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The ColecoVision trademark

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Correct. You can't just claim copyrights on IP like you claim a dead trademark. Someone owns the Colecovision software copyright IP. And if the current Coleco company wants it they would have to purchase it from the rightful owner. Now there is a product out there, the Colecovision Flashback, that would have a copy of the system bios. I just wonder how/where/if they got permission to use it.

 

edit: Okay, so maybe the Flashbacks licensed the Colecovision system bios and some of the game software from today's Atari company. That is possible.

Edited by mr_me
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Right. ATGames would have licensed the Colecovision logo from the current Coleco company and the Colecovision software from somebody, maybe the current Atari company.

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The Colecovision Flashback has a few third party games but they don't list their copyrights on the box packaging. They only list copyrights to the homebrew games. Bump'n'jump for example would have music/sound/graphic copyright belonging to G-mode (originally c. Data East). And the Bump'n'Jump game code (originally c. Mattel sold to Coleco in 1984) sounds like it now belongs to Atari/Infogrames. There are others including a few Imagic games, those assets were purchased by Activision in the 1980s. The copyrights on the Imagic games should belong to the new Activision. The Activision branded games, however, were not included on the flashback. The flashback packaging does say that that all trademarks does belong to their respective owners but I don't see where they addressed all the copyrighted properties. And there are others besides Activision (Imagic) and Atari/Infogrames (Coleco).

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my opinion on Chris Cardillo:

 

Damn it, our society produces these idiots. They're like mushrooms growing on shit. I've seen this guy's MO so many times in business dealings that i've simply written it off as yet another archetype...half baking a business idea a minute, and using the same lack of impulse control to attack people who he deems as an impediment to his world domination plans.

 

-Thom

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The Colecovision Flashback has a few third party games but they don't list their copyrights on the box packaging. They only list copyrights to the homebrew games. Bump'n'jump for example would have music/sound/graphic copyright belonging to G-mode (originally c. Data East). And the Bump'n'Jump game code (originally c. Mattel sold to Coleco in 1984) sounds like it now belongs to Atari/Infogrames. There are others including a few Imagic games, those assets were purchased by Activision in the 1980s. The copyrights on the Imagic games should belong to the new Activision. The Activision branded games, however, were not included on the flashback. The flashback packaging does say that that all trademarks does belong to their respective owners but I don't see where they addressed all the copyrighted properties. And there are others besides Activision (Imagic) and Atari/Infogrames (Coleco).

Atgames did do public deal with Sega, Atari also and a few other companies, so I don't believe they did anything dishonest with copyrights

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Correct, there's nothing related to the AtGames' products that is not properly licensed and/or developed in-house. That doesn't mean that whoever they're licensing things from has all of their ducks in a row, but there obviously needs to be certain legal requirements/structures in place before any deals are made. There's obviously only so much vetting you can do when making an IP deal with someone.

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The Atari Flashbacks has copyright Atari Interactive on the box. The Intellivision Flashbacks has copyright Intellivision Productions on the box. All the game software on the Colecovision Flashback belongs to somebody. Maybe they have permission but didnt mention credits on the package.

 

After reading about Imagic, some people say there is no evidence that Activision purchased any Imagic game copyrights. Activision has been publishing Imagic games since 1987. The head of Activision at the time was formerly the head of Imagic; I figure he knew what he was doing.

 

Edit: But if the only IP deal is with the new Coleco [and homebrewers], and the new Coleco has no IP other than the Coleco and Colecovision trademarks, what does that mean.

Edited by mr_me

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The Atari Flashbacks has copyright Atari Interactive on the box. The Intellivision Flashbacks has copyright Intellivision Productions on the box. All the game software on the Colecovision Flashback belongs to somebody. Maybe they have permission but didnt mention credits on the package.

 

The games on the ColecoVision Flashback were licensed from Coleco Holdings and homebrew authors. Atari and other entities have nothing to do with it.

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This reminds me of the whole SCO vs. Linux thing some years ago. SCO claimed that they'd bought all sorts of code from Novell that ended up in Linux without their permission, and they sued IBM (for some reason I forget) over it. Eventually Novell came in and said "uh, no, you didn't buy what you thought you bought. We still own it and we give IBM permission to use it." SCO obviously disagreed, but the court ended up agreeing with Novell and the suit was thrown out.

 

The moral of that story was that rights can be complicated things and you can never, ever assume you own anything that isn't *explicitly* written down and itemized on paper. Certainly just buying the rights to use the name "Coleco" and "ColecoVision" does not entitle a company to *anything* else beyond that. Not even the logo. We'd have to see the actual contract to know what Coleco Holdings actually has the rights to and whether that matches up with what they claim to have the rights to. I'm 99% sure that they're overreaching in at least some way. But it would take a court case to suss that out, because they're obviously convinced they have the rights to everything and they're not under obligation to reveal on what basis until somebody challenges them legally.

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I seem to recall hearing Keith Robinson on the Intellivisionaries podcast, talking about how they need to be very careful to make sure they have the rights to anything they put in a retro compilation or on their site. This is why the Intellivision Flashback stuck very closely to only the games they knew they owned.

 

I may be misremembering this, and I'll never find it, because it was years ago and every episode of the Intellivisionaries podcast is many hours long ... but didn't Keith insinuate that not all companies were quite as careful as him?

 

I took that to mean the people licensing games for the Colecovision Flashback.

 

Anyone else remember this conversation?

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My understanding is that the new Coleco did not buy the trademarks from anyone they just claimed them as inactive. They can claim the logo the same way unless the logo has some creative/artistic quality that makes it copyrightable. Fonts and colours are not copyrightable so I think they can claim the logo.

 

Could be Intellivisionairies episode 11, where Keith R discusses the Flashback. Back in 2001 Keith made a deal with Activision to publish Activision and Imagic games on Intellivision Rocks. I dont think he got proof of ownership from Activision. Hard to blame him, Activision had been publishing Imagic games for years. I wondered why Bumpnjump is on the Colecovision FB but not the Intellivision FB. With Intellivision at least Keith R has the game code copyrights. So if AT Games has Bumpnjump permission than why not Intellivision.

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I swear dealing with ancient IPs is such a mess. The original copyright terms of 70-90 years were too short for Disney, and way to long for all these orphaned IPs that may never see the light of day in our lifetimes at least. I kinda like the way patents work better: If it hasn't been commercialized in 20+ years, it should just expire.

 

Tons of orphaned music from after 1920s-1930s will never be heard again for the same reason. How many old vinyls are there that aren't reissued, available for purchase on CD or download anywhere? A lot. How many old classic era film movies rotted away or were destroyed an lost forever? A lot.

 

For games, the situation is a million times worse, considering the fact that video game players are proprietary to the format, so you can't just endlessly convert classics over to new mediums, ie VHS to DVD or Vinyl to audio cassette to CD. It never worked like that with game systems, which had to be meticulously programmed for one specific format rather than an analog or digital signal that could be mass converted. You can't just convert an arcade game to Atari 2600 or NES and not totally change the experience for instance. 8mm movie reels to VHS or DVD / BluRay is much simpler.

 

So we get a lot of orphaned games. The code belongs to one entity, the likeness of the characters or IP contained therein belong to a second entity, and the system it plays on belongs to a third entity, some or all of whom the rights may be orphaned or changed hands multiple times across the years. Typically with film and music, the entire movie production or album copyright belonged to a single entity, so it's far easier to license works out.

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How about we call it ... CalicoVision

9647cc287c71cd73de9937f26023e757.jpg

 

Just Kidding, prolly still too similar.

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I kinda like the way patents work better: If it hasn't been commercialized in 20+ years, it should just expire.

 

I think this is super-reasonable for software.

 

Books and films? OK, let the original creators continue to profit from them. I don't think their heirs need that in perpetuity, though.

 

Software feels different, especially since the gap in computing power between 25 years and now is so great. Maybe the curve is flattening out due to the end of Moore's Law, but it seems reasonable to consider Sega Genesis games past the age of being commercially viable.

 

The "not being commercialized" bit would still allow joints like Nintendo to do Virtual Console type things. So where's nuColeco in this? They own stuff, but can't do much with it.

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If it isn't an out-of-place question to ask in this topic, there is one thing I'm curious about:

With the Exidy name belonging to CollectorVision, does this mean they can make Exidy games like Venture and Mouse Trap if they wanted to? Do they own the IP rights to those old Exidy games then?

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If it isn't an out-of-place question to ask in this topic, there is one thing I'm curious about:

 

With the Exidy name belonging to CollectorVision, does this mean they can make Exidy games like Venture and Mouse Trap if they wanted to? Do they own the IP rights to those old Exidy games then?

No, they would not have any rights to any copright IP in those Exidy games. That IP likely belongs to HR Kaufman according to Wikipedia. Similarly the new Coleco company doesn't have the rights to any original Coleco copyright IP; unless they purchased them from the rights owner, which people are saying was Atari/Infogrames.

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No, they would not have any rights to any copright IP in those Exidy games. That IP likely belongs to HR Kaufman according to Wikipedia. Similarly the new Coleco company doesn't have the rights to any original Coleco copyright IP; unless they purchased them from the rights owner, which people are saying was Atari/Infogrames.

 

As far as I know, Mr Kaufman put the Exidy arcade games in Public Domain and they were NOT meant for resale

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As far as I know, Mr Kaufman put the Exidy arcade games in Public Domain and they were NOT meant for resale

 

Oooh .... there are quite a few of them, very nice. Not for bundling, but free to download and use. I like. Star Fire is in there. Mouse Trap, Venture, and Pepper II are not. http://mamedev.org/roms/

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Wikipedia says that some games were made available for free, non-commercial use. That is not the same as being public domain as the owner still retains copyright. Could be that Wikipedia is out of date, is there a better source for the Exidy public domain thing?

Edited by mr_me

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Wikipedia says that some games were made available for free, non-commercial use. That is not the same as being public domain as the owner still retains copyright. Could be that Wikipedia is out of date, is there a better source for the Exidy public domain thing?

 

Yes, in the link right above your post on the MAME project page.

 

Thanks to the generosity of some of the original creators of the classic games that MAME® can emulate, several games have been released for free, non-commercial use. It is our hope that in the future, we will be able to add more games to this list.

Note: The ROMs on these pages have been approved for free distribution on this site only. Just because they are available here for download does not entitle you to put them on your own site, include them with your own distributions of MAME, or bundle them with your software, cabinet, or other item. To do that, you must obtain permission from the original owners.

 

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