It Kind Of Looks Like Crytek Sued Star Citizen Developer By Pretending Its Engine License Says Something It Doesn't
from the fake-it-until-you-make-it dept
We see all kinds of crazy copyright disputes and lawsuits around here. It is, after all, kind of our thing. Still, occasionally you come across a copyright lawsuit so completely head-scratching as to make you question reality. Thus is the case with the lawsuit Crytek filed against CIG, makers of the long-anticipated Star Citzen game, for both breaking a licensing agreement between both parties and copyright infringement. Strangely, if you read the complaint, all of this centers around CIG choosing not to use the Crytek engine.
Crytek’s lawsuit alleged that CIG broke a CryEngine licensing agreement and infringed on Crytek’s copyrights by switching from CryEngine to Amazon’s Lumberyard platform in late 2016. But CIG contends that Crytek’s complaint selectively and misleadingly quotes from the full Game License Agreement signed by both parties.
CIG’s response, as highlighted in its motion to dismiss looks really bad for Crytek. Essentially, CIG contends that Crytek either doesn’t know how to read its own licensing agreement, or is selecting portions of the agreement to make it seem like it says something it simply doesn’t. As an example, Crytek’s suit claims the licensing agreement isn’t supposed to extend to a spinoff game CIG is developing, Squardron 42, except that the full licensing agreement CIG put before the court specifically covers Squadron 42 by name.
And if that sort of gaff isn’t enough to get your head shaking, CIG also points out that the licensing agreement, while providing exclusivity to the engine to CIG, doesn’t actually require the company to use the engine at all.
CIG also argues that the “exclusive rights” to CryEngine granted in the license agreement do not extend to a requirement to use that engine. “The plain language of the GLA where the grant of rights to CIG appears, plus the well-established concept of an exclusive license, instead establish that the word ‘exclusively’ simply means that CIG’s right to use the Engine in the Game is exclusive to CIG and Crytek may not give that right to anyone else,” the company writes.
“No provision in the GLA states that CIG ‘shall not’ embed any other engine or third-party software in the Game,” the response continues.
That covers the contract dispute portion of this. The claim of copyright infringement brought by Crytek appears to center on CIG’s failure to post Crytek’s copyright notices for the game engine it is no longer using.
By extension, the requirement to list Crytek’s copyright notices only applies when CryEngine was being used, CIG argues. Furthermore, CIG argues, the original agreement bars either party from seeking damages, as Crytek is attempting with its lawsuit. And Roberts Space Industries, which is named in the original Crytek complaint, didn’t actually sign the agreement in question, CIG contends.
At face value, it’s difficult to describe this whole situation as something other than Crytek’s legal team stepping directly into a bucket of shit, comically hopping up and down while shaking its fist for a moment, and then simply falling over backwards. I’m hard-pressed to think of a bigger loser of a suit than this, assuming CIG’s documentation is correct.