Atari Sues Websites Over Pre-Release Reviews Of Games

from the what's-illegal-here? dept

Slashdot points us to the news that Atari has started suing various websites that posted reviews of new games prior to the release date of the games. The reviews are negative, but the real problem, according to Atari, is that there was a press embargo on reviewing the games, and if someone has a copy of the game prior to the embargo and hasn't agreed to the embargo, then it's clear that they pirated the game. At least one site has explained that it purchased the game legally from a retail source who mistakenly sold the game before the release date -- which would suggest the problem is with the retailer, not the reviewer. No matter what, the whole thing seems ridiculous. Suing those who review your games (even if the reviews are not good or if the reviews come out early) is a sure way to make sure many sites refuse to review anything you do again.
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Filed Under: pre-release, reviews, takedowns, video games
Companies: atari


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2008 @ 11:05am

    Re: From Atari's point of view??

    You're not being a good Devil's Advocate, unless you consider strawmen "good"

    Atari has been around for a long time, they've done this a time or two. Any pre-release media previews or demos (hands-on or not) would have been accompanied by an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). This is a contract and violation of the agreement is subject to prosecution.

    1) NDA and their legality has been discussed on TD before, look it up, I'm not bothering with repeating it

    2) even when an NDA has legality, it's only if you sign it/agree to it. Sending an NDA along with a game (or CD or DVD) does not fulfill that condition at all


    Even if not specifically under an NDA, the independent review site, regardless of how they acquired the software, had to know the game at issue was not yet released for public retail. If they were not, then they don't do a very good job at what they do. If they were, as they should have been, then are they not obligated at some level, as responsible journalist, to inform Atari of problems with their supplier chain? Who am I kidding, there is no responsibility in journalism anymore. Oh...different rant..sorry. No, instead they did what you or I would probably do "Got it first!!". Ok, it happens, but Atari was denied this information.

    Short answer: NO.
    This journalistic responsibility you refer to is, or has historically been, to the public and/or society. Why would any journalist, no matter how responsible, feel or be obligated on any level to inform a private, commercial company that a retail store screwed up by selling their game early? Why should they be obliged on any level to help police Atari's supply chain?

    If, as the site claims, they acquired the software thru legal and public means, then Atari has the right and obligation to find out where and who their supplier problems are.

    Sure, however the reviewer has no obligation whatsoever to help Atari with this.

    Atari was put in a situation with few, if any, other options.

    One option would, obviously, be to make games that suck less.

    Furthermore, if their real concern was review sites getting their hands on illegal/pirated copies, shouldn't they equally go after reviews for games that got positive pre-release reviews?

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