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> A sad day for fangame makers: Tetris Holding, LLC v. Xio Interactive, Inc
caffeine
post Jun 12 2012, 07:27 PM
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This is Mino (for iPhone). It was made by a company called Xio Interactive:

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Tetris Holding has successfully sued Xio on the grounds of copyright and trade dress infringement. Tetris Holding has tried this before against omgpop.com's Blockles game, but they settled out of court.

QUOTE
Tetris Holding argues that Mino infringed the following copyrightable elements:
  1. Seven Tetrimino playing pieces made up of four equally-sized square
    joined at their sides;
  2. The visual delineation of individual blocks that comprise each Tetrimino
    piece and the display of their borders;
  3. The bright, distinct colors used for each of the Tetrimino pieces;
  4. A tall, rectangular playfield (or matrix), 10 blocks wide and 20 blocks tall;
  5. The appearance of Tetriminos moving from the top of the playfield to its
    bottom;
  6. The way the Tetrimino pieces appear to move and rotate in the playfield;
  7. The small display near the playfield that shows the next playing piece to
    appear in the playfield;
  8. The particular starting orientation of the Tetriminos, both at the top of the
    screen and as shown in the ‚€œnext piece‚€Ě display;
  9. The display of a ‚€œshadow‚€Ě piece beneath the Tetriminos as they fall;
  10. The color change when the Tetriminos enter lock-down mode;
  11. When a horizontal line fills across the playfield with blocks, the line
    disappears, and the remaining pieces appear to consolidate downward;
  12. The appearance of individual blocks automatically filling in the playfield
    from the bottom to the top when the game is over;
  13. The display of ‚€œgarbage lines‚€Ě with at least one missing block in random
    order; and
  14. The screen layout in multiplayer versions with the player‚€™s matrix
    appearing most prominently on the screen and the opponents‚€™ matrixes
    appearing smaller than the player‚€™s matrix and to the side of the player‚€™s
    matrix.

You can read about the case here and here.
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Paradox
post Jun 12 2012, 08:21 PM
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smh


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Wojtek
post Jun 12 2012, 08:27 PM
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Mino, I liked the game a lot.
Because it had multiplayer over internet unlike EA Tetris (and most of iphone games). It had few alternative ways to control the game unlike EA Tetris (which is important on device with limited controls capabilities like iphone). It had online leaderboards unlike EA Tetris. It had well made chat features that i found unique on iOS platform.

This is absurd that while game rules are not copyrightable, making game with same rules would allow competitor to fight you. Imagine lawsuit form chess maker against other chess maker, that would say:
-chessboard is 10x10
-there is exactly same set of pieces
Well yes, it is, because it is how chess works, and it is how it is played. Sure you can come up with infinite number of rules, but's that not the point of chess.

so when at this list of items that they claim are infringing, one part of them are essential rules of the game and other part are things very generic that are not unique to tetris (i.e. features common among many other games).

Sure we have copyright law, but don't forget we also have antitrust law.

On side note I wonder what tetris corp and its lawyers have to say about Feevo and it's similarity to Bejeweled.


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Boingloing
post Jun 12 2012, 10:21 PM
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what's with #10, guideline games don't do that...


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g u r l g a m e r
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myndzi
post Jun 13 2012, 02:04 AM
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QUOTE
Xio's argument would create "an exception to copyright [that] would likely swallow any protection one could possibly have."Ě


They say that like it's a bad thing...


QUOTE

Tetris is a puzzle game where a user manipulates pieces composed of square blocks, each made into a different geometric shape, that fall from the top of the game board to the bottom where the pieces accumulate. The user is given a new piece after the current one reaches the bottom of the available game space. While a piece is falling, the user rotates it in order to fit it in with the accumulated pieces. The object of the puzzle is to fill all spaces along a horizontal line. If that is accomplished, the line is erased, points are earned, and more of the game board is available for play. But if the pieces accumulate and reach the top of the screen, then the game is over. These then are the general, abstract ideas underlying Tetris and cannot be protected by copyright nor can expressive elements that are inseparable from them.


Good info...

All in all, it doesn't appear that Xio had much of a case, really, so I can't get on board with this being the death toll for fan games.
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Paradox
post Jun 13 2012, 02:56 AM
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What I don't get is if these things aren't supposed to be protected by copyright why does TTC continue to take down games? Is money above the law in this case?


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Wojtek
post Jun 13 2012, 03:23 AM
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what bother me most is that all modern mainstream games have very same boring gameplay (after you remove all non-interavtive cinematic things and scripted actions that make games look awesome on trailers) and somehow only ttc has problem with other games being similiar to their. imagine if this lawsuit was translated to fps game. omg look at those stolen "expressions", both games have cross-hair and on screen ammo count, movement are same (how it supposed to be diffrent, maybe i should make character teleport instead of walk...) and same types of guns (despite you can come with infinite number of diffrent weapon sets).

it is popular concept to make car analogies. so imagine if one company claimed that having 4 wheels it's trademark (because surely idea of car makes posible to make cars with other numbers of wheels). seats are instlaled i way that everybody is facing driving direction, you could make passager seat face opposite direction or maybe put driver seat upside down without harming any car functionality, no? and i can go on and on with those analogies, but i don't want to cause boredom.

tetris is so simple concept that it will always look and feel similiar no matter what how you execute it. you can make game upside down and use pentominos, but it won't stop TTC in making another list of 10 things that are same.


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caffeine
post Jun 13 2012, 03:24 AM
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QUOTE(Paradox @ Jun 12 2012, 09:56 PM) *

What I don't get is if these things aren't supposed to be protected by copyright why does TTC continue to take down games? Is money above the law in this case?

TTC has a history of aggressively pursuing clones... because they must. They must prevent their intellectual property from trademark erosion. If they don't send out these cease and desist letters, the word "Tetris" would eventually become genericized to mean "any Tetris-type game."

For example, Duncan used to have the trademark for "yo-yo." They failed to protect it, though. When they tried suing Royal Tops Company for using their trademark, the court decided the term "yo-yo" had entered common speech and that Duncan no longer had rights to it. The same thing happened with "aspirin" (of which Bayer used to have rights to).

Up to this point, I can understand and even sympathize with TTC. However, with this trade dress bulls***, they've gone too far. Imagine if Kleenex started suing other tissue companies because their tissues looked white, were soft, and were packaged in a rectangular box! Sure, Kleenex should defend its trademark, but it would be absurd for them to go after competitors the same way TTC is going after Xio.
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Wojtek
post Jun 13 2012, 03:43 AM
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haha, would we can hope for is that one day TTC will taste it's own medicine. For example zynga will sue them for infriging their trade dress of fb games in tetris battle (you know, this gui, friends integration, energy, coins, exp bars and other bulls*** looks quite familiar). I don't think screenshot of tetris battle and farmville looks much diffrent especially when you crop it to where you want to focus on. then i imagine we will hear very diffrent optinion from TTC what is idea and what is expression.


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vipjun
post Jun 13 2012, 03:46 AM
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I almost finished reading the whole legal case in the long .pdf doc , but ended up falling asleep .


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