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freeworld

Copying a game and distributing it.

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freeworld    341
I know you can't straight up copy a game and redistribute it, What I'm going to ask falls sort've on those lines but not entirely.

Theirs an iPhone game I just love playing, but after beating it multiple times I wish a sequel or new levels would be created, but the people that made it have no interest in it anymore... atleast not to further it. I plan on remaking it for myself so I can add my own levels, so no need to discourage that. What I'm curious about is if it's ok to distribute it freely?

Now when I say copy it, I'm talking about copying the game mechanics, pretty much to a 'T'. Everything that isn't graphics or a part of the UI, will be copied exactly. It'll look nothing like the original but if you played both, they would play out the same exact way.

I'm not a 100% sure but i would think this would be the same situation of saying starcraft is not red alert, they basically are the exact same game, but the story and graphics are different. Same with my idea, the units and maps will be different, but the game play is the same.

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Roots    1625
Its been a while since I studied intellectual property law so my mind on the subject is rusty, but it sounds like what you are planning is a clear violation of copyright law to me. Copyrights include the right to "derivative works" (sequels, prequels, alternative universes, remixes, etc). The authors still hold the copyright to their original work (and will for the rest of their/your lifetime and then some), so you'd be infringing upon their rights. If they find out about your project, they would be justified in sending a cease and desist letter and may choose to file a lawsuit against you. It doesn't matter that you'd be distributing your game for free. Just because you don't make a profit off it doesn't make your legal situation any more defensible.


I don't think copyright would extend to the gameplay of the game (at least, it would be harder them to win a lawsuit against you), but it would definitely extend to art, music, characters, story, etc. But your best bet is to contact a lawyer about this and ask for advice. You can always try contacting the owners of the copyrighted work, tell them your intentions, and ask for written permission from them to make your game.

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freeworld    341
[quote name='Roots' timestamp='1306718220' post='4817315']
Copyrights include the right to "derivative works"
[/quote]

Why are companies allowed to make rts games with research buildings, resources, same concept of building structures that train units. Like I said I'm not copying the game per say, but the concepts in the game. That's why I brought up star craft and red alert. If you've played both of them, you'll notice other than graphics, numbers, and story, they'll extremely similar. They both have the same ways to play, they are both based off of fast, simplified rock paper scissors battles.

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Hodgman    51220
[url="http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html"]http://www.copyright.../fls/fl108.html[/url][quote]Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles. Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression in literary, artistic, or musical form.[/quote]You can copy their game rules. Just don't use the game's name or any of their artwork, stories, trade-marks, etc...

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Khaiy    2148
[quote name='freeworld' timestamp='1306717563' post='4817309']
I know you can't straight up copy a game and redistribute it, What I'm going to ask falls sort've on those lines but not entirely.

Theirs an iPhone game I just love playing, but after beating it multiple times I wish a sequel or new levels would be created, but the people that made it have no interest in it anymore... atleast not to further it. I plan on remaking it for myself so I can add my own levels, so no need to discourage that. What I'm curious about is if it's ok to distribute it freely?

Now when I say copy it, I'm talking about copying the game mechanics, pretty much to a 'T'. Everything that isn't graphics or a part of the UI, will be copied exactly. It'll look nothing like the original but if you played both, they would play out the same exact way.

I'm not a 100% sure but i would think this would be the same situation of saying starcraft is not red alert, they basically are the exact same game, but the story and graphics are different. Same with my idea, the units and maps will be different, but the game play is the same.
[/quote]

Gameplay can't be copyrighted, as in the example you gave with Starcraft and Red Alert. Look at Fruit Ninja and Fruit Slice on iPhone/Android. It's hard to say that one didn't copy the other more or less exactly.

That said, as Roots advised, you should contact a lawyer if you're concerned. You can be sued by anyone at any time for any thing, even if you are 100% legally in the right. But eve a frivolous lawsuit is one that you might have to deal with in court.

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Obscure    175
[quote name='freeworld' timestamp='1306717563' post='4817309']
Theirs an iPhone game I just love playing, but after beating it multiple times I wish a sequel or new levels would be created, but the people that made it have no interest in it anymore... atleast not to further it. [/quote]
How do you know. Did they tell you this or did you just assume?

[quote]Now when I say copy it, I'm talking about copying the game mechanics, pretty much to a 'T'. Everything that isn't graphics or a part of the UI, will be copied exactly. It'll look nothing like the original but if you played both, they would play out the same exact way.[/quote]
Starcraft and Red Alert don't play out "exactly the same way" because their levels are different and the units/buildings act in different ways. To get exactly the same play you would need to copy something from the original (such as level design) which could cause problems. Obviously if your levels are original and the game plays in a similar way then you should be OK - accepting that they may just decide to sue you anyway.

Here is an alternative idea. Why not contact the developer. Say you really liked the game and would like to propose a business deal. You would love to see a sequel and would be willing to do all the development work and in return will give them 10% design royalty on money earned. That way you get to use the real name and art/sound.

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landlocked    103
[quote name='freeworld' timestamp='1306720260' post='4817323']
[quote name='Roots' timestamp='1306718220' post='4817315']
Copyrights include the right to "derivative works"
[/quote]

Why are companies allowed to make rts games with research buildings, resources, same concept of building structures that train units. Like I said I'm not copying the game per say, but the concepts in the game. That's why I brought up star craft and red alert. If you've played both of them, you'll notice other than graphics, numbers, and story, they'll extremely similar. They both have the same ways to play, they are both based off of fast, simplified rock paper scissors battles.
[/quote]
There's a distinction between a concept and an implementation. The concept of doing research is not something you can copyright but the pretty sign a company puts on their in-game model is something that can be copyrighted. That's the difference. Copyrights are only applicable to tangible, express works. The Mona Lisa is copyrighted. The idea of painting women is not. Do you understand now?

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