Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Windows Games Technology

Takedown Letters For WP7 Tetris Clones 290

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-they're-consistent dept.
karios writes "Today I received a takedown letter from a law firm representing the Tetris Company for copyright violations involving my game Tetrada, which I published on the Windows Phone 7 marketplace. The witch hunt, after hitting Android, iOS and other platforms, continues on Windows Phone 7. It's a pity, since some of the tetromino games in the Marketplace were pretty decent."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Takedown Letters For WP7 Tetris Clones

Comments Filter:
  • This is called... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dnaumov (453672) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @04:30AM (#35135250)

    ...willful infrigement.

    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <[aussie_bob] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @06:32AM (#35135798) Journal

      ..willful infrigement.

      Fortunately neither WP7 owner was particularly interested in the game, so not much was lost.

      • Microsoft has a phone now?
      • by lazlo (15906)

        Well, I had to look at this because I thought the "WP7" in the title would be WordPerfect 7. I don't know if WP even exists anymore, or what version is latest, but I remember my dad writing an accounting and payroll package in WP5.2 macros, so writing tetris didn't seem like much of a stretch.

        I know I've met several people, lawyers mostly, who will not part with WP5 until they pry it from their cold dead fingers... be interesting to see the size of that userbase relative to Windows Phone...

    • It's kind of a hard call don't you think? The Soviet Union pretty much paid for the first version to be developed and I don't believe it was ever protected under international copyright law because Russia only signed on to the Berne Convention after they dissolved.

  • WTF? (Score:2, Informative)

    by igomaniac (409731)

    You copied the game and even made the name of the game sound similar to the original, and you call it a 'witch hunt' -- man, you need a reality check.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mwvdlee (775178)

      Sometimes the hunted really ARE witches.

    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KiloByte (825081) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @05:30AM (#35135508)

      Since when game rules are copyrightable?

      He didn't copy the code nor the graphics so he is clear of copyright, and the name is different enough to be clear of trademark. The Tetris company bastards are abusing the law, counting on people's inability to afford defending themselves.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        what's more is that the guy who invented tetris never invented anything else after that. the basic concept of the game is pretty obvious once you get to certain type of programming the idea would pop up(shapes would have differed, the concept not).

        and if someone doesn't believe that, check some documentaries about the tetris guy and tetris - trolling for status and money whilst producing nothing of interest for the past 25 years(the docs paint a rosier picture of his accomplishments, but if you watch them y

        • by alexhs (877055)

          You're confusing Alexey Pajitnov [wikipedia.org] and The Tetris Company [wikipedia.org], co-founded and managed by Henk Rogers [wikipedia.org]

          If you're not mistaken thinking that Henk Rogers is the author (as you didn't bother to give names), you're probably trolling. What are your sources ?

          Along many Tetris variants, Alexey Pajitnov conceived El-Fish, Clockwerx, and other puzzle games.

          • Alexey Pajitnov conceived El-Fish, Clockwerx, and other puzzle games.

            Mr. Pajitnov didn't come up with Clockwerx. There was a period of time when he would put his endorsement on half of what Spectrum Holobyte published, which lasted roughly until 1996 when he and Mr. Rogers formed The Tetris Company. But that doesn't mean he was involved in the design of any of these products any more than he was involved with Panel de Pon.

        • And with which genius idea and implementation did you come up the last 25 years?

          angel'o'sphere

      • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pokyo (1987720) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:32AM (#35136258)
        I'd have to disagree. What is the intent of copyright? If it is to prevent consumer confusion then I would have to side with The Tetris Company. I took a look at Tetrada and it is a clear duplicate, and if I was younger I wouldn't know any better and assume that this was Tetris. You have to take into account the sum of what you mentioned. If there was a game called Tetrada, and it didn't look the Tetris, then fine. However, you have a game that looks like Tetris *AND* a game name similar to Tetris. Personally, I like this action. The 'indie dev scene' is being taken over by developers intent on copying others ideas to make quick profit. I suppose this was popularized by Zynga. Don't get me started on Angry Birds...
        • However, you have a game that looks like Tetris *AND* a game name similar to Tetris.

          Would it be safe if the name of a Tetris clone didn't share any letters with Tetris, like Lockjaw [pineight.com]? You might think so, but The Tetris Company and one of its licensees (Arika Ltd.) went on several rampages of OCILLA takedown notices on YouTube. They even sent a takedown notice for a video criticizing Arika's behavior [youtube.com], which YouTube for some reason kept down for longer than the OCILLA maximum 14 business days after counter-notification.

        • by Wolfier (94144)

          No matter how you would like to view things, this is not the intent of copyright. Copyright does not protect ideas. Even Patents don't. Let me say it one more time:

          The Copying Of Ideas Are Completely Legal And You See It Everyday.

          If the mere copying of ideas were against copyright, any company that makes pretty much anything is liable for lawsuits.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Since when game rules are copyrightable?

        This is not the word you're looking for *hand wave*
        This is a pretty clear trademark issue.

        Even if it wasn't a trademark issue, just going to the tetris Wiki page reveals it to be "owned" by a very litigious company [wikipedia.org].

        I'm starting to wonder if the people making these clones have a business plan which goes something like this:
        1) Copy someone's "here's how to make tetris" sample code (there's countless samples out there)
        2) Post the game to the latest appstore
        3) Wait for takedown notice
        4) Put up a "donation" page

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      Is this going to be new norm on Slashdot. A single developer company makes a cheap ripoff of a Copyrighted game. They post the program on a popular store platform, where the copyright holders can easily check on. They get a letter telling them to stop. Then they post whining to Slashdot because they figure just because we support open source software movement we feel it is OK to break copyrights. Open Source and FSF isn't about breaking the laws it is about making and releasing products with rules where

    • Apple tried to sue Microsoft in the 90's for copying the "look and feel" of the Macintosh. Microsoft fought hard an won on the grounds that Copyright only covers the actual CODE and not the look and feel of a program. This is one thing we really can thank Microsoft for - legal precedent in the field of software on this major issue. It should be obvious to people, but apparently it's not. He didn't COPY the tetris program - just made his own that works similarly.
  • I am a small consultant, finding work is more and more difficult.
    Big companies do not consider me since I am too small, small companies have not much cash left for ICT and when they spend they wish to have "guarantees" that I cannot give...
    Yes, someone made some money on ipad or android market, what is the probability that you are one of the lucky ones ?
    Add the fact that every year half of the knowledge you had is just become useless and ...
    The constant threat to be offsourced to china or india and...
    The in

    • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @04:58AM (#35135368) Homepage Journal

      Add the fact that every year half of the knowledge you had is just become useless and ...

      If that is the case for you ... then frankly I have to say: "you seem not to know much!"

      A solid IT background never gets obsolet, only technologies / languages / paradigmas do. And the latter only in limited cases.

      There are hundreds of working opportunities in IT which NEVER get obsolet and are completely disconnected from technologies. E.g. requirements engineering, software processes (like SCRUM or XP), software architectures (finding a suiting one, describing it in UML or something else), the art of programming, may it be assembler or an oo language or the fancy languages we have right now like functional or functional / oo hybrids (Scala e.g.)

      All that knowledge will never be obsolet. Knowing how a relational data base works, how to design a data base, the limits of it, the options for using No-SQL DBs or prevalent Systems (in memory databases) will never be obsolet.

      Understanding the differences between REST / SOAP / Corba or any other "distribution" technology ... that will never be obsolet, regardless what "App Server" you use, if any.

      System Architecture, Software Architecture, Architecture Patterns, Design Patterns, Language Idioms ... that won't ever die out, it only will fluctuate slightly.

      The way how a unix like operation system works (my it be a comercial one or linux or a future one like Plan 9 or Hurd) ... that knowledge will never be obsolet.

      Sorry ... I just scratched the surface. There dozens if not hundreds of "knowledge areas" which will always be useful for an "developer" ...

      angel'o'sphere

      • Yeah, sure.... trying to impress ?
        Seriously, it is at least 20 years that no new concept has come out of ICT.
        Packet transmission is as old as X.25 and Ham packet radio
        Languages :-) .... beside the latest buzzword bingo no new concept... nice idea "functional programming" but who wants it ?
        The web... twitter... ever had a BBS ?
        Now, the new great buzzword, ipad iphone programming, new concept ? naaa
        The difference between REST and POST, SOAP ... are you kidding ? they are variations on client server programmin

        • by AlXtreme (223728)

          The point is you do not live with concepts (ask to somebody teaching math) you need to SELL them and to do that you need to know DETAILS of ever new and changing stuff. Nice the first 10 years of your careers, then you think, wow, I spend quite some time learning and nobody pays me anything... wow.

          You are correct that as a small consultant you don't live with concepts. However why are you trying to sell them? Just learn a couple very well and keep an open mind to anything new that comes along.

          As a small who

        • If you know all that, why are you claiming your knowledge would become obsolet every half year?

          angel'o'sphere

    • by Eivind (15695)

      Add the fact that every year half of the knowledge you had is just become useless and ...

      If that's the case for you, then frankly, either you don't know much, or else you're doing it wrong. (i.e. constantly jumping on the latest fad, and having few or no skills in the underlying fundamentals)

      Algorithms. Program-organization. OO-principles. Functional programming. MVC. Data-structures. Relational databases. Key-value-stores. User-interface-principles.

      Most of what you need to know about any of these, is lite

    • by rainmouse (1784278) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @06:05AM (#35135668)

      I am a small consultant, finding work is more and more difficult. Big companies do not consider me since I am too small...

      Its a sad day when even oompa loompa's are being laid off.

  • by pieterh (196118) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @04:44AM (#35135302) Homepage

    You deliberately chose "Tetrada" to sound similar to "Tetris" and on alone the basis that the software is a video game (no matter what else it does), that's grounds for a take down letter, and a civil court case if you don't comply. You are deluded if you think you can play the victim here, and adding your tragic story to the Wikipedia article on the Tetris Company doesn't make your case stronger.

    Is it really so difficult to be original?

    Honestly, it really annoys me to see your mediocrity dressed up in self-justification and misplaced outrage. You are not a victim, you are an idiot.

    • He isn't even the first person to come whining to /. after rightfully getting smacked for this. See http://ask.slashdot.org/story/10/12/05/1736246/avoiding-dmca-woes-as-an-indy-game-developer [slashdot.org]

    • Is it really so difficult to be original?

      Well, yes :-)

    • by scdeimos (632778)

      You are deluded if you think you can play the victim here, and adding your tragic story to the Wikipedia article on the Tetris Company doesn't make your case stronger.

      It is kinda sad [wikipedia.org], isn't it? Oh well, it didn't even last a day.

    • So you're saying that any word with the numerical prefix Tetra [wikipedia.org] should count as an infringement of the Tetris trademark simply for the name, even if the gameplay is completely unrelated to Tetris? That seems a little strange. The fact that it is an actual Tetris clone is what makes the name a bad idea, not simply the fact that the name has Tetra in it.

      • by tepples (727027)
        One of the first thing The Tetris Company licensed after Alexey Pajitnov and Henk Rogers formed the company was Nintendo's "Tetris Attack". This game, the initial version of Puzzle League (called "Panel de Pon" in Japan), had nothing to do with Tetris, polyominoes, or even four; it was far closer to the subsequent Bejeweled.
      • by pieterh (196118)

        It's pretty simple: if you make a product who's name is close enough to potentially confuse customers, and your product is in the same market as the trademarked product, you are on the wrong side of the law. I can make jeans called "Apple" but I cannot make computers called "Appla", "Applish", "Ipple", "Opple", or any name that is potentially confusing. My own company, "iMatix", was close enough to the existing "iMation" that we signed an agreement to never product floppy disks.

        Of course like any such case,

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You deliberately chose "Tetrada" to sound similar to "Tetris"

      Tetris derives its name from the word tetra, the ancient Greek word for four. The Tetris Company should not be allowed to have a trademark on the number four, or the word four, in any language.

      I haven't seen the game, so I can't comment as to its originality, but it seems to me that there are potentially many variants of tetris rules which are sufficiently original that they should be allowed to stand on their own.

      • by tepples (727027)

        Tetris derives its name from the word tetra, the ancient Greek word for four. The Tetris Company should not be allowed to have a trademark on the number four, or the word four, in any language.

        "Tetris" is a portmanteau of "tetra-" and "tennis". Saying Tetris Holding can't own this trademark is like saying another company can't own "Foursquare".

        • But "Tetrada" Is a portmanteau of "tetra" and "da." Tetris Holdings' trademark on fou-tennis (Tet[ra][tenn]is) applies to four-yes (Tetra, da?).
    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      "Tetra" as a prefix means four in English usage, heck tetrada means four in Greek and Spanish (well it's a romanization of), and the game is based upon all the shapes you can make out of 4 squares. I can see an argument that "Tetrada" is thus a perfectly ok name, I don't expect a court to buy it though.

      The Tetris Company is famous for this, if you are releasing a Tetris clone with a name that is even vaguely similar you had better be doing to because you want to end up in court to make a point.

      If you just w

      • The best part is you could make a Tetris game with the Tetris music, because it was Korobeinke and Johann Sebastian Bach.
  • newbie error (Score:2, Interesting)

    Clearly a newbie. The game industry is littered with people being sued for selling clones right back to pacman and earlier. Didn't you do any research before doing this? Not exactly a great advert for your thoroughness and professionalism and now you've announced it to the world to prove the point.
    • Compare Atari v. Philips, the KC Munchkin case, to Capcom v. Data East, the Fighter's History case. Atari, the exclusive licensee of Pac-Man, won because KC Munchkin copied more of the original appearance than is necessary to represent the uncopyrightable game rules [copyright.gov]. Capcom, on the other hand, lost because any similarities between Street Fighter and Fighter's History are scenes a faire, that is, they are expected in the genre and follow from the similarities in uncopyrightable aspects.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @05:18AM (#35135458)

    Seeing the flurry of comments mocking the submitter of his copying Tetris makes me realize how successful the corporations have been in their propaganda.

    Copyright has evolved from a concept conceived to protect the temporary financial incentive of inventors as encouragement of advancing humanities to a god-give right for corporations to hold indefinitely the exclusive right to monetary gains regarding anything they find a way to copyright or patent. Musicians pride themselves in their own rendition of Fantaisie-Impromptu, but programmers cannot be allowed to remake a game that has been known and enjoyed world-wide for decades. Is there anyone on Slashdot that doesn't know the basic formula to a Tetris game? Once something has become as common place as Tetris is, you have to step back and realize that it has become the possession of man-kind. Using copyright as a tool to limit people's freedom to reinvent or recreate a knowledge known to all is exactly the opposite of what copyright laws should have been made to protect.

    • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @06:24AM (#35135752) Journal

      Yes and no.

      I think you're absolutely right to say that copyright has gotten out of control. I think pretty much anybody who reads slashdot regularly would acknowledge that.

      However, that's not to say that there isn't a case for copyright, in its original form. I think what the comments on this thread - which at first glance look quite uncharacteristic for slashdot - show is that a lot of people have a gut instinct for what is right and wrong in relation to copyright (which may vary from person to person) and that for most people, the submitter falls on the wrong side of it.

      Tetris is still relatively recent (less than 30 years old) and the submitter doesn't seem to have actually tried to add any value. My instinct is that in a world with good and sensible copyright laws, this would fall on the wrong side of them. The problem is that in the absence of such laws and the absence of a sensible political debate on said laws, we're left just feeling a bit muddled about it.

      • Tetris is still relatively recent (less than 30 years old)

        And in a decade, you'll be saying it's "still relatively recent (less than 40 years old)". The rules of a game are properly the subject of patent law, not copyright law [copyright.gov], and patents last 20 years. Oh, Mr. Pajitnov didn't apply for a patent? Tough poop.

    • To be honest, I see this mostly as a trademark issue as the software is named Tetrada, which is very close to Tetris, and given that Tetris is a legal trademark of the Tetris Company, this situation is not merit-less.

      I do not believe the Tetris Company has won any copyright cases against clones because you can't copyright gameplay and they did not invent the tetromino, so they shouldn't have any legal claims over their use alone.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      There are many, many great shape-dropping games that bring a lot to the world of game design. Columns, Puyo Puyo, Drop7, and the rest. Direct Tetris clones, as a class, typically bring absolutely nothing to the table.

    • Then this clown should have released his code for free because he based it on something that apparantly belongs to the public. But oh no, he filled it with DRM and put it up for a sale on a DRM riddled platform.

      Don't claim information wants to be free if you are trying to sell your rip-off.

      • Then this clown should have released his code for free because he based it on something that apparantly belongs to the public. But oh no, he filled it with DRM and put it up for a sale on a DRM riddled platform.

        Don't claim information wants to be free if you are trying to sell your rip-off.

        That depends on your definition of freedom, it's the classic BSD vs GPL discussion.

      • But oh no, he filled it with DRM and put it up for a sale on a DRM riddled platform.

        What major handheld video gaming platform isn't DRM riddled? Nintendo and Sony handhelds enforce a digital imprimatur, as do iPhone, iPod touch, Windows Phone 7, and "feature phones" that run the BREW environment. It's impossible to distribute code for these platforms that isn't DRM riddled. Even Android isn't immune, with AT&T hiding the checkbox to install apk files from "Unknown sources".

        Don't claim information wants to be free if you are trying to sell your rip-off.

        Yet Red Hat and Canonical sell Linux, a rip-off of Novell's UNIX.

    • by master_p (608214)

      Once something has become as common place as Tetris is, you have to step back and realize that it has become the possession of man-kind

      You can't be serious, can you? under your reasoning, Microsoft Windows is now a possession of mankind, because it is commonplace. Namco's Pacman is a possession of mankind, despite the fact that Namco still puts out Pacman games, because it is commonplace. Mario Bros is a possession of mankind, because it is commonplace...Star Trek is not Paramount's, it's mankind's, because it's common place...

      I am sorry, but your argument is totally illogical. It's the most pathetic excuse I have heard about copyright i

      • Disney extended the copyright term because they wanted to not lose copyright on their characters. It was originally something like 14 years. This is stupid; and doubly so since Disney still puts out cool shit. It's time Beauty and the Beast goes into the public domain, while people still pay every 10 years for a Disney official collector's edition from the vault. People still pay [amazon.com] for 1984 when you can read it for free [george-orwell.org].

        Disney's core business should be Disney Land (because hey, Cinderella is authentic Di

        • by master_p (608214)

          This is stupid

          Why is it stupid? according to you, it's stupid because you can't get it for free, right? well, it is not stupid at all. You don't have any rights to other people's works.

          Disney's core business should be Disney Land

          You don't have the right to dictate a business strategy to a business. The most you can do is not buy their products.

          Tetris is quite old, and old things become part of our culture.

          So? who says you don't have to pay for things in our culture?

          We're allowed to perform Shakespeare and The Crucible and other old plays freely; we're not allowed to perform Beauty and the Beast (yes, this is a play, Disney owns it) without paying a lot of money. Pink Floyd's songs should be folk songs by now, covered by lots of cover bands

          There is still demand for Beauty and the Beast, or Pink Floyd songs, isn't it? and these works are relatively young, compared to Shakespeare's works. So, I don't s

          • This is stupid

            Why is it stupid? according to you, it's stupid because you can't get it for free, right? well, it is not stupid at all. You don't have any rights to other people's works.

            No, it's stupid because they want to continue to make money on what they did ages ago. I want to continue to make money on an IT infrastructure I set up for a business I worked for 5 years ago-- they're still using the server I installed some software on, so they're still benefiting from the work I did, and so they should still be paying me royalties, right? Just like Disney released Beauty and the Beast in 1991, and in 2006 has been making money from it for 15 years; originally the copyright term was 14

    • Re-making, innovating, art != selling clones of old games.

    • Your comparison of this case to musicians is very weak. Musicians are almost never allowed to cover songs or copy the melody without permission (i.e. Weird Al vs Busta Rhymes, or Vanilla Ice vs Queen). What's more, Fantasisie-Impromptu is almost 200 years old, while Tetris if not even 30. Also, "posession of man-kind"?

      Is there anyone on Slashdot that doesn't know the basic formula to a Tetris game? Once something has become as common place as Tetris is, you have to step back and realize that it has become the possession of man-kind.

      This isn't a case about programming a tetris game, it's about programming a tetris game and naming something very simliar to tetris. Anyone can sell cars, but they can't call it a "Frod" or a

    • I suspect astroturfing has taken over slashdot by over 50%.

      Lately I've seen opinions that have no basis in either ethics or even the f-leter of the law. The only purpose now seems to be corporate encroachment. Tetris -the concept- does not belong to the tetris company, the ruleset is not copyrightable. The trademark is not confusing. Tey have no right to this except the right that is bought.

  • WP7 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stiller (451878)

    Word Perfect 7? WordPress 7? Oh. Windows Phone 7. I'll file that one under irrelevant.

  • http://vadim.oversigma.com/Tetris.htm [oversigma.com]

    read the true story of tetris.

    Alexey Pajitnov is the infringer here. he grabbed what three people have created together for himself, without giving them credit, leave aside their proper shares.

    average street pimp has more ethics. it doesnt strike me odd that, the legal system is exploited most by aggressive exploiters to attack others, even though they should be the ones in defense.
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Did we read the same article? Gerasimov states pretty unambiguiously that Pajitnov created the game, he (Gerasimov) ported it, the two collaborated on it for some time, and then Pajitnov left to create the Tetris Company commercialising it. The ill will is about Pajitnov cashing in on the idea and not paying him their fair share, but not authorship. The third collaborator is sore that Pajitnov abandoned the other projects they were working on, not Pajitnov stole the idea or something.

  • by the_raptor (652941) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:04AM (#35136150)

    Slashdot in general is fairly sympathetic towards individual copyright infringement for personal use. However that does not mean any significant portion of readers is sympathetic to wilful copyright infringement for commercial purposes, especially if you are dumb enough to drag trademark infringement into it as well.

    Releasing an open source clone of an old game will get a completely different response then making a commercial clone of an old game.

  • why would you think they would not come after you on wp7?

    • by isorox (205688)

      why would you think they would not come after you on wp7?

      Would they go after someone that wrote it for the neo geo? There's probably more users of the later.

    • by t0p (1154575)
      Maybe he figured they wouldn't look at the Windows Phone market place. I mean come on, who looks at the Windows Phone market place?
  • by wizkid (13692) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @09:27AM (#35136616) Homepage

    Everything I've read indicates these cases have no basis in law to support them. They're going after the little guys that can't afford a lawsuit.

    I hope someone chokes up the money to fight these guys.

    • by t0p (1154575)
      You're right that someone should take a case like this to trial. But I don't think the OP is the guy to do it.
  • The original idea of copyright was, if I am not mistaken (and of course IANAL), was extended to physical objects after the infringement against Elijah McCoy. I know there is debate about this, and that's fine since the story provides a suitable analogy and that is all I'm going for. Also, please excuse my interchangeable use of patent/copyright. While I understand that copyright is generally for media and patent is for physical inventions, I am also under the distinct impression that either can be applie

    • by Wyzard (110714)

      Patents protect inventions like McCoy's. Copyrights protect works of creative expression, such as books and music. They're two very different things.

      Since a copyright protects only a specific expression (rather than an "idea"), a Tetris-like game shouldn't infringe Tetris copyrights unless the developer copied actual graphics, music, code, etc. from the original Tetris game. A patent on falling-block games, if one existed, would cover Tetris clones, but this isn't an allegation of patent infringement.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Snopes has an updated article on "The real McCoy"'s origins right now, actually. It seems it's a distortion of an old advertising slogan for McKay's whisky. McCoy and his oiling machine existed but that seems to be about it.

  • Forget Tetris, when is somebody gonna either release, or clone Lemmings?

Real Users never know what they want, but they always know when your program doesn't deliver it.

Working...