Advances in technology have once again allowed a lone individual, or a small group, to create video games and get them out to the world. I have previously written on the growing problem of cyber-plagiarism – thieves completely copying the works of others and selling them via digital distribution in major online retailers. However, there are many other cases in which games are not blatantly stolen. Sometimes, game developers will merely take inspiration from an existing game, or even make completely coincidental similarities. Fortunately, judges have at their disposal a robust body of law dealing with the copyright’s idea/expression dichotomy, which holds that ideas are not the proper subject of copyright, but only the expression of those ideas embodied within the copyrighted work.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on December 23, 2013. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Castree III, Sam, "Tetris Holding v. Xio Interactive Isn’t as Great a Case as Video Game Developers Think It Is" (2013). AELJ Blog. 29.