I am developing a little mobile MMORPG which is Google Maps based and uses your GPS position to make you play around your area.
I came up with the idea after a famous and beloved game called "Parallel Kingdom" shut down their servers two years ago. It was a game with a huge playerbase and they had basically exact the same game concept. You played on the Google Map, could fight different monsters, meet other players, level up your equipment and co. So basically I am using the same idea, and many of my content is based on "Parallel Kingdoms".
Now I asked my self: am I allowed to do that? To use the exact game concept?
I researched a bit and found following on their website:
7. Content Ownership
All of the content on PK including, without limitation text, graphics, maps, user interfaces, visual interfaces, photographs, moving images, illustrations, files, trademarks, logos, service marks, sounds, music, artwork and computer code, design, structure, selection, coordination, "look and feel" and arrangement of such content ("Content"), is owned by PerBlue, its licensors, vendors, agents or content providers. All elements of PK including, without limitation the general design and the Content, are protected by copyright, trademark, trade dress, moral rights or other intellectual property regimes.
Followed by the following:
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
PerBlue respects the intellectual property of others and requires that You do the same. In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), the text of which may be found on the U.S. Copyright Office site at http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf, We will respond expeditiously to notices of alleged copyright infringement that are duly reported to Our Designated Copyright Agent identified in the notice below. We will disable and/or terminate the accounts of Users who are repeat infringers. If You believe Your content has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, or Your intellectual property rights have been otherwise violated, please provide Our designated Copyright Agent the following information: A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed; Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site; Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material; Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact You, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address; A statement that You have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that You are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed. PerBlue's designated Copyright Agent to receive notifications of claimed infringement is: Justin Beck firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to PO Box 1861 Madison, WI 53701. You acknowledge that if You fail to comply with all of the requirements of this Section, Your DMCA notice may not be valid.
We may give notice to Our Users of any infringement notice by means of a general notice on any of Our Websites, electronic mail to a User's e-mail address in Our records, or by written communication sent by first-class mail to a User's physical address in Our records. If You believe that Your User Submission that was removed (or to which access was disabled) is not infringing, or that You have the authorization from the copyright owner, the copyright owner's agent, or pursuant to the law, to post and use the content in Your User Submission, You may send a counter-notice containing the following information to the Copyright Agent: Your physical or electronic signature; Identification of the content that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location at which the content appeared before it was removed or disabled; A statement that You have a good faith belief that the content was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or a misidentification of the content; and Your name, physical address and telephone number, and a statement that You consent to the jurisdiction of a Federal District Court for the judicial district in which Your physical address is located, or if Your physical address is outside of the United States, for any judicial district in which We may be found, and that You will accept service of process from the person who provided notification of allegedly infringing material or an agent of such person.
So what am I allowed to do and what now? Is it ok to copy the game concept and even with mostly similar content like "fighting", "building houses" etc.? I'm completly unsure about this because my simple English skills don't really understand that law slang.
I should also mention that pretty much my whole user interface is based on the user interface from "Parallel Kingdoms". I didn't use any of their assets or code. I just use the same structure, as you can see in the pictures below.
Heres the original menu from "Parallel Kingdom":
Here's what I created for my game: