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Thread: Copyright issue

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Copyright issue

    Hi guys,

    I have a generic question regarding cloning old but well known games like game called Frogger.

    I've found some information regarding TM and Copyrighting:
    Legal notice: This game is an unofficial clone of the original Frogger® game and is not endorsed by the registered trademark and copyright owners Konami Co., Ltd.

    Does anyone know what kind of copyrights are held by Konami?
    Is one allowed to develop a game for mobile phones without getting official approval or expensive license from Konami?

    Would it be "illegal" to create a game called "Lonely rabbit", where rabbit is trying to get across the road, full of cars, to get to his female friend?

    I hope you understood my question.

    Last edited by dmalis; 2009-09-19 at 08:36.

  2. #2
    Super Contributor
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Cheshire, UK

    Re: Copyright issue

    This is a legal question, and you might be better to look for a legal or intellectual property forum.

    You also need to consider the region in which you want to sell your game. What can be protected by copyright, patent and trademark laws is different in different countries.

    You certainly cannot create an exact copy of an existing game. That's why Jamdat (now EA Mobile) paid $137 million back in 2005 in order to acquire the licence to sell a Tetris game.

    However, you are generally in the most trouble if you use the name. The name is probably not subject to copyright, but if it is a trademark (and especially if it is a registered trademark), then you may be guilty of what we refer to in the UK as "passing off". "Passing off" is attempting to make customers believe that your product is actually someone else's (well known) product, and so benefit from someone else's brand image.

    Copy any program code or artwork, and you'll fall foul of copyright law.

    However, copyrights generally do not cover basic game ideas. You might find this article interesting. This is why games like Bejeweled and Jewel Quest are so very similar (match three jewels in a row).

    I'd suggest you:

    1. Don't copy any artwork (or use artwork that looks too similar)

    2. Don't use the same name

    3. Avoid mimmicking any distinctive artwork styles or typefaces from the original game

    4. Try to add or change a game element to make your game distinct

    As I understand things, if you make your Lonely Rabbit game look distinct (choose a very different art style), and you add some extra game element (such as, say, crossing the road at night on later levels, rabbits freeze when caught in car headlights), then you are not infringing on Frogger.

    Let me add, I'm not a lawyer or an expert in intellectual property, and you should research this more fully if you want to be safe.

    I look forward to seeing Lonely Rabbit on Ovi!!


  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: Copyright issue

    Thanks Graham,

    I really appreciate your effort as you made things much more clear to me - and to the others as well.

    I'll definitely follow your advices and as mobile development is so much fun and a challenge to me, you'll definitely came across that rabbit on OVI someday


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