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Hi, I am in the process of developing a sci-fi game with an alien race that resembles giant bugs (similar to starship troopers.) Normally, I wouldn''t consider it a copyright issue due to the fact that we are designing our own concept art and unique designs without even using them as an example. In fact, we were planning this before we even thought of the movie or game of starship troopers. The issue is that I have never seen the concept of giant alien bugs be used anywhere other than Starship troopers. Do they hold some type of copyright on the concept? The only thing I have found that resembles their concept is Zergs from Starcraft but they are not really giant bugs. In our project, we will ensure that nothing resembles anyone else''s work yet I was curious if some type of copyright is held on this concept by the people who made "Starship Troopers". Thanks in advance

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Copyright law only protects recorded media. Scenes from the movie 'Starship Troopers' are copywritten. So are passages from the story the movie was based on. You can't copyright an idea or a basic plot (giant bugs attack). You also can't copyright a video game or it's interface. (no matter what hasbo says, you need a patent to do that) The best you can do is copyright the source code of the game, which won't protect you from people making clones. It does protect against warez copies, though.

You could trademark giant bugs attacking, but this only applies to specific characters, names or logos. The rule here is that you can not do anything that would cause a consumer to be 'reasonably confused' about which one was the genuine article. This is why you can't make a pacman clone and name your pellet-muncher 'pacman.'

So you will be 100% fine as long as you do not use bugs that look too similar to the ones in the movie/book, and you take care not to refer to them by the same name.

Edited by - cheesegrater on August 13, 2001 3:12:13 PM

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Armor, by John Steakley is a another popular book about giant alien bugs. It has some definite similarities to Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein, but is much darker.

Alien bugs are hardly a new concept, so that alone is hardly going to be a problem. Just so long as you don''t call their home planet "Klendathu" you''re probably fine.


DavidRM
Samu Games

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