Sony Fends Off Copyright Lawsuit Against God Of War

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Sony Fends Off Copyright Lawsuit Against God Of War

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A screenwriting pair lost their lawsuit against David Jaffe and Sony for copying their screenplay idea in the story of the first God of War.

Two screenwriters, Jonathan Bissoon-Dath and Jennifer Dath, claimed that they began submitting treatments and screenplays, as well as a map, about a story involving Sparta attacking Athens and the Greek gods. They sued Sony, and David Jaffe in particular as lead designer of the first God of War game on the PS2, for taking their story and using parts of it in the plot of the game. In a lengthy decision, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled that Sony had not infringed on their copyrights and that basic story ideas are not covered by copyright law.

Judge Patel needed to consume the two pieces of content in order to see if God of War used substantive parts of the plaintiffs' works. I don't think that the judge whipped out her PS2 in her chambers and played the game wearing her robes, despite that being a great image. She most likely relied on descriptions and expert opinion, but the detail with which she refutes the plaintiffs' suit in her opinion is actually quite amazing.

For example, Judge Patel states that the protagonist in the two works are not even close to being the same. "Plaintiffs' protagonist is generally non-violent and kind, as illustrated by his refusal to the kill the Nemean Lion and tendency to leave enemies merely unconscious rather than dead," Patel said in her decision. In contrast, "Kratos [of God of War] is disturbingly prone to violence and does not hesitate to kill. Kratos is a tragic figure reviled by most individuals he encounters. A trapped fisherman, for instance, 'would rather die than be saved by' Kratos."

The whole decision is full of such examples in how the two works differ, despite having a general similarity of involving Greek gods and a war between Sparta and Athens. But as Judge Patel contends, "virtually all of the elements comprising plaintiffs' works are stock elements that have been used in literary and artistic works for years, if not millennia," therefore "no reasonable trier of fact could conclude that God of War is substantially similar to
any of plaintiffs' works."

So Sony and David Jaffe, whose testimony is mentioned in the decision, got off scot-free and the suit was dismissed. Still the decision is a great read for anyone interested in God of War, derivative works or copyright law.

You can check it out here.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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They really though they had legal ground? That's like suing Call of Duty because you came up with a story where Russia attacks the United States and the US Army are involved.

Apparently their story was like God of War but...

Waaaait a minute. A well informed legal practitioner on the subject of games?! What heresy is this?

Good on her.

The judge in her chambers image is great!

Otherwise intresting to hear ancient histories been discussed in court. I think really when come to this the judge made right call. After all, history cannot change so of course things will look similar

Good for her. This sounded like a bullshit lawsuit to begin with. I'm all for rooting for the little guy against the evil Big Bad Corporation and all, but this trigger-happy litigation has got to stop.

Eh, they suck. Why would they sue someone for something so vague?

Seeing how many of these types of lawsuit happen, its good to see a judge who thoroughly investigates the material.

Even if Sony lost they'd just sue EA for ripping them off with Dante's Inferno.

Prometherion:
Even if Sony lost they'd just sue EA for ripping them off with Dante's Inferno.

Ya and then every FPS will get sued by doom creators (or whichever one came first). Then Atari can sue because people need to press buttons to play.

Wow why did it take so long for this to get resolved? I mean it has been what 7 - 8 years since GOW came out? That is pretty crazy.

Good to hear there's still a judge who can dole out justice these days. :D

stonethered:
Apparently their story was like God of War but...

/end thread

That got a laugh from me and Mr. Jordan Deam. Well done, sir.

Why yes I AM very interested in derivative works and copyright law, how did you know?

Righty-ho, then.

I'm off to write an alien invasion book and sue Halo.

Yay a judge who appreciates the classics

I wouldn't want to be saved by Kratos either.

It's obvious that the people who filed this lawsuit either A: Didn't fully play the game, or B: Realized that they had no case but tried to sue anyways in hopes of winning or having Sony pay them off. Either way, it was just a waste of everyone's time, and the only people who benefited from this were the respective parties legal teams.

This was the most hilarious write up of a court case ever.

What other court case includes the words, as articulated by the hudge, "[We] must use our own Blades of Chaos..." Yes. A thousand times yes (she was referring to the legal right to basically strip away the bullcrap in the case to get to the heart of the matter and render judgement).

dogstile:
Eh, they suck. Why would they sue someone for something so vague?

Simple, to make LOADS of money off of "Stollen" revenue.

That court case is a remarkably good read as far as court cases go and is interestingly indicative of how the American Court views derivative works. It mostly looks like the pair of plaintiffs were attempting to cash in on the success of the God of War franchise with the only REAL similarities being that they both involve a Quest and both use Greek Mythology.

dogstile:
Eh, they suck. Why would they sue someone for something so vague?

Greed. Well, either that or they somehow managed to comvince themselves that they had an original story.

I found a way to get rich!

A group of people between 0 and infinite does stuff

The end.

I'LL COPY RIGHT THAT STORY AND BE RICH!

stonethered:
Apparently their story was like God of War but...

ha i got it, quite funny!

Meh, God of War 3 has 9- hours of gameplay, which makes me wonder why everyone loves it so much when it's so short lived, despite it having some nice gore scene and some perty enviorments, in which case you're paying 60 bucks for eye candy.

On topic: So they used a few parts of it, who cares? Sony just had the mind to make a shit load of money with it, and if it's that bad, give them a .05% royalty or something.

W00t! Go just and working legal system! Maybe the rest of the court cases out there can get it together like this one!

They left a little late to sue?
:I

PedroSteckecilo:
That court case is a remarkably good read as far as court cases go and is interestingly indicative of how the American Court views derivative works. It mostly looks like the pair of plaintiffs were attempting to cash in on the success of the God of War franchise with the only REAL similarities being that they both involve a Quest and both use Greek Mythology.

And feature dead families in the background. But, yeah, as court cases go, this one is actually pretty hilarious. The Judge is just about holding herself back from saying "what the fuck is wrong with you people?" in her ruling.

Koganesaga:
Meh, God of War 3 has 9- hours of game play, which makes me wonder why everyone loves it so much when it's so short lived, despite it having some nice gore scene and some perty environments, in which case you're paying 60 bucks for eye candy.

On topic: So they used a few parts of it, who cares? Sony just had the mind to make a shit load of money with it, and if it's that bad, give them a .05% royalty or something.

It's pretty apparent that they didn't use any parts of it. This would be like saying that the Wichowski Brothers owe royalties to the Tolkien estate because the Matrix films come in three parts.

Seriously, man, I encourage you to read the actual ruling, because 1) on it's face it's pretty hillarious. And 2) their story was about a man wandering through Greece, taking pains not to kill people so that he could found the Olympic Games and establish Democracy (I'm abreviating a little). Oh, yeah, and his parrents were killed by bandits when he was 8. If that sounds anything like God of War to you, I invite you to reexamine that franchise.

There are some similarities, but the plaintiffs really aren't thinking clearly, and it shows. In particular, their own expert testimony distorts the content of the game pretty seriously: "Plaintiff's expert Bulloch's exegesis of the stories contains several errors casting into doubt the thoroughness with which he was able to examine God of War."

God dammit! I hate people trying to get rich quick like this. So your story is shit, but wait, I know, lets just sue something similar to get our paycheck, because there is no way this shit will sell. Get some talent or go work in a gas station for the rest of your life!

Here I thought porn companies would have had a better case against GOW....

One thing for sure, this case is going to make it more difficult for wags to try to sue money from game developers because it was like their story concept. Thank goodness.

huh common sense in a judge? wtf is going on with the world next we'll have honest politicians!

Wow, a competent judge. Who'd have guessed? And bonus points to the judge for having actually done her research on the characters. If I ever become president, I'm nominating her for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Fox242:
Wow, a competent judge. Who'd have guessed? And bonus points to the judge for having actually done her research on the characters. If I ever become president, I'm nominating her for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Honestly, common sense is pretty common from Judges. They're like any other profession, they only get press when they go insane.

EDIT: sorry, wrong poster... Though the statement does stand.

Another fine example of someone trying to exploit the legal system so they can get rich off of someone else's success. Happens all the time.

After reading the court ruling, which wasn't as dry as I'd expected, one line stuck out and made me laugh my ass off.

In such a case, it is particularly important for the court to use its own "Blades of Chaos" to slice or filter out the unprotectable elements.

Very good Your Honour, very good.

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