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Spacewar! one of the early computer games
Photo: Joi Ito

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As such, video and computer games are a new phenomenon on the market which has evolved rapidly. Games have not always been protected by copyright and in general, game-related case law became established only at the end of the 1990's. There have been three clear trends relating to the copyright protection of video and computer games [1]:* Initially the copyright protection of games was widely rejected. This was explained mostly by referring to the games' technical nature and lack of originality and creativity.

  • Later on, copyright was considered to only cover games as computer programs or simultaneously as computer programs and audiovisual works.
  • Nowadays games are considered partly copyrighted computer programs and partly audiovisual works.

Notes and References

[1] Lai, Stanley (2000): The Copyright Protection of Computer Software in the United Kingdom, Oxford.