If you don't plan to profit from it in any way, then it usually is allowed.
Wrong, Copyright infringement does not make exceptions. No game company will condone this, even though some will look the other way and tolerate it, the law takes precedent, whether your production is commercial or free, it is breaking the law, (just because you are not caught or the company does nothing, does not mean you are allowed or that it is legal......) Some companies might decide to wait it out until your game gains traction and becomes popular enough to warrant actions.
Especially for such an old game like that. So I don't think it will be a problem. Especially if you don't hide the fact it's a clone and don't try to take ownership of the resources (sprites, sounds) used. If you credit the original makers, then it's zero problem.
You are not covered by that, you have still illegally copied the resources and used them. You need written permission first, you can just go make something and credit someone and assume you are free, you need clearance ! there is precedent to some companies allowing remakes/clones after being asked, with some conditions attached, but you cannot take the decision on your own. As long as you are cleared, and in writing, you have zero problems. With no clearance you are breaking the law all the way and subject to the law. Some companies already have given their approval, such as Lucas Arts and fan made movies, by George Lucas himself, along with the conditions of such allowance. Otherwise most companies will enforce their rights.
dark, we already talked about this before. Even if they somehow don't like it, then the worse they can do is take the game down (or more precisely, ask for it to be taken down, which on the internet is usually impossible). He will not have to pay "millions of dollars" as you like to say or go to jail.
What we talked about, Harri, was a different topic, related to ENIGMA and its license, and distribution of compiled ENIGMA games with source code. Right now the issue is not ENIGMA but developing a remake or clone of a game, using assets that are protected by copyright, there is then the issue of using the same rules (there are 1:1 remakes, same rules).
If you were to release something on social media and file sharing sites, without clearance, it gains popularity, goes viral, etc, whether you are profiting or it is free, SOMEONE somewhere is making profit from your viral material. That's why I mentioned keep those clones/remake in a tight circle, you are safer that way as they are less likely to gain the exposure and popularity and companies will usually not go after that...... but putting your files out there in the open exposes them and you can be sure you will be found out sooner or later.
I would maybe suggest indy to update the graphics and gameplay and make a newer game out of it.
There is no infringement without copying, then there is substantial similarity, you are protected by coincidence but that can be debated in a court of law on intricate work if you can establish the unlikelihood of coincidence. When a game has a patent attached to it, that becomes even more restrictive !
Your best bet is to research the company's who's game you want to clone/remake, look for any precedent, if they have patents to the game, etc.
Also you might want to read on this:http://www.copyrightcodex.com/infringement/16-infringement-substantial-similarity
The moment you "COPY" something it is a copyright infringement. So ripping assets from a game is infringement. If you create your own work INSPIRED by something and that it is not substantially similar, that is ok too, though non copied independent work that is similar is not infringement, some money hungry companies into frivolous lawsuits may argue the substantial similarity clause, and you would have to fight in proving that your work was coincidence. It's a whole pile of shite where the fan loses money in legal battles and the big companies can easily recover.
Not worth it.
If you are unsure, ask for legal advice. I have years ago and any act of copying, ripping, cloning/remake using elements of the original game is infringement that does not fall under independent work, is infringement.
Also Harri, whilst most people get away with just take down notices / warnings, there are bigger implications......
Let's say you were to upload your game on a file sharing host or social media, it becomes known, popular, viral, the game company won't contact you directly, but will contact the file host or social media where said files are hosted, in turn, they will contact you saying your file was removed due to a take down request, as in YouTube deleting accounts, videos, etc... Not only will they comply and take your file down, they will also suspend your account as you broke their acceptable use policy. The file hosts/social media have on record your IP and other information along with notes that you are an infringing user. In some cases file hosts or social media can contact your ISP and report such things (there is precedent to that)........ ISP take complaints very seriously, and in turn will send you a notice by mail warning you that they have received a complaint for copyright infringement, that also violates the terms of your ISP and subjects you to account suspension or them contacting the authorities for extreme cases. Same when you are sharing files on torrents, file sharing sites,etc, the IP holder can have access to your IP and send a letter to your ISP, which will send a letter to the subscriber, then you have a nice stain on social media records, ISP records, that can serve in the future and go against you.
Is it worth it?
and the argument "oh there are plenty of clones and remakes online and nothing happened to them" is invalid.......they just did not get caught OR the companies they are allegedly infringing upon decided voluntarily to look the other way but does not mean they would not act when they see fit.
When dealing with the law, never ASSUME. Ignorance of the law is NOT a defense in any court of law.
Usually you will be served with a notice, if you fail to abide, further legal actions might be taken against you, regardless of whether you made profits or not, copyright infringement does not include exceptions and covers it all.
Here are some examples of take down notices a social media or file host might receive on your behalf:
and this is interesting, the kid who recreated PAC MAN used a game creation tool for kids, (sounds familiar
Now even if you inspire from a game and create your own assets without ripping them, the host you have your files on can STILL receive a DMCA notice,
here is another example in relation to the android market:http://beta.slashdot.org/story/144648
Sometimes these notices are frivolous in nature and there and not valid, sometimes representatives of the IP holder will abuse their power, knowing most people don't know the law or have money to defend, and regardless of whether your game could be argued that it is not infringing, the host under law has to abide by a DMCA request, whether they are right or wrong, so you end up having your account suspended or app removed.
And finally here is something one must read:http://newmediarights.org/guide/legal/Video_Games_law_Copyright_Trademark_Intellectual_Property
That will answer many of your questions in regards to game making, what is covered what is not, what you are allowed and what you are not. Some might argue not all DMCA notices are valid, some indie game developers can counter them (which is a risk) because unless you had legal council, once you counter claim, you are subject from legal action from the IP holder.
So anybody online who tells you rubbish without knowing facts, such as "Oh you are ok, don't worry about it....." are not familiar with how this works, and therefore you should take your information from facts and not assumptions. You have links above to FACTS.