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/  Forum Index
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      /  Game copyright
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thinkchip 
Game copyright
Posted on 6-Feb-2020 20:34:20
#1 ]
Super Member
Joined: 26-Mar-2004
Posts: 1124
From: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

I have some games I've been working on for years. At some point I decide that a game isn't fun (yet) and I drop it for a while. I haven't totally given up on them, but they need something. That's why it's safer to do something that has been tried and tested before I spend countless hours on it. I've been a fan of the Civilization games since the first one (who hasn't). There is (or was) an open-sourced Civ game around. I looked at the code and couldn't make any sense out of it. I decided it would be easier to start from scratch and that's I what I'm doing. I do most of my work in Microsoft Visual C++ and then convert it to Amiga OS4.

I especially like Civ 6. I'm wondering how much of the rules you can adopt until you get in copyright troubles. There are certain "signature" innovations that I'd like to use. Like six-sided tiles with six neighboring tiles, cities can defend with ranged weapons if they have a wall, workers expire after three improvements, combat units can't be stacked, units can travel on water, trade routes create roads. Then there are districts and governors. There is lots of other stuff. The graphics would be flat 2D, not fancy 3D.

I wonder if there would be any copyright problems.

Last edited by thinkchip on 06-Feb-2020 at 10:13 PM.

_________________
X5000 / AmigaOne 500(OS4.1 FE) / microA1(OS4.1 FE) / Cubic IDE / Imagine / Blender
Lightwave 2019 / Microsoft Visual C++

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Samurai_Crow 
Re: Game copyright
Posted on 6-Feb-2020 21:44:23
#2 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 18-Jan-2003
Posts: 2181
From: Ft. Collins, Colorado, USA

@thinkchip

The Tiled tilemap editor supports hex tiles so if you're using Windows already, look it up! It's at MapEditor.org if you are unfamiliar with it. If that part were copyrightable the Battle of Wesnoth and FreeCiv would have been sued a long time ago.

As for the Civilization 6 rights, as long as you use original or freely available art, sounds and music, you should be in the clear for the most part. Look and Feel copyright violations usually have to be almost indistinguishable from the original or use the same unit names and options before trouble ensues.

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Bugala 
Re: Game copyright
Posted on 6-Feb-2020 21:57:45
#3 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2007
Posts: 610
From: Finland

@thinkchip

When it comes to rules or mechanics, you are on pretty safe waters. Mechanics cant be copyrighted. You can basically make a full copy of civilization as long as you do it from scratch yourself, use different graphics, name, and theme.

In civilizations case, you could get probably even further since you can't really copyright using Tanks and submarine units for example, but another game could easily use them too.

Tetris is very aggressive in defending themselves from clones, but truth is, at least last I checked (years ago), they have never taken any to court but have settled outside, this is probably because they suspect there's a high chance they will lose their case and then everyone knows it, so basically they trust on fear factor to intimidate the clones instead of true copyright.

You make a Tetris clone with a different name and make it housebuilding themed and hence either boards or bricks falling, and they won't win or even try to sue you anymore, that is how weak the case is with mechanics.

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paolone 
Re: Game copyright
Posted on 7-Feb-2020 10:10:09
#4 ]
Super Member
Joined: 24-Sep-2007
Posts: 1055
From: Unknown

@thinkchip

You can recreate whatever game you like, providing that:

1. you do NOT carbon-copy all its mechanics. As pointed out, mechanics are not 'copyrightable' but a competent attorney can easily demostrate you're stealing ideas and creating potential confusion and loss of money for the original game creators. About this, please look for "great giana sisters vs super mario bros" case back in the 80s.

2. you use copyleft or original elements (your own creation) for artistry, graphics, music

3. you do NOT carbon-copy user interface, so player dynamics can change as much as it's enough to avoid being classified like a "this is a copy of".

Last, but not least:

4. If you're going to release your game only for Amiga specific OSes like OS4, MOS and AROS, nobody will ever even notice you've released it. So obscurity should protect you just enough from any peril.

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Raffaele 
Re: Game copyright
Posted on 7-Feb-2020 10:37:23
#5 ]
Super Member
Joined: 7-Dec-2005
Posts: 1880
From: Naples, Italy

@thinkchip

There is FreeCiv out there. You can spin off your version out of FreeCiv sources...

Last edited by Raffaele on 07-Feb-2020 at 10:38 AM.

_________________
"When the Amiga came out, everyone [at Apple] was scared as hell." (J.L. Gassée, former CEO of Apple France and chief of devs of Mac II-fx, interviewed by Amazing Computing, Nov 1996).

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Rose 
Re: Game copyright
Posted on 7-Feb-2020 14:47:41
#6 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 5-Nov-2009
Posts: 670
From: Unknown

@paolone

Quote:
4. If you're going to release your game only for Amiga specific OSes like OS4, MOS and AROS, nobody will ever even notice you've released it. So obscurity should protect you just enough from any peril.


Oh really? Remember this? http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=76750

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Rose 
Re: Game copyright
Posted on 7-Feb-2020 14:56:53
#7 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 5-Nov-2009
Posts: 670
From: Unknown

@thinkchip

It's not only copyrights you should worry. Since you are in US, game mechanics can be patented.

In general, on list of "Most stupid things you can do in internet" Asking legal advice is #2 right after asking medical advice. Ask from someone who _REALLY_ knows. Internet is full of people who have graduated from Law school of "I think that" who really doesn't have a clue and even if it's their best intentions, it's you whos going to pay up if things go south. Internet forums are also nice that they have people from around the world so probably 80% of advice which is sound for person who answers doesn't apply to you since you are in different country with different laws.

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Bugala 
Re: Game copyright
Posted on 8-Feb-2020 13:04:51
#8 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2007
Posts: 610
From: Finland

@paolone

Do notice about Paolones Giana sister's example that Nintendo never did a lawsuit against Giana Sisters, they only threatened to do so which was enough to scare the game out of shelves.
Basically I don't think Nintendo would have won in court, except, they did pretty much copy the level one from Super Mario Bros. Perhaps it was just a homage to Super Mario Bros, but from a trial point of view, it could have been catastrophic.

But then again, I don't think for example Rainbow arts, the publisher, would have been willing to take it to the court even if they had known for sure to win it, since from rainbow arts point of view, even if they would win the court case, it could threaten their future business in the sense that Nintendo could decide not to do any deals with Rainbow arts ever.

However, even I don't think, except for the level 1, that Nintendo could have won in court against Giana Sisters, it is good to remember what Rose just said.

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