or not the game is commercial does not effect the legality, using existing intellectual property without permission is a violation of the owner's rights whether you make money or not. In some specific cases certain IP owners may allow free projects but not commercial ones, and if you lose a court case the damages you have to pay may be lower, but otherwise it won't affect the chances of avoiding legal action in the first place.


Terefere: You can be sued even if you aren't infringing on someone's intellectual property rights, they're just a whole lot less likely to win the case. [wink]

In general you're probably fine to use gameplay ideas from existing games, but can't use the assets (graphics, audio, etc.), names, characters, setting, etc.

Only a lawyer can tell you if your specific project is legally safe though, if you want to be sure you should take the advice given above and consult a lawyer, or at least a legal student if you can't afford a qualified lawyer.

See also So you wanna clone someone's IP by Tom Sloper.

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Quote:
Original post by jbadams
....


Of course not, but commercial and popularity certainly factors in to the likeliness that they will sue you.

And whetever it's just a 'cease and desist' letter or an actual lawsuit.

But for actual "legality", if they decide to they can sue you for pretty much anything.
At that point it don't really matter if they're right.

Anyhow as they said, find a lawyer in this field.

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Isn't there about a million bomber man clones floating around? A brief search of freshmeat yielded the following:


http://bomberclone.sourceforge.net/homepage/
http://xblast.sourceforge.net/
http://www.hockauf.net/robert/bomberman.php
http://clanbomber.sourceforge.net/

surely if this was a problem they would have received a threatening letter from a lawyer. Why don't you email them and ask them if they have looked into this? I am not lawyer so maybe I am totally wrong about this but if I were you I'd email some one who's done this before.

-H

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Quote:
Original post by FILO
surely if this was a problem they would have received a threatening letter from a lawyer. Why don't you email them and ask them if they have looked into this? I am not lawyer so maybe I am totally wrong about this but if I were you I'd email some one who's done this before.


Or. they may not care now, but maybe someone else buys up the IP and has plans to give bomberman a HUGE comeback. now they send the lawyers out to "clean up the field" and each and every clone gets a Cease & Desist letter or a lawsuit.

IP ownership can change, whether or not the company wants to sue can change.

Odds are, you're safe. It depends on how safe & risk adverse you want to be.

A good safe route is to always get the written permission of the company that owns the IP. That way, you're protected in case of ownership change or strategy change.

Another route is to just make it like bomberman but look different and have a different name. (this is the OP's idea and is thus likely safe; but always if you want to be absolutely sure, consult a lawyer).

-me

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Quote:
Original post by Palidine
Quote:
Original post by FILO
surely if this was a problem they would have received a threatening letter from a lawyer. Why don't you email them and ask them if they have looked into this? I am not lawyer so maybe I am totally wrong about this but if I were you I'd email some one who's done this before.


Or. they may not care now, but maybe someone else buys up the IP and has plans to give bomberman a HUGE comeback. now they send the lawyers out to "clean up the field" and each and every clone gets a Cease & Desist letter or a lawsuit.

IP ownership can change, whether or not the company wants to sue can change.

Odds are, you're safe. It depends on how safe & risk adverse you want to be.

A good safe route is to always get the written permission of the company that owns the IP. That way, you're protected in case of ownership change or strategy change.

Another route is to just make it like bomberman but look different and have a different name. (this is the OP's idea and is thus likely safe; but always if you want to be absolutely sure, consult a lawyer).

-me


Fair points I agree with you 100%. It would be really annoying to make a game and then get a nasty letter in the post.

RE points about asking lawyer/ for a written letter: I can imagine the company just saying no to the written letter of permission thing and I can also imagine a professional lawyer/student lawyer giving you a very vague and unsatisfying answer. So if you feel really insecure about the risks involved with doing a bomber man game like this I'd just code something else.

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