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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).

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

    Anonymous Monkey (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    "Don't worry...."

    "We'll be back at a time more convenient for us .... THEN we'll sue!"


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    These news are almost unbelievable. It's like they are...are...uh...

    *looks at source*

    "According to ET News..."

    Right! Out of this world!


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Atkray (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:17am

    It's still Sony

    I wouldn't trust them and still avoid buying anything from them.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:24am

    Cue Blue


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    izzitme101, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:29am

    Probaly more along the lines of:

    1. Its a mobile app, do they have any money we can take off them?
    2. Not likely, theya re far to small to have done much.
    3. Ok then, let's leave them alone till they do make some.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    out_of_the_blue, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:37am

    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.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:39am


    There's no such thing as a totally original idea. Sony no doubt imitated others when making Everybody's Stress Buster, so it's only fair that others be able to imitate them also.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    saulgoode (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:45am

    Re: Imitation

    They both look like 2.5-D versions of Spy Hunter, which people were playing written 30 years ago.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Beech, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 11:07am

    Press release:

    In a more honest world, a Sony press secretary stated, "we are a bit miffed about this, but we are much too busy trying to fuck our customers to fuck someone who may have the money to fight back"


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 11:18am

    Re: Press release:

    We have reviewed their assets and determined they are at a financial spot where they have the money to fight, but not a large treasury to raid. We will however be watching to see if their financial situation changes enough to be worth taking them.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 11:26am

    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.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: It's still Sony

    I also avoid Sony's products because of the jerkish things the company has done. Rootkit, Removing Alternate Operating System support, Pushing SOPA, PIPA and much more.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 1:18pm

    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.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 2:08pm

    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.)


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 2:16pm

    Bah Netmarble sucks they killed off the best fucking game they had a few years ago...


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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