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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:39 am 
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This effects homebrew developers regardless of platform so I thought I'd post my thoughts on this.

AtariAge and homebrew developer nicknamed Sprybug produced a wonderful homage to Super Maro Brothers called Princess Rescue.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73TcDWQDFMk

Recently it was yanked from their storefront without warning
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/215885 ... -releases/
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/212554 ... try2827513

What is frightening for me is that this was a tribute game that did not mention Mario or reuse sprites from the subject matter. Gameplay cannot be protected.

It also appears that communication - even to acknowledge a threatening letter - appears to be forbidden. What happened to freedom of speech?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:07 am 
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slobu wrote:
What is frightening for me is that this was a tribute game that did not mention Mario or reuse sprites from the subject matter. Gameplay cannot be protected.

Even though the sprites are not direct rips, it's still Mario's likeness in the game. Couldn't that be the reason for the C&D?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:20 am 
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Similarity is not infringement. AtariAge was careful not to directly reference Nintendos IP in code, assets or packaging.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:25 am 
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This goes well beyond "similar".


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:33 am 
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So the music isn't under copyright control? It sounded very much like the original.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:12 am 
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Why all the speculation? Why not just contact Sprybug and ask him what the reason was? If he doesn't respond, then that's the end of it. If he does respond, then his answer is what you should accept at face value and that's the end of it (even if all he says is "I cannot talk about it"; do not don a tin-foil hat).

I should note that I have not discussed this with other moderators, but I am considering locking or deleting this thread. My concern lies with the fact that discussions of something that may involve legal ramifications with Nintendo could trickle back here and bring unwanted attention to this site/forum, harming everyone. It's pretty easy to search Google for relevant words and find this thread. I'd feel a lot more comfortable if the situation with AtariAge and their homebrew remain over at AtariAge and not be brought here. Think about the bigger picture.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:27 am 
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It would be sad if homebrew developers cannot at least share information about chilling effects of overreaching companies. The next game that gets targeted may be less similar. It may be your next game. It may be mine.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:01 am 
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slobu wrote:
It would be sad if homebrew developers cannot at least share information about chilling effects of overreaching companies. The next game that gets targeted may be less similar. It may be your next game. It may be mine.

Again you're speculating -- we don't know what happened with regards to Princess Rescue. Sprybug would be the only one who knows at this point in time.

If the issue is of a legal nature: if you haven't ever been through a legal battle with a business/company, or a county/state/country, then respectfully I don't think you understand the ramifications it can have on a person for the rest of their life. I have been through such a legal battle (and am going through another presently as well, though of a smaller calibre); the effect it has on a person is devastating. If you want me to go into details I can, but you can get an idea here.

Honestly, to me, the game looks like a Super Mario Brothers clone. I can absolutely imagine an intellectual property agency having concerns with it. Finally, if you think this is the first time it's happened, then you're obviously too young to remember this which happened in 1987 or 1988 (I forget). Go find Youtube videos of this game -- it's less similar to SMB than Princess Rescue is. (Edit: Someone on Wikipedia literally just modified the page after I linked to it. Cute...)

The bottom line is that homebrew developers are free to do whatever they wish -- just don't make something that's "like" an existing commercial game developed by a company that has a track record of lawsuits. Make your game + source code available for free -- it's the financial aspect (selling the game) that often initiates trouble. And above all else? Seek intellectual property legal counsel before releasing such a game. We colloquially call this CYA (cover-your-ass) here in the States, and it's best to do it beforehand, not after. Rants about "freedom of speech" and other whatnots don't matter -- excessive focus on capitalism and commercialism in the US since the 50s are the reason things are the way they are today. We (US citizens) have no one to blame but ourselves for it. I know that's hard to stomach but it's true.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:05 am 
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slobu wrote:
The next game that gets targeted may be less similar. It may be your next game. It may be mine.

Guess I'd better change my avatar! :shock:

Heh, just kidding... I kinda gave up on making a Sonic game. I may make something similar one day (definitely not as similar as Princess Rescue is to SMB), or I may even use Sonic's universe and release it as a fan game rather than a commercial product.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:57 am 
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I see nothing wrong with that. You copy someone's work, you get blamed. This is justice.
If I ever released a game I'd be very angry if someone copied it or made a sequel of it without telling me anything.
It doesn't matter if it's a huge company or just a person who did something during his free time. It also have nothing to do with capitalism, the US, or whatever.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:02 pm 
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Ok guys, playing out doomsday scenarios of companies just taking down games willy nilly is kind of silly. (uh, ya)

I mean look at the video, it's full of infringement.

Lets start with the music, it's pretty much a direct rip.

The enemies CLEARLY resemble goombas.

The main character resembles Mario with the colors of his clothes.

Now if it was any one of these things it might've not been a big deal (except maybe the music for how it blatantly copies mario) But combine all of them and you have a pretty clear case of copyright infrigement.


TLDR; If you didn't want Nintendo to C&D your game, you shouldn't have infringed on their IP.
Image


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:38 am 
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Well now I want it.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:54 am 
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Jeroen wrote:
you shouldn't have infringed on their IP.

What IP? 192.195.204.26?

The term "intellectual property" is designed to confuse, especially when abbreviated. It conflates copyright, patent, and trademark, it conflates those with exclusive rights in land, and it encourages readers to take this conflation for granted.

Based solely on the video, I agree that the similarities in the music and character likeness make this a fairly clear-cut case of commercial copyright infringement. But there are also cases of "not the same, but too similar" and "nonliteral copying" where he who can spend more on legal representation wins. In the early 1980s, companies were using copyright to claim exclusive rights to entire genres. Where does it end?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:12 pm 
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I would think that on some level Nintendo didn't really want to do this. This is a niche market and probably isn't going to cause them any problems if they had left it alone. But if they hadn't done something it may have been seen as them being weak to enforce their IP rights and encourage others to go ahead too.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:54 pm 
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Ah, I forgot to follow up about this...

The moderators (well, a few of us anyway) discussed whether or not to do anything about this thread (re: my concerns). A vote wasn't taken; we generally don't work like that, instead we just sort of discuss points/issues/history and then let the majority of opinions define what the ruling should be.

The result was that this thread should be left unlocked/open for discussion/commentary as present.

So we shall leave it. :-) Onward ho!


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