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Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:28 pm
by Stickman_king_28
Wait, didn't the judge refuse to answer or something? Didn't something happen in court? what?

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:46 pm
by krulle
Nope, pong's not like (table) tennis., I agree.
Most obvious difference is a "reflecting" side wall...
Most cases I find right now are trademark issues (clones carrying the name pong or variants thereof)...
The only copyright case I found right now, is the "who invented it", listed at the end of this post, which sttled out of court.

I finally have time to add some sources...
Street Fighter II case: wrote:Take Fighter's History, a 1993 fighting game that shamelessly mirrored elements of Capcom's Street Fighter II such as character designs, move sets and even the controller motions needed to perform common moves. Capcom sued Data East for copyright infringement in 1994, and while the court found that some of Data East's characters and moves were "substantially similar" to those in Street Fighter II, they weren't quite identical enough to be infringing. Moreover, the court said that Capcom's iconic Street Fighter characters were themselves based on stereotypical characters and fighting techniques that Capcom couldn't lay a copyright claim to.
So actually Capcom could not get a copyriht to the copied characters, so ther could not be a copyright infringement....

The pacman case, first instance Atari lost, in appeal they won: wrote:Atari, who owned the rights to produce home versions of ‘Pac-Man’ games, wasn’t too pleased and decided to sue Phillips, and they actually won a case for once. The courts decided that the changes in appearance emphasised the plagiarism of the concept, and set a precedent for how the look and feel of software would be evaluated in future copyright lawsuits.

Sidenote, apparently Pong was not invented by Atari, but Atari used its weight to get a license... wrote:In 1972, Atari’s electronic table tennis game Pong became a bonafide craze—and Ralph Baer, inventor of the Magnavox Odyssey gaming console, sought legal action against Atari. Baer claimed that Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell had copied Magnavox’s version of electronic Ping-Pong after Bushnell played the game at a Magnavox dealership demo a few months before Pong was released.

Bushnell settled the lawsuit out of court in 1976, despite his lawyer’s advice to take it to trial. Atari’s legal costs would’ve exceeded their entire funds, which is why Bushnell settled. As part of the settlement, Atari continued to sell Pong to arcades and on home consoles while paying licensing and royalty fees to Magnavox.

Edit: @stickman: the court case was no final decision (preliminary injunction), just that Stardock was not allowed to prevent F&P from filing DMCA notices...

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:26 pm
by Matthias
My interpretation was that the problem was the gameplay mechanics coupled with the Star Control mark. Because they copied the SC2 mechanics AND called it a Star Control game, it was a problem.

So for example, if a company made an FPS game set on Mars and are the sued by the company who made Doom, they could argue that the only similarities are the first person interface and gunplay, and you can’t copyright those.

In this case however, Stardock made a game in the same franchise using the mechanics of a game they didn’t own the IP to instead of the one that they did own the IP to. While it may not show a breach of copyrightable material per se, it was clearly cashing in on the nostalgia and “good will” as the legal documents say of a game that they didn’t own the rights to.

I would imagine that had SCO been exactly the game it was minus the SC2 alien races but was instead called “Adventures in Space” or something like that, this wouldn’t be an issue at all.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:43 pm
by krulle
The proposal for GalCiv: Adventures was on the table (GalCiv being a series by Stardock).
But no, that=s only part of the problem...

HyperSpace, the specific implementation, seems to be a copy of the artistic impression of a FTL travel copied by Origins.
Just enough differences according to the CEO to not infringe (has he read the pacman case?1).
The background settings of some aliens ("Observers"/Arilou, the Precursors, ZFP/Frungy, ...), although most of th, could just be considere to be a nod towards UQM... And the Little Green Man are not copyrightable any more, being a trope and all for longer than the UQM storyline exists. But the whole look and feel of Origin's HyperSpace is obviously the one of UQM, despite having had other options for FTL... (e.g. the SC1, or the SC3 versions.)So, IMHO, Origin's HyperSpace is infringing, but that's my opinion, which is not a binding opinion for anyone...

Heck, you don't need to put a person in a batman suit into the batmobile to infringe the movie copyrights, making a batmobile alone suffices... The first instances not finding copyright infringement so often, when the few cases that went to appeal clearly tell a different story, seems to indicate a rather free interpretation of first instances for computer games. In films and music they are a lot stricter. 2

1: "The courts decided that the changes in appearance emphasised the plagiarism of the concept", see quote above...
2 I am not a lawyer, and have no special experince with copyright. I've read a lot the last few months, and this is the impression I got...

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:04 am
by Alvarin
Stardock official announcement on return of Origins to GOG and STEAM: ... cle/493231

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:00 am
by palmpet
Alvarin wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:04 am
Stardock official announcement on return of Origins to GOG and STEAM: ... cle/493231
I'm really fed up with this whole situation... the only other thing I noticed is that apparently console versions of Origins are in the Development... so atleast I'll be able to play the game unlike on my terrible computer.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:34 am
by krulle
Interesting, the link to the alleged e-mail from USPTO trademark examiner to F&P.

Alas, I think the USPTO guy is wrong.
Game design is copyrightable. (any man-made creation is copyrightable)
See Tetris cases. And the Pacman case.
It's just that the USPTO simply has no classification for stuff like that, therefore they can not put it anywhere.
And if there's no classification, it's not allowable.

Which courts have already denied (otherwise Pacman would not have won the appeal).

And as the mail clearly states, the USPTO exminer does not know it he's right, as he needs to confer with an in-house attorney to check his position.

(The example from Stardock on that page is misleading, IMHO. The game was found to be substantially similar, but simply that the examined elements, which was not the gameplay itself but the cahracters, their moves, and their control, were not copyrightable, as they were standard elements for martial arts.)

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:30 pm
by Matthias

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:52 pm
by Elestan
krulle wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:34 am
Interesting, the link to the alleged e-mail from USPTO trademark examiner to F&P.
FYI, Stardock misidentifies the guy as being from the USPTO; he actually works for the Copyright Office, which is a different department. And yes, as his use of "generally" implies, he's not speaking with legal precision there.
Matthias wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:30 pm
Could someone put this in English?
GOG is asking the court to dismiss one of P&F's claims against it. That's about all we really know until the request is published, which will hopefully be soon.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:13 am
by Matthias
One thing I do wonder about, why did Paul and Fred decline buying the Star Control trademark from Stardock? Was it just because of the cost? And if so, how would that be evaluated/quantified?