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Games similarities

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So here comes a question. From my point of view most game geners have similarities that are "common" so none of them accuse other of stealing or so breaking copyright. I've been thinking, what is considered "fair use" not speaking of HP, MP and other way too common things... let me do an example from one of my designs... A game that involves farming in it, does it break Harvest moon copyright by making farming process similar? Like prepare ground sow seeds, water, wait and get crop... from real view thats the way it is, IN REALITY... but just because of HM being the one who made it it brakes copyright? So ideas on this matter are welcome.:)

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First of all copyrights don't cover concepts, so you could make a clone of harvest moon as long as you didn't touch the original assets like code or art and didn't call it harvest moon.

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You'll only infringe on the copyright if you use any of the assets of Harvest Moon within your game, such as the sprites, music, text and so on.

You'll also need to avoid trademark infringement by not using a name like "Harvest Moon".

Note that one of the best selling casual games recently is Alice Greenfingers, which is essentially Harvest Moon's farming system at its core. You should be fine to emulate that mechanic in your own game.

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As has been said, copyright only covers things like the story, dialogue, artwork, music, characters...
Things like the theme, or game-play ideas aren't copyright-able (AFAIK).


However, game-play mechanics can be patented. For example, the idea of putting a 3D arrow above a car so you know where to drive in a city is owned by Sega (IIRC). It's pretty much impossible for us to know who has patented what, so I'd just pretend that these patents don't exist and hope you never get attacked by them ;/

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Quote:
Original post by Hodgman
However, game-play mechanics can be patented. For example, the idea of putting a 3D arrow above a car so you know where to drive in a city is owned by Sega (IIRC).

What? Really? That's ridiculous. If I didn't hate floaty interface objects that break game world immersion, I might be upset about this.

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Anything can be patented, given a sufficiently lazy Patent Office (*cough* USPTO *cough*); the question is whether that would stand up in court, and in many cases it probably wouldn't. But even if they did, these are quite explicit mechanics that people patent, and 95% of the time it's easy to get around them with just a minor tweak. When you read the actual patent application from beginning to end you see that most of them only apply to very specific applications and contexts.

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How can one be expected to read or memorize every patent application that's ever been created from beginning to end before implementing any single individual idea?

Whoever decided something like this should be possible just needs punched in the face. I'm not sure it would solve anything, but it seems like the right thing to do.

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I can perhaps suggest is lobbying your local politicians to ensure that your Patent Office checks the validity of a patent before allowing it to be filed, rather than letting the courts decide these things. That will at least be one positive step.

But for the most part, I don't think it matters all that much. The chance of you infringing a patent is actually very small, and even if you somehow did do so, they're probably not going to notice anyway.

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