Risk using Google Maps shut down.



I’m afraid it was something I expected would happen, *(although you always hope a company will look on such imitation as a form of flattery and be cooperative/excited about the new application of an old game idea…), but the implementation of the strategy game Risk using Google Maps has been shut down by a cease and desist letter from lawyers retained by Hasbro.


I think it’s unfortunate if for no other reason than that was likely the first real strategy game use of the Google Maps api that I’ve seen, and as such was accessible to any platform with a javascript enabled web browser. One note, I’ve found that other strategy games have found ways to flatter and evoke the original without copyright/trademark infringement by altering the game and slightly altering the base rules.

Maybe those alterations have kept other “similar” strategy games safe, but then again, maybe obscurity has. For that reason I’ll refrain from mentioning them. That much said, if I were to duplicate the efforts of the Google Maps-ified Risk game and only use it for myself and an invited guest or two would that still infringe? What if I were to use a big piece of cardboard, draw a map and use that? Would that be an infringement? Even if it’s for my own use? Is the mistake here that it was announced publicly for anyone to use?

I see copyright law as a good thing to protect a unique idea for a period of time so that there’s a real advantage to innovating. Such that you as an innovator can’t have someone come in, duplicate your work and run off to market with it. However, to be a perpetual club to prevent different implementations in perpetuity? I’m sorry, but I have a harder time seeing the importance of stopping a (promising) free implementation of a board game that’s been around for decades. Especially if it’s made clear that it’s not associated with Hasbro.

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