Game clones and copyright infringement: a comparative study of judicial practices in the US, Japan and China

The thesis explored whether a video game will constitute copyright infringement if something in that game (such as display on the screen, software, game mechanics, and so on) is similar to an earlier game. 

To achieve that goal, this thesis shows and compares how the US, Japanese and Chinese courts make their decisions on the following three issues: (1) what contents in a video game can be protected by copyright law, (2) how to find the existence of illegal copying, and (3) whether the liability of copying an earlier video game can be exempted. Through the comparison, this thesis finds the divergence of opinions about what can be protected in the display of a video game.

This thesis advises the court to understand a video game under a framework of a four-level hierarchy, and find the illegal copying by relying on expert opinions of differences and similarities between two video games.

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