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matt_j

Potential legal issue

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Okay, so I've been making a Spectre clone for the last few years. Essentially I've been looking at the graphics and the levels and have been trying to replicate the original game for modern hardware. Now while I do not claim to have invented the game, and give credit to the original companies that made it, I fear I could still be sued horribly for the demos that I've already released over the last few years. The companies that made the game no longer exist, but many of the original producers of the game can be found working at other businesses. What should my course of action be? E-mail them and ask for permission? -Matt

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Matt, you wrote:

>I fear I could still be sued horribly for the demos that I've already released

No kidding!!!

>The companies that made the game no longer exist, but many of the original producers of the game can be found working at other businesses.
>What should my course of action be? E-mail them and ask for permission?

You absolutely have to find out who owns the IP. Maybe you've never read this.

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Quote:
Original post by kiwibonga
If a company doesn't exist anymore, who owns the company's IP?

That is a problem that you have to solve. Somebody owns it, and you have to find out who. You want to find them first, before they pop up out of the woodwork with a lawsuit.

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> If a company doesn't exist anymore, who owns the company's IP?

When a company disolves, all the assets are sold to pay the debtors. Somebody somewhere settled for the IP instead of a cash payment. Some laws firms often acquire IP from dying companies (patents, primarily); they can get it cheaply and can afford to bring IP violators to court. So IP doesn't suddently disapear when a company goes belly up; it just changes hands. The new owner might not be readily identifiable, but it doesn't mean the IP is in the public domain either.

-cb

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Quote:
Original post by cbenoi1
> If a company doesn't exist anymore, who owns the company's IP?

When a company disolves, all the assets are sold to pay the debtors. Somebody somewhere settled for the IP instead of a cash payment. Some laws firms often acquire IP from dying companies (patents, primarily); they can get it cheaply and can afford to bring IP violators to court. So IP doesn't suddently disapear when a company goes belly up; it just changes hands. The new owner might not be readily identifiable, but it doesn't mean the IP is in the public domain either.

-cb



Hm... True, but don't forget that not all companies cease to exist exclusively through bankruptcy. ;) Winding-up Agreements and protocols are also used by corporations to distribute company assets to individuals or other corporations/parties/third parties in the event of a split. Liquidation may not always be preferable, especially when we're talking about smaller companies with only two or three principals. Depending on the size of the company and your state's corporate filing laws, you may be able to find documents relating to the dissolution of the company via the Secretary of State or similar agency.

While not required, it's generally good business practice to record any transfer of copyright title documents with the Copyright Office. If a sale DID happen, the new owner of the IP may have recorded it. You might try starting there.

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