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So I'm sure a few of you are aware of a little independent game development company called Halfbrick who are best known for their title Fruit Ninja.
In short, I found a blatant carbon copy of it called Fruit Slasher and (I think) any reasonable observer can pin down the similarity, which is the standard by which we judge if an artwork has plagiarized elements in it.
Here is the clone, available on facebook,
and some gameplay footage of the original 'Ninja. 'Ninja is just better in all ways, really. Especially more visually engaging and visceral.
How close can people cut it before we start bringing out the IP hammer? I don't know if Slasher is at all cutting into Ninja's profits by the mere nature of existence (and part of me thinks it doesn't matter) but I still don't like the idea that people in an independent social gaming market are adopting the same 'Me too!' design mentality of the AAA industry.
Anyway. Intellectual property. Plagiarism or not? Or doesn't it matter?
Last edited by Beeston; June 15th, 2011 at 09:24 AM.
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There are entire industries out there based off of ripping off ideas. Look at the movie company, Asylum. They had a movie called "Snakes on a Train" on the shelf a week before "Snakes on a Plane" was in theaters. They especially love it when a movie comes out with a generic name like "2012", because then they can release a movie called "2012: Doomsday". The entire idea is to either confuse someone or to get the people that finished the original movie/game/experience and want more but don't want to wait for a sequel.
There's like 25 different Angry Bird ripoff games or just games involving chubby, round little birds. The entire point behind that is to grab those people if even briefly. And you know what? It works! Angry bird ripoff games are all pretty much in the top 50 Ihphone games. People eat them up.
As long as you change a word or add a colon with a subtitle, you are good to go.
It depends a bit though...and it is somewhat different between art, music, games, etc. There are some clearly defined things that will get a company in trouble, such as reverse engineering. The thing is you can't copyright an idea, only the execution or implementation of the idea. So as Dusty points out, even though it is essentially a rip-off to any reasonable observer, as long as they made all their own art and created all their own code, there is no foul (except in an ethical sense maybe).
If the ultimate decision on what someone's IP is relies solely on the ruling of a judge, that can make a pretty wide gamut on what is and isn't IP.
So it's not so much that you can just add a word and be good to go rather, people simply know its not worth the time and money to pursue in court.
Not really, there are very specific laws and precedents that have been fought out and put in place...it is not really a "judgment call" or open to much interpretation. Though you're right that often the decision on whether to pursue is dependent on how much someone is willing to spend.
What you have just described is another case of depends on the situation. Truth is, the whole 'what's ok and what's not' in the copyright sense is extremely complicated.
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Yea, it happens, left and right.
More and more of my little 3D models are getting knocked off to. I encountered one yesterday where I couldn't tell if it is just a really good close copy, or if the actual mesh was ripped off. Turns out it was just a very VERY close copy. Really lame, because on a grand scheme of things, I'm a nobody.
...so it goes