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Developing an old game clone

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Hi everyone! Just landed here today.

My question is about making and distributing my own version of an old game. I started around 2 months ago my own version of the old game Pacman, with the focus on getting it as close as possible to the original AI, speeds, timers, score, graphics, and so on.

It was initially a project for myself, but actually I'm so amazed with the final result (just finishing menus, configuration options and little more), that I would love to publish it for all the major platforms, including computers and mobile phones.

My question is regarding the rights of the actual Pacman game. Should I just publish it? I'm not going to earn any money with it. I will give it for free, and I won't use ads or other stuff.

How should I proceed? Any idea?

Thanks a lot!

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14 minutes ago, golgamesdev said:

Ok, thanks! Maybe I should contact NAMCO directly. B|

On the flip side, once you have contacted them... you have exactly zero recourse if they say "no".

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Well, that depends on whether you like getting legal letters/summonses and so on. Technically they get to a) write to you demanding that you stop distributing it (and if you can't things will get worse..), b) pay them for the loss of any value to their IP and c) since you knew it was their IP upfront, get punitive damages as well.

They might not. But they also might.

Get a lawyer.

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Hi everyone. Just to tell you they said NO! (big no, no, no) ;)

No problem, let's go for my own projects. I've actually learned a lot.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/30/2018 at 1:13 AM, golgamesdev said:

Hi everyone. Just to tell you they said NO! (big no, no, no) ;)

No problem, let's go for my own projects. I've actually learned a lot.

The below is just my opinion and experience, not legal advice.

This is why I made my version of Pac-Man without any IP from NAMCO in that GameDev Challenge. I've dealt with copyright infringement in the past, and worked with lawyers prior. Once you commit the infringement (knowingly or unknowingly) they don't have to provide you with any letters, or notices of any sort apart from being served. Another 'myth' people float around is that they must send you notice first such as a C&D, this is not true. They can simply begin legal action immediately, otherwise they have three years from when the infringement has been aware of depending your countries laws (at least in my country). Most companies will send C&Ds and move on, some don't. Others will send a letter and charge a fee, or even outsource the claim to an agency that collects on IP infringement In my case it was a mix up with some IP being used that 'we' thought was open, and they wanted to push legal right away.

It's always best to seek a lawyer when using and especially distributing another person's or company's IP if rights haven't been given.

Edited by Rutin

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