Microsoft legalities, etc

Anything to do with minesweeper...
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aradesh
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:37 pm

Microsoft legalities, etc

Post by aradesh » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:46 pm

Does anyone know what the legal situation with the game minesweeper? Does Microsoft have rights to the concept of the game? The name Minesweeper?

I'm considering attempting to get financial sponsorship for a prize fund for a minesweeper tournament, and I wouldn't want Microsoft complaining.

wylx
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:02 am
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Re: Microsoft legalities, etc

Post by wylx » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:11 am

According to Wikipedia, the game was existent in the 1970s, but I can't seem to find when the name "Minesweeper" came about.

qqwref
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:17 pm

Re: Microsoft legalities, etc

Post by qqwref » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:07 pm

I don't see anything here - maybe there is no actual trademark?
NF player. Best scores 1-10-39.

aradesh
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:37 pm

Re: Microsoft legalities, etc

Post by aradesh » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:10 pm

Hm. Maybe we could trademarket it as a community :P btw you need to update your pb scores in your signature.

aradesh
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:37 pm

Re: Microsoft legalities, etc

Post by aradesh » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:13 pm

It says on http://www.minesweeper.info/wiki/Windows_Minesweeper that Microsoft never acquired copyrights for Minesweeper.

aradesh
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:37 pm

Re: Microsoft legalities, etc

Post by aradesh » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:10 am

Done a bit of reading. It would seem that the name Minesweeper is up for grabs for anyone to use any way they like. The concept of the game cannot be patented. However the artwork of for example, the mine image, the flag image, the smiley face image, are by default copyrighted by Microsoft as they released them into the public domain. So for example, they could even take exception to our free clones which use the same artwork.

I was wondering if it would be possible for say a group of us to form a group called "World minesweeper association" or something to that effect, and trademark the name "Minesweeper" to ensure that a company doesn't start complaining about the use of the name for tournaments, etc., at some point in the future. Also with such reassurances and a fancy sounding organization, it would sound good when asking other companies for sponsorship for events.

qqwref
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:17 pm

Re: Microsoft legalities, etc

Post by qqwref » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:21 pm

I'd be up for helping start something like that. We could run it like the WCA - get a domain, make some regulations, appoint officials. If Tommy's up for it maybe we could have a tournament section that runs off his scoreganizer code, and separates unofficial and official (can only be created by a WMA official, must have an IRL location, etc.) tournaments.
NF player. Best scores 1-10-39.

aradesh
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:37 pm

Re: Microsoft legalities, etc

Post by aradesh » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:49 pm

I believe there was something similar in the past that kind of fell out of existence. Not sure on the details. However I think such a thing would be important. Not to lord over the minesweeper community, but to protect it from outside companies potentially trying to mess with it in the future if it got larger.

qqwref
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:17 pm

Re: Microsoft legalities, etc

Post by qqwref » Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:33 am

Do you mean the IMC? If so, we could specifically look into what went wrong there and deliberately organize ourselves so we don't fall into the same traps. (I wasn't around at that time but I know several active sweepers were.) For instance, to combat transparency issues, we could start a forum or blog where we would post all rule decisions or official announcements, so that there would be no confusion as to what was actually decided.
NF player. Best scores 1-10-39.

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