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Civilization I copyright

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by humbe, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. humbe

    humbe Warlord

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    Hi.. I just wondered if you knew anything about the Civilization I copyright..

    I see many people are making mods/changes to the original game, but this seems very tedious since the source is not available.. I also see some have had hobby projects creating an implementation of their own, and there's initiatives like FreeCiv..

    Anyone knows where the limit goes as to what is ok and what is not? What do Microprose care about and what does it consider as just positive attention for Civ?

    Would creating a Civ 1 clone nowadays be considered an issue and not something one could make available to others?
     
  2. ainwood

    ainwood Consultant. Administrator

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    Well, free civ is a clone, isn't it?

    As far as I know, copyright still exists (and I think it is now owned by firaxis, out of interest). Abandon ware has no legal status, and we don't allow people to link to civ 1 downloads here. But afaik, free civ is ok.
     
  3. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    This is a US-based site, and in America, anything ever produced by anyone in the world is copyrighted forever.
     
  4. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    In the US, copyright usually expires 70 years after the author's death. Works from other countries are copyrighted in the US in the same way, under the Berne Convention.
     
  5. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    Hmmm.... I know old Nintendo titles went out of copyright. Or maybe it's just the patent on the machine itself and that's why there are now legal clones out there of the original NES system. I'll have to check on the status of games available for the clones. It may just that you have to use old games on your new system.
     
  6. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

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    No, I think that's right, games like Tetris are out of copyright.
     
  7. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    Well Tetris may be a special case though, it was designed by a Russian in the Soviet days and that made the particulars of that intellectual property, well, particular. Still, you can patent software per se, so they fall under copyright law. I think. I dunno.
     
  8. Sonereal

    Sonereal ♫We got the guillotine♫ Supporter

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    Supposedly.
     
  9. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Yes, the actual state of copyright in the US is close enough to the insanity I posted to make no difference.

    I find it fair to just ignore US copyright, since it's not reasonable.
     
  10. Thander

    Thander Warlord

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    Tetris is still copyrighted because the inventor and a friend formed a holding company to own the trademark instead of himself. As long as the holding company (Tetris Holding LLC) exists and continues making new Tetris games, they can renew the trademark. They have been very successful in court shutting down Tetris clones.

    In many cases game mechanics are considered to be formulas. It's all just math that make up the rules of the game. Math formulas cannot be copyrighted unless it is a trade secret (Coca-Cola's secret formula). Developers can get away with a clone as long as the look and feel is sufficiently different from the original. For example, Star Wars: The Old Republic is a clone of World of Warcraft game mechanics (mostly) but has a totally different setting.

    On the other hand if there is the possibility that the customer could get confused between the original and the clone, there are legal grounds for the original creator to demand the clone to shut down or change it's look. This is what happened between EA with The Sims Social and Zynga with The Ville. The Ville looked very close to The Sims Social. Zynga eventually settled with EA out of court.
     
  11. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    Trade secrets are not copy written or patented, otherwise they wouldn't be secrets.
     
  12. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    A couple of years after the original Civ, some special version came out too (iirc again by the same company) titled CivNet. Maybe that has mods too (?), it did look better than Civ, but obviously not as good as CivII.

    Edit: a pic of CivNet:

     

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