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Tetris Clones Pulled From Android Market

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the bad-news-bears dept.

Cellphones 396

sbrubblesman writes "The Tetris Company, LLC has notified Google to remove all Tetris clones from Android Market. I am one of the developers of FallingBlocks, a game with the same gameplay concepts as Tetris. I have received an email warning that my game was suspended from Android Market due to a violation of the Developer Content Policy. When I received the email, I already imagined that it had something to do with it being a Tetris clone, but besides having the same gameplay as Tetris, which I believe cannot be copyrighted, the game uses its own name, graphics and sounds. There's no reference to 'Tetris' in our game. I have emailed Google asking what is the reason for the application removal. Google promptly answered that The Tetris Company, LLC notified them under the DMCA (PDF) to remove various Tetris clones from Android Market. My app was removed together with 35 other Tetris clones. I checked online at various sources, and all of them say that there's no copyright on gameplay. There could be some sort of patent. But even if they had one, it would last 20 years, so it would have been over in 2005. It's a shame that The Tetris Company, LLC uses its power to stop developers from creating good and free games for Android users. Without resources for a legal fight, our application and many others will cease to exist, even knowing that they are legit. Users will be forced to buy the paid, official version, which is worse than many of the ones available for free on the market. Users from other countries, such as Brazil in my case, won't even be able to play the official Tetris, since Google Checkout doesn't exist in Brazil; you can't buy paid applications from Android Market in these countries."

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Oh noes, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32373702)

all those little precious clones. how will we live after that

Re:Oh noes, (5, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373846)

I guess you're typing this on your original IBM branded PC, right?

(To everyone else: I hope to God he's not using a Mac, coz if he is, my flippant remark will be blown out of the water and then buried under a veritable Mt Everest of smug)

shame (4, Insightful)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373706)

Falling Blocks is a nice little game. It's on my phone right now, so here's hoping that Google won't 'pull an Amazon' and vanish it off the device.

Re:shame (4, Informative)

x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374268)

And it's still there. [android.com]
Look under "Top Free" and then "Brain and Puzzle" catagory.
I don't know if Google already restored it or it never came down but it's definitely available.

slashdot is ignorant (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374284)

As usual, slashdot missed the other informative story about how the Tetris Company never paid the real inventor anything.

Yes, you should just contest the takedown with Google, they'll probably reinstate if you explain the situation clearly. And if "tetris" does not appear in you description, the Tetris company might never find you again.

I wonder if you made a Pac-Man clone instead? (5, Funny)

seanvaandering (604658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373708)

I wonder if you made a Pac-Man clone what Google might think of that?

Re:I wonder if you made a Pac-Man clone instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32374006)

I wonder if Google sought and received permission from Namco?

Re:I wonder if you made a Pac-Man clone instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32374110)

Google worked with them to design a good Pacman game, so yes, I assume they did have permission.

Re:I wonder if you made a Pac-Man clone instead? (4, Informative)

Francis (5885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374206)

Google actually has permission from Namco, the owners of Pac-man, for a permanent Google/Pac-man logo/diversion :)

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-20005577-52.html [cnet.com]

You can play that here:
http://www.google.com/pacman/ [google.com]

Fun extra: It actually works on mobile devices, including iPhones and Android :)

Put it back up (2, Funny)

mtmra70 (964928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373714)

Reply to Google thanking them for policing the internet, but that your application does not violate any laws. Next thing you know the maker of the whoopie cushion will issue taken down notices for farting apps.

Re:Put it back up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32373748)

One could only hope that would happen....

Re:Put it back up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32373768)

Next thing you know the maker of the whoopie cushion will issue taken down notices for farting apps.

My head would explore. This would be both insanely evil and beneficial to mankind as a whole.

Re:Put it back up (5, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373862)

Will the rest of your body be joining your head on its expedition?

Re:Put it back up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32373980)

In fear of the emergence of "body explosion sound apps" I can reply to this with an emphatic NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo! Just a tiny, unspectacular *pop*

Please keep in mind that the aforementioned *pop* will be copyrighted by me, i.e. my heirs. Reproduction without license will be strictly forbidden.

Re:Put it back up (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374082)

Lemmings already has prior art on unspectacular pops.

However, combine 100 of these little unspectacular pops, and you get a fun noise :)

Re:Put it back up (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374366)

Evil in principle but good in practice, I could live with that.

Anyway, should I think of dreams with falling blocks as nightmares now? What if the Tetris company gets to know about them?...

why isn't there other markets (1)

Tim9431 (652579) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373878)

The apps can still exist just not on the market...someone should make a site for apps kicked off the market. There is a reason we can install non market place apps.

How about replying? (5, Insightful)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373738)

Doen't the DMCA allow you to just send a "No I don't infringue on the copyright" back to Google and have your app not taken down?

Re:How about replying? (-1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373884)

No, the notice has to go to the original copyright holder. In this case, you'd have to send it to Tetris Co LLC, get them to agree and then tell Google that it doesn't infringe.

This is why walled gardens suck; you are at the mercy of big, powerful groups who don't necessarily give a shit about a single person's plight, rendering void even the tiny individual protections like those in the DMCA. The Corporate System ensures that even if an individual has a case, the machinery is too big, too heavy and has too much inertia for a single person to be able to take control of their own affairs.

Re:How about replying? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374098)

This isn't really a walled garden, had Google not taken it down and it gone to court then they could've been liable for infringement themselves. The DMCA safe harbor provision is frequently abused in this manner. It doesn't matter whether or not Google approves apps before they go in, by hosting the content they would otherwise be liable for possible infringement.

Re:How about replying? (5, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374102)

WRONG!!!!

That is not how the DMCA works. The DMCA was partly designed to enable a rights holder to get content removed from the internet at a pace faster than the courts system can provide. The process is "complain to the host. host notifies the client. host removes content. client counter-claims. host restores content." Now the issue is between the client and the rights holder and the host has done his due diligence to avoid being sued directly.

Re:How about replying? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32373886)

Yes, you could reply but the only recourse the company has after that is filing suit. Given that they're using an attorney to issue their DMCA letters, it's likely that attorney is getting paid by the hour to deal with responding to stuff. If enough people from Slashdot found ways of making the attorneys do work, it should drive up the cost of using the attorneys so high as to make it not profitable to use bogus dmca notices.

Re:How about replying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32374262)

Yes! The playground bully keeps punching us every time we look at him. Our strategy is to provoke him into beating us up SO MUCH, he eventually becomes too tired to throw more punches!

Re:How about replying? (5, Informative)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374034)

Yes, essentially. The procedure for content at another Google division is explained here [google.com] . A similar procedure should apply.

In this case, the complaint seems to be primarily a trademark complaint which is probably easily addressed (you can say "Compare to Tetris(R)!" in a game description but you can't call your game "FreeTetris"). And a secondary, very vague claim that because the games are "similar" to the company's game that they use copyrighted material of the company. I don't know whether case law supports that or not, but according to what I've read in a quick Googling it probably doesn't.

According to Wikipedia, this is standard operating procedure for The Tetris Company [wikipedia.org] and they've done the same with Apple's App Store. Not clear that The Tetris Company has ever won a lawsuit on these copyright grounds, but use it to beat small developers up.

Additionally, they pressured a company Biosocia last year via lawsuit to take down their Blockles game. See the statement [tetris.com] on the outcome of that (it was settled, not litigated to conclusion - sounds like Biosocia got tired of spending money to fight the lawsuit and just agreed to take the damned game down while stating that they thought that Tetris Company was full of shit).

Re:How about replying? (1, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374048)

The DMCA does...

..however, the DMCA does not FORCE them to put it back up when you file a counter. They can choose not to put it back up, and since there is so little to gain by putting it back up.. no attorney would ever recommend that they do so.

Alternate repository ? (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374308)

On the other hand, that's *Android* phones we're speaking about. Not *iPhones*, and I know that Google isn't actively preventing hobbyist from hacking their phones.

In case Google can't re-introduce the applications into the official apps Market, could the authors move their creation to some other place ?

I don't have an android phone so I have to ask :
- Is there anything similar to Palm Pre webOS's "PreWare" (a complete webos app which offers not only a nice interface to official repositories, but also to third party repositories) or "Quick WebOs install" (Userfriendly point'n'click interface to install software through the USB cable, either from 3rd party repositories or from local files) ?
- Or is the Android debugger the only current way to install stuff from outside the Market ?
- Or do the carrier try to cripple and block the 3rd party access on the phone they resell ? (might be a violation of the GPL license covering some component of the Android platform)

Old news? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32373754)

Tetris company doesn't like clones [arstechnica.com]

iPhone users hoping to download the free Tetris clone, Tris, had better do so quickly: the game is being pulled from the App Store on iTunes tomorrow due to pressure from both Apple and The Tetris Company, which owns the rights to Tetris.

- August 26, 2008

To the developers: pick a different game. Tetris has quite a litigious history [wikipedia.org]
Or, more to the point... if you're going to spend the time to make a game clone, couldn't you at least do a quick google for "[Game] lawsuits"?

Foreign markets (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373756)

Release it outside the US, then. There's no DMCA in the UK.

Re:Foreign markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32374212)

Exactly!

Quite ironic, that the USA, claiming to be the "home of the free", is quite the opposite. Gotta go to another create to be free to release something that's actually legal.

Re:Foreign markets (0)

shadowknot (853491) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374316)

WRONG [wikipedia.org]

Instead of whining educate yourself (-1, Flamebait)

Quarters (18322) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373758)

You believe that gameplay can't be copyrighted. You cherry picked some unnamed and unknown sites that support your believe about gameplay and copyright. You kind of half heartedly mention patents in a way that seems to bolster your opinion. That's all well and good, but where is the part where you actually went beyond your belief, spoke to a lawyer/professor/industry professional, and learned if gameplay is copyrightable or patentable?

You copied someone else's idea. They're not happy about that. Maybe they're in the right or maybe you are. Either way you should hold off on the righteous indignation until you give up your opinions and educate yourself on the matter at hand.

Re:Instead of whining educate yourself (5, Informative)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373832)

You believe that gameplay can't be copyrighted. You cherry picked some unnamed and unknown sites that support your believe about gameplay and copyright.

One web search [google.com] shows as the first hit a nice page [copyright.gov] from the US Copyright Office that demonstrates he's right. And that's not specific to the US (left as a web search exercise to the reader).

Re:Instead of whining educate yourself (1)

billsayswow (1681722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374288)

If I'm not mistaken, that's an article about board games. Not sure how video games translate into that, and how that interacts with the DMCA, which covers... Digital... Media... Copyrights... Still found it interesting, as a wannabe board game designer. Thanks, nonetheless.

Re:Instead of whining educate yourself (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373876)

Yeah, I wouldn't assume stuff I read on the Internet as legal fact. It's time to hire a lawyer. They can get to the bottom of what you allegedly did wrong and what to do about that. If you are in the clear legally, they can also write a letter on your behalf to Google and that tends to carry more weight than a letter you send yourself. If your game isn't worth the couple of hundred dollars it will cost to do this, then please do us all a favor and just leave it off the Android Market.

Instead of Whining, Create Something Original (5, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373898)

I'm always amused by how the same geek crowd that will rip a film-maker or author to shreds over re-hashing some common plot device will support to the death a software developer demonstrating the same lack of unoriginality.

"Falling Blocks!" The guy made a Tetris clone and called it "Falling Blocks!"

Where's the pride?

Re:Instead of Whining, Create Something Original (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373910)

edit: *lack of originality

but you got my point

Re:Instead of Whining, Create Something Original (5, Insightful)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374076)

I'm always amused by how the same geek crowd that will rip a film-maker or author to shreds over re-hashing some common plot device will support to the death a software developer demonstrating the same lack of unoriginality.

Citation, please. I've seen nothing to indicate that this is the same geek.

And anyway, no one shuts down the big movie company when they make a re-hash movie.

Re:Instead of Whining, Create Something Original (4, Insightful)

moonbender (547943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374116)

By the same argument, developers ought to be ashamed for writing a Chess game (or crafting a real one, for that matter -- it's been done before, man!). Tetris is a staple game, it's a shame that the name is trademarked, and it's downright preposterous to send out notices to take down the clones which don't infringe on the trademark.

The comparison the books and movies is flawed: I don't watch the same movie two evenings in a row, and I might now want to watch two extremely similar movies in terms of characters and plot on two evenings in a row. Playing a game of skill such as Tetris five times in a row isn't such a problem though. The two are at opposite ends of the interactivity scale, with plot-heavy games in the middle.

Re:Instead of whining educate yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32373906)

You copied someone else's idea. They're not happy about that.

The Tetris Company has absolutely no connection whatsoever with the guy who actually invented Tetris. So it's not their idea either. They're the trademark equivalent of patent trolls, abusing IP to which they have no moral right in order to restrict the free market.

Re:Instead of whining educate yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32374088)

The Tetris Company has absolutely no connection whatsoever with the guy who actually invented Tetris.

You have no idea what you're talking about. TTC was founded by Pajitnov amongst others after the rights to Tetris reverted to him.

Re:Instead of whining educate yourself (5, Informative)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373928)

You believe that gameplay can't be copyrighted. You cherry picked some unnamed and unknown sites that support your believe about gameplay and copyright.

Gameplay cannot be copyrighted. There are solid cases in international copyright case history to support this claim, the first that comes to my mind is the one involving Scrabble and the Italian variant Scarabeo. Mattel went after EG, and lost the case because the game mechanics were not protectable under any form (copyright, trademark, patent).

Re:Instead of whining educate yourself (1)

Sethumme (1313479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374144)

... and all this time I've been sending a royalty check to The Tetris Company every time I rotated a falling game piece....

EFF, get together (3, Insightful)

markus_baertschi (259069) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373790)

This might be a case where the EFF might be interested to help.

Also, banding all together, you are 35 people strong, considerably lowering expenses.

Markus

Apparently it's only a trademark problem (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32373800)

After reading the document, the whole argument seems to hinge on the use of the Tetris registered name. (Many of the infringing applications were using the Tetris name in the application name)

There are at least two dimensions on which you can get it back up:

  • As soon as possible, put your application back up, without putting any reference to anything named "Tetris".
  • Argue that saying "tetris-clone" in the description, at least, should be allowed - does the Xerox company have the possibility to sue you when you say that you are "xeroxing" documents? Is there any provision in trademark law that covers trademarks that have passed into the language as common words?

Re:Apparently it's only a trademark problem (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374160)

At least in the US you're allowed to use the trademark in referring to the original item. So regardless of what Apple might like you can use iPod, iPad, iMac all you like as long as you refer to their product. Likewise in this case regardless of what this outfit might think saying that something is a clone of the classic game Tetris is completely legal. It's not within the domain of trademark law to prevent that. At least not in the US.

But that's trademarks, not copyright, how they think that they can use the DMCA to enforce that is beyond me. The DMCA only applies to the copyright not trademark.

You justy try it buddy.... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373808)

... Pong clone.... and see how fast we'll pull it...

Could be worse.. (5, Insightful)

draxil (198788) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373810)

Of course with Android you always have the option of getting software from sources other than the main sanctioned market. Unlike a certain other smartphone OS I could mention.

Re:Could be worse.. (2, Insightful)

databyss (586137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373976)

Fully agreed.

Although the key to visibility is still in the main market.

Re:Could be worse.. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32374246)

Thank your deity that Google doesn't have the same draconian control over their store as Apple. Thanks for peace and love. Wait...you mean they pull items from their store? You mean they let manufacturers control how Android is implemented (including locking HW down)? Say it isn't so. Fortunately, they don't have ads...wait they just bought admob.

I'll stick with Apple (I know the hate out there). At least they are focussed on hardware and not capturing my entire existence in a database someplace.

DMCA compliance (4, Informative)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373816)

Google has to remove the items in question to be in safe waters with the DMCA.

You can choose to assert that you own the copyright for your app. Once you do that, Google must forward your information to The Tetris Company, LLC, and reinstate your app. It now becomes a matter between you and The Tetris Company, LLC, and Google cannot be held liable for damages.

Then if The Tetris Company, LLC chooses to do so, they can file a court case. That's probably the tricky bit, as you seem to indicate, that you're in Brazil and not the US, where they are likely to file.

But - ask a lawyer. I'm not one, the above is just how I understand the DMCA works.

Re:DMCA compliance (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374120)

Once you do that, Google must forward your information to The Tetris Company, LLC, ...

Correct.

...and reinstate your app.

Incorrect. They dont have to reinstate anything. The law does not force them to offer your product for download. Period.

Still available in Canadian market. (1)

sabernet (751826) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373826)

Could it be that they only pulled it down from the US market due to DMCA pressure? Can't you file one of those counter-notice thingies?

Re:Still available in Canadian market. (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373942)

Not available in the Indian market...

Here's an idea (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32373852)

Instead of complaining that your app was pulled because of similarities to something that already exists, go create something original that no one has come up with yet. Novel idea in today's environment of recycling old ideas, I know.

Re:Here's an idea (2, Funny)

arb (452787) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373900)

Pfft!!! Create something original? That's just crazy talk!

Re:Here's an idea (1)

databyss (586137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373994)

Wow, an irrelevant AND smug comment!

How original! (yes I get the irony)

DMCA is a copyright law (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373864)

DMCA is about copyright, not patents, so they shouldn't take down your application for presumed patent infringement. Tetris shouldn't be patentable anyway, but I wouldn't bet on what the USPTO would actually patent, whatever their policies are stating.

AFAIK, takedown notices are preemptive strikes that you can object to.

Write to Google that you own the copyright on your application and that The Tetris Company, LLC claims are illegitimate.

From the wikipedia :

Takedown notices targeting a competing business made up over half (57%) of the notices Google has received, the company said, and more than one-third (37%), "were not valid copyright claims."

The Tetris Company, LLC seems to simply abuse the DMCA.

Re:DMCA is a copyright law (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373960)

Where'd you get that? They're only talking about TM and copyright in the PDF... There's nothing in there about patents that I can see.

Not that games are actually copyrightable, at least in the US (which is where this was filed; DMCA and all)

Re:DMCA is a copyright law (1)

Sethumme (1313479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374164)

Games are copyrightable, but only for the visual and narrative elements, not the game mechanics.

Re:DMCA is a copyright law (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374190)

Because you can't copyright gameplay. You could theoretically patent it, but trademarks don't apply to that either. And given that the app doesn't use the word "Tetris" anywhere in it one can only assume that the trolls at The Tetris Company, LLC are confusing the terms. Not that they've even tried to get it patented as those would already be expired in pretty much any jurisdiction by now.

Re:DMCA is a copyright law (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374270)

Ah, but the DMCA doesn't cover Trademark infringement- and you can't copyright game mechanics the way The Tetris Company thinks it can.

It's a MISUSE of the DMCA.

Re:DMCA is a copyright law (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374078)

The Tetris Company has no copyright to the Tetris gameplay or even the name .... the do have a trademark ...which none of the clones infringe if not called "Tetris" (or a near variant)

DCMA abuse, clear and simple

Re:DMCA is a copyright law (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374260)

The Tetris Company, LLC seems to simply abuse the DMCA.

There is some legislation that can let you easily and quickly stiffle small competitors due to potential legal expenses, and companies are mis-using it on things it doesn't apply to? Say it isn't so! I'm sure all of our governments (whichever nation we live in) will be livid when they find out, will side with the good of the populate who voted them in and will resolve the loopholes and abuses to show those nasty corporations where they stand.

And back in the real world...

Okay! (1, Funny)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373872)

Let's patent the patent system. And see what happens.

Not really relevant, but what's with the clones? (1)

cjp (624694) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373892)

Since the issue here seems to be the legality of it (IMO the DMCA has no power over game mechanics, FWIW). Anyway, how can people find satisfaction in making clones of games? Isn't the joy of game development in making a game that you truly believe in, that puts your unique ideas out there? If the game you truly believe in already exists, just play that rather than making a copy . . . or at the least put your own spin on the idea rather than just copying someone else's idea verbatim, changing the art and calling it good.

Re:Not really relevant, but what's with the clones (2, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374064)

Do you find joy in driving a new shiny Ferrari?
Do you find joy in driving a new shiny Ferrari bought with money from sales of a game that uses the same ancient concept reused thousands times any less?

Re:Not really relevant, but what's with the clones (2, Informative)

cjp (624694) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374100)

Assuming I'm understanding your question correctly, I enjoy shiny things more when they're bought with money I got doing something creative rather than derivative.

Re:Not really relevant, but what's with the clones (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374180)

I write code (Ansi C) and design hardware for Atmel/PICs/PSoC devices almost exclusively in work. I have however been wanting to write games, in my own time, because it has always interested me. However the idea for a game i have is quite complex, though not graphically intensive, and im not entirely certain where to start.

However, that would not be the first game a write. I would write tick tack toe, tetris or pong. Why? The game rules are simple and I know how they are handled. It would be a nice intro into writing games. I would then likely modify the game, just to see what I can do and if I and others like it, hell why not try to make a couple quid with it, worse that can happen is market forces say no and I have just the experience of doing it as a reward.

But maybe thats just me.

P.s. If anyone does know of a good intro to game making (Win/Linux/Mac 2D stuff), point me that way?

Re:Not really relevant, but what's with the clones (1)

cjp (624694) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374342)

Of course, you make the simple game first, that's just common sense.

Having done that however, would you move onto the complex game idea you want to do, or stop to defend your derivative, "practice run" game?

If you want an easy way to make your own games, I highly recommend Game Maker. If your goal is to make the games, rather than getting your game tech skills up, it's far and away the easiest. Even beyond that, it's a super fast way to prototype game ideas.

Re:Not really relevant, but what's with the clones (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374182)

Software isn't art. It's not even a machine.

There are a lot of programming fools out there. Lots of them. They start with "hello world" and grow from there. You can bet every programmer has written things that have been written before just to get a sense of how things work and even get a sense of satisfaction of being able to reproduce it. People have painted thousands of copies of the mona lisa. Guitarists play the same and similar songs to old favorites and will always do so. Duplication and replication is no different. It's not "creative" and it's not art... not original art anyway. But so what? That is the way it works in reality. Actual new and original things are fairly rare.

Re:Not really relevant, but what's with the clones (1)

cjp (624694) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374306)

Sure, and then when your derivative "getting a sense of how things work" gets pulled, you take the knowledge you've gained and keep working, you don't stop working and try to defend your derivative work.

Re:Not really relevant, but what's with the clones (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374210)

No. Sometimes the joy of development is just creating something that you set your mind to. Sure, the big picture creative part is great, but it's satisfying either way. And of course developing constantly involves creativity in coming up with solutions to problems, even if the macroscopic game design is a set goal from the start. It's also a really good way to learn, since you know where you want to end up and can initially spend all of your energy getting there.

Compare this to crafting a physical item (like, I dunno, a nice shelf, or anything from Instructables, or even cooking a nice dinner). This is also (ideally) a satisfying exercise, and even though the end result is more or less fixed, it involves a lot of creative thinking about little things.

Re:Not really relevant, but what's with the clones (1)

cjp (624694) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374386)

It's not about big picture creativity, it's about ANY creativity! Making something that's a clone of someone else's product and enjoying the crafting is one thing, selling it and then complaining when it gets pulled is something else entirely, regardless of your legal right to do so.

And the same applies if you're doing it to learn, you turn and use what you've learned in something else, you don't stop and complain. Or, do you? Yes, that's a question for you . . .

Questions questions (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373894)

How does this effect people who already bought the game? Does Google disable the game on the phones and people get a refund? Does Google pay the fees to the Tetris company and leave the installations? So many details are left untouched.

Falling Blocks is still available (4, Interesting)

cshay (79326) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373896)

I just went to the Android Market, searched for it, found it, and downloaded it.

Re:Falling Blocks is still available (1)

HunkyDory (806866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373996)

Yup, agreed. Still here...

Re:Falling Blocks is still available (4, Funny)

moonbender (547943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374222)

Thief!!

The Tetris Company (1)

frizzantik (944615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373904)

I've heard they are pretty hardcore about protecting Tetris. Even if the concept can't be copyrighted, they can still make a lot of problems. Good luck!

I Own FPS concept (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373918)

When I was a kid I ran around shooting my friends with a toy gun. thus I own the FPS concept. I order all FPS games removed from all stores.

Re:I Own FPS concept (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374150)

Depending on your age, you may have infringed my IP rights on this idea, because I did this when I was a kid too. Then again, if you are older than me, it is I who was using your IP unlawfully. I might just leave this alone.

All in all.. (1)

valentingalea (1039734) | more than 4 years ago | (#32373936)

I think ultimately this is better as it forces developers to create all new game concepts! There were already 35 Tetris clones?! C'moon!

Re:All in all.. (4, Insightful)

c-reus (852386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374122)

For me this seems fairly similar to claiming that Doom, Quake and a number of other FPS games should not exist because they're clones of Wolf3D.

Re:All in all.. (1)

valentingalea (1039734) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374232)

The FPS concept alone - running with a gun in first person - doesn't give you much to start with, whereas the Tetris falling brick into places is more than enough - you just need to add tiny gimicks. Of course there can be wonderful exceptions but overall I think it can lead to stagnation.

I do condemn however the lack of a proper free Tetris on the Android.

DMCA is copyright, but look also to patents (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374046)

There's definitely much wrong with this situation. Google should allow you to put it back if you file a counter-claim. Also, before removing the alleged infringing content, shouldn't they have contacted you about it first? I'm no DMCA expert or anything, but I thought that the notice was supposed to give you an opportunity to counter-claim before the damage was done to the alleged.

Gameplay can't be copyrighted... not yet... it would still fall into the realm of patents since it's operational in nature. Tetris has definitely exceeded itself and abused the DMCA. I wonder what would happen if a law suit were filed against them for damages immediately? Their DMCA filing is frivolous and malicious. While filing a counter-claim would be good, I think it might also be helpful to demand a settlement from them for their malicious behavior. I imagine if the other 34 tetris-clone makers got together, some attention to the issue could result.

And Android Tetris sucks (1)

RepelHistory (1082491) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374050)

My phone has a keyboard, and the developers of Tetris for Android won't let me use it. Have you ever tried playing Tetris using a touch screen? It's a joke.

EFF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32374058)

What about contacting the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)? They often take these type of cases at no cost.

Playing with fire (1)

Isaac-Lew (623) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374112)

Over half of those games pulled use the word Tetris in the title (which is a trademark). Of those, some use other trademarks/copyrights in the title (Barbie Tetris, Shrek in Tetris, etc). That would be a red flag right there.

What did the clone makers think would happen when The Tetris Company found out, that they would get a free pass? (I'm not defending The Tetris Company, but a simple google search would have revealed that they have a habit of doing this).

Or you could try to be original (0, Offtopic)

sproketboy (608031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374128)

Instead of making a retro-remake try a retro-re imagined. Here are a few ideas off the top of my head:

* Instead of falling bricks - floating balloons - random spikes at the top and you need to try to position them in such a way to not pop. Points for largest structures.
* How about a 1st person perspective version?
* How about a GTA perspective version set in a decrepit city with falling stuff from crumbling buildings.

http://goldchest.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
----
Goldbox re imagined.
 

Re:Or you could try to be original (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32374200)

Someone mod this idiot OT. I'm out of points.

What's the problem? (1, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374134)

The Tetris Company, LLC has notified Google to remove all Tetris clones from Android Market. I am one of the developers of FallingBlocks, a game with the same gameplay concepts as Tetris.

So, if I understand this right, you've made a Tetris clone. (Unless "the same gameplay concepts" means something other than blocks fall towards the bottom of the screen, you can move them around and the goal is to get full lines across the entire line)

The company that owns Tetris basically said "We own the trademark and have a patent on the game play, they can't make their own version of it and sell it for profit".

Is that correct?

Because if that is the story, then I don't really see how this is a big deal at all.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32374358)

Did you even read TFS?

Tetris basically said "We own the trademark and have a patent on the game play

Except he didn't use the name so he didn't violate their trademark, and you can't patent gameplay.

the /. moderation system is completely fucked.

You're right, because some asshole modded you insightful.

Sucks, but understand this (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374188)

If you're writing an app for a phone that has a restricted "app store", you are completely at the mercy of whoever is running the app store. They can pull your game (and with it your revenue stream) at any time for any reason, legitimately or not. That's the market you put yourself in, and that means that regardless of moral justifications this sort of story is hardly surprising, and barely news.

You might have gotten into that game by thinking "I keep hearing about the people who are making hundreds of thousands of dollars on stupid phone games". But what you're probably not hearing about are the tons of people who are putting hundreds of hours into building a phone game and hardly making anything.

post a link! (1)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374208)

So people can install your FallingBlocks tetris clone without using Android Market. Android is not locked down to only being to install software from one place. You are even free to implement an AlternaMarket. (I don't know do any already exist?)

Money talks (3, Insightful)

houbou (1097327) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374248)

The old arcade games are getting a new lease on life with these mobile devices. So that's why they are doing this, it's simple economics. I mean whoever wrote Pacman, etc.. never thought they would be able eventually to play it on a phone. This is a new revenue stream and they want in on it. In a way, they wrote the original code, they had the inspiration to do it. So, they do deserve some credits in some form. When someone decides to write a "clone" version of a game.. Maybe he's improving it, or not, it doesn't matter. This person isn't being 'original'. This person took someone else work and recreated it. Bottom line, I would say, if someone goes out of their way to recreate someone else's effort for money, don't be surprised if the creators get a hissy fit about it :)

Sigh... (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374294)

What do you expect from a one-hit wonder? Innovation?

Happened on XBLIG too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32374344)

There have been a small handful of Tetris-likes made by small developers that have been pulled from the Xbox Live Indie Games service. One was a decent 3D block game.

We figure that they hold issue with you using the same tetrimino shapes, as there have been a couple that were not pulled because they used non-standard pieces.

Aren't tetriminos a mathematical concept? Is this even a defendable copyright? I have no idea.

Ugh (1)

johnhattan (1749440) | more than 4 years ago | (#32374356)

IIRC, the Tetris Company had a trademark on the name, but it only applied to falling-something games that contained the word "tris", so your game wouldn't fall under that either. Heck, my game "Elementris" doesn't fall under it, because it doesn't have falling stuff. Looks like you got caught in another bogus DCMA takedown, and Google's taking the same "guilty until proven innocent" stance that they take on youtube videos. Right now the Tetris Company is gritting its teeth and hoping all the developers are small-time enough not to sue 'em for misrepresenting their IP.
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