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  Remakes - are they legal ?  (Read 2634 times)
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Offline Frog

Junior Newbie

Java games rock!

« Posted 2004-03-16 21:40:58 »

Hi everybody! I would like to port some original ,old ,ZX Spectrum game , which belong to Namco corp. Japan to J2ME , I'll draw backgrounds of my own ,but plan to use similar looking character -
is it alright from the law's point of view?
Offline oNyx

JGO Coder

Medals: 2

pixels! :x

« Reply #1 - Posted 2004-03-16 22:15:09 »

If you don't rip some of the original media and don't call it the same it won't be a problem.

If you recreate (don't rip!) the character(s) it can be a problem, if they are recogizeable. E.g. a sprite wich looks like sonic but bigger more detailed and red instead of blue won't (usually) cut it. Well, the graphics itself aren't usually important for the gameplay - just give it a fresh'n'new look  Smiley

Long story short: the game mechanics itself aren't (and can't be) protected in any way - everything else (the media/names) is.

弾幕 ☆ @mahonnaiseblog
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder

Medals: 1

« Reply #2 - Posted 2004-03-17 03:23:08 »


Long story short: the game mechanics itself aren't (and can't be) protected in any way - everything else (the media/names) is.

As for the media, if you create a "new work of art" then it's yours to own (as soon as you create a new work, even if it was "inspired" by a previous work, it's no longer a copy, and immediately all the copyright laws become irrelevant). The issue that Onyx refers to is that if you create a new work, although you *do* own it, you may instead be affected by the trademarks laws, that say you can't promote something if you might confuse people into thinking that it is someone else's product.

Hence legal battles preventing cola companies from using red packaging, because consumers looking for Coke just grab "the big red bottle".

The issue with e.g. Sonic is that if your new Sonic looks very Sonic-y, then the owners may feel that you're confusing customers into thinking it's "Sonic 2" (or "sonic 10" or whatever Smiley).

There are exceptions, like if there's some obvious reason why it's not a sequel. E.g. a pastiche, where you are clearly taking the mickey, is nearly always allowed.

You should, for instance, be able to have a red hedgehog. So long as he doesn't have Sonic's graphic style (I'm assuming they've trademarked that). They might - conceivably - have trademarked "hedgehog in computer game"; if they had I doubt it has any relevance in the world beyond making some weiner lawyer feel impressed with himself - if you could protect *anything* you can bet MS would have trademarked "Intel-based Operating System software" by now Wink. NB: there are lots of "trademark laws", not just the ones dealing directly with trademarks (which are a specific type). You can get something covered by some of them, even if not by the "TM" ones. E.g. in UK law you can get the "shape" or "design" of a physical item protected without being distinctive enough to have a TM on it.

Beyond that there are lots of little laws and finicky details that you probably can't be bothered with. And I'm not a lawyer to advise you on specifics.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
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Offline Bombadil

Senior Devvie

« Reply #3 - Posted 2004-03-17 07:02:12 »

Ah, and don't name your game "Mindows" if you want to sell it in Finland, Sweden, Holland and maybe Canada, or you'll get sued by the big red mond because they own the word "windows" (with the glass inside) and anything which sounds, looks, smells and tastes like that (bindows, dindows, hindows, sindows, ...).
Hopefully they won't call their next office Sentence, their next browser Door, their next database Earth, and their next palladium God...

PS: This "IP" (int. prop) stuff is just dangerous when coming from a group with the law power to sue anybody.

Back to topic: Take a look at that casual game named "Zuma" please, it's a clone of the Arcade game named "Puzzloop" (owned by Mitchell, ~199X) but with different graphics.
Offline Frog

Junior Newbie

Java games rock!

« Reply #4 - Posted 2004-03-17 20:53:22 »

Dear friends ! Thank You very much for such a response,
and attention to my problem ! If You are not lawers - You are the Experts in the game development field! Thank You !!! I'll make completely new game cast and put completely new ,different name Smiley hopefuly it'll
save me from custody Wink  
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