I'm just wondering, what more people's opinions are about the legalaities of designing a game which is "like but X but with Y". On the thread [url="http://www.sumea.com.au/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=238"]Next Years Game - Requires Artists[/url] there was a mini-discussion about if you were to give out your design doc to the public, and they were to point out that it resembles game X, then you could be in for legal hassles.
Personally, I don't see the legalities of it. For sure, the design may resemble alot of other games - but is that relevant? For starters, you wouldn't use any intellectual property from another game - except perhaps as a tribute, but no one is going to sue over that. So none of the content of your game would be a direct derivative of another game or use a name from another game. Secondly, there is no way that it is going to be marketed explicitly as "Like game X!" and hence there is no way the relation could affect sales on any level. So I don't see how it's a violation of intellectual property or how you could possibly get sued by it?
What comparisons the public/lawyers draw from one game to another doesn't make it at all a copy or an infringement of copyrights...as far as I can reasonably assume. But the legal system is not usually reasonable.
What are people's thoughts?
Should a game design be kept secret for legal purposes or not?
And on top of that, do people think that it's a potential threat in terms of getting ideas "stolen" and what kind of effect that can have?
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