An old topic, I knwo, but I never found anyone really showing any good reasoning how the sequel making thing works legally.
Arcanum is a game whose copyrights probbably belong to activision blizzard or something like that atm. This means they have the following rights:
Several exclusive rights typically attach to the holder of a copyright:
- to produce copies or reproductions of the work and to sell those copies (including, typically, electronic copies)
- to import or export the work
- to create derivative works (works that adapt the original work)
- to perform or display the work publicly
Activision blizzard has the right to sell Arcanum, which it does. If any of you are wondering about the "to create derivative works" part, then I found this about derivative works:
For copyright protection to attach to a later, allegedly derivative work, it must display some originality of its own.
This means that an arcanum sequel could be made because it is an original work. What can't be done is rewrite the code piece by piece and claim it to be your own. If you get copyright protection for this code rewriting, then it could be revoked by legal actions by the owners of the work which your work derives from.
Now, about the trademark of Arcanum.
Abandonment of trademark
Abandonment of trademark is understood to happen when a trademark is not used for three or more years, or when it is deliberately discontinued; trademark law protects only trademarks being actively used and defended.
Essentially this means unless they haven't reregistered the trademark of Arcanum, then a sequel could easily be made without any legal boundaries. (EDIT: Apparantly Activision Publishing has renewed the Trademark so the restrictions of the Trademark still stand... :S)
Now all of this is just 10 mins worth of research. But I guess it has anwsered plenty of questions. Anyone smarter than me is welcome to prove my research wrong.
Links to the wikipedia articles I quoted from.