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jagguy2

frogger copy

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jagguy2    100
Hi, I made a copy of frogger but it is an educational version. What can I do to avoid any copyright issues. Educational versions are not cause for copyright? If I have advertising on the website does this now cause issues? The game is free to use. How can I make a game where I dodge objects that isnt like frogger? http://208.81.130.41/$sitepreview/mrt.com/frogger/frogger.Web/froggerTestPage.aspx

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jbadams    25712
EDIT: Make sure you read Tom's follow-up post below for a correction to my terminology.

Moving you to Business & Law.
Quote:
Original post by jagguy2
Educational versions are not cause for copyright?
It doesn't matter if your game is educational or not: copyright still applies, and you may be taken to court.
Quote:
The game is free to use.
Same as above, it doesn't matter if your game is free or not: copyright still applies, and you may be taken to court.
Quote:
If I have advertising on the website does this now cause issues?
As far as I'm aware it isn't a bigger breach of copyright than it already was, but if you're making money from advertising you may end up having to pay more in the case of a court ruling against you.

Quote:
How can I make a game where I dodge objects that isnt like frogger?
Firstly the obvious:
  1. You can't call your game frogger.

  2. Your main character shouldn't be a frog.

  3. You shouldn't reuse graphics or audio from the original game, or if you're making new assets you shouldn't base them directly on those from the original.

  4. You could potentially be in trouble for copying the layout of the level exactly.

Remember that you can be taken to court whether you're in the right or not, and if you're taken to court it may end up costing you a lot even if you end up winning the case. Your best bet therefore is to be as original as possible so your game will not be interpreted as a copy of the original.

In your case my personal suggestion would be to:
  1. Rename the game, and remove all mention of the original.

  2. Replace the main character with something other than a frog.

  3. Change the layout of the map to something original; the general idea of crossing roads/rivers should be fine, but an exact copy is a bad idea. If possible you should also vary the hazards as well.


I am not a lawyer, and my post does not constitute legal advice. If you want to be sure you should consult a lawyer.

Hope that helps! [smile]

[Edited by - jbadams on April 29, 2010 9:03:32 AM]

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Tom Sloper    16062
Edits in caps.

[quote]Original post by jbadams
Quote:
Original post by jagguy2
Educational versions are not cause for TRADEMARK?
It doesn't matter if your game is educational or not, TRADEMARK still applies, and you may be taken to court.

Quote:
The game is free to use.
Same as above, it doesn't matter if your game is free or not, TRADEMARK still applies, and you may be taken to court.

Quote:
If I have advertising on the website does this now cause issues?
As far as I'm aware it isn't a bigger INFRINGEMENT of TRADEMARK than it already was, but if you're making money from advertising you may end up having to pay more in the case of a court ruling against you.[/QUOTE]

Copyright can still be an issue, but the Frogger name is a TRADEMARK. The Frogger character is a TRADEMARK. But yes, copyright can also be an issue when cloning. "jagguy," you should read the dozens of other posts that asked this exact same question below. And you should read up on (i.e. Google) copyright and trademark law.

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Tom Sloper    16062
Quote:
Original post by jbadams
Right you are Tom, I should have remembered given I told the very same user a couple of days ago that "trademark covers things such as the title, distinctive characters, etc.". Thanks for the correction.

I'm sure I've slipped and used the other term too. When I'm lecturing my class, I sometimes transpose "publisher" for "producer." Brain not moving fast enough to keep mouth in line.

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kdog77    229
If you want to avoid liability for copyright or trademark related to Frogger, you will need Konami's permission. Konami will most likely deny your request as they have been diligently releasing new versions of Frogger for the internet, mobile, facebook, etc. If you receive money from advertising on your site and the game is the only thing on the site, then I hate to tell you that your use is not "educational", but rather a commercial product.

As others have stated, making the game available for free and/or for educational purposes does not automatically make your use of the pre-existing work a Fair Use. Then again, reading any number of threads on this site about cloning existing games would have lead you to this conclusion without even asking.

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Obscure    175
Quote:
Original post by jagguy2
I made a copy of frogger but it is an educational version.

Really, Or are you just saying that in the hopes of getting around Copyright law? Was it developed as part of an accredited educational course (a game development degree course or something similar). If not then you probably won't be able to use that claim as a defence.

Quote:
What can I do to avoid any copyright issues.

Not copy someone else's game or if you do then don't distribute it.

Quote:
If I have advertising on the website does this now cause issues?

1. If you are distributing it from a web site then it invalidates your claim that this is just for educational purposes.
2. If you have advertising in order to earn money then this is a business, which invalidates your claim that this is just for educational purposes.
3. It also means you have to register with the tax man/as a business in accordance with your local laws and pay tax where necessary.

Quote:
The game is free to use.

This doesn't make any difference in relation to copyright or trademark infringement.

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jagguy2    100
Ok I have learnt a few things and other points are not clear.

Might start with 'dont copy someones game' as a meaningless phrase. The idea is working out what this means because it is complicated. What I think is not copying , someone else says it is. Dont paint a picture because the chances are someone else has painted something like it! Where do we stop?

Now there are many types of frogger /space invader games on the net so is this an issue?

I can change the frog and the design no problems. I have a space invader game which again it is debatable what is copying.

Gameplay is not copyright OK . Well then if I make gameplay like spaceinvaders then by default I will have objects like the original or different which now is debatable as to whether this is copying. Shooting a row of aliens is copyright?

The best way is to show examples of what I actually mean.

I get the frogger argument but spaceinvaders have alook at this
http://208.81.130.41/$sitepreview/mrt.com/spaceInvader/spaceInvader.Web/spaceInvaderTestPage.aspx

I can change the title but the game play is similar as you can see. Everything else is unique. base is something I can change as well.

This was posted to me a few days ago
>>If you use a similar environment (such as a building w/robots) or a similar theme, it won't violate the CR laws. As always, common sense should be used, if the environment or story strongly tie into another game there might be a problem.

Again it is up to someones opinion whether the space invaders is too simialr to the original. I think it is actually.

PS all these games are free to use and I dont make money from them. They were made for game making teaching. I intent to make money from games in the future.

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jagguy2    100
Posted in Law, 23rd March 2007 07:02 GMT

Free whitepaper – Taking control of your data demons: Dealing with unstructured content

General ideas and structures behind computer games and programs can be copied as long as the source code and graphics are not, the UK's Court of Appeal has ruled.

The judgment upholds an earlier High Court ruling in a case involving three computer games simulating pool. Under UK copyright law and EU Directives, the court ruled that the ideas behind the games cannot be protected by copyright, because copyright does not protect general ideas.

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Obscure    175
Quote:
Original post by jagguy2
'dont copy someones game'

and
Quote:
Dont paint a picture because the chances are someone else has painted something like it!

Are not at all the same thing.
Your intention when you started making you game was to make a copy of Frogger. That is very different from making a game which turns out to be similar to an existing game you didn't see.

Ultimately, if you make something that looks and plays like someone else's game they may choose to sue you. If they do it will be up to the court to decide if your game is a copy.

Quote:
Now there are many types of frogger /space invader games on the net so is this an issue?

Lots of people speed, lots of people park illegally and don't get caught - does that mean you wont get caught?

Quote:
PS all these games are free to use and I dont make money from them. They were made for game making teaching.

Then you don't need to distribute them on your web site. When you do that it weakens your claim that this is for educational purposes.

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jagguy2    100
Lets hear that argument play out in a court of law," I never saw that painting before, honest". Yeah right!!

Quote:


>Your intention when you started making you game was to make a copy of Frogger. That is very different from making a game which turns out to be similar to an existing game you didn't see.


well not exactly. the game is not a direct copy of frogger. IT has different gameplay and graphics. I could make some changes no problem.

Quote:

Ultimately, if you make something that looks and plays like someone else's game they may choose to sue you. If they do it will be up to the court to decide if your game is a copy.


Well you havent read into this issue enough. Check my previous post for a start. There is a LOT of grey area here . Probably have read enough on this topic myself to know that people dont know! You cant simply sue somebody because you think someone pinched your idea. Ideas are not copyright. There is the extreme situation where you can make a direct copy and sell it but this is not what we are talking about.


Anyway enough said as further research is needed by all concerned IMHO.

2. How does Fair Use fit with Copyright Law?
Copyright law embodies a bargain: Congress gave copyright holders a set of six exclusive rights for a limited time period, and gave to the public all remaining rights in creative works. The goals of the bargain are to give copyright holders an economic incentive to create works that ultimately benefit society as a whole, and by doing so, to promote the progress of science and learning in society. Congress never intended Copyright law to give copyright holders complete control of their works. The bargain also ensures that created works move into "the public domain" and are available for unlimited use by the public when the time period finishes. In addition, as part of the public's side of this bargain, U.S. Copyright law recognizes the doctrine of "fair use" as a limitation on copyright holders' exclusive right of reproduction of their works during the initial protected time period.

The public's right to make fair use of copyrighted works is a long-established and integral part of US copyright law. Courts have used fair use as the means of balancing the competing principles underlying copyright law since 1841. Fair use also reconciles a tension that would otherwise exist between copyright law and the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of expression. The Supreme Court has described fair use as "the guarantee of breathing space for new expression within the confines of Copyright law".

3. How Do You Know If It's Fair Use?
There are no clear-cut rules for deciding what's fair use and there are no "automatic" classes of fair uses. Fair use is decided by a judge, on a case by case basis, after balancing the four factors listed in section 107 of the Copyright statute. The factors to be considered include:

The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes -- Courts are more likely to find fair use where the use is for noncommercial purposes.
The nature of the copyrighted work -- A particular use is more likely to be fair where the copied work is factual rather than creative.
The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole -- A court will balance this factor toward a finding of fair use where the amount taken is small or insignificant in proportion to the overall work.
The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work -- If the court finds the newly created work is not a substitute product for the copyrighted work, it will be more likely to weigh this factor in favor of fair use.
4. What's been recognized as fair use?
Courts have previously found that a use was fair where the use of the copyrighted work was socially beneficial. In particular, U.S. courts have recognized the following fair uses: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research and parodies.

In addition, in 1984 the Supreme Court held that time-shifting (for example, private, non-commercial home taping of television programs with a VCR to permit later viewing) is fair use. (Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417 (1984, S.C.)


[Edited by - jagguy2 on April 30, 2010 5:40:26 AM]

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GWDev    286
Hello,

would it even be a given, that US law applies to this case? I mean the game is released on the internet. So technically it could violate laws around the world couldn't it?

--GWDev

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Hodgman    51326
Quote:
Original post by GWDev
would it even be a given, that US law applies to this case? I mean the game is released on the internet. So technically it could violate laws around the world couldn't it?
Good point, legal action could well take place in a Japanese court (etc), not necessarily an American one.

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Tom Sloper    16062
Quote:
Original post by jagguy2
I made a copy of frogger

the game is not a direct copy of frogger. IT has different gameplay and graphics.

What can I do to avoid any copyright issues.

How can I make a game where I dodge objects that isnt like frogger?

Well you havent read into this issue enough. Check my previous post

further research is needed by all concerned IMHO.

You asked a question. You got our non-lawyer answers based on the question you asked. Now you're arguing against the answers, denying what you said in the original post, and telling those who answered you that they're all ignorant of the law. It's a lot of fun helping you!

Seems to be a trend lately -- guys ask for advice, then rant and rave against the answers. This is just annoying to everyone, and I'm closing the thread. Another mod can re-open it if I'm wrong.

jagguy, our advice is that you get a lawyer so you can pay him to argue against his reliable legal lawyerly advice.

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