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Tetris Clones Yanked Off Market

Word has just got out that pretty much every single Tetris close has been yanked off the Android market following a C&D order sent to Google from The Tetris Company LLC. 35 separate titles have been named in the DMCA notice that requests Google to pull them from the Android market which they now have been. We’ve managed to dig up copy of the DMCA notice.

There are a ridiculous amount of clones out there and this sort of action brings up the question: Why is this strictly targeted to Android? Further investigating reveals a huge amount of clones available on other mobile systems which have not received any such order. Also is there actually any sort of patent or copyright developers can use to protect gameplay? As far as I know there isn’t and as long as you do not use actual assets from the game itself then you should be fine. It’s also worthy to note that most clones are actually better then the original. [hah!]

I would say that I can understand with the games having “Tetris” in the name being an infringement but when looking at the list of titles that have been pulled you’ll notice that some of them do not contain “Tetris” in the title. Here is a quote from one developer:

It’s a shame that The Tetris Company, LLC uses its power to stop developers from creating good and free games for Android users. Without resources for a legal fight, our application and many others will cease to exist, even knowing that they are legit. Users will be forced to buy the paid official version, which is worse than many of the one available for free on the market.


This is starting to be a pattern first with every DOOM, Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein port being yanked off the market along with anything else related to it. Since then there have been other cases such as Flying Aces vs Firemint over their air traffic controlling games. I’m sure this won’t be the last we see of this type of action either.

As we find out more we will keep this post updated. There have always been Tetris clones, mobile systems aside, available just about everywhere on the internet so this action by The Tetris Company LLC poses some question about whether they can legally lock down Tetris like this.

Update May 27, 2010 1:09pm: Here is the full quote from one developer which was found over at Slashdot:

The Tetris Company, LLC notifies Google to remove all Tetris clones from Android Market
I am one of the developers of FallingBlocks, a game with the same gameplay concepts as Tetris.
This night, I have received an email warning that my game was suspended from Android Market due to a violation of the Developer Content Policy.

When I received the email, I already imagined that it had something to do with it being a Tetris clone, but besides having the same gameplay as Tetris, which i believe cannot be copyrighted, the game uses its own name, graphics and sounds. There’s no reference to “Tetris” in our game.
I have emailed Google asking what is the reason for the application removal. Google promptly answered that The Tetris Company, LLC notified them under DMCA to remove various Tetris clones from Android Market. My app was removed together with other 35 Tetris clones.
So, I checked online on various sources, and all of them say that there’s no copyright on gameplay. There could be some sort of patent. But besides not having a patent, which would last 20 years, so it would be over on 2005.

It’s a shame that The Tetris Company, LLC uses its power to stop developers from creating good and free games for Android users. Without resources for a legal fight, our application and many others will cease to exist, even knowing that they are legit. Users will be forced to buy the paid official version, which is worse than many of the one available for free on the market.

Users from other countries, which is my case in Brazil, won’t even be able to play the official Tetris, since Google Checkout doesn’t exists in Brazil, so you can’t buy paid applications from Android Market in these countries.”

Source Referenced: Destructoid

P.S. yes the tetris blocks spell Google.




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