This week I got an email from Todd, who wrote to let me know of Apple rejecting his falling blocks game due to legal threats from the Tetris Company. This is what he had to say:
I wrote my own interpretation of tetris (called Kafablo – instructions and gameplay movie at http://www.na-ba-no.com/kafablo/help.html) for the iPhone because I didn’t see any available tetramino games that I liked. In the time it took me to write it I’ve seen how all the unofficial tetris games get yanked, but since I’d put a fair amount of work into it and my game control scheme is (I think) unique, I went ahead and released mine a couple weeks ago. Sure enough, the lawyers came knocking – now even if I chose to dispute the legality of their claim of copyright infringement, that would take a long time, and Apple (rightfully so) won’t keep anything on the App Store that puts them in a position of jeopardy. So I have to take it down. Another win for the lawyers, another loss for creativity, freedom of expression, and competition! If you want a better tetris, too bad!
As far as my letter is concerned, there are no details as to what they think they’ve copyrighted or why my game is an infringement – the only thing in there (besides the threat of legal action and various legal mumbo-jumbo) is (grammatical error included):?
“The “Kafablo”game on apple.com violates the copyright in the Tetris? game because it is a copy of our client’s game and was created and are being reproduced and sold on your web site without our client’s prior permission or authorization.“
In case anybody is counting, here is the list of falling tetramino games that I know of (there are probably more) that have been removed from the App Store:
- teto teto
I can’t comment on the other games, but I know mine at least differs from any official tetris: different controls, different sounds, different graphics, completely different name. I’m not sure what they claim to be copyrighting, but that’s a subject for further research.
And today I came across this switched article about another tetris-style game being blocked.
Its an outrage – the Tetris Company do NOT have a patent on the rules behind falling and rotating?tetramino games. Copyright has not been infringed.
Now I generally consider the Tetris Company to be nothing but a bully which can be ignored in such matters. The problem here is that Apple are rejecting the apps (as is their right) for publishing in the App Store because they don’t want to be liable in any legal action. Which is fair enough.. the Tetris Company are the problem here.
This brings it all back again and makes me want to release Bedter for jailbroken iPhones via Cydia just on principle.