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36-Hour Lemmings Port Gets Sony Cease and Desist

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the found-a-cliff-real-quick dept.

Classic Games (Games) 268

Zerocool3001 writes "The recently featured 36-hour port of the original Palm version of Lemmings to the iPhone and Palm Pre has received a cease and desist letter from Sony. Only one day after submitting the app for approval on the two app stores, the developer has put up a post stating that he 'did this as a tribute to the game — we can only hope that Sony actually does a conversion for platforms like iPhone and Palm Pre in the near future.' The text of the cease and desist letter is available from the developer's website."

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268 comments

Sony, Sony, Sony. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741408)

Sony, why don't you go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut; why don't you go take a flying fuck at the moon?

May I be the first to say: (1, Informative)

tessellated (265314) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741410)

Fuck you Sony!

Re:May I be the first to say: (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741512)

Yeah fuck you Sony for protecting your intellectual property!

Re:May I be the first to say: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741590)

Sony? How about Psygnosis and DMA design? Wake up, big boy.

Re:May I be the first to say: (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741654)

Psygnosis is now Sony Studio Liverpool.

Re:May I be the first to say: (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741686)

Yeah, exactly. We issue them with monopoly powers, so they can continue to enrich our culture. What do they do? They sit on them, let them stagnate, and when somebody actually does act in the interest of the public, and makes them available on platforms the original provider has never supported nor, it seems, ever intends to, they shut him down.

So yes, screw Sony. They obtained their "intellectual property" under false pretences, and are now using it for the exact opposite of what it was intended for.

Re:May I be the first to say: (4, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741862)

And this is why modern copyright is a complete failure. It is used today not as a tool to enrich both the copyright holder and the public through dissemination of ideas, but as a lock and key to prevent anyone else from using it by very intentionally not disseminating said idea..

Re:May I be the first to say: (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742278)

Yeah, exactly. We issue them with monopoly powers, so they can continue to enrich our culture. What do they do? They sit on them, let them stagnate, and when somebody actually does act in the interest of the public, and makes them available on platforms the original provider has never supported nor, it seems, ever intends to, they shut him down.

How do you know that Sony hadn't licenced versions for those platforms? After all Lemmings is on virtually every platform under the sun (including mobile phones) so why is that so hard to believe?

Even if they weren't planning on doing it (unlikely) it is still their IP to do with as they please. I imagine also that the person who ported Lemmings was also under licence in the first place and therefore should have paid more attention when releasing copies for other platforms.

Re:May I be the first to say: (5, Insightful)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742392)

Wow. You are so insightful! Of course you can say whatever the hell you want to if you don't care whether or not it's the truth. It's incredibly disingenuous to say that they've been "sitting on" or letting Lemmings "stagnate":

The popularity of the game led to development of numerous ports to other systems, including most recently ports to the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3 in 2006 and 2007, and the creation of several sequels.

Source: Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

How do you or Mobile1UP know that Sony wasn't planning on porting Lemmings to iPhone/iPad/Android? Firstly, you don't. Secondly, it's irrelevant! It's not a condition of copyright, patent or trademark law that you have to make your work available on all platforms past, present and future. The intended purpose of patent and copyright systems is indeed to provide incentive to produce, and therefore advance the state of the art, or enrich culture. However, Lemmings on the Amiga did that. Job done. They (now Sony) have copyright in the original game. That's what they get for developing the game (or rather..buying the developer of the game).

Besides which...you can buy a Lemmings game on a current generation console! How is that letting the property stagnate? And how in the name of Zeus' butthole did you get modded insightful? To have the bare-faced cheek to rip off a game, which, with the exception of a single-screen disclaimer that it's not authorised by SCEE, is indistinguishable from the original Lemmings, and then to try and distribute it through the Apple App-Store is possibly the most retarded thing I've ever seen since Sony tried to install rootkits on their customer's machines. We all love to support "the little guy" against "evil corporations" but this was the single most obvious outcome since that guy [darwinawards.com] tried to play Russian Roulette with a semi-automatic pistol.

Nothing is stopping Mobile1UP from making their own version of a "Lemmings" game [wikipedia.org] , with their own graphics resources/levels and their own music etc. Do you think they'd be happy if someone came along and made such an exact copy of one of their original games [mobile1up.com] and started distributing it through the App-Store?

Re:May I be the first to say: (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742076)

Wherein does it lay though? I questioned myself that, though I know similar actions has been made for some other fan-made titles.

Where does the breach happen?
Is it:

* In using the game brand for their own title?
* Using copyrighted graphics to make their game look the same?
* Copying the idea?
* Creating something so similar that it's not a work of its own?

I assume it's ok to make a similar game? To make something called "badgers"? And eventually to draw somewhat like Lemmings but not really as graphics for your game?

What part of the IP are they breaking? Is it in making it look similar or copying the general idea/whole concept of the game? What is it protected by?

For similar games we've got Giana sisters vs Mario brothers, Doom II vs Duke Nuke'm and so on.

Re:May I be the first to say: (2, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742346)

* In using the game brand for their own title?
* Using copyrighted graphics to make their game look the same?

Basically this, if I'm not mistaken. Pretty sure Pingus [seul.org] is legal.

If you saw the video, this guys used all the original graphics, and the trademarked name.

Re:May I be the first to say: (3, Insightful)

keitosama (990483) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741526)

Did you even read the mail they sent him? Sony were being extremely nice about the whole thing.

Re:May I be the first to say: (2, Interesting)

tessellated (265314) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741632)

Considering Sony's years old reputation of fuckin' its customers the only ceasing and desisting should be them.

Re:May I be the first to say: (3, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741724)

They said they'd give him 48 hours or they'd sue. How is that nice? They didn't mention that they understood he was not benefitting commercially, they didn't offer to negotiate in order to allow distribution under their auspirces, it was a completely stock-standard C&D. The only way it could have been less "nice" was if they announced they were starting legal action against him immediately.

Do what we say, or we sue. You have 48 hours.

Re:May I be the first to say: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741872)

Do what we say, or we sue. You have 48 hours.

Like it or not it's rather what the law says than just Sony.
And given the damage the infringement would have caused in this guy's life, yes I agree Sony has been extremely nice in this case.

Re:May I be the first to say: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741896)

Unfortunately, what the law says is what Sony et al. want it to say.

Re:May I be the first to say: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32742002)

They didn't mention that they understood he was not benefitting commercially,

What others benefit from (or not) is not of their concern. They're concerned instead if it harms them by taking revenue away from them.

Do what we say, or we sue. You have 48 hours.

If Sony was smart, they'd now negociate a contract with the port author. It should be peanuts for them if they negociate a fixed value instead of something of the order of percentage-of-revenue-from-platform-sells (sorry, can't think of a more appropriate expression right now, the coffee machine is acting up this morning).

Re:May I be the first to say: (1)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742012)

Which seems damn nice in light of the fact that they could begin by... suing. (DMCA Cease and Desist rules only apply to service providers)

Re:May I be the first to say: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741576)

You've got Sony all wrong here. If you visited the developer's Web site, Sony actually writes about how gratuitous, err, I mean gracious and lenient they are:

Despite our knowledge that your infringement is knowing (hence your
disclaimer) we will give you one opportunity to avoid having to pay
substantial legal costs and damages (should we have to sue you).

If you will remove all your ports of Lemmings from the sites where you have
posted them or indeed now host them and undertake not to recreate or port
any other SCEE published games then we will not sue you and seek damages
for every copy of Lemmings that you have distributed.

You may not be able to Trademark DNA, but Sony has a Trademark AND copyright on Lemmings (even though family friendly Disney [wikipedia.org] has prior art [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:May I be the first to say: (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741924)

The port also seemed to include a lot of the original artwork, which they definitely do have copyright on. This is much nicer than Sony needed to be - in the US they could claim massive statutory penalties for distributing the game knowing that it contained copyrighted materials that he did not have a license for.

Of course, now that he has complied, the best thing for Sony to do is offer to buy the code from him. He's demonstrated that there's a market for Lemmings on various mobile platforms and already done the hard work of making the code work on them. It would also give Sony some great PR, and they could treat the existing downloads as a promotional offer.

Lemmings (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741412)

Sony still sells Lemmings across various platforms. He had to see this coming.

Besides directly calling it Lemmings was even more stupid move. Sony has to defend the Lemmings name too, and if the port is low quality it hurts the whole Lemmings brand.

Re:Lemmings (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741736)

if the port is low quality it hurts the whole Lemmings brand.

It wasn't up to Sony's standards; no rootkit.

Re:Lemmings (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32742124)

Agreed. This is one case where i actually stick-up for a case of C&D. This is plain and simple copying of a still-very-current brand.
If he never foresaw this, then "clueless" is quite appropriate here.
He tried to put another persons product on an appstore, one itself that has rules against it in general.
And doesn't the appstore on Apple force payment? Or have they allowed for free apps to be uploaded?

And since i haven't read below your comment yet, i will predict the future posts:
waah sony are evil
sony sux
SCREW YOU SONY
SONY ARE COPYRIGHT TROLLS
Intelligent reply rated troll
Intelligent child reply rated troll
Fanboy trolling
PRACE BETS NOW. I miss Banzai...

What's the difference between a lemming and lawyer (4, Funny)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741434)

What's the difference between a lemming and lawyer?

A lemming is less short-sighted: he must at least be able to follow another lemming.

Re:What's the difference between a lemming and law (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741508)

Your point makes no sense, especially if we're talking about the game lemmings.

1) Lemmings do NOT follow each other. They move blindly, period.
2) Lawyers do seem to follow each other, or at least follow where the money is.

Re:What's the difference between a lemming and law (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741636)

A lawyer that smells blood is like a vampire or leech.

A lemming doesn't care about blood.

Poor guy... (1)

fewnorms (630720) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741436)

Linking to his poor server twice in as many days. The slashdot hordes make their presence felt yet again!

More on topic though, very honestly, what did he expect submitting it to the Apple and Android app stores? That Sony would just let that happen? Then again, with all the copies already downloaded (did anyone actually get to download it?) it'll be very hard for Sony to prevent this from spreading...

Re:Poor guy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32742412)

Kill Switch

anonymous (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741442)

allowing 36 hours to remove it instead of 48 hours would have shown at least a little bit of humor...

"Lemmings is a common word" (0)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741460)

Sorry Sony, if anyone is willing to contribute money for a legal offensive, let me be the first to offer my $20 to $100. Their position seems to ride on a trademark of a common word. I don't know for certain about this in Europe, but in the U.S. common words aren't eligible for trademark. Microsoft knows this too well as it was close to losing its trademark over Windows before it settled with what is now known as "Linspire." (Great story if anyone doesn't know about it already.)

Sony needs to die in a fire.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (4, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741494)

No, their claim rests on the fact that they published the Lemmings games, or licenced out the ability to publish them, and this is a port of one such licenced product. The trademark is within that context of video games. Even if they couldn't trademark it within that narrow context, that still leaves the first part of "he's created a port of a licenced product." The trademark infringement is a separate part of it.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741544)

No, their claim rests on the fact that they published the Lemmings games, or licenced out the ability to publish them, and this is a port of one such licenced product. The trademark is within that context of video games. Even if they couldn't trademark it within that narrow context, that still leaves the first part of "he's created a port of a licenced product." The trademark infringement is a separate part of it.

Can't you argue that making a port of a licensed product is within the DMCA, lawfully enabling you to play your game on recent hardware?

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741580)

Not if you then try and sell it to a shit load of people in a shop, no.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (4, Insightful)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741660)

Perhaps for your own use and enjoyment, but making a port (copy of original gameplay) and then putting it in apps-stores? how is that not a trademark/copyright violation? If sony owns the rights to lemmings, they alone should be allowed to port it to the iphone for common distribution.

Now i realize in this case it kind of sucks since the intrepid geeky developer acting alone and (at least partially) out of passion and fanaticism for games/programming gets beaten back by the big soul-sucking mega-corp, but this works both ways, these laws also prevent sony from taken this guys' original games and shamelessly putting them on the PSP without paying him.

From a geek/nerd point of view, the whole '36 hours to port to several platforms' action was cool and all, but in all other aspects, pretty stupid, especially if the guy knew he was gonna violate sony's rights

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741942)

Yup, you could argue that. And if you distributed the port code and required people to extract the artwork from their own copy of Lemmings, you could probably get away with it. If, on the other hand, you distribute all of the original levels and sprites, then you shouldn't be surprised when the owner of the copyright on all of these things complains. Compare this game, for example, with Pingus [seul.org] . In Pingus, the gameplay is similar, but the levels and other artwork are all original.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (1)

Steve Max (1235710) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742386)

Well, if someone made a port of Halo (using the same name, which also happens to be a common word) for the PS3, I'm sure Microsoft would kill them in court. Notice that people CAN legally play Lemmings on recent [blogspot.com] hardware [blogspot.com] , so availability isn't an issue and the brand isn't dead.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (3, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741624)

And even if you strike down trademark on the common word "Lemmings" (very doable if expensive), there's still the matter of all the artwork he ripped straight from the original. It's definitely non-trivial, and the answer how he managed to port it all in such a short time is that he copied the artwork and levels verbatim, porting only game engine but retaining (pirating) original game data.

One could say he could continue by releasing his ports stripped of all said data, but with some extraction tool, and allow people with legal PC copies of Lemmings to extract the game assets and use them with the engine. Like Doom for Amiga - you still had to purchase the PC original for the .WAD file - actual content of the game, while the (platform-specific) game engine was purely 3rd party without ID Software involvement or license.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32742178)

And even if you strike down trademark on the common word "Lemmings" (very doable if expensive),

Heh. Don't be so sure about that - the fact that something is a common word doesn't mean it can't be a trademark, too. Or why do you think we've still got things like Windows and Apple computers?

Truth is that a trademark, barring things like the registrant letting it fall into disuse etc., confusing similitary with an existing mark etc., can only be invalidated if it's already a common term in the field you're applying for the trademark in. So if you've developed a new car with improved steering, you can't call that "Steering Wheel(tm) technology" and then go after everyone else who uses the term "steering wheel", but that's only because the term "steering wheel" is already commonly used in the field.

"Lemmings" is not a term that is commonly used in the field of computer games, so it's a solid mark. Don't count on being able to get it invalidated, even with enough money.

Like Doom for Amiga - you still had to purchase the PC original for the .WAD file - actual content of the game, while the (platform-specific) game engine was purely 3rd party without ID Software involvement or license.

Actually, all Amiga DOOM ports were (ultimately) based on id's engine, which was released as open source in 1997 and re-released under the GPL in 1999.

This was intentional on id's part, too: they *wanted* people to port the engine and keep it up to date so that they could continue selling the actual game (i.e., the WADs). Sony could arguably do something similar, but the choice is up to them: even if it'd make good business sense, you can't force them to.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742388)

>Heh. Don't be so sure about that - the fact that something is a common word doesn't mean it can't be a trademark, too. Or why do you think we've still got things like Windows and Apple computers?

Because trademarks are given out by retards. No, a trademark can't be a common word, except the process of granting one is cheap, quick, easy and dirty (and invalid trademarks are granted left and right) and the process of challenging it is long, expensive and usually beyond reach of small fishes.

Please recall the Windows vs Lindows case. Microsoft lost it, because Windows is a common word. Except it lost only in the US and it would lose it only in english-speaking countries because "Windows" is not a common word in other languages. So Lindows was renamed to Linspire, to be able to continue everywhere - but only after that matter was settled, and it didn't have to pay a penny to Microsoft for "using a similar name".

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741518)

Trademark is not necessarily the problem here. It's more brand protection I think.
I do agree about the fire thing tough.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741588)

Microsoft knows this too well as it was close to losing its trademark over Windows before it settled with what is now known as "Linspire."

Do tell. I've always seen it as Lindows getting beat senseless by a huge corporation. I mean, Lindows changed its name. Microsoft didn't seem to do much at all. Even if they gave Lindows money, it probably made little to them.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (2, Informative)

Raumkraut (518382) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741798)

Microsoft use the "Windows" trademark for their operating system, and they claimed "Lindows" was similar enough to cause confusion in the market. I believe Microsoft were correct in this belief.
Lindows, however, counter-claimed that; within the IT industry the term "window(s)" was a generic term, used well before and apart from Microsoft's usage of it as a product name. I believe also that Lindows were correct in this belief.

The two sides were then looking at the trademark dispute being decided in court, where there was the very real possibility that Microsoft's "Windows" trademark would be found invalid. So Microsoft offered Lindows a big chunk of change if they changed their name and dropped the case.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (0, Flamebait)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742226)

That's what I thought. So MS essentially used its fortune to bribe a small company into letting them continue to avoid trademark law at everyone else's expense. Doesn't seem like a victory for Lindows to me.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741982)

I don't know for certain about this in Europe, but in the U.S. common words aren't eligible for trademark.

Tell that to Tim Langdell (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/the-edge-of-reason). He seems to think he has exclusive rights to the word 'Edge'. Sued an indie and got their game off the istore. And is tring to go after EA for Mirrors edge.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (4, Insightful)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742034)

If you're throwing money away, never to see it again, perhaps you could send some my way? Look at this screenshot [imageshack.us] , posted [slashdot.org] in the original 36-hour port story. I would love to see him argue that his use of the word "Lemmings" was not intended to infringe on their trademark. He didn't set up a dry-cleaners and call it "Lemmings", he did a direct port of "their" game and has tried to publish it to the iPhone app store. What did he think was going to happen?

Also...seriously...how often do you use "lemmings" in everyday conversation? I honestly can't remember the last time I used it in the context of referring to the animal, or in the context of describing herd mentality. (Sheep fit much better once you know the truth about lemmings). In fact the last time I even heard the word "lemming" (outside of the context of the video-game) was on the show QI [wikipedia.org] .

What I find most amusing is that he states:

DISCLAIMER: "iPhone" and "iPod Touch" are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc.

as if Apple are going to try and sue him for mentioning their products, yet all the while he flagrantly copies/reproduces SCEE's IP.

Re:"Lemmings is a common word" (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742418)

Doom is a common word. So is quake, and civilisation. Half life is a common scientific phrase.

But when they are used as the name of a computer game, they become distinctive in the context of computer games.

Do you really think you could release computer games called Doom, Quake, Civilisation, and Half Life, without being accused (correctly) of trying to "pass off" your work as being related to the original, simply because the words are common? Really? Trademarks Do Not Work That Way.

Oh no! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741466)

*pop*

So what did he expect.. ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741468)

You create a copy of a game and release it via official platforms, and now you find it strange that the right holder objects ?

Let me create a iPhone version of the original Mario Brothers (even older then Lemmings) and see what Nintendo does..

Re:So what did he expect.. ? (4, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741554)

Much as I welcome any opportunity to highlight what a generally crappy corporation Sony is, and how little regard it has for its customers, I have to say there can't be anyone who didn't see this coming. But then if the point of the process was to get a little self promotion going then he's achieved that, he can comply with the cease and desist and for the sake of 36 hours of his time he's got the kind of publicity big companies pay big agencies big monies to attract, so depending on his motivation, maybe he fully expected this outcome but for him it's still a win.

And of course, once the code is in the wild it pretty much doesn't matter that it's removed from the original source, Sony's lawyers might be busy playing Whac-a-mole for years to come.

Re:So what did he expect.. ? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742014)

> if the point of the process was to get a little self promotion

He really didn't plan very well about the server load, then, did he?

His score: Mobile technologies: +3; Web technologies: -5

Re:So what did he expect.. ? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742336)

And of course, once the code is in the wild it pretty much doesn't matter that it's removed from the original source, Sony's lawyers might be busy playing Whac-a-mole for years to come.

And they have every legal right to.

Whac-A-Mole was invented in 1971 by Aaron Fechter of Creative Engineering, Inc. [citation needed] Fechter designed the first Whac-a-Mole and was persuaded to sell it outright to a carnival operator who, in turn, sold it to Bob's Space Racers. Fechter did not patent the invention.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whac-A-Mole [wikipedia.org]

only infringing if... (0, Offtopic)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741470)

I thought it was only infringing if they used (copied) art/words/code/etc. but not game play.

if they didn't use the original artwork and it was fresh code....they could use "Lemmini [wikipedia.org] " as the name (or perhaps "Tribe Lemmini"...a play on the scientific name)

Same reason why you can have so many different jewel puzzle games.

Re:only infringing if... (3, Informative)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741560)

Yeah...he kind of copied the trademark, and all the art wholesale. He walked right into this one, and the law is pretty squarely not on his side (which is exactly the way I feel it should be).

Eh, it is a PORT (3, Informative)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741630)

Look at what he produced, it is a straight port of the game. Everything is the same.

There is no WAY this would fly especially as the Lemmings games are still sold for various platforms commercially. SOME companies TOLERATE old material being used freely but that is only if they don't see any future potential in it.

Lemmings still has potential.

Now you could start a discussion about copyright reform and such, but for now, making a blatant PORT (this is far further then a copy of the idea, it is the same idea) is illegal.

And Sony was nice enough about it, they have given him 48 hours to clean the stuff up and are not even pressuring him to destroy all the distrubuted copies. Basically they are saying, "Well we don't like it but if you don't do it anymore we won't hold you responsible for the damages caused so far".

Frankly, if I were him I would thank Sony on his bare knees. For a stunt he should NEVER have distributed the ports and for a "software should be free" he should never have signed his name.

You CAN make a Ufo: Enemy unknown game is you wished, you could even use enemies with the same capabilties (I doubt the makers would want a lawsuit over the *cough* Alien *cough* that impregnates your soldiers only for another *cough* Alien *cough* to burst out from them to go to court.) but a direct port? Nope.

Nice project kid, great way to get your name out there. Now take the extremely nice offer of Sony to clean it all up.

Hands Up (5, Informative)

Triv (181010) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741478)

Hands up if you saw this as happening the minute you read the original story a few days ago.

Re:Hands Up (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741540)

He used the trademarked name and copyrighted graphics. He wanted to sell it in official app stores. What else was going to happen?

As much as I dislike Sony for this step, I have no pity for the developer. Fan games are dead. Don't touch them or you will get sued and your time and effort will be wasted.

There's a similar story every other month on slashdot. By now it should be common knowledge that you don't talk about IP of big corps and don't try to generate free publicity for them. Just don't.

Re:Hands Up (5, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741730)

Such a think is actually legal in progressive countries like Scandinavian countries : reverse engineering and porting to an unsupported platform is legal and is an exception to several laws. Sony does not provide an alternative way of playing Lemmings for Palm, therefore, it can not claim that this represents a loss. If Sony were to make an official port, then yes, a cease and desist would be lawful.

But yeah, we are all used of the balance of rights like they are in Corporate America so yes, we saw that coming.

Re:Hands Up (2, Informative)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741868)

Legally allowing porting to an unsupported platform sounds kind of dangerous. Let's say company A releases a game on the XBox 360 three months before they release it on PC. During the intervening period, is it "unsupported" on the PC? Portal was not available on the Mac for a couple-three years, but as of a few weeks back, it is now. Was it "unsupported" in the meantime, and could people have legally cloned it, ripped off all the assets, and distributed it for free? I don't even think this is a slippery slope. It's something that directly follows.

Re:Hands Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32742118)

"Legally allowing porting to an unsupported platform sounds kind of dangerous. Let's say company A releases a game on the XBox 360 three months before they release it on PC."

It makes it dangerous, Aye. But in the opposite direction more so that where you think it's going.

Company A creates Cool Game on the 360 3 months before they release it on the PC.

Company B somehow manages to completely independently (not a hack) recreate the game on the PC first.

Company A now releases Cool Game on the PC and now sues Company B for damages.

This kind of porting being legal is mostly useful for older games where it's a pretty safe bet the original company isn't going to be porting it themselves. It would be harder for Company A to say "oh we were going to do that all along!" if 20 years goes by and they sit on it, then 1 month after someone does something they suddenly release a half assed version of their own just to claim "damages".

Re:Hands Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741972)

Not if you try to sell the result it isn't.

Re:Hands Up (3, Insightful)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742384)

I'm willing to bet that doing what he did is extremely clearly illegal in every Scandinavian country. He used original artwork, apparently copied the game mechanics to a T and even used the same name.

The "port theory" falls flat when you think of a situation where apps are used as differentiators between platforms: What if iPhone had been hugely succesful because they included Lemmings with their OS -- would it have been ok for Palm to rip them off and do the same thing?

This isn't about "corporate America", it's about copyright and trademark law as it is applied pretty much everywhere in the world. Could you (or the people who think you are Insightful) please explain how this could be legal in Scandinavia?

Re:Hands Up (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741884)

Hands up if you saw this as happening the minute you read the original story a few days ago.

Now put your hand down if you work for Sony.

It's sony's own fault (2, Funny)

fearlezz (594718) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741514)

They forgot to rootkit the original release.

Re:It's sony's own fault (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741934)

What mindless turds think that the above post is actually funny?

Loop this a million times:

"rootkit" ... oh hahaha

And that's slashdot for you these days.

Sony: Like kids on the playground (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741672)

From the C&D letter:

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and its subsidiary Psygnosis (collectively "SCEE") have published or licensed "Lemmings" games...

Lemmings was developed by DMA Design, and published by Psygnosis:

The end of Psygnosis came when, in 1999, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) completely absorbed the company. Psygnosis' head office in Liverpool and studios in Stroud, Camden and Leeds were rebranded as Sony Studio Liverpool, Stroud, Camden and Leeds, with other studios being closed.

[ref] [spong.com]

I hate how they abuse their ownership over 'their' IP.

CAPTCHA: HOARDERS - hanging on to IP that wasn't even ours originally while we refuse to publish the titles

What are the damages? (1)

DrScotsman (857078) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741740)

Serious question, what damages are they suffering? For each platform that Sony are not currently selling Lemmings on or planning to sell Lemmings on, surely there are no damages whatsoever?

Bear in mind European courts do not hand out punitive damages anywhere near as much as US courts do.

Re:What are the damages? (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742446)

The value of their trademark is being diluted. If these ports crash, or contain rootkits, or brick your handset, that harms Sony. They enjoy the right to be protected from that possibility.

They also enjoy the right to bring their own ports to those platforms at a time of their choosing. What makes you think they're not "planning" to do so?

The punitive damages in this case don't have to be huge, they just need to be large enough to punish the wilful infringement that's occurred here.

For once, I'm entirely with Sony. They've been quite restrained in their actions, but if they choose to bitch slap the developer into the poor house, I'll cheer them on, and anyone who produces (or "plans" to produce) anything themselves should too.

Stupid move for Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741766)

Someone did the work for them, a better move would be to pay him, get the games and sell them. (Assuming he'd agree, which I think would be a good move.) Sony is still licensing lemmings -- I have it on my Nokia phone as a Java game. So why not sell it for other platforms?

Hurry!! Any links to the iPhone copy? (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741778)

Can I has the serial?

Re:Hurry!! Any links to the iPhone copy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741878)

I believe there's an .ipa floating around on that place we do not speak of.

Fuck Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741802)

I don't purchase Sony products anymore. Currently because of this:
"This video contains content from Sony Music Entertainment. It is no longer available in your country."

Once they stop this DRM shit they will find another way to shoot themselves in the foot, they always have.
Fuck Sony, I don't need their shitty products.

Re:Fuck Sony (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741844)

I just received a sound system from them as a present. For its price range, it had plenty of features, and good sound quality. Not shitty at all.

Sony is in the right, here. (3, Informative)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741806)

As much as I want to call Sony the villain here, they really aren't.

The person who ported it took everything from the original game and released it on a newer platform. That is like someone taking Sonic the Hedgehog or Mario bros and porting it over with all the same graphics, sounds, and design.

They're protecting their property from theft, here. Had he used his own art, sounds, etc, with the same gameplay then Sony wouldn't really have a leg to stand on, but he basically stole everything from the original and ported it over. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. He shouldn't have assumed that he could take the assets without asking.

Re:Sony is in the right, here. (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742312)

But only because the law is broken. Lemmings was first released in 1991, that's almost 20 years ego. Mario was first released 1981, that's 31 years ego. You should have copyright for 20 years at the outmost maximum. In fact, since we have now the Internet as the fastest delivery platform, the monopoly grand should be much less then 20 years. In the I.T. industry 20 years is like 60 years (or more) in the traditional industry. The copyright in this industry should be much much shorter.

The real villain here is the congress of the USA which is protecting the monopolies and steal from the public domain.

loophole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741846)

couldn't they get "hacked" and have it "leaked" to some well known torrent sites?

Re:loophole (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741908)

couldn't they get "hacked" and have it "leaked" to some well known torrent sites?

Unfortunately they would be responsible even if they were hacked.

the last part of the mail is missing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741860)

This is an auto generated email. Please do not reply to this automated email.

TAkCO (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741870)

Disgust, or been Lay down paper *BSD but FreeBSD Slashdot'\s sales and so on, and Michael Smith , a proud member who sell another fear the reaper by the politickers

my point of view (developer) (5, Informative)

ardiri (245358) | more than 3 years ago | (#32741882)

nice to get slashdotted twice in a week - the website still seems to be up this time around.

since i am on vacation (in egypt) for two weeks - i had to simply withdraw the submission and downloads from the application catalogs and own website, since sony gave a 48 hour window, i can deal with it in more detail when i am back from vacation. as for the intellectual property, no original code was uses (in fact, the palm os version was my own implementation) the only thing that is definitely "used" is the name (Lemmings) and the original EGA graphics from the game. even the levels are redesigned in the event that they are not workable with one player mode and the limitations of the palm os platform

IANAL - but since no original files are used, in fact everything is re-created without reference to the original source code, the only infringing rights here are the use of the name "Lemmings". there have been a number of copyright cases dealing with the look and feel - so it can go either way, intellectual property rights come down to if a jury believes there is confusion between the original and the remake.

i will try to open discussions with SCEE (Sony Entertainment) about getting an official license for the game, in fact, we were looking for the original license holders back in 2001 when we did the palm os versions - but it was in flux between Take Two Interactive, Sony and no-one knew their ass from a hole in the ground. the good news is now SCEE are claiming ownership, so we can now talk to them - and we have proof of concepts made, so if they play nice, this title will officially come to these platforms, if not - then you can start saying how evil they are.

lets see how the discussions go!

Re:my point of view (developer) (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742098)

if sony own the name lemmings (that's *if*) then they very likely own the copyright original EGA graphics. sony have shut down every lemmings clone that has used the original files or name and left alone every clone that has not. they also released new lemmings games on psp recently so it's not abandonware, How exactly are sony the bad guys here?

Re:my point of view (developer) (2, Informative)

ardiri (245358) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742144)

every lemmings clone that has used the original files or name and left alone every clone that has not.

we have NOT used the original files, in fact - if you read the blog, you will see how we actually generated the levels using bitmaps and text files for configuration, all built without the original lemmings DAT files (yes, you can use them - but we did not). right now, it comes down to the Lemmings trademark with video games and the look for feel issue.

Re:my point of view (developer) (4, Insightful)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742240)

the only thing that is definitely "used" is the name (Lemmings) and the original EGA graphics from the game.

Oh, and the original, copyrighted, artwork...

Re:my point of view (developer) (3, Insightful)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742422)

as orkysoft says, this comment directly conflicts your earlier one. If you use the original "EGA" graphics files, even modified, it's a pretty clear copright violation.

You can't claim with a straight face that you didn't use the original files when your copy looks exactly like the original.

Re:my point of view (developer) (5, Interesting)

snap2grid (630315) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742380)

As I posted yesterday, I was part of the team who created Lemmings in the first place. A minor member, to be sure, but I was there. What bothers me most about these efforts to convert games is not so much the use of the original graphics and certainly not the fact that it's been ported, but the respect that we don't seem to get. I didn't see any mention of credit for Mike Dailly, who invented the idea, or Russel Kaye who wrote the PC version from which you took the EGA graphics, or Dave Jones who coded the Amiga original, or Gary Timmons who animated the characters, or Scott Johnson who drew background graphics or... well you get the idea. Intellectual property be damned; did you get in touch with anyone to ask if they were cool with it? (I once had the experience of reading a rip of the Hired Guns manual which I wrote, with a huge list of credits to all the guy's cracker buddies, but not one mention of anyone who'd spent two years of their lives on the game itself.) The sad thing is, if you'd asked, I know they'd have been cool with it. (And if you had, then I apologise)

Re:my point of view (developer) (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742396)

Word to the wise: your first words to SCEE should be "Sorry", followed by "Thank you".

It sounds like you think you didn't really do anything wrong. Uh, no. No, sir. You are guilty as original sin.

SCEE could have bitch-slapped you from here to breakfast, and they really should have done so in order to protect their trademark. Sure, all you have to do is to change the name and the graphics slightly to be fine, but you chose not to do so. As they noted, you chose wilfully to infringe on their trademarks (name, distinctive images) and their copyrights (the EGA graphics).

Don't get me wrong: as hobbyist game developer myself, I admire what you've done and I wish you the best of luck in getting it licensed. But as an ex-professional game developer, I can assure you that I won't view SCEE as being in the least bit evil for defending their rights.

He can be double sued (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32741890)

Now Sony can also sue him because he published the email's content. See the disclaimer on the bottom: "This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. " :-)

Re:He can be double sued (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742444)

Confidentiality is generally something that *two* parties have agreed to (i.e. one party and a confidante). Besides, legal communication is rarely sealed, except on a judge's explicit order, and this is a legal communication to the person who publicised it. You can't sue someone for them choosing to publish their own mail online, unless you have sent them something REALLY secret, obviously not to be disseminated and/or sent accidentally.

Otherwise you get ridiculous situation where someone sends you threatening letters, summons, etc. and then you can't show them to your lawyer.

Coral Cache...for the 2nd time (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 3 years ago | (#32742416)

Here's the letter from Sony [nyud.net] .

I gotta agree with what others have said: 2 slashdottings in such a short period of time seems almost cruel and unusual.

Note to the Editors: If by some chance you run another story linking to this guy's website, use Coral Cache. Please.

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