Pressures Game Act-Alikes
Judy DeMocker. WiredNews.
Dec. 4, 1998
story is also online here
blocks have letters, not shapes, that fit together. Otherwise
Mace Software's game, Alphatris, is a lot like Tetris. At
least The Tetris Company thinks so, and it's taken action
to have Tetris-like games removed from gaming sites.
Mace, president of Mace Software, isn't backing down.
were taking the exact Tetris game and selling it, I would
understand," Mace said. "But they're trying to say the concept
of falling blocks being maneuvered -- and any game that operates
similar to that -- is copyrighted. They're simply wrong."
may appear to be squelching online fun, but copyright enforcer
Henk Rogers says it is trying to bring the best software to
market while protecting its own business interests.
want to come off as the jerk behind The Tetris Company. We
love Tetris just as much as anybody," said Rogers, CEO of
Blue Planet Software, charged with development, licensing,
and marketing for all Tetris products. The company has licensed
over 50 million copies of Tetris, making it the most popular
computer game in history.
Planet also controls licenses for the gaming software that
runs on PCs, Nintendo Gameboys, and Playstations, and it is
currently completing a deal that would add Tetris to America
Tetris hasn't filed any lawsuits, it has sent threatening
letters to dozens of small developers, demanding that their
Tetris-like games be removed from sites. So far, most have
capitulated. But developers are resentful, claiming the game
should be freely available for everyone's amusement.
really a cultural issue. Everybody wants a free and open information-sharing
environment on the Web, but we're running into the cold hard
facts of the law," said Blair Bouchier, president of Base2
Software. "We're not going to fight them on this."
removed its game, Descending Blocks, from its site two months
age of the Internet, enforcing intellectual-property rights
is tough. Dozens of Tetris knockoffs still exist out there,
some with small twists, like Java Tetris and 3-D Tetris. But
the differences aren't enough to qualify them as new games,
said game creator Alexey Pajitnov.
makes the game that has nothing to do with falling shapes,
we don't care about that," said Pajitnov. "But if somebody
just repeats the game, with some insignificant feature, and
calls it Tetris or something close to Tetris, then they're
violating our rights to the game."
words, go make your own damned game.
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