The End of Prohibition

Thread in 'Discussion' started by Kitaru, 6 Dec 2010.

  1. No reason, it just seems quite off-track.
  2. tepples

    tepples Lockjaw developer

    In this post, Steve wrote:
    "Clones get rid of many problems...:
    - They are legal."

    Mr. Rogers might dispute that. Tetris v. Biosocia.

    In this post, Someone2Knoe wrote:
    "We can make our OWN TGM4 BULL SHIP-like game."

    Something like TV Tropes' proposal for TGM 5?

    In this post, SYN7HOR wrote:
    "I say we need to make a new 'Official TC clone'"

    There was one for a while. I won't name names; instead, I'll just leave you with this video from a Donkey Kong Country game in honor of Nintendo's Donkey Kong Country Returns, new on Wii.
  3. I won't name names either, but its initials were "LockJaw." ;p
  4. Well, as long as we don't step over bounds of trade dress, clones are legal, right? If he's suing to legally harass people, it's not really a legality issue.
  5. Zaphod77

    Zaphod77 Resident Misinformer

    And, as I understand it, as long as it makes a serious effort to convince players it's NOT an official tetris game and uses no trademarks, it doesn't step on trade dress.
  6. At this point and time, they are legal.
  7. orz


    just make it about back2backs and call it dodonstackey and theres your new game
  8. Tetris Holding v Biosocia was settled out of court, so there's not necessarily anything to say that things would have gone in TTC's favour had things actually gone all the way in the courtroom.

    That said, all the "blah blah clones are legal" comments are stupid because the fact still stands that TTC will sue clones that get popular and if those developers aren't prepared to throw tens of thousands of dollars of their own money into a lawsuit, then those clones are going to cease development and their websites taken down.

    And it doesn't matter whether people think that tetris clones should be legal. This is civil law, not criminal law, and the end result of the lawsuit will depend far more on who has the better lawyers (ie. TTC in most cases) and not on what literal/sensible interpretation of the law would indicate.
  9. What, but it doesnt say TC anymore.. unlike something with initials TM which has the logo blatantly on the front page :p
  10. Zaphod77

    Zaphod77 Resident Misinformer

    NO. sometimes TTC buys the clone instead if it gets really popular. :)

    Too bad they only buy ones that make the Guideline look good in comparison.

    Fact is puzzle games are cloned all the time, even by big companies. Tecmo Stackers, for example, is a puyo puyo clone, except that after a match the pieces stick out their long tongues to attempt to chain together for extra comboing power.

    That said, i honestly think TTC would have won that particular case, because Biosocia demonstrated a large amount of bad faith, even going so far as to sling the tetris trademark around to convince players that Blockles was where it's at. While Tecmo Stackers' one change significantly affects gameplay, and changes strategy, Blockles was a very transparent attempt to clone the old hangame tetris and change it just enough to not be sued. (they all but admitted that they were cloning hangame tetris)

    Yes, TTC did make rather ludicrous arguments at times (distinctive T tetrimino?!?!), but that didn't negate the bad faith on Biosocia's part. I'm glad it was settled out of court, because that avoids setting of a precedent, though.
  11. Wasn't Hangame Tetris one of those clones you mention that was bought out by TTC?

    And Blockles seemed more like a clone of TetriNET to me than a clone of Tetris.
  12. I said they were legal, which, at this time, they are. However, that doesn't mean you won't get a court case over the event.

    You could get sued for practically anything, no matter how stupid. That doesn't make it illegal.
  13. Zaphod77

    Zaphod77 Resident Misinformer

    Hangame was bought out, but that was after they decided to clone it.

    And hangame orginally cloned tetrinet. :) The version pre buyout was 12 wide.
  14. So wait, you're saying BioSocia cloned Hangame Tetris before it was owned by the Tetris Company?
  15. Zaphod77

    Zaphod77 Resident Misinformer

    i'm saying they cloned the earlier version. not sure if they made the clone before ttc took over hangame.
  16. Well, we could start by bringing up StepMania; that's still going strong along with DDR. Although StepMania allowing you to use any song, etc. kinda negates that analogy.
  17. On what grounds, if you'll most likely lose the lawsuit?

    The only argument to clones not being illegal is that breach of copyright/trade dress is generally civil law, and therefore you're not going to go to prison for it because it's not a criminal case. And arguing that is just pointless semantics given the nature of the conversation.
  18. SYN7HOR

    SYN7HOR Drama Queen

    I don't quite understand this.

    How could TTC possibly stop a clone? Do they bring in the American Army©? Would they invade Sweden if I were to host a multiplayer version of Tetris? I THINK NOT. They can't do shit, unless the cloner makes money off his clone. Then it's a whole other story.

    They probably just offer the cloners some money, and they take it (as would you and me).

    Damn, this makes me want to get into coding again. I can make a clone for the Amiga if anyone's interested? ;)
  19. They can't stop everyone from spreading it around, but they can quite easily file lawsuits against the people creating and primarily distributing it. It's worked pretty damn well for them up until now. Whether the cloner makes money or not is irrelevant - they can sue just as much for potential loss of revenue.

    Defending lawsuits is expensive, and it's a lot of money to gamble on the hopes that you'll win the lawsuit. More money than most homebrew clone devs have to spare at least.
  20. Zaphod77

    Zaphod77 Resident Misinformer

    The fact is the rules of a game cannot be copyrighted. That's why you see so many Bejeweled clones and nobody taking action. Patents are required to get the level of protection needed.

    There is still the trade dress issue, and the trademark issue. The trademark issue is easy. Just don't say tetris or tetra or tris, and you are in the clear.

    The trade dress issue is another one entirely, and has yet to truly be tested. But from what I was reading, i don't think any suit against someone who is taking care to look different from Authentic Tetris Games will stick. But i'm no expert on trade dress.

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