Legal experts offer advice on how to copyright your games effectively and avoid Flappy Bird's fate

Want to know how to beat the clones? Come to Develop Live

Flappy Bird, Swing Copters, Candy Crush Saga and countless other mobile games all share a common foe: copycats.

As we recently investigated, there are limits to what developers can do to prevent their games from being cloned wholesale. Since the best weapon is knowledge, Develop is doing what it can to arm studios against the hordes of rip-offs.

At our first ever conference, Develop Live, legal experts Dr Daithi Mac Sithigh of Newcastle University and Dr Tom Phillips from the University of East Anglia will break down everything devs need to know in a session, entitled ‘From pocket money to Flappy Bird and beyond: Things to know about copyright and games’.

Develop Live will be held at The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland on Thursday, October 2nd. You can book your place at

Here’s an overview of the session:

How does copyright law (and other legal mechanisms) promote or restrain the development of business models, creative platforms, and payment mechanisms? This talk – based on research conducted at the University of Edinburgh over the last year – provides developers with the most current information needed to understand the industry in which they work. 

The talk will start with an outline of how copyright and other fields of intellectual property have been featured in the games industry historically, drawing on examples from Nova Productions’ earlier lawsuits to illustrate more “traditional” notions of how copyright may be considered. We then move on to focus on illustrated case studies of approaches to modchips/DRM, software copyright, and cloning. 

Through research conducted with developers, policy makers, and gamers, and informed by a review of current law, legislation, policy, and academic and industry literature, this talk provides an overview of the legal issues – and responses to those issues – in the contemporary UK games industry.

From discussions of developers’ informal regulation against “immoral” developers, successful and unsuccessful legal proceedings, and the views of game players, this talk will help prepare developers for the future of a sector which is likely to be subject to a range of legal provisions. 

To find out more about the programme for Develop Live, head to

Tickets cost £149, with discounts available for UKIE/TIGA/SGN members, students and indies – contact if you qualify.

Develop Live is supported by event partners OPM Reponse and Abertay University. To find out more about our competitive sponsorship packages, contact

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