Author Topic: Homebrews & Copyright  (Read 6705 times)

Offline retromod

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Homebrews & Copyright
« on: April 15, 2014, 14:40:37 PM »
is this an official game covering trademark of "smurf"?
I'm asking because on every location there is only a link to the coleco 1982 copyright and this game ads together with the upcoming smurf movie.
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Offline TrekMD

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2014, 15:01:43 PM »
Quote from: "retromod"
is this an official game covering trademark of "smurf"?
I'm asking because on every location there is only a link to the coleco 1982 copyright and this game ads together with the upcoming smurf movie.

I've seen no mention of copyright info.
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Offline retromod

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2014, 15:32:29 PM »
that's why I asked. "SMURF" is registered and a trademark within any country. Selling things with trademark you have not licensed is quite dangerous.....

Writing games with "SMURF" brand is quite attractive, that's why Ubisoft payed a lot of money to do so, specially for the upcoming movie.

The original ad page also contains no copyright nor trademark info. Coleco payed for the trademark in the 80's but this is license is gone a long time ago....
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Offline TrekMD

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 20:51:56 PM »
A new company is making this game.  I don't know who they are or what they've done to secure rights.  For all we know, they've gotten the rights to do this.  Let's stop speculating about it until more is known. 
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Offline retromod

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 08:39:45 AM »
Quote from: "TrekMD"
A new company is making this game.  I don't know who they are or what they've done to secure rights.  For all we know, they've gotten the rights to do this.  Let's stop speculating about it until more is known.

do we really know that? I found no indication for it. And as usual homebrews are made without any big investigations in copyright or trademark. See AtariAge list and you'll know what I mean: Star Wars titles, repro of games from one system to another. There was an interesting show on TV explaining todays pitfalls regarding game development. Even simple game concepts are protected. So a "Flappy Bird" for example is protected if you re-program the concept. Same for all our known arcade titles. A simple Defender clone can't be made without permission from originator of the game. that's why Nintendo is so pissed if it found some illegal use of it's characters or gameplay.
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Offline TrekMD

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2014, 11:43:46 AM »
Quote from: "retromod"
Quote from: "TrekMD"
A new company is making this game.  I don't know who they are or what they've done to secure rights.  For all we know, they've gotten the rights to do this.  Let's stop speculating about it until more is known.

do we really know that? I found no indication for it. And as usual homebrews are made without any big investigations in copyright or trademark. See AtariAge list and you'll know what I mean: Star Wars titles, repro of games from one system to another. There was an interesting show on TV explaining todays pitfalls regarding game development. Even simple game concepts are protected. So a "Flappy Bird" for example is protected if you re-program the concept. Same for all our known arcade titles. A simple Defender clone can't be made without permission from originator of the game. that's why Nintendo is so pissed if it found some illegal use of it's characters or gameplay.

Do we know what?  That it is being made by a new company?  It is stated that it will be published under a new label, Childhood Buddies.  We don't know who they are and we don't know what they've done.  Don't assume that they don't have the rights.  Wait until more information is made available. 
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Online zapiy

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 14:14:23 PM »
Would it stop anyone buying it eitherway? 
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Offline TrekMD

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 14:33:29 PM »
Quote from: "zapiy"
Would it stop anyone buying it eitherway?

Doubtful.  It will stop sales if the brand owner finds out and no licensing was done.  Like what happened with Princess Rescue for the 2600. 
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Offline retromod

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2014, 15:11:17 PM »
clever how they deal with it. If you license a product then you normally write "licensed 2014". What they do is they use the official old Coleco covers containing the license from 1982 which of course may not valid anymore (else you would write 2014). The license was given to Coleco as company not any programmer or other company according to the text on the cover. A license for a trademark is normally limited to not block other business opportunities. So I doubt the license granted 1982 is still valid specially as it was given to "Coleco" as company at a specific time.

So most likely they hope nobody notice the NEW game is usage of current trademark names under the hood of the old game and permissions. Why should there be any reason printing 1982 to the covers if it is required to trademark laws to name company and exact date?

May be that's also the reason it is not released under AA name instead to a "unknown" company....

If they name it "little blue creature tries to find their way home from a wizzard" would not sell as it would do by using known characters and link to existing game  :21:.
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Offline Greyfox

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2014, 16:16:08 PM »
are you a copyright lawyer now? Retro :78: , regardless of what's what, these games are been reproduced and being ported to different platforms and I reckon purely for the reason of them not existing on them before, I doubt that it's all about money, rather than appreciation of the product is why they would be asking for it maybe?..but I think you've made your point now very clear on copyright issues, so what are your thoughts on the port itself? good or could of it been better?

Offline retromod

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2014, 01:39:43 AM »
Quote from: "Greyfox"
are you a copyright lawyer now? Retro :78: , regardless of what's what, these games are been reproduced and being ported to different platforms and I reckon purely for the reason of them not existing on them before, I doubt that it's all about money, rather than appreciation of the product is why they would be asking for it maybe?..but I think you've made your point now very clear on copyright issues, so what are your thoughts on the port itself? good or could of it been better?

As i soon enter the game development market again (after 20 years) i am very interested on copyright and licensing of course. Professional development is a minefield if you do not work with experienced teams. In the past all this was handled by my producers like bomico etc, i only coded and have done artworks, creating some concepts.

If i'll write a known brand on my box then sure i sell more. It seems specially AtariAge is completely out of sync with law. You will notice if you read and ask question any commercial vendor is faced with: regulations, taxes, copyright, trademarks. Sometimes you ll get really good product offers like a star wars game... But sadly it is not licensed so finally illegal. Illegal means that if disney decide to forbid it then it will trashed it does not care if offered in ebay, any website, imported to countries etc. On the other side you harm all the people who tries to follow these rules. I ve sold software nearly 30 years and the number of illegal copies is so high that this prevented any further development or project. I have some "proto" in my desk. Completed and ready to ship but never released (also for trademark or gameplay copy reason).

So if someone has a valid trademark license he must write it on the cover. As i know ubisoft holds current permission for any smurf game. They payed a lot of money for that permission.
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Offline TrekMD

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2014, 02:06:37 AM »
I split this out of the original topic.  If you want to discuss the legality of homebrews, keep it here and do so based on facts, not assumptions.
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Offline retromod

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2014, 08:06:13 AM »
thanks. There are no assumption, if you check the topics here for homebrews I read "star wars", "bruce lee" etc. all famous trademarks and brands you can't simple use without permission.

And sure I'm interested to get similar "trademark" deals as a famous character or brand improve selling. That's how business works finally. I told my lawyer to request at Pego if I'm able to get similar conditions or if not what their conditions are. I have some idea for similar gameplays and this would be low hanging fruit in that case.

There are a lot of homebrew titles without breaking copyright or trademarks and these are really valuable to support because it is quite harder to develop something from scratch including characters and brands than simple using existing one. I've done that nearly 30 years ago.
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Offline retromod

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2014, 08:21:35 AM »
Quote from: "Greyfox"
are you a copyright lawyer now? Retro :16:

You can't tell you do it for free and then offering pre-order pages and name a price tag. If it is really for fun why not simple ask the trademark holder to get a free license (add them according to trademark requirements to your cover) and then offer the game for a price to get your hardware invests back? If the trademark holder is unwilling, well then try to find your own brand or characters for the project.

Try to compare with a business company, what would they do to get such product out of the door?

1. get license and trademark agreements prior to write any line of code
2. release some ads (similar to AtariAge promotion) after first prototype is working (youtube, gaming magazines, webpages etc)
3. print packages and covers
4. build hardware compliant for different markets like the european one (so all the CE/WEEE and ROHS stuff)
5. for german market you'll need an age classification else it is not allowed to do advertising for it or offer them to people you are unable to control age. After classification you are able to sell the title without restrictions at any time on any store (that's the reason ebay and other big companies are unable to offer what they want within europe/germany so altering their webpages).

and then you'll have a product you are able to offer worldwide on a legal way for a "certain" price which includes all these nice things like environmental care, quarantee, service etc.

And you also have the opportunity to offer it as download for emulators or flash cards -if you really not interested to make money with it....  :19:
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Offline Elektronite

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2014, 17:25:30 PM »
Someone made a direct question regarding the 'Intellivision Smurf Rescue' game, whether they had the rights or not, and the question was ignored. I would be SHOCKED if they actually secured the Smurf rights.

'Homebrewers' and 'reproduction' makers have a long history of Intellectual Property infringement. I think it is safe to assume they DON'T have the rights until it is stated otherwise.

Collectorvision plans to do a box for their upcoming Space Raid game that has the definite 'look' of a Mattel release. They may have gotten away with it on the Coleco titles, but they are going to get the attention of Intellivision Productions with that box. That may be the straw that breaks the camel's back, and gets them involving lawyers. Who knows?

Some people have criticized me for publishing D2K Arcade. For some reason, they think 'Space Patrol' is OK, but D2K is not. Go figure. Regardless, I don't want to get involved in any grey area in the future, and will be discontinuing D2K when I get a couple of more titles out.

I publish new original and licensed games. If anyone is interested in having their games published through my company, please contact me at gamesforyourintellivision@hotmail.com

We currently have licensed versions of Boulder Dash (R) and a Kroz game from Apogee on the verge of being published.

 

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