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hervens

Question about arcade game Title copyright

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[font="arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif"][color="#333333"]
Hello,
As an example, let's say that I'm an indie game developer, and i'm looking to make a clone of Tetris.
Now, if I call the game "Tetris Resurrection", will I be committing a copyright offense?
Also, if let's say, in my advertising banners, I use the slogan "Tetris has been resurrected", could I get sued for that, or would I still be within legal bounds?

Thanks
And btw, this was just an example. I'm looking to make a clone of an arcade game but it's not tetris.[/font]

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Titles themselves are usually trademarks, as are distinctive characters like Mario, etc.

Copyright applies to 'products' -- trademarks are about protecting the identity of the product.




Don't do a clone, even its in homage, without explicit written permission. Its illegal, you can be called to task for it -- doesn't matter if the game is old, doesn't matter you aren't making money.

If a certain game inspires you, then let it end at inspiring -- make a game 'like' that old classic, but make it your own: new characters, new moves, new plot, new title. Anything less and you're just ridding on someone else's coat-tails.


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Titles themselves are usually trademarks, as are distinctive characters like Mario, etc.

Copyright applies to 'products' -- trademarks are about protecting the identity of the product.




Don't do a clone, even its in homage, without explicit written permission. Its illegal, you can be called to task for it -- doesn't matter if the game is old, doesn't matter you aren't making money.

If a certain game inspires you, then let it end at inspiring -- make a game 'like' that old classic, but make it your own: new characters, new moves, new plot, new title. Anything less and you're just ridding on someone else's coat-tails.





Interesting
well then, what about for the game pong?
I see a whole bunch of little remakes all over on the web. Did they all get written permission from Atari?

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Well, by the way the game I was looking to make a remake of was pong

I just sent an email to Atari requesting permission.
Hopefully that'll go well

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well, I wouldn't call your clone 'Pong Resurection'* or something, but pong is a fairly safe deal just by virtue of the fact that it's pure game mechanic -- no characters, no plot, pretty much nothing distinguishing at all. Pretty much as long as you add one distinct mechanic of your own you're good.


* By which I mean: Don't call it Pong anything, and don't rip off any marketing-type resources (posters, adds, box art, distinctive fonts, etc). But, in the case of Pong, the mechanics are safe to copy (you can't patent or copyright game mechanics, at least not in this form) but you should add some kind of original mechanic as well. There's nothing else to it besides the name, which is protected, so avoid the name and you're fine.

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"Well, by the way the game I was looking to make a remake of was pong

I just sent an email to Atari requesting permission.
Hopefully that'll go wel"

Why do you want to remake "pong"? Presumably because you think the brand has some value, right? So why would Atari (or rather IESA, who currently own Infogrames who own Atari Inc which owns the original Atari's IP), just give that value to you? Big companies (like the aforementioned stack) have dozens of lawyers and marketing people who spend their days looking to make money by licencing IP they have lying around. IP like; the name of one of the most famous computer games ever made. If there's any money available there, they're going to want to SELL you that IP..

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Names are a trademark issue - not a good idea to go copying names.


But it's nonsense to say that clones are illegal - just look at the vast number of clones of games that exist, even from mainstream commercial companies. Copyright doesn't cover everything.

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Using "Tetris" in the title of your game or in the advertising for your game would likely be considered trademark infringement as the consumer is likely to be confused as to who created the game (you are not the original creator). Creating a game with similar mechanics (e.g. falling blocks) might not be subject to copyright infringement, however an exact replica of the original game with the same sequences of blocks etc. might be close enough to get your game taken down by your ISP when the copyright owner sends them a DMCA takedown notice.

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