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Clones and Copyrights

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As a computer science/mathematics major, I know very little about the legal issues surrouding game development. My question centers on clones of games. I am working on a game that looks quite a bit like a game that is already out there, although the title of my game and its details, situations, characters are slightly differnet. At what point is your game too much like someone else''s? For example, if I were to, say, create a game that looks like Super Mario Bros., where the names of the characters in the game are different, but the goals/objectives of the game are similar you run around in a side-scrolling world killing monsters, eating things and grabbing coins? Would this type of game infringe on a copyright law or is it different enough from the real Super Mario Bros.? Again, the actual game that I am working on, is quite similar to a game out there. Where is the line drawn - when is your game too much like their''s? P.S. Where can I get more information (specific websites) about this topic?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
sonic and mario are almost the same(mario has coins, sonic has rings) i think clones are allowed if your not making the excat same thing as the "original" in the game industrie all you see are clones of other games(quake like 3d shooters), rarely originals(ex. the sims)

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Basically, the only copyright anyone can hold is anything tangable in a form that can be submited. Ideas and concepts (they vary, but the ones your talking about) cannot be copyrighted. Just like how someone can''t make a game in complete 3D and copyright the Complete 3D Game and say no-one else can use it. This could not be done. Hrm... This is comming out as well as it should, lol. But basically, your not infriging anything until you take graphics directly from the game, take story directly from the game, take music directly from the game, etc. The concept of running across land and grabbing things can''t be copyrighted.

But also note; almost always is education allowed beyond the restrictions of copyrights. :-P Meaning you could (most likely... I''m not saying you can... You''ll have to look it up in their policy... But almost always this is allowed) take a game and directly disassemble it for the purpose of education alone.

Later,

Alex Ford
PointSoft EA Co., Ltd.
http://www.pointsoftonline.com

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You''re responses have been helpful, but perhaps the example of Super Mario Bros. is not very good. Say my game was a clone of something like "The Sims" (which it is NOT, this is just an example). If my game was about building a house, furnishing it and moving people around in the house and interacting with these people, would this be infringement? In short, what I am working on is very similar to another game out there, just that the title and some of the details/characters in the game have different names.

Imagine it were a clone of the Sims. It might be called "Folks". In this game, just like in the Sims, you would have a toolbar and would select to build walls, floors, add furniture and then you could click on the people and make them eat, sleep, talk. This sounds just like it would be identical, except the name of the game would be different. Is this infringment? My game is this close to a game out there!

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Get over it man. Just spill... let us know what game you are cloning? Tell us the differences and someone might be able to let you know if you are stepping on anyones toes. Most likely your not. Even if you were to copy "The Sims" which isn''t that original, its kinda like a tamagotchi... and called it "The Folks", but instead you were raising demons or grasshoppers. Maxis can''t do a thing about it. Unless you release the "hot Date pak" for the demons or grasshoppers.

cheers.


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If it''s that close you''re pushing the line of infringement. You need to add _at least_ one significant and unique element to your game.
If you don''t intend to release it, you don''t need to worry about it. If you''re going to submit it to contest or otherwise make it available to the public at large... you may want to consider making a change.

Magmai Kai Holmlor

"Oh, like you''ve never written buggy code" - Lee

"What I see is a system that _could do anything - but currently does nothing !" - Anonymous CEO

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