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Thoughts on IP infringement in app market

08-11-2010, 01:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 35
Thoughts on IP infringement in app market

I just recently got an iPad, and its my first foray into the apple app marketplace. I don't own an iPhone or iPod touch. The first thing that struck me was how many clones of well established IPs there are in the app store. On one hand i like having competition in games that drives prices down, on the other i'm suprised i haven't seen more news of lawsuits.

For example i love board games, and was disappointed Risk wasn't available on iPad....but quickly found two very well made risk clones, one of which is my favorite app. But neither of them seemed to make much attempt at making their version of the game new in any way. I have to admit i feel a bit guilty playing a knock-off. Is there anything in the app market protecting developers who are actually developing fresh gameplay ideas and concepts?
08-11-2010, 01:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 25
The app store is, essentially, just a distribution mechanism (editorial issues notwithstanding). The IP issues you raise are no different for apps there than they are for software or other products in the "real world." Integrity can't be regulated with software; it's up to the people who write and own the copyright for a given product to protect it, and it's up to everyone else to do the right thing.

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Last edited by TascoKid; 08-11-2010 at 02:08 PM. Reason: Clarification
08-11-2010, 02:32 PM
I know what you mean here but there's so many cases where the creator of the 'original' game has been guilty of being plain old lazy. There's lot of examples of this where the clones have come along, brought new game modes, online leaderboards, better graphics etc so more often than not I end up thinking it's kind of tough; if you'd made the original game better then people wouldn't be buying the clones.

The whole thing of game copyright must be really tricky. I suspect the big companies probably rely on scare tactics, threatening hefty lawsuits for clones that cross the line, a luxury that the small developer doesn't have. I'm sure in most cases it will be just a threat because when is a clone a clone after all. If you take your example of Risk, then how much do you have to change before you'd win in a court battle? or is any board game involving a map and some dice a rip off of Risk?
08-11-2010, 02:35 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 162
Don't ever feel guilty for playing an evolved version ( ie. Lux dlx2) of an existing concept. Innovation has to start somewhere. Is every game to be a genera of it own? These issues are universal, extending well beyond something as new and exclusive as the app store. I feel you on the direct clone issue, but if I recall correctly, risk is actually a fairly new app, and B&H and LD2 may have been released first. iPad just screams board games. Look here, I'm buying it as soon as I see it.. http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=59882
08-11-2010, 02:54 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,739
You just have to know where to draw the line. There are always going to be clones, they're an essential part of game evolution as often a clone will introduce new ideas and technologies to existing ones. Ocassionally you'll see a blatant knock off, with absolutely no inspiration or effort behind it, and it's up to you as the consumer to decide where to place the line on your purchases, and up to each invididual copyright owner to judge where the line between inspiration and theft is drawn.

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08-11-2010, 03:01 PM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 2,377
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There have been IP conflicts-- mostly between silly name disputes/similarities. A couple of TDs (under the claimed and false copyright of "tower defense") and a Zuma clone were taken down because of that. Unfortunately, Apple's decisions have been totally unreasonable, with basically the first person who does it winning, and the small devs who are hurt not really having the resources to sue.

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