The developer of PUBG is suing Garena, Apple, Google and YouTube over Free Fire
PUBG gets counted as one of the most popular online shooter games in the past few years, and it has had a great impact on the gaming scene for both desktop and mobile. In addition to fuelling competitive e-sports, PUBG also gets some credit for popularizing the online multiplayer battle royale genre. Many other franchises have since dipped their own toes in the genre after seeing PUBG’s success with it. PUBG’s unfortunate ban in India also left a hole, that others have swooped to capitalize on before PUBG could rectify the situation. Now, the developers of PUBG have sued the developers of Free Fire as well as Apple, Google, and YouTube for IP infringement.
As Reuters reports, PUBG developer Krafton Inc has filed a lawsuit in the Central District Court of California, alleging that Garena Online’s Free Fire and Free Fire Max games copy several copyrighted aspects of PUBG: Battlegrounds, including its game structure, in-game items, equipment, and locations.
“Free Fire and Free Fire Max extensively copy numerous aspects of Battlegrounds, both individually and in combination, including Battlegrounds’ copyrighted unique game opening “air drop” feature, the game structure and play, the combination and selection of weapons, armor, and unique objects, locations, and the overall choice of color schemes, materials, and textures.”
Here are some of the images used in the lawsuit that alleges copyright infringement:
The lawsuit also adds Apple, Google, and YouTube as defendants: Apple and Google distribute Free Fire through their respective app stores, and have been said to make millions of dollars in revenue from Free Fire sales in the USA in the first three months of 2021. YouTube, meanwhile, allegedly hosts videos of Free Fire gameplay as well as a Chinese film Biubiubiu that is said to be a live-action dramatization of its game. Krafton asked Garena to stop its “exploitation of Free Fire and Free Fire Max“, which Garena refused to, according to the lawsuit. Apple and Google were asked to stop distributing the games, while YouTube was asked to remove videos, actions that haven’t yet been carried out.
Krafton consequently had to file the lawsuit, requesting the court to block the distribution and sales of the Free Fire games, the infringing videos, in addition to requesting damages that include the companies’ profits from Free Fire sales. It remains to be seen how this plays out in court.