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

Jeff Read wrote:

> 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.

Tell that to all the people who got *successfully* sued by Atari for
PacMan clones - or the people who were sued by Apple for using a 'Trash
Can' icon and overlapping windows (Does anyone remember the 'GEM' windowing
system on the PC?).

IANAL either - but you are truly on shakey legal ground when cloning
games even if you don't steal the code or copy the exact graphics.

> It could be patented but the Tetris Company couldn't patent it; they
> didn't invent it.

Yes - that's true.  The Russian guy who came up with the idea has been
royally screwed over Tetris.  It was a clever idea - and he deserves to
be a rich man after the number of people who've made millions out
of it (can we all say "GameBoy"?).

> 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.

Not nice.
> 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.

I think the case is less strong than the right to reverse engineer.

After all, if you cloned a game like Monopoly by making boards, game
tokens, cards and money - and selling it in stores, you'd certainly
expect to get sued.  Just because you took the idea and cloned it
in software isn't all that much different.

> Sorry to go off on a Dennis Miller-style rant there, folks...


Steve Baker                  http://web2.airmail.net/sjbaker1
sjbaker1@airmail.net (home)  http://www.woodsoup.org/~sbaker
sjbaker@hti.com      (work)