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Matt Barton's picture

"The Jackals" are Back--On your iPhone

One of Nolan Bushnell's favorite diatribes is about the people he calls "jackals," those scrupulous copycats that, in his view, ripped off his ideas time and time again. Despite the fact that some accuse him of doing the same thing to Ralph Baer (especially Mr. Baer), it's hard not to sympathize with hard-working creators who see their profits annihilated by shameless clones and rip-offs. There's a nice example of it at Ars Technica, which documents a flagrant "The Blocks Cometh" knock-off (including art and name!) on the iPhone. According to the article, victims have few options other than to hire lawyers, which as well all know is well beyond the means of most indies.

I'm not sure what the remedy is here, though. The other extreme would be just as bad, with existing owners claiming that even the remotest derivative was a clone. What exactly is the line between a derivative and a clone, though?

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