Atari harassing Jeff Minter

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Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby Kirkman » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:20 pm

Over the last day or so, Jeff Minter has been tweeting about insane legal threats "Atari" has been making over TxK.

He said stuff like:
it's achingly sad because I *loved* Atari. Getting to work there, and creating one of their last great games, was such a joy for me.


And:

But I could never have imagined one day being savaged by its undead corpse, my own seminal work turned against me. I am beyond disgusted.


He wrote up a summary here:
http://yakyak.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8 ... 08a43fde26

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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby exxos » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:19 pm

Not sure I really follow whats going on there.. So he wrote tempest 2000 for Atari, and was remaking it, then Atari flamed him down for it ?
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby Dal » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:40 pm

No, he released a Tempest 2000 like game for the Sony PS Vita last year.

It's very sad to see this kind of thing happen especially to the one guy who tried to help Atari with the Jag.
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby DarkLord » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:19 pm

I think someone needs to issue a "Cease and desist" order on Atari... :)
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby simonsunnyboy » Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:28 pm

So much for anyone contemplating nowadays Atari getting back to its roots and actually building something new....they are looting the graveyard via lawyers. How shameful :(
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby alexh » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:53 pm

#boycottatari

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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby NikolaL » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:16 pm

Computer works. And i even dont see problem adding quad core pcu upgrade to serve as floppy drive :)
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby christos » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:33 am

alexh wrote:#boycottatari


It would only matter if you are a casino...
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby MrMaddog » Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:27 am

Well all the *t*ri forum people know how much worth those C&D letters are really worth...

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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby AdamK » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:22 am

If you ask me - Jeff walked right into it.

The fact is, Atari owns Tempest franchise IP. And if you make a game that is derived from it, no matter how you name it - Atari have some pull.

He should have made a deal with Atari before he started developing TxK, not try to bargain it now. If he would do it before, he could negotiate good deal, now he is legally liable.

On the other hand, Jeff mentioned Tempest for PSX. This seems to infringe on his rights (they used his code, music from T2K), so he could use it to leverage deal now.

But it will cost. It would be much cheaper, if he thought about it before he started developing TxK.
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby Dal » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:48 am

You cannot copyright an idea. So far as software is concerned, copyright affects binaries, source code and music. Assuming none of these are considered to be too similar, there is no case to answer.

Game clones can legally exist as it is not possible to own a computer programming concept like wire-frame graphics, claw shaped enemies, power-ups or tube based battle grounds for example.
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby AdamK » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:18 pm

Copyright is not about ideas, but about works. When someone develops something that is clearly derived from another work, it falls under copyright, and original work rigts owner can claim its share (how much he can claim depends on laws in every country and varies). You can't deny that TxK is derived from T2K, and in my opinion Atari has a claim here.

Thats why, it was unreasonable of Jeff Minter not to secure rights before he started development of TxK. As briliant developer/game designer he is - this was a foolish mistake.
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby lostdragon » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:40 pm

Been 'discussing' this elsewhere, but i've mixed feelings...

On the 1 hand, Jeff himself has long been aware of risk of public perception of him doing yet more Tempest clones/updates, he told Edge (and others) that if he kept doing iteratons of Tempest, he'd always get "Oh it's Jeff and another version of Dave Theurers Tempest" and how he wanted people to think of his next game, as his own thing...this when he was working on Unity on the Game Cube....

But then he also admits people did'nt get likes of:Mama Llama, Iridis Alpha, Space Giraffe, Sheep In Space etc, so commercially he 'suffered' and i guess it's why he sticks to what he knows.

Also, he should of done more to 'distance' TxK from Tempest and Atari have same rights as anyone else to protect their I.P....


On flipside, Atari as they are now seem unwilling to go after all the clones on iOS, do anything of real worth with their I.P's (witness 'recent' updates to Yars Revenge, Star Raiders etc) and you'd of hoped they could of worked with Jeff here.

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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby catmando » Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:06 am

Maybe Jeff should tried a 'clean room' approach
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby AdamK » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:23 am

He can't do clean room approach in this case, beacuse he developed T2K and knows everything about it.
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby christos » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:59 am

There are about a billion tetris clones... that play almost exactly the same. Also copyright on software (and games are software) means code, not functionality. If he's used any of ataris code then they would be in the right, but I sincerely doubt that he did. It's been too long and it's a totally different system than the jaguar.
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby Total Eclipse » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:07 am

christos wrote:Also copyright on software (and games are software) means code, not functionality. If he's used any of ataris code then they would be in the right, but I sincerely doubt that he did.


I'm not sure how accurate that is though. Several times in the past, companies have sued one another over the look and feel of software, with Apple standing out as a particularly aggressive example. No copied code needed. I'm sure I once read that one of the reasons that GEM has drop down menus rather than pull down (where you click the menu first to reveal the options) is because App!e threatened to sue DR.
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby christos » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:55 am

Total Eclipse wrote:
christos wrote:Also copyright on software (and games are software) means code, not functionality. If he's used any of ataris code then they would be in the right, but I sincerely doubt that he did.


I'm not sure how accurate that is though. Several times in the past, companies have sued one another over the look and feel of software, with Apple standing out as a particularly aggressive example. No copied code needed. I'm sure I once read that one of the reasons that GEM has drop down menus rather than pull down (where you click the menu first to reveal the options) is because App!e threatened to sue DR.


That is true because in the US they have software patents. However in the EU there has never been such a thing (thanks to Poland who blocked it) and last I checked the UK (where Jeff Minter is based) is an EU country.
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby AdamK » Tue Mar 24, 2015 2:39 pm

This is not about patents but copyright.
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby Hippy Dave » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:05 pm

This is about the signed Atari confidential disclosure agreement "Atari secrets", not copyright.

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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby christos » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:49 pm

AdamK wrote:This is not about patents but copyright.


The GEM thing was about patents.

On the other issue, when Atari violated the GPL (a copyright or copyleft if you like issue) that was demonstrated by the way the code worked, meaning that Atari had used code! This is what copyright covers, code.

It can also cover other things, such as stories or characters, but it can't possibly cover the concept of a thing shooting other things inside a wireframe tube. And if it does, then for the sake of humanity and human expression it should stop!
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby AdamK » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:54 pm

christos wrote:
AdamK wrote:This is not about patents but copyright.


The GEM thing was about patents.

But TxK case is not.

christos wrote:On the other issue, when Atari violated the GPL (a copyright or copyleft if you like issue) that was demonstrated by the way the code worked, meaning that Atari had used code! This is what copyright covers, code.

Atari violated GPL? Can you tell more about that?

christos wrote:It can also cover other things, such as stories or characters, but it can't possibly cover the concept of a thing shooting other things inside a wireframe tube. And if it does, then for the sake of humanity and human expression it should stop!

Copyright does not cover things that match exactly. Even with huge difference between two works, there can be copyright violation. In this case, copyright is not about the code, but the overall game design. TxK expands on T2K game design, and because of that it is a copyright violation.
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby christos » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:53 pm

Then by that logic medal of honor is copyright infringing on call of duty or vice versa because they are both fps with a world war II setting. That's just silly. I am not a lawyer but I still think that it's silly.

As for atari violating the GPL it was all over the news. See this as an example.
http://sev-notes.blogspot.gr/2009/06/gp ... tions.html
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Re: Atari harassing Jeff Minter

Postby AdamK » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:17 am

christos wrote:Then by that logic medal of honor is copyright infringing on call of duty or vice versa because they are both fps with a world war II setting. That's just silly. I am not a lawyer but I still think that it's silly.

That might be possible, we do not know if any deals were made in that case. But those games also have a story, that is based on real events, they have characters and a lot of other content, that make it diffrent enough. TxK copies game mechanic of T2K to the letter, has very similar graphics, and without any story elements to separate them, this is a copyright problem.
christos wrote:As for atari violating the GPL it was all over the news. See this as an example.
http://sev-notes.blogspot.gr/2009/06/gp ... tions.html

Hm, I somehow missed that.
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