If there’s anything the video game industry seems to love more than actually making games, it’s suing people. This past year has been especially crazy. It seems like a new and more ridiculous lawsuit comes across my computer screen at least once a month. Today it was Kit Kat versus Atari. It would seem the retro video game company is claiming Kit Kat used something similar their game Breakout illegally in one of their commercials. Not long before that, Take-Two Software was sued over their game NBA 2K16 . In that case, the original designers of some of the players’ tattoos claimed they should be paid a fee for Take-Two’s use of these tattoos via the players. Another recent video game lawsuit was Gamevice versus Nintendo. The hardware developer had a claim that they received a patent for controllers similar to the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Cons.
These are just three of the most recent video game lawsuits to hit legal systems in the past year. Many, many more are constantly circulating around. I’ve even covered a few here at Cheat Code Central since I started. Needless to say, video game lawsuits create all kinds of drama for fans of the companies involved, as well as those who hate those involved. When Bethesda sued developer No Matter Studios over their use of the word “Prey” in their newly titled Praey for the Gods game, the internet erupted. Many shook their fists at Bethesda and couldn’t understand why they preyed on the little guy. It was a matter of protecting copyrights back then and still is. However, after some of the most recent lawsuits, like Kit Kat v. Atari and Take-Two’s business over virtual tattoo copyrights, I have just had enough.
I completely understand that copyright laws and protection of creative content is serious business. Artists and creators have to protect their creations, otherwise the world would be filled with copy-cats and plagiarization. Even still, there has to be a line drawn somewhere. The court systems around the world have much more serious things to be concerned about. Convicting serial killers and seeing justice done for those that were victims of gang violence is more important than people fighting over a name or a representation within a video game.
I mean, at this point just about everyone is complaining that they have been misrepresented within video games. There was the whole business a while back of Miss Cleo complaining that Grand Theft Auto misrepresented her with the character of Auntie Poulet. And everyone remembers when Lindsay Lohan complained about a similar issue with Grand Theft Auto . What’s going to come next? Are dog owners going to start suing Bethesda because their German Shepherd looks just like Dogmeat? Will court systems be filled with cases of Navy Commanders shouting, “My name is Shepard! Where’s my settlement?” to Mass Effect creators, Bioware?
There has to be some sort of line drawn in the sand. Yes, you should protect your creations, but it feels like some of the smaller things could be let go. So The Banner Saga used the word “Saga,” and your games are called Candy Crush Saga and Soda Crush Saga . Just let the danged word go. It’s seriously not hurting you in any way, shape, or form. The same is true of Kit Kat and Atari. Breakout has been around since the 70s, of course it’s going to be imitated and parodied. Especially in advertisement or other forms of popular media besides video games.
I’m frankly just sick and tired of seeing these trite lawsuits related to the video game industry. Someone has done it before, they’ve won/lost or settled out of court, and you’re just forcing some poor judge to go through the same motions all over again. As I said previously, there are so many better things that court systems could be doing with their time. We should not be bogging them down with these silly issues that (to be totally honest) will not change the course of history very dramatically.
I’ll say it again before I conclude, I understand protecting your creative rights. Copyright and trademark laws are complicated, and also lawyers have to make money somehow. It doesn’t mean I have to let them go by without saying something about it though. These lawsuits are silly, they’re ridiculous, and I’m sick and tired of hearing about them. Just stahp!