Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] On the Creation of (Looney Pyramid) Games...

  • FromCraig Forbes <cpforbes@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 28 Mar 2011 13:24:25 -0500
On Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 11:50 AM, David L. Willson <DLWillson@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> First and foremost, as a builder and creator, you must do what you are called to do, and you must do it in the way that you feel is right and ethical. If something you feel is right and ethical, happens to be illegal, re-examine your ethics. If you ~still~ think it's right and ethical, consider protest and/or civil disobedience.
> I took Vijay's advice and looked up Scrabulous. I disagree with him about whether Hasbro was being "petty". It seems to me that Scrabulous wasn't a "derivative work", or a "work inspired by", but an exact clone of Scrabble. It seems not to have had offered variance from, or improvement on, the original work.

Scrabulous is a bad example.  That case is a messy mix of trademark
and copyright issues. Trademark law is much different from copyright
and it requires much more vigilant litigation of infringement.

In my eyes Scrabulous is clearly a derivative of the "brand" Scrabble
and trademark law basically requires the owner of the trademark to go
after any potential misuse of the mark.

Vijay is basically correct in that the mechanics of a game cannot be
copyrighted (but they can be patented). The specific published written
rules may be copyrightable.
See: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html

I hate to be trite but "follow the golden rule" is probably the right
advice for giving credit where credit is due.