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Treading the Fuzzy Line Between Game Cloning and Theft 235

Posted by Soulskill
from the welcome-to-the-world-of-policeactioncraft dept.
eldavojohn writes "Ars analyzes some knockoffs and near-knockoffs in the gaming world that led to problems with the original developers. Jenova Chen, creator of Flower and flOw, discusses how he feels about the clones made of his games. Chen reveals his true feelings about the takedown of Aquatica (a flOw knockoff): 'What bothers me the most is that because of my own overreaction, I might have created a lot of inconvenience to the creator of Aquatica and interrupted his game-making. He is clearly talented, and certainly a fan of flOw. I hope he can continue creating video games, but with his own design.' The article also notes the apparent similarities between Zynga's Cafe World and Playfish's Restaurant City (the two most popular Facebook games). Is that cloning or theft? Should clones be welcomed or abhorred?"
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Treading the Fuzzy Line Between Game Cloning and Theft

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  • Warcraft (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    One of the world's most popular computer game franchises is a clone of Games Workshop's tabletop/pen & paper games. That seems to work OK.

    (captcha = helmets)

    • Re:Warcraft (Score:4, Insightful)

      by somersault (912633) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @07:32AM (#30386612) Homepage Journal

      Saints Row 2 (haven't tried the first) is actually much better and IMO more in line with the GTA philosophy than GTA IV. I was surprised how good it was. Bring on the clones. We don't have to play the crappy ones.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        It's not exactly a clone, though. What made SR so welcome was that it was so un-GTA in so many regards. That's not cloning, that's evolution.

        • Re:Warcraft (Score:5, Interesting)

          by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @09:33AM (#30387274) Journal

          Cloning is what caused the videogame crash of 1983. The popular console of the time, Atari VCS/2600, was an open platform with ~25 million users so everyone was trying to create quick clones of previously-created Atari and Activision games. For example: Coconuts is an obvious clone of Kaboom with near-identical play mechanic, but nowhere near as good.

          What then happened was a major overload of games, most of which were not worth buying, and consumers got feed up and simply stopped buying. Sales fell-off during 1983, game prices plummeted from $30 to $5, and after Christmas many companies went bankrupt.

          I think we're going to see the same thing happen now. There are too many games flying around on Facebook, iPhone, and other net-connected services, people will burn-out, and sales will plummet.

          • Re:Warcraft (Score:5, Interesting)

            by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @09:37AM (#30387300)
            I think that, paradoxically, the tool we have that is inundating us with information (the Internet) is also the greatest weapon against this happening. With the way information is processed, it becomes trivial to sort through all the crap out there and skim the sweet delicious cream from the top of the Intarwebz (ewwww....)
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              it becomes trivial to sort through all the crap out there and skim the sweet delicious cream from the top of the Intarwebz (ewwww....)

              For many things it's not trivial. For instance, have you tried locating apps in the App Store lately? To say that it's tedious doesn't do it justice -- way way way too many choices that aren't relevant. I recently looked for a free painting program and after trying various forms of paint, draw, edit image etc I eventually had to use the term "sketch" to find what I was looking for. It was just dozens of pages of crap, many of which had nothing to do with painting / drawing. For my purposes these were synony

          • What then happened was a major overload of games, most of which were not worth buying, and consumers got feed up and simply stopped buying.

            *cough*Wii*cough*

            I got a Wii about two years ago, and haven't bothered to even browse the Wii section of games in stores in probably 1.5 years. It's basically just a convenient emulator as far as I'm concerned - it's simply not worth the bother of browsing through the gobs and gobs of utterly horrible movie-tie-in and mini-game shovelware to find the bare handful of ga

        • What would you say actually makes it different?

          It duplicates almost every element of the GTA III series - the mission/gang system, the radar, the radio stations, the weapons. A lot of things are better, for example the melee fighting. Some things are worse, ie the vehicle controls aren't as realistic as GTA. It has more of the stuff that made the San Andreas fun, like the taxi/police/ambulance type side missions, tattoos, haircuts, gangs etc. GTA IV completely missed the mark by trying to be too serious, bu

      • by Aladrin (926209)

        I dunno about 'in line with philosophy' and all that, but SR2 was a great game. I hated SR1, and GTA games are just 'pretty good' in my book... But SR2 I actually played to the end without cheating. For a guy that has so much to do that he never gets bored any more, that's saying a lot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Sockatume (732728)

      There's scant little "pen and paper" in Warhammer, and the gameplay is bugger-all like Warcraft. The setting is a knock-off but the game sure as hell isn't.

      • Re:Warcraft (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @07:52AM (#30386682)

        Not Warhammer Online... Games Workshop put out the original Warhammer, a tabletop miniatures strategy game, back in 1983. Warcraft: Orcs and Humans came out in 1994 and completely ripped off the style as well as many of the gameplay concepts. The way the orcs talk, the races in the game, the art style, it's all blatantly copied from Warhammer. And now some people have the gall to call Warhammer Online's art style a "ripoff" of World Of Warcraft.

        • by TheKidWho (705796)

          Yes, and Warhammer was a rip off of Tolkien who was a rip off of god knows how many people.

          • Re:Warcraft (Score:4, Funny)

            by russotto (537200) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:44AM (#30387914) Journal

            Yes, and Warhammer was a rip off of Tolkien who was a rip off of god knows how many people.

            When you copy from a small group of well-known identifiable individuals who are still living (or in existence, for corporations), that's "rip off". When you copy from a large group of relatively obscure individuals who are not only dead, but may be unknown and whose descendants don't even know who they are, that's "research".

        • Re:Warcraft (Score:4, Informative)

          by TheThiefMaster (992038) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @09:18AM (#30387160)

          Actually Warcraft was originally a licensed Warhammer game, but it got cancelled. Then Blizzard decided to change it just enough to avoid infringement and released it anyway.

          Which is why it's so ironic that Warhammer online is accused of being a copy of Warcraft.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nathrael (1251426)
      To be fair though, Blizzard cooperated a lot with Games Workshop iirc. GW even did some concept art for them.
  • by cheesybagel (670288) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @07:29AM (#30386594)
    Starcraft is one example. I would rather play Starcraft than C&C.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @08:02AM (#30386724)

      ...and Starcraft is a clone of Warhammer 40,000, the sci-fi version of Warhammer Fantasy Battles. Blizzard rips off Games Workshop again. Zerg = Tyranids, Terrans = The Imperium of Man, Protoss = Eldar...

      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        More like both Starcraft & WH40k we're loosely based on Heinlein's Starship Troopers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cheesybagel (670288)
          Not just Starship Troopers, but Dune as well. God Emperor of Man? Astropaths? Space Marine training grounds often look like Salusa Secundus.
      • by kjart (941720)
        To be fair Tyranids were ripped off from the movie Alien. That being said, I do agree with you on your implied point about Blizzard gettin too much credit sometimes. While they make polished games (which I can certainly appreciate) I've never found that they bring much new to the table. Just look at the upcoming SC2 vs Supreme Commander (on the tech side) or the Dawn of War series (for gameplay).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Chyeld (713439)

          Blizzard doesn't make new. Blizzard takes what's out there in raw form and polishes it so much that you have to be careful you go blind from the glare.

          This is their 'special ability', it's what they do.

    • by antdude (79039)

      Bleh. I'd rather play C&C games even if they are buggy and crappy online GUIs. I never got into Blizzard's RTS games' themes (good engine and graphics though).

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @07:32AM (#30386608) Homepage Journal

    at its finest. "This is plagiarism!!" No it's not, you tool, it's conversation. Your attitude is exactly what is wrong with the world copyright has built. You don't own that idea, it belongs to the ages.

    • No kidding (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @07:45AM (#30386656)

      If you, an intelligent Slashdot reader, can no longer distinguish between a genuine creative influence and copying something wholesale, then the notion of authorship is fucked, and it's all commodity.

      • by vadim_t (324782)

        I can distinguish it, but don't really care.

        A good game is a good game regardless of who wrote it, or who came up with the original idea. The logo on the box is unimportant.

      • by tepples (727027)
        Did Linux copy UNIX wholesale? They implement the same API. That's no different from games like Tetris and Quadrapassel implementing the same rules.
        • by Sockatume (732728)

          That's an awful comparison. An API exists to be implemented by multiple outside projects to achieve a particular function on a particular system. The rules of Tetris weren't an "entertainment API" released by the creators of the human brain to allow multiple games developers to impliment entertainment.

          • by tepples (727027)

            The rules of Tetris weren't an "entertainment API" released by the creators of the human brain to allow multiple games developers to impliment entertainment.

            Then what about 1-2-3, Excel, Gnumeric, and OpenOffice.org Calc all copying the rules of VisiCalc? How is that any different from cloning Tetris?

    • by shish (588640)

      You don't own that idea, it belongs to the ages.

      So what motivation is there for anyone to come up with any new ideas?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tepples (727027)
        Copyright applies to expression, not ideas. The motivation to make new ideas is that you can make money off the execution of the idea. That's why Linux and Wine aren't copies of UNIX and Windows respectively, even though they implement the same idea (the POSIX API and the Win32 API).
      • by TheKidWho (705796) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @09:01AM (#30387050)

        Only temporary monopolies called Trademarks and Copyrights.

        The fact that they are being extended for well beyond their original intended life span is what's wrong with the system. I blame Disney.

      • My feeling is the opposite: if you don't have to spend ages looking for prior art, and millions in preventive lawyers fee, you're freer to focus on actually coming up with and developing your ideas.

        Of course, some will also be freer to spend their time looking for others' ideas to steal too... There's a balance to find, and I think right now, we've over-balanced.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        Once upon a time, it would've been credit for having come up with a great idea, but desperate one-upmanship in the "I hate IP" game has clearly devalued that notion. Even if you have an idea, it's not your idea - it's everybody's. According to our friend up there.

        • by vadim_t (324782)

          I don't think it's so much one-upmanship as a backlash against the entire idea.

          As a developer myself I think the concept has proven to be such an incredible pain in the ass that we'd be better without it.

          • by Sockatume (732728)

            I'm all for reducing the scope of IP protection in law, but when you start reducing one's right to stand up and take credit - simple, moral credit - for one's own ideas, then that's bullshit. I'm a scientist, the only payback I get for my work is credit for having had the idea. I don't get a patent or copyright or a trademark to defend.

      • So what motivation is there for anyone to come up with any new ideas? Where do you get the idea that there are new ideas?

    • by Weezul (52464)

      Aquatica is very clearly a flOw knock off, so Aquatica is plagiarism if and only if the author did not explain that flOw inspired him.

      All these terms have very different meanings with very different real purposes, but all cover an aspect of "depriving the creator".

      Plagiarism the closest to theft by far because plagiarism deprives the creator of the credit due for their creation. Plagiarism has no legal status for various sound reasons, like being only indirectly tied to compensation and not being abused by

  • There's no line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vadim_t (324782) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @07:39AM (#30386636) Homepage

    First, there's no theft. There could possibly be copyright infringement if somebody is using somebody else's graphics.

    Second, there doesn't seem to be any copyright infringement, since as far as I can tell nothing is being copied. Copyright only applies to copies of the original material. Making your own graphics that look a lot like something else is not copyright infringement.

    There could possibly be trademark infringement, but that's most definitely not theft.

    And what's the big deal, anyway? For every successful game, there have always been a few clones.

    • Re:There's no line (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @08:10AM (#30386768)

      Here's your source material:

      U.S. Copyright Office - Games [copyright.gov]

      Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles. Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression in literary, artistic, or musical form.

      Material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to copyright if it contains a sufcient amount of literary or pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the rules of the game or the pictorial matter appearing on the gameboard or container may be registrable.

      The back side of this form letter describes the options for registering copyrightable portions of games. If your game includes any written element, such as instructions or directions, we recommend that you apply to register it as a literary work. Doing so will allow you to register all copyrightable parts of the game, including any pictorial elements. When the copyrightable elements of the game consist predominantly of pictorial matter, you should apply to register it as a work of the visual arts.

      The deposit requirements will vary, depending on whether the work has been published at the time of registration. If the game is published, the proper deposit is one complete copy of the work. If, however, the game is published in a box larger than 12" * 24" * 6" (or a total of 1,728 cubic inches) then identifying material must be submitted in lieu of the entire game. (See “identifying material” below). If the game is published and contains fewer than three threedimensional elements, then identifying material for those parts must be submitted in lieu of those parts. If the game is unpublished, either one copy of the game or identifying material should be deposited.

      Identifying material deposited to represent the game or its three-dimensional parts usually consists of photographs, photostats, slides, drawings, or other two-dimensional representations of the work. The identifying material should include as many pieces as necessary to show the entire copyrightable content of the work, including the copyright notice if it appears on the work. All pieces of identifying material other than transparencies must be no less than 3" * 3" in size, and not more than 9" * 12", but preferably 8" * 10". At least one piece of identifying material must, on its front, back, or mount, indicate the title of the work and an exact measurement of one or more dimensions of the work.

    • by Narpak (961733)

      And what's the big deal, anyway? For every successful game, there have always been a few clones

      So to within the world of literature. After many ground breaking works; like say Tolkien, there were multitudes of new works from aspiring authors that wanted to write that type of literature; with a range of quality from piss poor to works that could be called unique in their own way. This to can be found, as mentioned, among computer games, just look at Wolfenstein3D/Doom and all the clones that popped up over the years. While most are now entirely forgotten some became hits in their own right; and FPS ga

      • by vadim_t (324782)

        So to within the world of literature. After many ground breaking works; like say Tolkien, there were multitudes of new works from aspiring authors that wanted to write that type of literature; with a range of quality from piss poor to works that could be called unique in their own way.

        Indeed. Pretty much all modern fantasy owes something to Tolkien. Tolkien redefined elves, for instance. There have been also bigger works based on it, for instance, Nik Perumov wrote a sequel to LOTR.

        But it shouldn't be forgo

    • and for every blockbuster movie, there is some lame 7th rate cut budget no-name film studio release of the same film. (the tom cruise war of the worlds had like 3 no name studio knockoffs release the same year. not that the Cruise one was anything to write home about)

      the point is, people try to ride the coattails of other peoples successes.
  • by Kentaree (1078787) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @07:51AM (#30386678) Homepage
    Why did someone write Linux when Unix was already out there? Why was Mario created when there were already other platform games out there? It's going to get harder and harder to come out with original ideas, e.g. look at any game released in the last 10 years, you can count truly innovative ones on both hands. But yet there's still games that come out, using a tried and tested formula, that are better than the rest. If there was no cloning, we'd have very few new games coming out ever.
  • by Flixie (643395)
    I think 2010 will be the year of the Great Pet War. Zynga just launched Petville, a Pet Society (Playfish) clone, and although it's arguably better looking, much of its content it's also embarrassingly familiar. http://petsocietyanonymous.com/2009/12/06/petville-vs-pet-society/ [petsocietyanonymous.com]
  • When you copy a game right down to it's unique visual style, it's pretty obvious what side of the line you are on. If the developer of Aquatica had created his own graphical style from scratch, but kept the same gameplay rules, it would have been a lot murkier. And I think he would even have been left alone.

    Devil Kings and 99 Nights were very clearly clones of Dynasty Warriors, but they brought their own visual styles, characters and plots to the table. The engine behind them is pretty much the same. No

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by daid303 (843777)

      So it's just style that counts?

      Aquatica is a clone of Flow for a different platform. So someone took a game they liked, changed platform, and released it so the world could enjoy it in a different way.

      Clones don't happen because of lack of imagination, but because someone sees more in it then the original developer.

  • by Shinobi (19308) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @08:02AM (#30386722)

    The reason is that no clone brings any innovation or evolution. Another problem is developers who confuse cloning and inspiration, thinking both equate the other. There are some who view any game inspired by theirs as a clone, but far more common are developers who straight off clone/plagiarize something and then claim it's inspired by as well as innovation blah blah, and it's not just game developers who are guilty of that. In fact, just look at development in various open source areas, and you'll see that they are more busy plagiarizing functionality and then spouting off some PR about innovation rather than actually engage in innovation. GIMP is one, the Linux project has a fair amount of it too. The various BSD's have also done this, but to a lesser extent.

    The FSF may claim that it somehow fosters innovation, but that's disingenious at best. Innovation is, when you get down to the root of it, to say "Who cares if others think I'm wasting my time, I'll do this completely new thing". Plagiarization fosters laziness and incompetence.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sockatume (732728)

      I think the truth lies somewhere in between. A mechanical, soul-less knock-off, like the flow example in the article, accomplishes nothing from a creative perspective. Yet even the most conservative "Doom Clone" brought some sort of rich addition to the design mix, even if it was just new levels. In the act of duplication, creative forces can be at work, producing a less-than-exact copy which carries with it some trace of the creative processes of the duplicator. There's a broad spectrum there.

      • by Shinobi (19308)

        A new map, while creative in its own right, does not change the fact that the game in itself is a clone.

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          I'm not saying that it does: I'm arguing that its derivitive nature does not automatically eliminate the possibility of creativity.

    • by vadim_t (324782) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @08:22AM (#30386836) Homepage

      Sorry, I don't give a damn about originality. I care about what matches my needs. Obviously a straight 1 to 1 feature clone isn't terribly interesting, but once you're there, you're probably going to want to differentiate your clone somehow, so you'll have to add improvements somewhere. That's where it gets interesting.

      It fosters innovation by the virtue of competition. For instance, you make a text editor and have the idea of adding syntax highlighting. Somebody else goes and makes their own editor, also with syntax highlighting. Now you need to do something new to be a better choice, so you add code folding. Then do too, and add a spell checker. And so on. There's your fostering of innovation.

      If you had the only editor in existence you wouldn't have a lot of motivation to make it better, you could just keep selling 10 year old code. But that wouldn't be very innovative.

      If you're so worried about somebody else copying your idea, get off your ass and improve your.

    • by shish (588640) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @08:46AM (#30386966) Homepage

      GIMP is one

      Last I checked the GIMP developers were trying to be innovative, but all the users were screaming "No! Everything must work exactly the same way it does in photoshop!" :-P

      • by Nathrael (1251426)
        They didn't listen to the userbase when they pushed through their abhorrent new UI though. Hm.
    • I don't know who ever built the first car, but I'm glad as all hell you weren't around at the time, or we'd still be using this slow, not weather-proof and noisy piece of crap. It probably had real leather seats, though.

      I'm glad others copied his idea, and built on it.

      PS: Take THAT PizzaAnalogyGuy. Cars >> Pizza !

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Clones are not neccessarily pointless, even if we assume that no new features are added. One instance of good clones is when the clone brings a game to platforms it wasn't originally released for.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The reason is that no clone brings any innovation or evolution.

      That's totally false. Canonical example: Tetanus On Drugs [pineight.com].

  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @08:06AM (#30386746) Homepage

    First, it's copyright infringement, not theft. And no one can "steal" your idea because ideas cannot be owned.

    Second, it's infringement if he infringed on your code, art work, or music. If not, it's not infringement.

     

    • Yes, but plagiarism is a third word, which means taking ideas without giving credit. Of course, plagiarism has no legal status, since plagiarism cannot be judged in court. We nevertheless seek to take plagiarism extremely seriously and punish the most clear cases. Punishments for plagiarism are intentionally fairly mind but highly embarrassing.

      Aquatica is very clearly a flOw knock off, so Aquatica is plagiarism if and only if the author did not explain that flOw inspired him. If the author cited flOw, t

      • Of course, plagiarism has no legal status, since plagiarism cannot be judged in court.

        Really? As I understand it, in a copyright case involving a fair use defense, giving due credit to sources can count toward the defendant's good faith.

        Aquatica is very clearly a flOw knock off, so Aquatica is plagiarism if and only if the author did not explain that flOw inspired him.

        One of the promotional pages for Blockbox [gamepoint.co.uk], a game with the same rules as Tetris, stated: "Tetris? No, I like this better." Therefore Blockbox isn't plagiarism. Am I following your logic right?

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Game design is not academia.

  • Is imposible to make videogames on "The void", so all games have ideas from all other games. From the menu system, the way to reward or inform the player, to how to store the textures/extra files, how to distribute, how to sells, develop and some share code, but most share ideas, all share ideas. And the first one, was a "tennis" like clone.

    Also, even the worst games ( PACMAN clones ) try to add something to the table.

    We don't say that Warcraft 3 is a clone of dune 2, or thief, we say Warcraft 3 is a RTS.

  • by rcastro0 (241450) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @08:41AM (#30386934) Homepage

    "Is that cloning or theft? Should clones be welcomed or abhorred?"

    Easy. Clones should be welcomed.

    1) They put innovation pressure on the original, benefiting everybody.
    2) They put price pressure on the original, benefiting everybody.
    3) They may create a better platform, a better product than the original, benefiting everybody.

    Everybody wins. Except when you look at the motivation to create original products in the first place. Will the clones lower the reward and make it less beneficial to be original?

    Hardly.

    1) A truly original and inovative product will take some time to clone -- there will be a lead, in which user base/fan base/multiplayer communities should create critical mass.
    2) Playing it right, the original *will* have goodwill. In other words, all things being fairly equal, people will likely stay with the original.
    3) Originality is a scale, not a binary concept. Games are more or less original. Per (2) above, clones will need to compete in originality just like their inspiration did. When each clone out of many tries to be a little more original than the next, they may arrive at a quite original game, per Darwin. This could happen even though they started off at a lower plateau of originality than the concept originator. Think StarCraft.
    4) In this sense, everyone is (or must be) original to be relevant. Originality is not at risk.

    I hope that didn't sound too confusing :-)

    • A truly original and inovative product will take some time to clone

      But it won't really matter if the original publisher plans a staggered release. For example, Lumines was out in the United States in March 2005, giving one developer several months to get a GPL'd clone going [pineight.com] before the European release six months later. And Tetris still isn't on the PSP, but the homebrew clones are.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        So, don't stagger your releases. Refusing to release a finished product in a given geographical region is just a big "fuck you" to the people in that region. Cloning that product is an appropriate "fuck you" back.

    • 1) A truly original and inovative product will take some time to clone -- there will be a lead, in which user base/fan base/multiplayer communities should create critical mass.

      That's not true at all. It can take a long time to develop the concept and game design before you even start implementation. For a 1 man shop doing it on his own the implementation time could be many, many times longer compared to an established corporation with an existing dev shop working to copy your concept and design. In this c

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Mitchell's Puzzloop strikes me as a counterexample - it simply can't compete with the derivitive Zuma's mindshare, which certainly doesn't benefit Mitchell, and leaves Popcap with little incentive to improve their title further. I'm sure we can all agree that a straight copy which outcompetes the original by luck or marketing alone is tragic for the originator.

    • I agree with your post, but I would like to add:

      The question if the original creator really benefits, will depend on how much of the product is an idea and how much of it is actual implementation. Sometimes it can take years to solve a technical problem, the idea, but once the solution exists it can be understood and implemented in a much shorter time. When people are given the solution to a problem, they rarely understand how difficult it was to solve. Given the same problem and a proof stating that the
      • Given the same problem and a proof stating that there is _a_ solution, most people would not know even where to begin.

        Only because most people don't know about Curry-Howard [wikipedia.org]. A sufficiently rigorous mathematical proof that something exists is isomorphic to a computer program to construct that something. If you're taking the "proof" to be a black box, it's also the case that most people just don't know any programming languages.

  • In many ways you owe most of your creative efforts to the society that formed you. Ideas are usually not absolutely original. And have an original basis or inspiration. Clones are usually poor clones. if you don't like competition, find a new line of work.

    Also there is plenty of great software out there that are just clones:
    * Microsoft Excel is just a clone of Lotus123 which is a clone of VisiCalc.
    * Linux is a clone of Unix.

    I'm tired and can't think of other examples. I'm not convinced that a person deserve

  • Zynga's Cafe World and Playfish's Restaurant City (the two most popular Facebook games).

    This article would beg to differ [independent.co.uk] that they are the two most popular. However, the top two (FarmVille and Cafe World) do have clones (Farm Town and Restaurant City) at 8th and 9th places.

    But can you blame them? FarmVille had 65.6 million active users in one month, I think a lot of devs would be just fine with only 1% of that, and a clone might be a simple way to get it.

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Isn't FarmVille actually the clone? We had an article about that game recently and from what I could gather Farm Town preceded it.
  • by Francis (5885) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:03AM (#30388108) Homepage

    I haven't seen this mentioned yet - Ketara, the makers of Aquatica, have credited Jason Chen, creator of flOw, with the concept. On their website, they explain that they intended no disrespect, and have apologized for it. They viewed Aquatica as a fan remake.

    Because of the controversy it caused, they have removed Aquatica from the app store - it is no longer available.

    http://www.ketara.ca/aqua.html [ketara.ca]

  • It could be a wonderful thing for both parties if presented properly. He recreated the entire game by himself thinking it wouldn't be plagiarism. However, just like a college essay, if you write down all the sentences yourself but the use of the words within these sentences are from other people's work, we consider it plagiarism.

    Who cares whether it's "plagiarism"? Plagiarism isn't illegal, and in many contexts, it isn't even wrong. Plagiarism is an academic concept, not a legal or business concept. Ever

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