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menyo

Another copywrite thread...

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Hi,

I have read some info about this but still i'm very confused about when there are copywrite issues. It's quite impossible to make a game nowadays that does not share gameplay elements with other games but when does someone cross the line? I have this question for a while now and can't seem to figure this out. Take diablo vs dungeon siege for example or civilization and suddenly activision releases call to power there is an endless list of look alikes to sum up here.

Even more question marks arise above my head when i see all those minecraft clones, fortress craft, terraria, castle miner, total miner etc. Are these tittle walking on a thin line on copyright infringement? Since there is a major boom of minecraft clones, is one free to recreate it, change and add some stuff and call it there own?

What if i make a hack 'n slash that plays pretty much the same as diablo but with different content (graphics/quests/storyline/etc) are they able to sue me? Obviously they have stolen most of there ideas from roguelikes.

Why is this so vague? Obviously if one makes a game there is copywrite infringement since something has done before and thus is copywrited automatically. From what i have read, you may not copy anything from other without having permission from the owner. So i have to contact blizzard to make a hack 'n slash, contact square soft if i want to put crystals in my weapons and contact mojang to mine tunnels all for that same game?

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Copyright in this case mostly concerns the assets; storylines and vague descriptors of game elements generally doesn't float. Specific rule sets (e.g. Dungeons and Dragons) are under copyright as well.

Copyright does not extend to 'ideas' -- an idea without implementation, or an implementation that is too general, cannot be copyrighted (or well, that's how it's supposed to work...)

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The simple version is: gameplay elements (the rules of the game itself) aren't coverred by copyright.

The characters, story, music and artwork all are covered, but the ideas behind the gameplay are not.
If you stole the gameplay ideas of a game, but re-made it from scratch with new characters/story/artwork, you'd be fine.
Even more question marks arise above my head when i see all those minecraft clones, fortress craft, terraria, castle miner, total miner etc. Are these tittle walking on a thin line on copyright infringement? Since there is a major boom of minecraft clones, is one free to recreate it, change and add some stuff and call it there own?
Minecraft is an Infiniminer clone! You can recreate the gameplay exactly, as long as you do it from scratch and don't steal any of their artistic creations.

This is why it's often said that ideas are worthless, all that matters is your ability to execute an idea.

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As the others have said, abstract gameplay ideas are not covered by copyright. However, a game could still be considered a derived work if it is too similar to another game. The owners of games such as Pong and Tetris have been very successful at killing clones that get too popular, even if the games do vary quite a bit (e.g. "plasma pong").

For lots of modern games though, they are on legal quicksand. If they pursue "clones" of their game, then the owner's of games they've cloned might see there is a lot of money to be made. Very few companies enjoy the position of games like Pong or Tetris, which appear to be more or less completely original and apparently not subject to earlier claims.

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