We receive a few complaints a year about games that are "clones" of copyrighted work, and if copyright laws protect the original work.
First of all, our policy has always been if any of the explicit creatives have been exactly copied it is strictly prohibited. For example if someone copies and pasted one of your sound effects, sprites etc this is obviously not allowed.
The grey area arises when you make a game, and someone "clones" it but creates their own unique creative assets. The "cloned" game in all it's separate parts is unique, but as a whole has the same look and feel as the target game.
Previously, we have said that our interpretation of copyright law is that these clones although in some peoples eyes are unethical, are permitted.
We recently spoke to a specialist IP lawyer about cloned games like this. We were informed that game authors who have their games cloned may have a case in the UK for copyright violation, and may have a stronger case in the US.
For this reason, we're changing our store policy to not allow cloned games and are using the apparently stricter US copyright laws as a guide.
Please note, this has to be done on a case-by-case basis. Please also note, if you sell a Royalty Free Template in our store and someone makes a game/product using that template that is valid use of the royalty free asset they purchased!
If you feel there is an item in the store which is a clone of your game or work, please email me on tom at scirra dot com, providing:
- A link to your original work
- The date your work was first published
- A link to the cloned game in our store
- A link to the license of the work if applicable (for example you're selling this work in another online store)
- If applicable, an explanation of how the cloned game violates the license
I'll then look into removing the item from sale in our store. Please note, we not willing to discuss individual particular cases in public.