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Anarchi

Is game cloning (as freeware) legal?

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Say a series of games has stopped such as Leisure Suite Larry and kings Quest, is it legal to create a free clone (different story line) of these games? What would the original developer do if they came across the free game? Would they be able to take legal action? If so, are there ways around this?

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If you get permission from the people owning the trademark for the characters etc. (Sierra in your case) then it''s alright. If not you''re violating intellectual property laws.

Making the game free doesn''t matter, you could still be sued if you use the characters without permission.

Search the forums, this question comes up pretty often.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
You can do it, if you redesign the characters, the storyline, the names, gametitle, graphics, music, etc...

Simple: you''ll have to make a whole new game.

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Copyright laws where you live, may be different.

However, in the United States, you''re allowed to "steal copyrights" if A) its being used for educational purposes or B) you''re not turning a profit.

If you can prove, you''re not making a profit, you''re more than entitled to use those characters / storylines / anything.



"Where genius ends, madness begins."
Estauns

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quote:
Original post by Estauns
Copyright laws where you live, may be different.

However, in the United States, you're allowed to "steal copyrights" if A) its being used for educational purposes or B) you're not turning a profit.




I don't know where so many people get misinformation like this... but in case anyone believes this, the above statement is completely wrong.

Even non-profit educational institutions (which hits both of those supposed criteria) are required to pay the copyright holder when they (for instance) photocopy and distribute a few pages out of a textbook.

It's true, copyright law is not often enforced against elementary schools, but it is still the law, and even schools have been sued and fined for copyright violations.

In the United States, you may not make any unauthorized copies of, well _any_ material that hasn't specifically been placed in the public domain or otherwise licensed for redistibution. You also may not use anyone else's characters or logos without permission. No exceptions, no excuses.

Well, excepting parodies.

Edited by - cheesegrater on November 12, 2001 12:06:46 PM

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quote:
Original post by CheeseGrater
Well, excepting parodies.

Even parodies and other "complementary works" are having a rough time these days; did you hear about the re-envisioning of Gone With the Wind from the slaves'' perspective? The copyright holders were not happy about it and may have taken the author to court.



I wanna work for Microsoft!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Since you say that you are planning to create a clone that is based on a "different story line", why not just go all the way and give it a different name and different characters to completely differentiate it from Sierras'' games. That way, you can make a game that is about the same subject/topic, without any fear of copyright laws. There are a myriad of games out there that are based on the same subject; just give change a few things and it will be distinct from Sierras'' games and you will not be in violation of any law.

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quote:
Original post by CheeseGrater
I don''t know where so many people get misinformation like this... but in case anyone believes this, the above statement is completely wrong.



quote:

US Code, 17.107
the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright



Clear?

Section 108 excludes libraries and archives. Section 110 excludes non-profit performances for educational, religious or charity purposes; and peformances in agricultural fairs, oddly.

It is important to realise that these laws refer to the purpose, and not the place. Making clones of a game at school may still be an infringement if you aren''t doing it for educational purposes.

Also note that cloning a game isn''t necessarily a violation of copyright. Copyright doesn''t apply to ideas or procedures, so the way in which a game operates can''t be copyrighted. However, text, images and music can be copyrighted.

quote:

In the United States, you may not make any unauthorized copies of, well _any_ material that hasn''t specifically been placed in the public domain or otherwise licensed for redistibution. You also may not use anyone else''s characters or logos without permission. No exceptions, no excuses.



This is partly true. It is always illegal to violate copyright. However, in order to claim statutory damages or fees, the copyright owner must register his work with the Library of Congress *before* the copyright infringement.

quote:

Well, excepting parodies.



I couldn''t find anything specifically pertaining to parodies, which means that, unless there''s a precedent somewhere, parodies are a violation.

Finally, many people say that making backup copies of software is illegal, many people say it is legal. The US Code, he say:

quote:
17.117a
it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided: ... (2) that such new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes
only and that all archival copies are destroyed in the event that continued possession of the computer program should cease to be rightful.



So, it is perfectly legal to make copies of a computer program for archival purposes, only. ''Archiving'' your software on your website is not legal if you allow others to download it - that counts as distribution.

All your bases belong to us

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Anarchi,

In particular, the Kings Quest and LSL series are still generating money for Sierra. In the stores, they still sell bundles of these games. You would be in a very bad position and likely won''t get permission to create it.

I wouldn''t touch those series if I were you. It would be cool to see another Larry character though.

Perhaps you should develop one and make it public domain so that we don''t run into a problem like this again.

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It is not legal to use copyrighted material in any way that can be seen as depriving the owning person/company of profit. It is, however, legal to use copyrights in something for your own personal use. Example: you can make a Star Wars screen saver from art you crafted of the characters and use it on your own computer, but it is illegal for you to distribute that software, whether you charge or not.

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