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RISK on Google Maps Shut Down

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the making-my-stronghold-in-africa dept.

Google 312

mrokkam writes "Hasbro owns the copyrights for the game of Risk, as the guy who wrote the google maps based Risk found out. This was featured on slashdot earlier. However, he does not seem too discouraged and asks people to submit ideas for other games using google maps that will not have such legal wrangles." One thing this reminded me of is how cool Risk is. My office is now in its 3rd round... Africa will be mine!

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First Question! (4, Funny)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178337)

Where can I get a job in your office!

Another game (1)

suso (153703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178482)

How about Where in the world is Carmen Sandiago? (Oh wait, that's copyrighted too)

Maybe a game like geographical 20 questions or something. You have a list of questions that narrow things down to a city.

Re:First Question! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178968)

Remember this next time Taco says "but I'm too busy to code a dupe checker!" or other excuse.

How about a light cycles type game? (1)

t0qer (230538) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178345)

Remember the tron lightcycles? It wouldn't have to be realtime like the original, maybe just turn based with the goal of trapping your opponents in.

Re:How about a light cycles type game? (1)

mrcolj (870373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178502)

Hot 'bout Tron Lightcycles where you're building a wall along the border, without crossing over into foreign lands or ACLU lawyers? Who would be the blue bike, though?

Re:How about a light cycles type game? (1)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178576)

Remember the tron lightcycles? It wouldn't have to be realtime like the original, maybe just turn based with the goal of trapping your opponents in.

The real life version has been done [is-a-geek.org]

Re:How about a light cycles type game? (1)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178629)

You mean Snake [gginc.biz] ?

Copyrights (4, Interesting)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178346)

I'm curious what Hasbro actually owns the copyrights on. They own the trademark on the name of the game, as the article says, and they own the copyright on the original game's rules, but do they own a copyright on any rephrasings of those rules?

If the game looks similar and plays the same, but does not have its rules phrased the same as the original game, is this a violation of copyright? I'm genuinely curious.

Re:Copyrights (4, Funny)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178392)

What is important is that copyrights and trademarks be respected, otherwise there is no incentive to create boardgames that furthur human knowledge, culture, and society.

Imagine if we didn't have copyright law. Imagine a world without poker, bridge, snakes and ladders, blackjack, [insert one million fucking games better than risk, even tho risk does rule, here.]

I agree with copyright laws with limited term. I agree, even, with moderate trademark laws. I do not agree with anybody who suggests that the value of these laws to society at large increases with the magnitude of the legal strength they grant the owner.

Re:Copyrights (4, Funny)

bonkedproducer (715249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178511)

Speaking of copyright and whatnot - your sig should actually credit the late great Mitch Hedberg.

Re:Copyrights (1)

kenthorvath (225950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178563)

What is important is that copyrights and trademarks be respected, otherwise there is no incentive to create boardgames that furthur human knowledge, culture, and society.

Please back this statement up with both argument and conclusion based on reason and empirical evidence supported by scientific methods and statistics. I'm a bit skeptical.

Re:Copyrights (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178740)

May I be the first to say, "WHOOSH!".

Re:Copyrights (1)

aevan (903814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178752)

Excuse my ignorance here, but bridge and poker both date hundreds of years back: poker to at least the early 1800s, and bridge back to 16th century..although bridge was modernized just into the 20th century...and both are just rules based on cards which go back to the 14th century.... ...how has copyrights protected them?

Great idea! (2, Insightful)

StringBlade (557322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178401)

We'll call it "Imperil" and it'll take place on Pangea with toops of dinosaurs and other pre-historic species of animals trying to take over the world before it breaks apart.

er....troops (1)

StringBlade (557322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178409)

Damn dyslexia my.

Re:er....troops (2, Funny)

Geno Z Heinlein (659438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178844)

Damn dyslexia my.

You might want to have the doctor run some tests for Yoda-itis, too.

Re:Copyrights (4, Insightful)

codegen (103601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178443)

If the game looks similar and plays the same, but does not have its rules phrased the same as the original game, is this a violation of copyright? I'm genuinely curious

Two words:
derivative work.

Changing the name and changing the rules might be enough.I haven't seen the online version. But if you change the way results are calculated (instead of rolls of 6 sided dice) and change the resupply algorithm, it might be sufficient

Re:Copyrights (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178469)

You would probably have to introduce a lot of novel ideas into it, too. Courts aren't hapy when defendants come in with a laundry list of things that they obviously did just to circumvent the copyright while keeping the basic content.

Idea-expression dichotomy (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178574)

Two words: derivative work.

Three words: idea-expression dichotomy [wikipedia.org] . The rules of RISK, including the graph theoretic structure of the game board, make up a process, which is deliberately not subject to copyright (17 USC 102). If you express the same rules differently, then your work is not a copy and not a derivative.

Re:Idea-expression dichotomy (1)

MasterPi (896501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178863)

The same thing happened with Tetris. Developers figured out that if they didn't use any of the derivitives of the name, (some still do but I don't think whoever owns it cares anymore) they couldn't be prosecuted because the actual gameplay/rules couldn't be copyrighted as ideas.

Re:Copyrights (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178444)

Isn't that like paraphrasing a book and having the revised version published as your own?

Re:Copyrights (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178562)

You've just described 90% of all books. . .

And all of Shakespeare.

KFG

Re:Copyrights (3, Informative)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178468)

IANAL, but ...

The copyright claim is probably a stretch. The title cannot be copyrighted, and merely formulating rules that are similar is not copyright infringement, though it is close enough for a lawsuit to stand on.

However, in these types of instances, trademarks cast a very wide net because of the anti-dilution clauses that were added to trademark law a few decades back. Judges often interpret the clause extremely broadly. The anti-consumer aspects of trademarks get their teeth from this, whereas the aspects of trademarks needed for a well functionin market, namely that one entity cannot pass off goods are being made by another, was very well handled by the older trademark laws.

Re:Copyrights (5, Insightful)

EvilFrog (559066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178763)

Here's the trick:

You can not copyright the rules to a game.

You can copyright the expression of the game— the artwork and the way the manual is written.

You can trademark the name of the game.

And most importantly you can patent a unique mechanic of a game.

I'm 99.9% certain the Hasbro does not own a patent on any of the mechanics used in Risk. They do however own the copyright on the board artwork and the wording of the rules, as well as a trademark on the name "Risk".

All you need to do in order to be legit in this case is to stop calling it "Risk".

Re:Copyrights (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178818)

Of course it is. They've copied the game, like copying a story it doesn't have to be word-for-word.

Re:Copyrights (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178838)

Well, you can trademark the name of a game. You can patent the rules of a game (if they qualify for a patent; many will not be novel or nonobvious enough). And you can copyright a specific expression of the rules (provided it doesn't protect the underlying rules or other expressions of the rules), the art on the box, the art on the board (to the extent it's not functional for game playing purposes), the shape of the pieces (ditto), etc.

So looking similar may or may not be a stumbling block, but generally you're right; it's easy to make knock-off games since the rules by which the game functions are not copyrightable.

Re:Copyrights (5, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178890)

Ther is nothing in Title 17 that allows for copyrighting game rules.

You can't copyright the the actual rules of a game, only the documents you use to express those rules. IOW, you can copyright the form in which you've written them up, but that's it. Anyone is free to implement the same rules, using different text.

You can TRADEMARK a board design and the actual game pieces you make, but that's it. Again, anyone else is free to implement their version, using a different design and game pieces. I seriously doubt that Hasbro's version of Risk has an actual map of the world underneath (I have both the board and computer versions, and the world they show is NOT the real world,or even a decent representation of it).

In other words, Hasbro needs to to realize that the internet gives everyone the power to search here [cornell.edu] and get the facts.

If you'd rather read a summary about game law, direct from the government, go here [copyright.gov] instead.

The idea for a game is not protected by copyright. The same is true of the name or title given to the game and of the method or methods for playing it.

Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author's expression in literary, artistic, or musical form. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in the development, merchandising, or playing of a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles.

Some material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to copyright if it contains a sufficient amount of literary or pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the rules of the game, or the pictorial matter appearing on the gameboard or container, may be registrable.

In order to register the copyrightable portions of a game, you must send the Library of Congress, Copyright Office, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C. 20559-6000, the following elements in the same envelope or package:

So Hasbro can go fuck themselves. The guy should sue, as this was an obvious attempt at intimidation. They do NOT own the exclusive rights to RISK-style board games.

JNR. Or GRNR. (1)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178965)


They own the trademark on the name of the game...

Well that's easy enough: Just rename it to something like JNR, which would stand for "JNR's Not Risk!"

Or maybe GRNR: "Google Risk's Not Risk!"

So don't use the name RISK? (5, Insightful)

mridley (571519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178355)

I never saw the original game web site, so I'm not sure exactly what it looked like. But as long as you don't use the name RISK and you don't copy, word for word, their rules out of the physical cardboard box that the game comes in (ie. don't infringe their copyright), then I don't see why you couldn't put this back online.

After all, what was that game - Tradewars? - that was exactly like RISK but I don't think anyone ever made an issue out of it.

-m

Re:So don't use the name RISK? (1)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178384)

Agreed.. Just change the name to "Nerdworld Takeover" and everyone will be happy. Except, Hasbro won't be happy because they don't own the copyright for every possible variation of Risk and the way it can be played.

Re:So don't use the name RISK? (4, Interesting)

yeremein (678037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178405)

The Hasbro bark letter [ashotoforangejuice.com] seems to complain that "unauthorized use of [elements of R*SK] is likely to dilute the distinctive quality of the R*SK game" (can't be too careful here). It seems to me that Hasbro would like to imply that they own the m*n*p*ly (is that a Hasbro trademark too?) on all R*SK-like games, but all that's legally enforceable is the R*SK name and actual written rules. I agree that a R*SK-like strategy game that didn't actually use the name "R*SK" or copy its rule book verbatim (and I don't know whether the offending game did that) should be legally okay. After all, there haven't been any lawsuits in the video game industry, where every single FPS that ever existed is exactly the same as every other one other than the name...

The problem here is not one of Copyright, but... (4, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178501)

...one of Trademarks. While I'm not a lawyer, I am rather familiar with the various "IP" laws, being an inventor and an author of SF. Since the online Risk game used the name, the guy who wrote the Google Maps version had a problem with that part specifically- and Hasbro DID have a right to ask him to stop calling it that. The other claims of the elements of Risk are bogus since these are NOT really trademarkable, only Copyrightable. Since Copyright only covers the SPECIFIC implementation of an idea, they really didn't have a leg to stand on as this was a game, played on the Web that used Google Maps to render portions of the screens- NOT a board game like Risk is. The MAIN reason why the guy pulled it was one of not having the funds to put up a defense against the rest of the complaints Hasbro fobbed off on him. And, that's the biggest complaint I've got about how the "IP" laws are worded- the rich are the only ones that can actually use it or defend against spurious uses thereof. If you're a rights holder, you only have as much protection for your "IP" as you have cash to burn defending your rights. If you're not and aren't really infringing on things, you only have as much defense against unreasonable claims as you've got cash to burn defending your rights.

Re:So don't use the name RISK? (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178677)

BTW, yes, Hasbro owns Monopoly [hasbro.com] as well.

But this brings up the eternal question. When do things like this loose copyright and/or trademark?

We have checkers, chess, card games like poker, hearts, spades, bunches of solitaire games. In fact, Hasbro [hasbro.com] sells checkers as well.

How long do we have to pay "da man" to play games? I can't find too much history about RISK right now, but it appears to have been a French game that had its rules slightly modified and was being sold by Hasbro since 1959. That will be 50 years in a couple. Again, I don't know the details, but Monopoly was originally made by some "regular guy" (or gal) and then bought and licensed by Hasbro ever since.

So, how long do we have to pay somebody for the right to have old inferior versions?

Re:So don't use the name RISK? (1)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178730)

Seems a shame that some middle-manager ran to the lawyers and got them to dash-off this letter (in the event that the lawyers weren't just operating on auto-pilot). I mean, when was the last time that anyone here actually bought a RISK board game? Hell, I don't even remember the rules.

If they had been smart (and yes, I know that's a stretch for "suits"), they would've just asked him to link some advertising back to the Hasbro site, and maybe said "ya, it's a violation, but we'll let you run it for another six months because you're helping to promote our product with the time and effort you put into it - after that, we'd ask you to please take it down".

Results? Free advertising on Slashdot (and others), warm feelings for the company, and possibly some extra board games sold before xmas...

Too bad...

N.

Re:So don't use the name RISK? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178848)

> After all, there haven't been any lawsuits in the video game industry, where every single FPS that ever existed is exactly the same as every other one other than the name...

But there have been lawsuits

Crazy Taxi v. Simpsons Road Rage

http://www.out-law.com/page-4155 [out-law.com]

There's even a Law/Business workshop based on it

http://www.cmpevents.com/GD06/a.asp?option=C&V=11& SessID=1555 [cmpevents.com]

Re:So don't use the name RISK? (1)

yeremein (678037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14179009)

But there have been lawsuits


I hadn't heard about that one, but I guess I shouldn't have been so naive.

For what it's worth, though, that's a "patent" "infringement" case, and any patent over R!$K would have expired decades ago, so Ha$bro wouldn't have been able to use it against gmrisk.

Re:So don't use the name RISK? (3, Interesting)

DrunkenTerror (561616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178419)

Global War, a BBS door game.

It's still around. You can download it here [johndaileysoftware.com] . You'll need a BBS to run it any way other than hotseat multiplayer. Or you could log onto any one of hundreds of BBSs [synchro.net] that could be running it.

Re:So don't use the name RISK? (1)

PJ Brunet (936040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178742)

I think that you are talking about the multiplayer "Global Wars" which was a door game for BBS's back in the day. Probably they adopted the name from the movie "War Games" which was one of the first movies to have a kid dialing up with a modem to play games... in one scene the computer says something like, "Would you like to play Global Thermonuclear War?" Tradewars was like Yankee Trader, you basically used up all your turns to explore space, trade stuff, make money, buy spaceships, etc.

Litigious bastards (4, Interesting)

plams (744927) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178362)

Hasbro has a long history of suing amateurs who make games based on their games. I think they own a lot of classic arcade games too (e.g. from acquiring atari), so when someone makes, say, a Missile Command clone they also issue legal threats. Makes my inner baby cry.

Re:Litigious bastards (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178589)

yup, they tried a long time ago to stop a bunch of us that were publishing alternative rules to Risk. I.E. you hat to own risk and then add in our rules that were 100% origional to enhance the game. They sent letters we flipped them the bird by publishing all of the rules and giving out thousands upon thousands of copies at College campuses.

today I can find many of our add-on rules modified slightly and on the internet (mutually assured destruction Risk with nukes, and Alien attack Risk with having the green be aliens that are trying to take over the world... required 2 sets of risk pieces to give the aliens overwhelming forces, and the only way to win was to contain the alien beachhead from the very beginning.)

Their lawyers told me and the around 15 scattered friends around the globe that we were not to distribute the rules and we were to destroy them. WE did the opposite, instead of selling the 5 photocopied sheets for $0.50US we gave them to everyone everywhere.

The only answer is to do what they do not expect and go against their demands, that is the only way to deal with the scum that are lawyers.

BTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178976)

so when someone makes, say, a Missile Command clone they also issue legal threats. Makes my inner baby cry.

The guy who wrote Missile Command [wikipedia.org] works at my office.

copyleft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178367)

My office is now in its 3rd round... Africa will be mine!
Don't you mean our office, 'Taco?

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178378)

"My office is now in its 3rd round... Africa will be mine!"

I'm in Africa, you insencitive imperialist clod!

Obligatory Seinfeld Quote (3, Funny)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178379)

One thing this reminded me of is how cool Risk is. My office is now in its 3rd round... Africa will be mine!

Jerry: "A game of world domination played by two people who can barely run their own lives!"

I kid, I kid!

A copyright? so what? (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178385)

I don't see the issue here. What could be copyrighted? The name (lets ignore that you can't copyright a name!)? Just change the name, call it World Domination, or Bush's Dream or something else. That will get past the trademark issue, which is a bigger problem than copyright. Obviously don't copy the printed rules for Risk, that might be a copyright infringement. He clearly isn't using the Risk copyrighted map. And it certainly isn't a patent issue, the game has well past any patent age (in fact, if it's been patented then the fact that the patent has expired goes a long way to saying that the game has validly passed into public domain, which is the public's right for granting a patent).

Re:A copyright? so what? (1)

BodhiCat (925309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178486)

Just change the name, call it World Domination, or Bush's Dream or something else.

That makes me wonder, do you think Bush every played Risk as a child? If he did don't you think he would have learned not to go into the Middle East without enough divisions? If he had played he probably would have been one of those hot headed players who constantly attacks every country around him without building up his forces or making allies and would have been out early in the game.

Idea! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178388)

asks people to submit ideas for other games using google maps that will not have such legal wrangles

Um... turn the Google Maps upside-down and call it "Ksir"?

"The game of conquest in weird superman's world!"

Re:Idea! (1)

Jonny_eh (765306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178464)

You mean Bizarro Superman. I've never seen so many comments on an article with Seinfeld references!

it's all about ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178396)

Kamkatscha (sppelt wrong maybe)

FreeRisk? Google Maps? Why not the Blue Marble? (3, Interesting)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178418)

Couldn't there be a way to make a FreeRisk.org in the same way there is a FreeCiv.org [freeciv.org] ? And thus, bypass legal limitations?

Civ IV can even use NASA Blue Marble tiles [slashgisrs.org] , I don't see why a FreeRisk or not-so-free Risk couldn't make use of NASA's Blue Marble data. It would be more beautiful than a Google Map basemap. Am I wrong?

Clearly, this is another example where IP impeds innovation...

Re:FreeRisk? Google Maps? Why not the Blue Marble? (2, Funny)

Rydia (556444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178514)

Yes, without this great evil, we would have an avalanche of innovative "taking someone else's idea and product and sticking it on the internet" innovation! I mean, it's not like IP law helps companies, inventors, and the economy (by making useful research/production profitable, by protecting ideas and by precluding problematic price wars with new products, respectively)!

But gosh darn it, we want this thing, and THE MAN is telling us that we can't have it unless we pay him money! That's unamerican!

Re:FreeRisk? Google Maps? Why not the Blue Marble? (1)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178758)

we would have an avalanche of innovative "taking someone else's idea and product and sticking it on the internet" innovation!

He he he... not exactly what I had in mind ;-)
But the thing is: IP really is a limitation because you are prohibited to try new mixes: in this example, mixing Internet, a game and a webmapping service/data. If there wasn't any Hasbro IP, in the end, the potential for innovation would be greater. In other words, I disagree with you :-)

CmdrTaco (-1, Troll)

elvezZzZ (935966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178421)

Rather than spending all your time playing Risk on Google Maps, how about doing your job on Slashdot like AVOIDING DUPE ARTICLES and SWITCHING YOUR SITE FROM A TECH ORIENTED BLOG BACK TO A "NEWS" SITE.

I'm so tired of seeing "news" like someone spamming their blog, their site which is advertising powered or some stupid ass linux article about some developer hacking a dildo to run apache. THATS NOT NEWS TO ME, THAT NEWS DOESN'T MATTER.

... YOU FATASS

Re:CmdrTaco (1)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178461)

Wow, new here, aren't you?

Re:CmdrTaco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178538)

go fuck yourself. it seems that enough people are more or less satisfied with the site. if you aren't, just keep away. problem solved for you and for us (we are sick of whiners like you)

Re:CmdrTaco (1)

rincebrain (776480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178769)

It's been spammed before, but I'll say it again.

CmdrTaco has always said this is his blog, we just choose to read it. He rarely makes personal posts any more, but such it remains, according to him.

Don't like it, so be it.

Copyrights (patents?) working for innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178423)

I think this is an example of copyrights doing a good thing for innovation. Thanks to them, we might now get a new and hopefully better strategy game instead of a rehash of an old (but admittedly very good) game.

diplomacy (0, Offtopic)

wpegden (931091) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178424)

If you like risk, and have 4-5 hours to play, try diplomacy. There's no randomness (dice, etc.)... the heart of the game is in negotiations. There are online servers where you can participate in long-term games as well. For example, njudge is a program for Linux/Unix that can adjudicate diplomacy games via email. Apparently, none of the authors of these programs have received copyright complaints.

Re:diplomacy (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178588)

Diplomacy is very much at the opposite end of the spectrum to RISK. While I find that RISK is too random, I have never yet found a deterministic game that is fun over multiple games. I would like to see a game that is somewhere between RISK and Diplomacy. I would also like a few more elements to be added to Diplomacy (the introduction of air power in the 1920s, and the ability to deploy more than a single division in an area, for example).

Re:diplomacy (1)

ricosalomar (630386) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178671)

Wasn't there a board game called "Civilization" back in the late '80s. I seem to recall it being a more sophisticated version of Risk?

Re:diplomacy (2, Informative)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178602)

If you like risk, and have 4-5 hours to play, try diplomacy.

There's everything you need to know about Diplomacy here [diplom.org] , including how to join an online game, and how to improve your gameplay.

One more entry... (1)

MuckSavage (658302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178426)

...to my shit list. Thanks, Hasbro!

Trademark (1)

MicroBerto (91055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178432)

I bet the trademark infringement was by far the worst part of it. Maybe some sound legal advise can get this thing going again.

Anyway, how scary must it be to receive one of these letters? I can imagine losing my stool after some company writes me a letter like that

Re:Trademark (4, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178492)

It is unnerving when you get one of those letters.
here's mine:
http://farmersreallysucks.com/cgi-bin/QAD_CMS.pl?p age=E1_First_Takedown.html [farmersreallysucks.com]
Anyway, my first reaction was "Oh Shit, Oh Shit, Oh Shit" then I took some time and realised that they were using baseless assertions, thus I got a little pissed. Finally I spent the next week looking up laws in US Title 15 and writing my rebuttal (the red text).
-nB

Office? (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178441)

Um, what office, Taco? From what I saw in "Revolution O/S," you lie around on a couch...

New Game To Play on Maps (4, Funny)

thpdg (519053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178450)

Monopoly.

One has to wonder (2, Informative)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178456)

how has Lux [sillysoft.com] escaped the wrath of hasbro?

RISKy Business. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178465)

"Hasbro owns the copyrights for the game of Risk, as the guy who wrote the google maps based Risk found out."

So he took a RISK, and it didn't work out.

Variations (2, Informative)

plopez (54068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178470)

There is a variation called 'space 2440' or something like that which won a court case against Hasbro IIRC.

The map was different, the rules slightly as well. In addition to continents you had space and ocean colonies and more sophisticated pieces + rules. I found it more intersting than plain "Risk".

The name "Risk" itself is a generic term and as such, from what I understand of copyright law, cannot be copyrighted.

If he were to change the rules and call it 'Risk ' then he should be OK. Though Hasbro may win de facto if the game author doesn't have the resources or will to deal with lawyers.

Re:Variations (1)

hhawk (26580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178568)

With a trademark on the name using the name RISK, you might cause confusion... picking a totally different name gets' you out of the trademark issue (unless you call it something that would cause confusion (same/similar name and the same or similar product).

Thus Lexis and Lexsus (the database and the car company) DO NOT infringe because no one (reasonable) would think they are buying database access and ooopps find out they bought a car instead...

Re:Variations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178579)

The name "Risk" itself is a generic term and as such, from what I understand of copyright law, cannot be copyrighted.

That's trademark, not copyright. And it's not generic in this context.

I think he should call it RISC...

CandyLand Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178474)

My favorite game thank you

Why not slashdot Hasbro? (1)

ncrypted (9589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178477)

Since there seems to be a large base of RISK fans in the Slashdot user-base, why don't we (as a group) try to get Hasbro to rescind their cease-and-desist, and maybe even sponsor the developer? It seems logical, right? The RISK IP has not been properly exploited in many years, save an OK PS1 game, and a lackluster PS2 outing. So why not encourage the owner of the IP in question to follow the grassroots lead and let homeboy fully develop his idea. I'm not saying they should SPONSOR him, although that would be a BRILLIANT step on their part, but to see where it goes. It may lead to greater interest in their board game, and might also lead to a new and more usable computer based version.

Just an idea.

A very good argument... (2, Interesting)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178483)

... for why copyright terms should be dramatically cut. Far from increasing the productivity of gifted artists the current copyright laws seem to cause them to give up work after they have had one success. I'm not saying that artists shouldn't be compensated but 20 years, to me, feels like about the right amount of time to protect the work. It's long enough that no business will just wait 20 years for the copyright on a work to expire before publishing and it's not so short that the artists would struggle to reap their just rewards.

I remember playing Risk as a kid and it wasn't a new game then (my parents bought the set). How can it be right that it is still protected by copyright?. If copyrights were shorter Hasbro would no doubt have pumped money into developing new more exciting games.

Having said that I suppose there is no problem with producing a very similar game with a different name to get around the copyright problem. I suppose we should be thankful they didn't patent it :o). The parting thought is this though - there is a reason they call them board games and it's not because they are played on a board.

business opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178489)

Why not write them back with a business proposal for an online version of RISK?????!! Anybody? (maybe this already exists?) Work with the goons at Hasbro and you might make money for both of you. With your cut of the profits you can put it towards other interesting projects. You already have the slashdot community as a potential market for such a game and the fact that they were so concerned adds legitimacy to such an online version.

Re:business opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178507)

Why don't YOU write a business proposal. The guy who wrote Risk-on-GoogleMaps obviously can't be trusted.

20% additional copyright is NEW copyright (0)

lkcl (517947) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178512)

if you add 20% new material to an existing copyright work,
it is no longer considered to be anything to do with the
material on which it is derived: the new work comprises
a new and SEPARATE copyrighted work, of which, you, the
creators, own 100% of that copyright.

this is not very commonly known.

the difficulty comes, of course, in demonstrating how much
is different (and paying for the proving). counting lines of code
is an obvious metric - but in the case of new "ideas", that's
much more intangible.

in this case, if he added 20% more rules, if he added 20% more
types of units (in the original Risk there is only armies so it's
hard to add less than 200% more types of units), etc. ... you
get the idea.

Re:20% additional copyright is NEW copyright (1)

lkcl (517947) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178521)

oh.

of course.

if he rewrote 20% of the original rules, that'd comprise a new
copyright work.

yeh.

definitely.

work through each of their complaints, and tell them to xxxx off.

claim it's a "risk-inspired" or "risk-like" game.

etc.

Re:20% additional copyright is NEW copyright (1)

gandreas (908538) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178650)

> this is not very commonly known.

So uncommon that not even the http:/// [http] http://copyright.gov/title17/circ92.pdf>Co pyright Law of the United States of America knows about it.

The only place where "20 percent" appears at all is a section on rolayty payments...

Re:100% of made up law is still made up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178720)

Thanks for the laugh. Any copyright based on a previous work is known as a "derivative work" and is protected by the original holder.

Re:20% additional copyright is NEW copyright (2, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178882)

LOL. In fact, courts don't care how much new material there might be in an infringing work, they only care about the part that is infringing, even if it were only one hundreth of a percent of the new work. Adding lots of stuff is irrelevant; taking lots of stuff is where you get in trouble.

Disney Junior (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178513)

Another company owns my childhood culture.

I've seen risk boards at least 30-40 years old.

How long will THIS copywrite hold up.

Not really a Copyright issue... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178545)

It's a Trademark issue and they're claiming Trademark on the entire game including gameplay (which is what was in the cease and desist letter...). However, they can only Trademark (and I'd love to check and see if they've GOT the registrations on all of that up-to-date (because if they don't- I'm advising the guy go get a lawyer and sue the hell out of Hasbro for harassment...)) and they can only trademark something along the lines of the look and feel of the game pieces at best. "Risk" is a very common word and would be difficult to make a trademark case out of any "infringements" on the same. The actual rules might be copyrighted, but since he's not duplicating the content thereof, only the mechanics, that's not applicable.

Simply put, he pulled it because he didn't have a Lawyer to defend his position, nor could he afford to mount a case. Me, I might have changed the name, but the rest, I'd have told them to go pound sand as they can't make the claims they're making.

Re:Not really a Copyright issue... (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178603)

Upon a proper search of the USPTO database of Registered Trademarks, "Risk" for the board and computer game variants IS registered for Hasbro. However, there is no registration for the look/feel of the game pieces, etc. so that falls pretty clearly into the Copyright domain. Now, since the Web Risk[TM] game that used Google Maps to render the globe's details didn't really USE anything other than the game mechanics, doesn't specifically copy the verbiage from the game's rulesheet, and didn't appear to do anything else that might have infringed on Hasbro's "IP" rights, I reccomend that he consult a lawyer for certainty, strip out the Trademark Violation from the game, and tell Hasbro to go pound sand on the rest of it as it's not infringing nor is it a Trademark Violation at that point.

Online RISK Games? (1)

knipknap (769880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178533)

Does anyone know where you can play Risk online without Java/Flash/Plugins and without overzealous advertising?

Just re-arrange the countries. (1)

neo (4625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178549)

There are a ton of alternate maps, including world maps and maps of middle earth. Just cut the countries differently and you're good to go.

Call the attorney :-) (1)

Philzli (813353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178554)

For a good time, call Carin at 212-336-2104

corporations can't see past the end of their desks (2, Insightful)

ftide (454731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178557)

If Hasbro was smart they'd create a marketing division just for this guy's work and contact him about setting up a new element to the game with licensing.

But no.. They can't completely control this type of endeavor anymore so it's all or nothing.

Still available? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178572)

I don't suppose anyone has a way to still play this? Or even some screenshots? I missed the first news post and it sounds very interesting.

Hire him and build an online version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178575)

Here's a thought

Why not Hasbro hire him and build the online version since he got it started already

Flight Sim anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14178605)

I would very much like to see google earth integrated into MSFS or X-plane.

what about changing name? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178669)

I think changing the name, and altering the rules just a bit will be enough.

Who is responsible for this sort of stupidity? (2, Interesting)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178719)

Is it the lawyers that companies keep on staff, actively trying to make themselves seem "useful," or is there really some bonehead at the company in a position of power who really believes that this is in Hasbro's best interests?

The settings for board games and online games are typically completely different, with very little overlap. You don't (typically) sit around at home and play a board game by yourself. Likewise, Hasbro doesn't even have a net capable product to offer. At worst, this would have generated more interest, and hence more sales of the game. Instead, they choose to pursue legal actions which will only anger people, and ensure that they will actively search for alternatives to their products.

While technically this wasn't an online multi-player game, such a version was rumored to be in development. I can't see that enough people would choose to huddle around a computer in this way to be any threat to their business. Certainly, if one likes to play chess, and has people available to play with, 99.9% of them would choose to buy a chess set.

Maybe, just maybe... (1)

agraupe (769778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178765)

Hasbro should suck a fat cock... RISK is what, like 50 years old? Give it up already. I can see that you might be angry if a similar commercial product was to be released, but from what I can tell, this was a noncommerical venture. I made a RISK board of my own for a school project recently... are they gonna come and sue me? Copyright should definitely run out for RISK soon.

Diplomacy (2, Interesting)

sysrpl (740738) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178776)

Ever heard of the game Diplomacy [wikipedia.org] ?

And you guys call yourselves nerds... (1)

kmartshopper (836454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178778)

Come on this one is easy -- just play GNRISK!

many other risk clone around (1)

simonech (229668) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178817)

Why did they not shut down also http://jrisk.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] a java implementation of risk?
or this http://www.dominategame.com/website.php [dominategame.com] , which is the same a risk
or this turbo risk? http://www.marioferrari.org/freeware.html [marioferrari.org]

all of this version are listed on wikipedia.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_game [wikipedia.org]

that could be an interesting question

Global War (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178916)

For a long while I was playing Global War [globalwar.de] like every day. But sadly, I eventually found that the legally necessary modifications to the Risk rules just kind of ruined the game for me. It would almost always end up in a never-ending battle between the last 2 or 3 people, that got really boring really fast.

Does anyone remember the "Global War" BBS game, by the way? Now that was fun. ASCII Risk!

copyright on rules (2, Informative)

pruss (246395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14178924)

IANAL. But here's what I found by a quick googling:

"Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author's expression in literary, artistic, or musical form. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in the development, merchandising, or playing of a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles.

"Some material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to copyright if it contains a sufficient amount of literary or pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the rules of the game, or the pictorial matter appearing on the gameboard or container, may be registrable." - The U.S. Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html [copyright.gov] )

Basically, from the copyright point of view, the guy would have been OK unless he copied the rules verbatim (or maybe close to verbatim) or he copied other parts of the game graphics.

By the way, I wonder if it is possible to sue people for providing false or misleading legal information when they ought to have known better? I am not saying Hasbro is guilty here--that depends on whether the rules were copied verbatim. Another example of the provision of false information are the warnings on DVDs saying that ALL copying is prohibited by law, which is simply false, since there is NO reasonable interpretation (though IANAL) of copyright law under which there is no such thing as fair use. For instance, it seems clearly legal to take a family photograph, for non-commercial purposes, with a TV playing the movie in the background (incidental copying, I think it's called). I wonder if one could get a class action lawsuit by people who were defrauded through the signage.
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