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I'm willing to remake an old video game, first as a hobby project, but in the future I'd like to publish it online, for free or as a commercial project.

I've been reading for a while about copyright infringement, and despite not copying any artistic assets, lore, names, or things like that, I'm afraid I could run into copyright infringement.

The reason why I think so, is because I would be using some very specific mechanics that are key to the gameplay, and I suspect those mechanics can be subject of copyright.

Without entering into much detail, are there any kind of rules that apply to gameplay or game mechanics regarding copyright?

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    Video game or some other type? Interesting article on video game clones. May be relevant to you. gamasutra.com/view/feature/187385/clone_wars_the_five_most_.php
    – BowlOfRed
    Oct 22, 2015 at 0:30
  • Video game, edited for clarification. I've been reading several articles about copyright, but in the end I guess I will have no other choice but to consult with a lawyer specialized in the matter.
    – Artemix
    Oct 22, 2015 at 3:18

1 Answer 1

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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.

Link

https://www.copyright.gov/registration/other-digital-content/

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  • It is very vague. What defines exactly an "expression"?. Let take as example a game that has a very particular mechanic, the Fruit Ninja, and I want to make a copy of it, but instead of fruits I would be using potatoes, am I violating the copyright?.
    – Artemix
    Oct 22, 2015 at 3:21
  • Yes, it is very vague. The only way to be sure is publish, see if they sue and see if they are successful.
    – Dale M
    Oct 22, 2015 at 3:24
  • Going just to accept the answer since I doubt I will be getting anything different without discussing my particular case. Btw, do you know of any lawyer that specializes in this matter?.
    – Artemix
    Oct 22, 2015 at 3:27
  • Yes, I know several in Sydney, Australia - does that help you?
    – Dale M
    Oct 22, 2015 at 3:31
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    @Artemix - This area of practice is known as "intellectual property."
    – feetwet
    Oct 22, 2015 at 14:19

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