Videogame App Developer Breaks the Rules on Copyright Infringement

20 06 2012

Desiree Golden, a recent college graduate, wanted to aim at the big money that can be made in app development. She decided to replicate the popular “Tetris” videogame that has been around since the late 1980s. After researching intellectual property law, she says, she set out to copy only those elements of the Tetris game that she believed were not protected by copyright – game rules and functionality.

If this general strategy sounds familiar, perhaps you have read our recent post on the Oracle v. Google dispute over Google’s use of Oracle’s Java technology in the Android operating system. In that case, the court ruled that Google had done it right, and that the rules and functionality of the Java technology that Google copied were not subject to copyright.

But in Tetris Holding, LLC v. Xio Interactive, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74463 (D.N.J. May 30, 2012), Judge Freda Wolfson ruled that Xio, Ms. Golden’s development company, got it wrong. By wholesale copying not only the rules and functionality of the original Tetris game but also its copyrightable expression, Xio’s“Mino” app crossed the line into copyright infringement. . . .

And so, for Mino, it’s game over.


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