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copyrights premising

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Hi! I know this question is old as our mamma Earth, but what about cloning old games like Donkie Kung, Pac-Man or Arkanoid? If I do all by myself the game like PacMan with similar graphics&sound can I sell it, without copyright premising. So like http://www.ardiri.com/index.php?redir=palm&cat=dkung

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It depends on how close you are to the original. Copyright protects the game code, graphics, sound and level designs but not the idea.

So you could create a platform game where you must guide a character (not a plumber) to the top of the screen (new screen designs) and avoid objects being thrown by a monster (not an ape) at the top of the screen.

What you can''t do is copy the character, levels etc (even if you draw them yourself) and call it something like Monkey Kung. This is considered to be either a breach of copyright or passing off. A company such as Nintendo could claim that you have created something that is so similar to their game that people would be fooled into thinking that it was the original. That you are passing you game off as Donkey Kong.

If you look at the url you quoted you will see from the screens that they have created the same game with the same look and level design. You will also see that is states "THIS PRODUCT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE - REMOVED BY REQUEST OF NINTENDO" - that pretty much says it all.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions

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Yup, agreed.

Arkanoid you''d probably be ok with - there have already been plenty of clones of that anyway (I think Breakout came first anyway so Arkanoid is a clone itself).

With Pac-Man and Donkey-Kong however you''d have tread much more carefully. Both Namco & Nintendo use those characters as icons for their company logos (i.e. they could also be considered trademarks) and view them as very important IP.

I worked on an officially licensed Pac-Man based game (Pac-Man: Adventures in Time), and I can tell you that Namco are very strict about quality, ensuring that the characters "look" correct, and in which scenarios the characters are allowed to appear (for example Pac-Man isn''t allowed to eat anything off the ground, he''s not allowed to have facial hair or wear disguises unless its noticably him underneath, his yellow is a very specific Pantone colour which has to be matched etc).
Every major build of that game had to be sent to Namco for approval.

And we were working on an officially licensed product... - so you can imagine that they''d be very particular about unlicensed copies. (It happened to them with their arcade machines - if you see Pac-MAME you''ll see how many cloned machines appeared). Nintendo are the same.

Simon O''''Connor
Creative Asylum Ltd

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