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Atari fires off copyright missile barrage, decimating Apple's app store

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Posted by: Vito Gesualdi

Atari is known as the grandfathers of classic gaming, responsible for everything from Pong to Asteroids. These games feature some rather simplistic gameplay, perfect for the brain-dead casual gamers happily loading up on crappy iPhone apps. So what better way to dominate the market, than to try and assert your copyright like a boss. 

The news of Atari's copyright crusade comes courtesy of Black Powder Media, who saw all of their Vector Tanks titles pulled due to resemblence to Atari's Battlezone, a major blow to the indie developer. But just because the game is inspired by Battlezone, is that really enough to claim copyright infringement?

The thing is, its very to find aspects of a video game which can actually be copyrighted. Obviously characters like Mario and Pac-Man can't be used by some random basement developer, though you also can't copyright the idea of a sidescrolling game with item pickups, or a maze game where a character tries to outrun enemies. Similarly, it seems unlikely that Atari can outlaw Vector Tanks simply because the game is a first-person tank game with vector-graphics. We'll be waiting to see how this pans out.

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