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Copycats and Copyrights: Solving the Casual Games Puzzle
Price $7.95
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SKU GDC07-4651

Copycats and Copyrights: Solving the Casual Games Puzzle

Speakers: Stephen Rubin

Track: Business and Management

Format: Lecture

Experience Level: All

Description: The features that make casual games so popular - simple and easily-mastered rules and gameplay, minimal or no plots and characters, brevity, and 2D graphic - render a substantial portion of casual games content unprotectable under U.S. copyright law. Copyright protection extends only to creative expression, such as original storylines, unique artwork and developed characters. It does not cover universal ideas used over and over, such as mazes, chases, puzzles, solitaire and pinball. Using games like Pac-Man, Tetris, Bejeweled and Zuma to illustrate, copyright principles will be applied to casual games to distinguish protectable content from freely imitated ideas, as well as to suggest design techniques by which casual game developers can strengthen their claim to copyright exclusivity. Although casual games are a distinct subset, the copyright analysis has application to games in general.

Idea Takeaway: Copyright law is not an all-or-nothing shield to copying. With an understanding of the limits of the statutory protection afforded by copyright law, developers can better position their own games for protection or incorporate popular game concepts without engaging in infringement.

Intended Audience: Producers and designers of casual games will be especially concerned with the issue of copyright protection, either to enhance their own game or to determine how much of existing games may be imitated. The issue of casual game copycats effects all levels of the development community. The discussion of legal doctrine will be accessible to those without legal training or prior copyright law exposure.

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