Bed's Stuff - Tag Bedter

The Tetris Company; business as usual 12 years on

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12 years ago I received some cease and desist letters for my freeware tetris-clone Bedter. Its nice to know that 12 years on they are still sending the threats.

I think its worth nothing that my tetris clone Bedter has been available online for download for every day of those 12 years since I ignored the cease and desist threats.

Thanks to Gutch for the slashdot link, as I stopped reading slashdot years ago. Speaking of Gutch, everyone should check out his awesome blog on advertising and promotion; The Puffer Review.

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Tetris Company is still at it..

A long time ago I wrote a Tetris game. See my old articleto read about it all. Lets say that ultimately my game is still available and I have had no further action taken against me.

This week I got an email from Todd, who wrote to let me know of Apple rejecting his falling blocks game due to legal threats from the Tetris Company. This is what he had to say:

"I wrote my own interpretation of tetris (called Kafablo - instructions and gameplay movie here) for the iPhone because I didn't see any available tetramino games that I liked. In the time it took me to write it I've seen how all the unofficial tetris games get yanked, but since I'd put a fair amount of work into it and my game control scheme is (I think) unique, I went ahead and released mine a couple weeks ago. Sure enough, the lawyers came knocking - now even if I chose to dispute the legality of their claim of copyright infringement, that would take a long time, and Apple (rightfully so) won't keep anything on the App Store that puts them in a position of jeopardy. So I have to take it down. Another win for the lawyers, another loss for creativity, freedom of expression, and competition! If you want a better tetris, too bad!

As far as my letter is concerned, there are no details as to what they think they've copyrighted or why my game is an infringement - the only thing in there (besides the threat of legal action and various legal mumbo-jumbo) is (grammatical error included):

The"Kafablo" game on apple.com violates the copyright in the Tetris game because it is a copy of our client's game and was created and are being reproduced and sold on your web site without our client's prior permission or authorization.

In case anybody is counting, here is the list of falling tetramino games that I know of (there are probably more) that have been removed from the App Store:
- teto teto
- tris
- touchris
- kafablo

I can't comment on the other games, but I know mine at least differs from any official tetris: different controls, different sounds, different graphics, completely different name. I'm not sure what they claim to be copyrighting, but that's a subject for further research."

And today I came across this switched article about another tetris-style game …

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The Tetris Company – Copyright

What's all this?

This page describes how The Tetris Company is trying to remove all freeware & shareware tetris-style games from distribution. They are claiming that they have copyright on "the look and feel" and "trade dress" of Tetris. This is not legal and is an invalid claim.

The story.

Many freeware and shareware tetris game developers and distributors have received threatening e-mails from "The Tetris Company" about their game being a copyright infringement.. I received one such e-mail in December 1997 in regards to my freeware tetris clone "Bedtris". I subsequently changed the name to "Bedter" and put in disclaimers that it was not an official "Tetris" game. On the 18th of February 1999 I received another e-mail that states that I am still infringing their "look and feel" copyright.

However, I left the game available on this webpage and as of yet (Feb 2011) I have received no further threats.

Other author's tales:

Hasbro had sued a number of retro games companies over alledged copyright violations. One of those companies it sued, Webfoot Technologies has settled out of court. One of the owners of Webfoot posted a comment on slashdot and they gave me permission to repost that comment here.

US Copyright Law An idea or concept can not be copyrighted. The Tetris Company's code, graphics, music (etc) is copyrighted, but the actual concept can not be. They can copyright the written rules to the game, but they can't actually copyright the generic rules themselves. This means if I copied out a section of their HOW TO PLAY manual I would be infringing copyright. At www.bitlaw.com they say the following:

"Ideas, procedures, principles, discoveries, and devices are all specifically excluded from copyright protection. As stated in the Copyright Act: In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work."

Ideas can be patented, however The Tetris Company is not claiming a patent on Tetris. They are claiming a "look and feel" copyright.

We …

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Bedter

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Version 2.52

Bedter was renamed from Bedtris after legal threats from The Tetris Company!

The ultimate in tetris style games. With all the features that I wanted in a tetris game because I couldn't find one I liked, so I wrote my own. Now at version 2.52. Bedter is freeware so download and distribute to all of your friends.
Features include:

  • Customisable Gameplay
  • Customisable Scoring
  • One or two players
  • Agressive or Points mode
  • Multiple Difficulties
  • Customisable Controls
  • Full Screen mode
  • Sound and Music
  • Piece Preview
  • High Scores
  • Freeware

Downloads

For linux, most likely you will also need the Qt runtime libraries libqt.so.2.gz (2.6MB) and libqtintf.so.gz (440KB). If you already have version 2.2.4 of these libraries (as libqt.so.2.2.4 and libqtintf.so.2.2.4) you can use these by creating symbolic links libqt.so.2 and libqtintf.so to point to the existing libraries, respectively.

Run "tar xzvf BedTer.tar.gz". If you need to install the Qt runtimes
do so to a common library path (ie /us/lib) and then run
/sbin/ldconfig as root.

People's Responses

Here's what people have to say about Bedter:

"The game's pretty cool. It's one of the better Tetris clones out there and it doesn't even take up that much memory either." -- Matt P. , SoftSeek WebPage

"I'd like to commend you on bedtris...it is by far the best tetris clone that I've ever seen, and i've spent quite some time playing it." -- David Ham

"I'm really enjoying Bedtris. I had been using another shareware (BLOCKED) previously to satisfy my Tetris addiction. Yours is much better." -- Mike Morgan

"I just downloaded Bedtris from shareware.com and I love it! Excellent job! I too have been looking for a good copy of Tetris for my home PC and yours is the best!" -- Paul LaBouve

"Downloaded Bedtris from the Net last night. Been playing ever since." -- Barry Kendal

"You have done an incredible job with this game. It is definitely one of the best tetris clones for windows I've ever seen." -- David Ko

"FINALY!!! My wife has had me searching the net far and wide for a tetris game and now it's finaly downloaded for her. Although she has not tried it as yet I have and it's great!! Now all those …

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About

Andrew Bednarz - otherwise known as Bed, is a Digitarian who love avant-garde/black/folk metal, jazz, sci-fi, pro-wrestling, point & click adventure games; and of course his wife and cats.