Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Patenting Lawsuit Theory

I was flipping back through my paper on video game copyright issues because of the post for BPM this week when, right on time, this little gem of news came from Gamasutra.

In brief chunks:

As the judge pointed out, this actually would be a good idea for Activision too, since DJ Hero is in development - he noted: "If you [Activision] get tainted, then your game gets tainted, and then they [Genius] wind up owning both games."

From there, it was into a complex discussion of what needed to be returned and the circumstances under which the 'return' clause was invoked.


From there, with the judge having decided that the 'source code' did indeed need to be given back to Genius and Numark, a key issue was discussed - what constitutes source code? Does 7 Studios have to give out developer's tools as well?

According to one of the lawyers, the engine used for the project is: '7 Core - including pre-existing and future iterations in a multi-platform 3D Game engine.' It includes the potential use of third-party tools such as Havok Physics, FMod, Lua, and ShaderFX. Likely even more vital to complete the game are a number of proprietary tools used the generate or convert the game's assets.

That is 6 million dollars worth of development and it just got handed over based on a ruling by a judge whose never played a video game in his life relying on a patent system that barely protects anything about a video game.

Methinks the legal world of video games is about to become a very, very hectic place.

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