Surprise: Sony Decides Not To Sue Over Copycat Game; Says Legal Action Wouldn't Be Beneficial

from the you-don't-have-to-sue dept

All too often, when it comes to copying one another, companies seem to feel that they have to sue. In fact, there are times when we see copyright and patent holders bizarrely claim that not suing is not an option. So here’s a bit of a surprise. A. Yeh points us to a story of a Korean company, Netmarble, who produced a game called Everybody Cha Cha Cha, which some claimed was a pretty close copy of a Sony min-game called Everybody’s Stress Buster. To be clear, the two games do seem pretty similar… but also seem to use pretty standard driving game mechanics found in tons of games throughout the history of video games. You can see the two in this video.

Stress Buster is on top, Cha Cha Cha on the bottom. Sony did initially cry foul at this copying, leading NetMarble to (amusingly) claim that Sony was trying to piggyback on its success. Of course, after that NetMarble then started adding a bunch of other features to its game to further distinguish it from the Sony game. Oh look, competition spurring innovation.

Either way, in the end, Sony decided not to pursue any sort of legal response. While it still uses some slightly menacing language about how this doesn’t mean they’ve settled, Sony admits that any “prolonged controversy” over this wouldn’t be beneficial for the mobile game development community.

According to ET News and This Is Game, Sony told the Korean media that it did not want to “hamper” the mobile gaming industry in Korea.

A Sony spokesperson is quoted by This Is Game as saying, “We were concerned that any prolonged controversy such as this is not beneficial for both the local and the international mobile game development community. Internally, we decided not to pursue any legal action as long as no additional problems arise. Some may think it’s because we’ve settled with Netmarble already, but we are simply choosing not to pursue legal action in a broader view/sense. This does not mean we have settled with Netmarble.”

That’s a fairly enlightened view, actually. It’s one that we’ve suggested in the past, though. Even as it may be frustrating and annoying to have someone copy you, going legal in response often is not the best strategic response. We’ve urged companies to recognize that fact, and kudos to Sony for holding back on releasing the legal hounds upon realizing the cost-benefit analysis meant it wouldn’t be helpful (and would possibly be harmful to the wider community).

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Companies: netmarble, sony

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Comments on “Surprise: Sony Decides Not To Sue Over Copycat Game; Says Legal Action Wouldn't Be Beneficial”

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TheLastCzarnian (profile) says:

Re: It's still Sony

Realize that Sony is only 1/5 the size it was in it’s heyday. This may be for real, because they may not have their 2,000 lawyers on retainer anymore.
If this is true, then litigation may actually be the driving force behind the cyclical patterns of businesses!

1.Get big, get more lawyers, piss everyone off with pointless litigation.

2.Everyone is pissed, no one buys your products regardless of quality, lay off lawyers, less litigation.

3. Goto 1.

out_of_the_blue says:

News Flash: Mike decides to NOT run item! "Too boring," sez he.

Now THAT’D be news!

Guess you’ll count this another great victory in your war on copyright; you’re definitely preening on giving advice to industry: “We’ve urged companies to recognize that fact”. Yes, Mike, Sony is coming round to your views. — Except that they haven’t quit muttering darkly about “settling” this. I see Yakuza entering the picture.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don't understand...pre-April Fools maybe?

This coming from a company that appears to sue first and ask questions later? That has sued people who purchase their product (Playstation) and substitute the chips in it to make it more useful (Sony’s attempted legal point being you don’t own the equipment). Or Sony sues single mom’s for hundreds of thousands of dollars for their children’s downloads.

I think Sony has been hacked, and this is a pre-April fools joke. Sony has never not sued. Let alone used common sense to rationalize a lawsuit.

Anonymous Coward says:

If only DC’s lawyers were as smart as Sony’s. They still subscribe to that “IP law requires us to sue or else we’d lose our IP” myth, with the end result being that DC Universe Online has bizarre restrictions to keep players from making a character that looks too much like Green Lantern.
You can have “Hard Light Constructs” as a superpower, “Flight” as a movement type, wear a green and black bodysuit, call yourself “Cal Jordan”, and join a clan called “GreenLanternCorps”, but HEAVEN FORBID your character have a green glow!
(Sony runs DCUO, actually, but apparently their lawyers weren’t able to talk sense into DC’s.)

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