[casual_games] game copyright
austin at pettomato.com
Wed Nov 9 17:37:00 EST 2005
In case anyone isn't familiar with Crazy Taxi and The Simpson's Road
Rage, Road Rage is a total clone of Crazy Taxi. They didn't just borrow
a few features. It is almost a complete reskin of Crazy Taxi, but with
I'd like to think there is a big enough difference between ripping off
someone else's idea and borrowing from it, paying homage, etc., but
there clearly isn't. I absolutely believe that people should be able to
protect their IP, but there seems to be a lot of undeserved patents out
there as well.
I'd also like to add that the flip side of the big company outspending
you with their patent lawyers is them cloning your game and outmarketing
you before you have a chance to succeed. Personally, I just wish more
people had more pride than to knowingly and blatantly rip off someone
else's game in entirety.
Again, I say it's all a grey area. I wouldn't like it if the whole FPS
genre had been shutdown by an initial patent holder, but I gotta think
that I would feel differently if I was that patent holder.
As an example of a stupid patent, have you heard that someone has
already patented playing a mini-game while a larger game downloads? Can
anyone confirm that?
Finally, I have been in a lot of game brainstorms where inevitably
someone would say, "Have you played X? Let's make X!," to which I would
always try to reply, "What was it about X that you liked so much? Let's
try to capture that, instead."
Pet Tomato, Inc.
Sangwoo Hong wrote:
> Hello. Been lurking here for a while. I haven't been
> paying much attention recently but I'm glad I decided
> to read this thread. I'm very interested in the
> subject of software patents at the moment since I am
> planning on filing some myself in the near future...
> (Should I put my flame retardant suit on now?)
> Anyway, I should first mention that I am no patent
> lawyer by any stretch of the imagination so if someone
> more savvy on the subject sees flaws in my logic
> please correct me through the list. I think the
> subject of software patents is one of the most
> important issues facing indies like us and anyone and
> everyone with good information should share with the
> rest of the community.
> Okay, so I read U.S. Patent 6,200,138, the so called
> "Crazy Taxi" patent and it's really a fitting nick
> name. The way I read it the first part of the patent
> deals with the "pedestrians diving out of the player's
> way" aspect of Crazy Taxi's design. Then it moves on
> to some rather cryptically worded claims which I
> understand as describing the appearance of on screen
> arrows and such which points in the direction of what
> I gather are destinations and goals for the player.
> So does "Simpsons Road Rage" infringe on "Crazy
> Taxi"'s patent? I think most likely if the point of
> contention is whether it's possible to run people over
> in "Simpsons Road Rage". It's been a while since I
> played "Simpsons Road Rage" so I don't remember if the
> virtual pedestrians in "Simpsons Road Rage" jump out
> of your way when you're about to run them over. Maybe
> someone who's played the game more recently can verify
> but if the virtual pedestrians in "Simpsons Road Rage"
> do in deed jump out of the way of on coming players
> then this is a open and shut case in favor of Sega.
> (Kind of makes me wonder, are there pedestrians in GTA
> that jump out of the player's way? Now that could be
> huge for Sega.)
> On the other hand, if the point of contention is about
> these directional cues Sega seems to be describing
> with much of the jibberish which fills the latter half
> of their claims, I'm not so sure. I would think some
> driving game of some sort must've had on screen
> directional cues based on "two objects" but who's to
> say. Even if they did if there are no "prior art" in
> the patent world describing such things then it might
> not matter at all in which case Sega wins again.
> One interesting thing to note, and to me this is the
> most important legal sticking point, is that the
> patent actually describes a machine which plays "Crazy
> Taxi" and not necessarily the software that runs on
> it. I suppose one could argue that "Simpsons Road
> Rage" could not possibly infringe the "Crazy Taxi"
> patent since "Simpsons Road Rage" is SOFTWARE which
> allows a general purpose device like a playstation to
> behave like a machine dedicated to playing only "Crazy
> Taxi". And since software is technically speaking not
> patentable "Crazy Taxi" could not have patent rights
> over the software portion of their claims. Right? I
> donno. Like I said, I'm not a lawyer or a judge.
> I'm not sure what most people think of the software
> patents. Is it even a hot button issue? Probably not
> to the general public but one thing seems clear to me.
> The current interepretation of the "rules" seems to
> be that not just software patents but patents in
> general will play an even BIGGER role in the future of
> doing business. In this world of companies who
> infringe up on each other's patents inevitably ganging
> up through legal action on those without any patent
> leverage, I think it's important for even indies like
> us to take a good look at patents as an inevitable
> part of doing business instead of reacting emotionally
> to the "wrongness" of the situation.
> btw, do I think it's "wrong" that big corporations
> with big moolah have all the advantages in this setup?
> Hell yeah! But the law is and has never ever been
> about right or wrong. As long as the law says so
> people will do what they are allowed under the law.
> Unless one's willing to pick up guns and fight in the
> streets I think it's pointless to discuss these types
> of matters in such moralistic views.
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