Making clones of arcade games, what is legal?

Making clones of arcade games, what is legal?

Post by Mats Luthm » Tue, 10 Jan 1995 22:31:20



In the early eighties I sometimes played an arcade game called Pengo. A
penguin is chased by monsters (Pacman style) and pushes iceblocks around,
trying to place them in a certain way.

Years later I made a version of this game that is quite different in
detail from the original game, but the idea is exactly the same (I have
both an X and an MS-Windows version). My question is: Can a game be
copyrighted in a way that could put me in trouble if I release my version
of the game to the public (I'm not trying to make money, I'll be posting
it on the net). The original game has probably not existed for ten
years. If I could get in trouble what kind of trouble would that be (could
I be sued for $1000000 even if I don't make any money)?
--
Mats Luthman, Sylog AB
Solna Torg 3, Box 1466
171 28 Solna, SWEDEN
phone: +46 8 730 00 15

 
 
 

Making clones of arcade games, what is legal?

Post by Jack Stefa » Thu, 12 Jan 1995 06:44:26




>In the early eighties I sometimes played an arcade game called Pengo. A
>penguin is chased by monsters (Pacman style) and pushes iceblocks around,
>trying to place them in a certain way.

for more response you might try reposting this to rec.games.programmer

--

                "frankly mr shankly, i'm a sickening wreck.
            i've got the 21st century, breathing down my neck."
                                -morrissey

 
 
 

Making clones of arcade games, what is legal?

Post by Michael H. Warfie » Sun, 15 Jan 1995 03:02:52



Quote:>In the early eighties I sometimes played an arcade game called Pengo. A
>penguin is chased by monsters (Pacman style) and pushes iceblocks around,
>trying to place them in a certain way.

        I LOVE THAT GAME!!!  I was really disappointed when I could no
longer find it ANYWHERE!!!

Quote:>Years later I made a version of this game that is quite different in
>detail from the original game, but the idea is exactly the same (I have
>both an X and an MS-Windows version). My question is: Can a game be
>copyrighted in a way that could put me in trouble if I release my version
>of the game to the public (I'm not trying to make money, I'll be posting
>it on the net). The original game has probably not existed for ten
>years. If I could get in trouble what kind of trouble would that be (could
>I be sued for $1000000 even if I don't make any money)?

        Well...  Since you didn't "copy" the program, technically you cannot
have violated any "Copyright" the original had.  There may be a question
of a "look and feel" copyright ala Lotus 1-2-3 but if details are substantially
different, that's not likely either.  The only thing left is a possible
Tradmark infringment issue connected with the name "Pengo".  However I have
seen at least one other Pengo clone out on the Network somewhere (didn't
run on any archecture I own) so Trademark also seems unlikely.  Seems like
that one ran on a Mac or something.  If they haven't sued him as yet, then
you're in the clear.  You might want to get a copy of that version and check
out any claims made about Trademarks or copyrights though.  I don't remember
who held the rights on that arcade game either.  Let's not forget that
there are plenty of "Pac Man", "Dig Dug", and "Space Invaders" clones out
there and no-one has lost their shirts over them...

        For the armchair lawyers out there - This is my personal experience
based on my involvement with copyright issues in the past.  It is not to
be construed or used in place of legal advise.  If you're serious concerned
about the possibility, check it out with an attorney with experience in
intellectual property matters.

        And send me a copy!  :-) :-) :-)

--


An optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds.
A pessimist is sure of it!

 
 
 

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