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[Freeciv] Re: copyright infringement

[Freeciv] Re: copyright infringement

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To: Brandon Van Every <vanevery@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: freeciv@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [Freeciv] Re: copyright infringement
From: Andrew McGuinness <andrew@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 20:05:31 +0000

On Wed, Jul 19, 2000 at 02:34:07AM -0700, Brandon Van Every wrote:
> How do you guys figure you're getting around Microprose / Hasbro's copyrights 
> on
> Civ II and etc?  Sure, you've got your own GUI interface and artwork, but 
> you've
> completely ripped off the rules for the game.  Rules are copyrightable
> intellectual property in case you're not aware.  Hasbro made dogmeat out of 
> the
> Dogs Of War folks, they did an Axis & Allies clone and were stupid enough to 
> use
> the original board game artwork in addition to everything else.  Hasbro is
> clueless enough that they probably won't tag you anytime soon, but they'll tag
> you eventually.  Unless you take steps to ensure that you have your own
> intellectual property and aren't just ripping off someone else's.

I would think we're pretty much in the clear.  Freeciv is in effect a clean 
of CivII, in that the developers did not work from Microprose's copyrighted 
code, but
just aimed to replicate the effects.  Since the development was done publicly, 
that is
fairly easy to prove.  The "look and feel" doctrine that Apple used against MS 
to have more or less died a death.

Things we have to be careful of are:

1. Not infringing Microprose's "Civilisation" trademark
2. Not copying chunks of data (People have suggested including the 
"Civilopedia" entries
from Civ-II - that would be a blatant breach of copyright)

The only grey area I can see would be the datasets of unit strengths, terrain 
effects, etc.
But it would seem strange if we could distribute Freeciv, provided that a 
Legion had an
attack strength other than 2 and swamps had a movement penalty other than 100%.

At the end of the day, not much in Civilisation(tm) is really original - it is 
just a
descendant of many wargames and "management" games.  What marked CivI and CivII 
out and
made them so successful was the skill with which they were implemented, and we 
are really
replacing that with our own work.  As long as we stay clear of copyrighted code 
and data,
I don't think we have more to worry about than any of the other commercial 

Andrew McGuinness                  andrew_mcguinness@xxxxxxxxxxx

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