Author Topic: Homebrews & Copyright  (Read 6700 times)

Offline retromod

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2014, 00:24:29 AM »
Quote from: "Elektronite"
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.

I ve verified the brand and all characters of smurf are listed for pego as trademark owner. I know ubisoft paid a high amount of money to get smurf games out of the door. Specially as a new movies is currently running/started with smurf the prices may increase rapidly for smurf related products.

My lawyer sent a request to pego to verify if we are able to also the possibilities to jump on this brand train for a good price of course.
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Online TrekMD

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2014, 02:53:05 AM »
Quote from: "Elektronite"
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.

Yep, nothing has been said either way.  It'll be interesting to see what the final art for the box shows in terms of copyright.
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Offline Elektronite

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2014, 14:39:01 PM »
There is no doubt in my mind what the box copyrights will say.....Coleco 1982.

Obviously BS.

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2014, 12:55:21 PM »
@elektronite: What does "BS" stands for?

Offline zapiy

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2014, 13:24:35 PM »
Bull shit.
Own: Jaguar, Lynx, Dreamcast, Saturn, MegaDrive, MegaCD, 32X, GameGear, PS3, PS, PSP, Wii, GameCube, N64, DS, GBA, GBC, GBP, GB,  Xbox, 3DO, CDi,  WonderSwan, WonderSwan Colour NGPC

guest5112

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2014, 13:26:14 PM »
I thought so, but i wasn't shure - Thank you :-)

Offline retromod

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2014, 13:50:15 PM »
Quote from: "Elektronite"
There is no doubt in my mind what the box copyrights will say.....Coleco 1982.

Obviously BS.

Got an answer yesterday from the trademark owner of "Smurf" and they are really interested selling licenses so I will try to get one for upcoming projects. The laywer is quite friendly and know that homebrew projects have limited forecasts. They never ever heard about the mentioned "Smurf" game btw. as I asked for similar conditions in term of license fees as I have no clue what would be ok or not. that's something I must work out in project meeting.
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Offline retromod

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2015, 22:54:05 PM »
it seems someone competely ignored the trademark for "Smurf" on Amiga side.
not sure what reason (beside using a famous trademark for free) was to create those game.

attached the letter from the trademark owner. hopefully there is a learning out of them which improves the situation for all programmers using their own characters and names. "homebrew" according to ebay is a word which automatially led to removement of any auction. The gray market attitude seems like a stamp these days specially as specific websites allow those illegal actions.
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Offline OboShape

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2015, 23:14:29 PM »
sorry if i sound like a right choob, but, is copyright/intellectual rights something that expires and has to be reapplied like a patent?

I dont really understand how to go about say, remaking old games (+25 years) for 0 financial gain but for the pleasure of bringing it to todays masses.

oh hell, ive totally hiijacked this thread :(
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Online TrekMD

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2015, 01:37:06 AM »
Well, that certainly is a slap on the face.  Quite the fine to pay.  Was the game being sold or made freely available?
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Offline retromod

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2015, 00:55:03 AM »
Quote from: "OboShape"
sorry if i sound like a right choob, but, is copyright/intellectual rights something that expires and has to be reapplied like a patent?

I dont really understand how to go about say, remaking old games (+25 years) for 0 financial gain but for the pleasure of bringing it to todays masses.

oh hell, ive totally hiijacked this thread :(

With the new trade agreement between usa and europe it will expire after 100 years i've heard. But today it is for 40 years and trademarks are until you do not pay anymore for registration. For example i pay for 10 years and must extend it for next 10 years by paying again for registration.

Even game concepts are protected. I remember a famous homebrew developer who sues book authors if they do not ask for permission of screenshots. on the other side he sell printed articles with retro graphics he do not "own". Funny isn't it?

There is no highjacking of a thread. A thread is for discussion not to provide a podium with listeners only.
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Offline Greyfox

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2015, 13:09:13 PM »
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Well, that certainly is a slap on the face.  Quite the fine to pay.  Was the game being sold or made freely available?

No, and as far as I'm aware it was a complete new take on a Smurf game I don't think it had anything to do with the original versions, but i could be wrong , I never got around to having a go yet, they literally went after him from character infringements, and read that they gave him 3 days to remove before the cease and disorder fine, but this to me is real money grabbing bias attempt to get royalties of the brand, everybody is suggesting to not to pay anything as because its free and hasn't made any money in any compacity, they would be laughed out of court. a disgrace. 

Offline nosweargamer

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2015, 15:12:06 PM »
I think the whole copyright issue has been the elephant in the room that in general the gaming community has chosen to ignore.  It's a shame really, because I think most of us view gaming as an art and appreciate some of the artists who make the games, but at the same time we do not fully respect their rights to their creations.

I'm no expert, but here is what I understand about copyright & gaming.

1) The vast majority of games, even the earliest ones, are still covered by copyright, even most so called abandonware.
2) Laws can vary depending on where you live, but most developed countries mirror each other for the most part.
3) Many companies don't enforce it due to ignorance (don't realize their copyright is being infringed), legal costs, time & effort, the ability of the defendant to pay and the bad publicity that may come along with (i.e. Greedy Nintendo)

Without permission, it is illegal to (I'm not saying you will be sued, but theoretically could be):

Use a copyrighted character or direct game concept/desing, even if you give the game away for free
Alter a copyrighted game rom and release it, even for free
Download a copyrighted game from an unauthorized source (sorry, it's true, just not often enforced)

Without permission, it is Legal to

Use portion of a game for review or educational purposes (falls under Fair Use) The size of the portion varies and would be used on a case by case basis. Educational purposes DOES NOT give permission to hand out full games.
Use copyrighted work for parody, but this again would be on a case by case basis. Most likely  if you made an epic rap video as Sonic or Mario you would be fine, but if you included the characters in your game or even made a straight up fan Movie, it most likely would not be.

Grey Areas
Long Play Videos (since it shows a large portion of the game, often without a true critical review)
Making copies of a game you already own for strictly your own purposes (I would guess most likely this would be legally ok, but it would have to be based on the same game and you would need to destroy any copies you have if you no longer have the original. So if you own the 2600 version of Pac-Man, it wouldn't allow you to download the arcade version without permission)
Make a game that is similar in style to the another, but changes enough of the details (main characters, sprites, story,music ect.)

Sorry! I'm not trying to be a downer and I have no desire to report any copyright infringement that doesn't directly affect me. I'm just trying to clarify copyright and games. I also want to say I appreciate when homebrewers, like what Elktronite is doing for Boulderdash, take the time to respect the owners and get proper permission.

In the end, probably a lot of Homebrews (not all) are illegal, but most likely will not get sued. 
Or if a developer stops after a ceases and decease letter, usually no other actions is taken.
I believe this happened with Stella-Sketch on the 2600.

I also found a lawyer who blogs about this kind of stuff:
http://www.hanleybradylaw.com/category/fair-use/

Finally I want to give props to Weird Al! I'm a fan of his and from what I understand, even though he doesn't have to for parody purposes, he still try to get permission before her parodies someones song. What a class act!

Offline retromod

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2015, 20:13:01 PM »
[member=5327]nosweargamer[/member]:
it seems you covered it correctly and yes the whole scene or better homebrew developers do not care. It is not about "do not know" because even words like "tropper", "vader" etc. have some kind of protection.

Creating t-shirts or any other merchandising article with famous actors, even using pictures of them like william shatner for a forum icon is illegal. If Shatner even know he will sue you on court, trust me.

It is not about making money out of it - no it is simple you manage something you have no permission/rights on. So if your game is ugly it will decrease the value of the trademark, too. Why does a famous gaming company pay millions to create a game with "smurf" title if a nameless developer is able to use it for free?

Look at "Sonic the Hedgedog" or "Mario Brother" for Atari 2600. As Sega is one customer of us I showed them those titles and immediately their faces got "frozed". Expect some reactions soon.
 
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Offline OboShape

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Re: Homebrews & Copyright
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2015, 21:41:10 PM »
Good reading guys, cheers for the info :)

definitely food for thought, especially when anything you make, is invariably a type of copy of things done already for the most part anyhoo.
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