the Tetris Company prevails?


A bit of backstory; Tetris was first created in 1985 by Alexey Pajitnov, Vadim Gerasimov and Dmitri Pavlovsky, and it has among the most interesting legal histories for any game. During it’s first 5-10 years it was a battle of rights between the Soviet Governement, Nintendo, Atari and others, and in 1996 the Tetris Company was formed and started a campaign against freeware developers of tetris “clones”.

Now, these claims were bogus seeing as you can’t copyright gameplay, but a little scary talk can go a long way in a world where everyone is afraid of legal action. It seems the Tetris Company has dropped the pretense and are now suing social games site OMGPOP owner for trade dress violations and copyright infringement regarding the graphics used.

The concept and design of Tetris is simple, so simple that it is a common game programming exercise to duplicate it. I myself made a completely functional Tetris clone from scratch in less than 30 minutes once, so it seems like a bad idea trying to profit from it by preventing anyone else from making iterations of it – traditionally, game developers have used more finely tuned design or more complex technology to create brand strength and live off that. On the other hand, the OMGPOP game does look eerily similar to the original and I don’t condone making money off knock-offs either. Either way, it’s going to be interesting to see how this ends up.

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Posted on Mar 23/09 by Saint and filed under Intellectual Property | No Comments »