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Re: First release of Blocks: a 3D Tetris LookALike based on Crystal Space

On Wed, Feb 23, 2000 at 10:03:15AM +0100, Jorrit Tyberghein wrote:
> What makes a game a Tetris? i.e. Blocks is a 3D version which could be
> considered a completely different game. The only similarity is that blocks
> fall down. I visited the legal department stuff and it is not obvious to me
> when a game is considered a tetris clone and when it is another type
> of game. Any ideas?

I'm not so sure myself. They've changed the site and taken out the information about what constitutes an infringement. The old version basically said that if you make a game where groups of blocks fall down and you have to form them into lines to score, you are in violation of their copyright and the law.

IANAL but I am inclined to believe that the game itself cannot be copyrighted. The game code can be, and the name "Tetris" can be trademarked but a game concept cannot be copyrighted. It could be patented but the Tetris Company couldn't patent it; they didn't invent it. It was founded by the people who ported Tetris to the NES, and apparently exists solely to milk licensing fees out of developers and litigate unblessed clones out of existence.

There's a Slashdot story on this operation; do a search on "tetris".

Many of the great Linux games are clones/derivatives of previous games, so for us the right to derive from a previous game without using copyrighted code, images, or other material is about as important as the right to reverse-engineer, I think.

Sorry to go off on a Dennis Miller-style rant there, folks...
Jeff Read <bitwize@geocities.com>
Unix Code Artist, Anime Fan, Really Cool Guy