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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: ArcCommand - too much like Starship Command?
 

ArcCommand - too much like Starship Command?

Posted by Richard Goodwin on 15:30, 14/2/2002 | ,
 
I've just received word that Jason Tribbeck has had to remove ArcCommand apparently because the original author has been in touch and says it breaches his original copyright on Starship Command.

Despite the fact that Starship Command was a BBC B/Electron game, the author seems to feel that he can still make money from it. This despite the fact that Jason's version was a complete re-write without any recourse to peeking at the original code, and the original having ships taken from copyright-infringement-unfriendly TV shows - the Enterprise from the original Star Trek, and the Liberator from the Blake's 7 by the BBC.

This is not the first time that the author of an ancient game has decided that, despite the fact that the platform it was originally written for is long gone, they'll pursue not-for-profit copies on the grounds that maybe, just maybe, they can still squeeze a little more cash out of it - David Braben and Elite, anyone?
 
  ArcCommand - too much like Starship Command?
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Paul McKibbin Message #87169, posted at 15:47, 14/2/2002
Unregistered user The suggestion that copyright should be covered for original software is valid. What however, is not valid is assuming that this then covers all versions of games of the same genre. This is a little like saying that a photographer who finds a unique area from which to take a picture then forever owns copyright on all pictures taken of that scene from that vantage point.
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John Hoare Message #87170, posted at 16:18, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87169
Unregistered user I love both versions, and this is just annoying - but then all I want to say is covered in the tone of the news article. How unpleasant for Jason, and it's a real shame.
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Nathan Message #87171, posted at 16:19, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87170
Unregistered user I thought permission was given by the original author(s)?
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Rich Message #87172, posted at 16:26, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87171
Unregistered user For which game? Apparently not for ArcCommand; as for Elite freebies, that's a much more complex story. Basically Ian Bell doesn't mind, David Braben said he didn't mind - then changed that mind and hounded Ian Bell out of his own websites.
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Jason Tribbeck Message #87173, posted at 16:37, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87172
Unregistered user I didn't have the permission of the author. I didn't even have his email address until after I'd released it.

Anyway, I'm contemplating changing the game in some ways (like look and feel stuff). The AI will probably stay mostly the same, and the concepts will remain, but it'll look different.

It may even go through a name change...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Anon. Message #87174, posted at 16:49, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87173
Unregistered user The original author is still active in the games field I believe and so maybe feels his intellectual property has been copied a little too closely. I wish Jason good luck with his alterations nonetheless.
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John Hoare Message #87175, posted at 16:53, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87174
Unregistered user Yeah, good luck Jason. I'm glad it hasn't put you off doing stuff!
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Jason Tribbeck Message #87176, posted at 16:59, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87175
Unregistered user Well, it's certainly put me off doing newer versions of old games. I had an idea to do some more, but now I'll be very careful...
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John Hoare Message #87177, posted at 17:11, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87176
Unregistered user Well, a lot of other authors wouldn't be bothered by it. An idea to check now this has happened I suppose, but I guess a lot wouldn't mind. I'd be flattered if it was me!
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Andrew C. Poole Message #87178, posted at 18:14, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87177
Unregistered user I agree, if I'd have written a game for the beeb and someone made an uptodate version, I'd be very happy that people are still enjoying the game and releasing it...
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Jonathan Atherton Message #87179, posted at 18:16, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87178
Unregistered user WHAT?????

How pathetic can you get? This guy is way off the mark as far as I'm concerned. Does he really think anyone still buys BBC games? He's a bit out of touch if he does. I really enjoyed ArcCommand, how about some mission based gameplay? That would improve the game and shut him up.
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John Hoare Message #87180, posted at 18:33, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87179
Unregistered user Mission-based gameplay? I like that idea! :-)
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Anon. Message #87181, posted at 18:44, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87180
Unregistered user I don't think it's pathetic at all. As I say, he's still active in the games field and he as the right to protect any ideas he has generated as he has to look after his future. I don't think he is trying to squeeze money out of anybody - that's a bit rash I think.
Although it may seem unpalatable and unfair it is his right to protect his own original ideas.

The worst thing would be for Jason to take it to heart but hopefully the changes will make what seems like a nice game acceptable to all.
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John Hoare Message #87182, posted at 18:48, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87181
Unregistered user Surely though, the gameplay of Starship Command isn't so unique as to be copyrighted?
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David Bradforth Message #87183, posted at 18:54, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87182
Unregistered user What's probably not helped is the acknowledgement of the original - I believe Jason's ArcCommand included a splash credit directly attributing ArcCommand to taking inspiration from Starship Command.

I stand ready and willing to be corrected!
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Jonathan Atherton Message #87184, posted at 19:20, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87183
Unregistered user To be honest I think the game is far too to start running round moaning about copying. It would be like the original author of asteroids trying to have Spheres of Chaos removed. It really is daft beyond belief. And whilst he's about it why doesn't he make sure that Starship command is removed from any emulator sites? It would be nice if Peter Irvin came on to AA and gave a good reason why he wants ArcCommand taken down.

Sorry for ranting. Just my 2p
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Jonathan Atherton Message #87185, posted at 19:22, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87184
Unregistered user Sorry I forgot to say "old" the game is far too old to bother about copyright. It's what happens when your trying to post and play your GBA at the same time:-)
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Shane Message #87186, posted at 20:22, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87185
Unregistered user Somebody should ask him, there's an email address on Andrew Westons Exile site.
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Jonathan Atherton Message #87187, posted at 21:32, 14/2/2002, in reply to message #87186
Unregistered user URL?
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Charles Taylor Message #87188, posted at 09:12, 15/2/2002, in reply to message #87187
Unregistered user I seem to recall a game on the Amiga by Pygnosis, although I can't remember its name :( that included a segment that was very like Starship Command - and AFAIK, no one complained!

Charles
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A.Weston Message #87189, posted at 11:36, 15/2/2002, in reply to message #87188
Unregistered user Look at the features section of AA.
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The Badger Message #87190, posted at 13:28, 15/2/2002, in reply to message #87189
Unregistered user Since ArcCommand is intended to be an updated implementation of Starship Command, the relevant issue here is whether the original author is entitled to enforce a copyright on the "look and feel" or the concept of the game. It all probably hinges on that very point.
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Simon Challands Message #87191, posted at 14:22, 15/2/2002, in reply to message #87190
Unregistered user "Look and feel" is a valid point - it's probably true to say that a clone of an existing game is infringing copyright. I've vague recollections of one game being removed (years ago) for being far too much like Elite, although there might have been more to it in that case.

I would guess that the original author is within his rights to get ArcCommand removed; I suppose he just feels annoyed that someone has gone and used his game to make their own. I should also point out that I don't agree with this attitutude, and my view is the same as that of the majority here.

Another point I've just thought of - Snapper was Snapper to try to avoid Pacman copyright? If that worked I don't see why ArcCommand couldn't.
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John Hoare Message #87192, posted at 17:26, 15/2/2002, in reply to message #87191
Unregistered user And Rocket Raid, and Planetoid, and... come on, most early Acornsoft games were ripped off formats!
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Gareth Message #87193, posted at 17:59, 15/2/2002, in reply to message #87192
Unregistered user Okay, this is what I call getting exceptionally envious or exceptionally desperate. Since when has there ever been a rule that someone cannot make a game similar to another one. How many bat and ball games have we seen that are exactly the same or most racing games on the PC, I fail to see very little difference and of course we do have to ask the question: what is the point!
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Joe R Message #87194, posted at 15:48, 17/2/2002, in reply to message #87193
Unregistered user If every game that was similar to a previous game was removed there would have only been about 20 games ever released. How many games with a similar look and feel to good old Doom are released every year? I can't believe that anyone still makes money from an old BBC game that can be downloaded from half a dozen places and run on a BBC emulator. It just seems amazingly petty asking for this game to be removed when there aren't that many good games released on RISC OS these days.
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Steve Scott Message #87195, posted at 07:29, 18/2/2002, in reply to message #87194
Unregistered user It's becoming a trend for old games to be Shockwaved onto the web. Users possibly familiar with Macromedia's website will have noticed old games from the likes of Atari and Williams being available for download for a limited time, then sold offline as a collection for a set fee.

For some individuals this avenue adds more value to their vintage products. Perhaps this is why the original author requested the removal. As the copyright holder, he may have had his own plans for the game. It's his property - he does as he wishes.

Yes, Starship Command is a 20 year old game, but the platform is irrelevant. It's still a game, with a particular look, feel and style. It is someone's intellectual property.

This issue crops up every few years or so in the RISC OS scene. Does that suggest that we have a higher proportion of individuals who have little or no respect of copyright?

The nature of copyright is more of a grey area with digital media, but today's age also makes it easier to get in touch with people to actually check beforehand.

I think even I, myself goofed one or two times on software for AUCDs. It is a thankless task getting permission, but it's better than ending up in the courts.

Forgive my meandering. In short - respect the property of a fellow man's work - don't p*ss all over it!
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Jason Tribbeck Message #87196, posted at 19:42, 18/2/2002, in reply to message #87195
Unregistered user Anyway, there is some good news; I am in a dialogue with Peter to see if my game can continue in some form or another. How that actually happens I don't know until we've negotiated everything.
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Anon. Message #87197, posted at 20:48, 18/2/2002, in reply to message #87196
Unregistered user Don't forget to mention your programming prowess and perhaps he might suggest another of his games...
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Matthew Message #87198, posted at 11:00, 19/2/2002, in reply to message #87197
Unregistered user I think your mistake, when covering old games is to explicitly acknowledge your game's debt to the original, at least in the case where you suspect an author may want to make trouble for you. I assume there's some legal recourse to an author to say "hey, this guy says he's copied my game and he's profiting (even if only in reputation) from it". Especially if you advertise your game as being a remake of X, and so detracting from any potentially "official" remake. But if you don't explicitly allude to the original, the original author has to prove that you've consciously stolen intellectual property from them to make the same claim, which I think is a sufficiently common occurrence that it's impractical for any author to bother.
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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: ArcCommand - too much like Starship Command?