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Thread: Tetris Cloners - Beware

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    Default Tetris Cloners - Beware

    I like many others have coded a Tetris like game and relased it, a long time ago. The lawyers finally caught up with me and demanded the game be taken off my site(s). My commerce people were notified, they emailed me telling me to take the software down, they were removing it, etc,etc,etc.

    Just a heads up...
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    Oh no! Hasbro striking back again.
    Karl Hofer
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    With the return of "pick up and play" style games Tetris suddenly has value again... I'm not sure if the original creator still has clear rights to it, so many licensees out there, but he's definitely recyling the ideas with games like Dwice.
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    Was your game called "Tetris"? How similar to Tetris was it? Did it use the same music? What legal thing did they say you were breaking (copyright, trademark, patent)? It would be interesting to know.

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    I'd rather not mention the title in question, but it did have "trys" at the end of the name. Gameplay was spot on to the original. No identical graphics or music, but it had the same shapes, game play, etc. Regnow.com was the commerce provider. I'm surprised it took them this long to do anything. (Over 6 years.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sillysoft
    What legal thing did they say you were breaking (copyright, trademark, patent)? It would be interesting to know.
    I also would like to know this.

    Sorry to hear your game had to be taken down
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    Exclamation Shared Hosting Dangers

    Was supposed to be posted as a new topic.... darn old fingers

    Anyway,as to this thread of Tetris clones... I have had one freely available from my site for years. Never had a problem, although it's freeware which maybe why I haven't been contacted.

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    dxgame: Uh, I am sorry to hear that. Although you don't seem to care that much .

    I would also be very thankfull for more details of what exactly was the problem. I am just doing something for kids which will have the same mechanics - only the shapes are diferent and I can make a name totally unsimilar to tetris (althougth because someone said a while back that tetris people stoped their pursuit I meant to name it Kubi Mini Tetris ). But if the sole gameplay is the problem then it would be stupid of me to continue this right now.

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    "dxgame: Uh, I am sorry to hear that. Although you don't seem to care that much ."

    I care because the threat of being sued, but otherwise the clone never made any money, Regnow can verify that if needed. I think I was targeted because I used the name "Tetris" in the program name. The legal action was "copyright infringement". The clone I did was very low profile, never marketed anywhere except for my website. I'm wondering if Digital River just sent me the notice to cover themselves, who knows. But as a software developer I shouldn't have cloned the game anyway. Or at the least not used the !@#$% name in the program!
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    I think it was the name. But even if you cant copyright a game mechanic, that doesnt mean you can sue all kinds of people for using your mechanic and make them miserable and cause them all kinds of problems. Sometimes merely the threat of legal action is enough. Depends who's got bigger purse strings to pay off lawyers. Defending yourself is expensive whether or not you're guilty.
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    AFAIK Tetris name and gameplay principles are copyrighted. But you can allways over pass this limitations . wisit absolutist.com they have game TetriBox - TetriStation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dxgame
    I used the name "Tetris" in the program name. The legal action was "copyright infringement".
    As far as I know all Hasbro-attacks were related to the name, not to the gameplay itself. And I guess it's the same problem here. I understand they have to defend their brand names. I'm glad they gave you a chance to prevent being sued, or did I misunderstand this?

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    AIUI the game concepts aren't copyrighted but the name is protected by trademark laws.

    Cas

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    Seems to me they're being pretty aggressive about it, so do be careful.

    They contacted me over a year ago about one of my pocket pc games which was in fact a clone of "columns" and nothing to do with Tetris. However, I'd used the word "tetris" in the search terms knowing that players of one would possibly like the other.

    If they're gonna chase me down over something like that, I think it's pretty clear that they're leaving no stone unturned. Which I think is kinda sad - is there any money left in that brand anyway ?
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    It's a bit odd. I was under the impression you can't copyright a gameplay mechanic. And if you used the name Tetris you're not breaking copyright law for sure - you'd be breaking trademark law. A different kettle of fish.

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    thanks for telling dxgame (well I probably wouldn't name it "Kubi Mini *Tetris*" anyway but it would sure get many more downloads if I would.)

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    It doesn't really matter if dxgame has a good case. If he doesn't have tens of thousands of dollars to spend in court to defend himself, then he should just turn the other cheek, bend over, comply, acquiesce... That's the sad reality. See the history of Webfoot and Hasbro's IP dispute for a very similar situation. Webfoot settled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Applewood
    They contacted me over a year ago about one of my pocket pc games which was in fact a clone of "columns" and nothing to do with Tetris. However, I'd used the word "tetris" in the search terms knowing that players of one would possibly like the other.
    I'm surprise they can sue you for that.
    What if someone mentions the word TETRIS in one of your forums?
    BTW they are probably going to read this thread now if they scan the internet for every time this term is written down...

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    They can't sue for search terms but there's nothing that stops them from issuing a "letter from a lawyer", which is more than enough for most webhosts and transaction providers to cower and wet themselves.

    Having recently attented a seminar on trademarks and copyrights I can understand the aggression to protect the trademark (if you don't you can lose it) but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

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    "then he should just turn the other cheek, bend over, comply, acquiesce..."

    Exactly, it was more or less a traffic getter than anything else. I took one look at the email, erased everything from my site that had anything to do with the word Tetris. If my entire financial income was dependent on a tetris variant then I might be more inclined to do something. Change the name, modify some of the media, perhaps fruits instead of squares, etc. But man, there seems to be alot of PC shareware Tetris clones out there, perhaps it's only a matter of time before they get a letter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Applewood
    ... is there any money left in that brand anyway ?
    Yeah. I see a group of folks at the office playing Tetris DS every lunch-hour where I work.

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    I'm surprise they can sue you for that.
    I'm pretty sure they can't tbh, especially as I'm in the UK and they're in the US. However, they said they'd force handango to remove it if I didn't so I just did it.

    This whole thing didn't offend me like it would have once - all this litigation and corporate greed I see everywhere now makes me smile. Bless em, they think me taking down the word 'tetris is so important. I kinda pity them.

    It's better to be stolen from than to be a thief.
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    Yeah. I see a group of folks at the office playing Tetris DS every lunch-hour where I work.
    Aye, but that's only because I had to remove "tetris" from my search terms for a columns game!

    I can actually understand that they're protecting their investment if someone posts a pure clone and calls it "Tetriss", but this heavy-handed shit is going to gain them nothing other than a small amount of bad publicity. I bet it's costing Hasbro a shitload too. Hence my ambivalence - if they think it's money well spent, who am I to argue.
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    Paul Johnson

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    Can anyone explain me:
    How all this thread is connected to Hasbro? Why everyone repeat the company again and again?
    Have they licensed the whole thing or?
    Andy
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    Can't you just ask Alexey?

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    Yeah. Thanks for detailed answer Savant.

    My question appeared exactly because I imagine a little bit different situation about the title. But I could be wrong.

    REM: As for our discussions with Alexey - well, we've got amount another things to discuss every time when we meet each other. You will hear about them soon...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Applewood
    They contacted me over a year ago about one of my pocket pc games which was in fact a clone of "columns" and nothing to do with Tetris. However, I'd used the word "tetris" in the search terms knowing that players of one would possibly like the other.
    I remember reading about some company apparently sending cease and desist letters automatically to anybody whose webpage satisfied a particular search criterion. Wish I could remember the name of the company that did this.

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    I am surprised this is news to anyone. Has anyone ever seen any Tetris clone on any large portal like Yahoo Games, Real Arcade, MSN Gaming Zone, Shockwave.com, or AOL Games? Have you ever seen a tetris clone on Nintendo, Play Station, or Xbox? I don’t care if you use all new names, new art, new music, and new sounds that look and sound nothing like Tetris. If it involves stacking Tetris shaped pieces you can be sure it will not be sold by any large reputable games portal or console. The owners of the Tetris IP are very aggressive about this. I am not sure if they site copyright or trademark or patent. In some ways, it doesn’t even matter if they are standing on legal ground or not. It will cost you a small fortunate to defend yourself.

    When it comes to cloning the rule is that Tetris is the exception to the rule. Don’t clone it.
    James C. Smith - Producer/Lead Programmer - Costume Chaos, Build in Time, Ricochet Infinity, Big Kahuna Reef, CasualCharts.com

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    The funny thing is that Tetris' overall concept -- that is, the concept of tiling together simple shapes made out of blocks (pentominoes, in particular) -- is hardly original. See here and here (at exactly 38 minutes into the video).
    Last edited by Adrian Lopez; 06-20-2006 at 09:09 PM.

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    After watching that video (from 37min fwd) ... So can at least alexey pajitnov make tetris without fear of haspro (it says at the end he is still in bussines of making it for cell phones and stuff).

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