China: 《反不正当竞争法》一般条款对网络游戏的保护覧评《炉石传说》与《卧Ƙ

Last Updated: 28 April 2017
Article by Watson & Band Law Offices

随着科技与社会的不断发展,网络游戏作为一种新兴的文化生活方式和重要的文化消费方式受到了广大群众的青睐。有数据表明,在2014年的中国游戏市场规模构成中,网络游戏占据市场最大份额,约达整个游戏产业的41%以上。与此同时,网络游戏巨大的市场和利润滋生了无数"山寨"游戏,对于有的从业者而言,相比于"抄袭"一款游戏的画面、声音这种明显的侵犯著作权行为,他们更愿意直接"模仿"游戏的玩法和规则,不但省去了研发成本,而且也能获得可观的收益。

某种程度上说,"模仿"游戏玩法和规则会导致同质化游戏的产生,从而碾压原创网络游戏的市场份额。对于这些现象,近年来,游戏开发商采取的知识产权维权行动越来越多,不过纵观时至今日的维权成果,成功取得保护游戏玩法和规则的胜诉案例屈指可数。本文所讨论的暴雪娱乐有限公司、上海网之易网络科技发展有限公司诉上海游易网络科技有限公司不正当竞争纠纷一案[1]则具有典型性和借鉴意义,该案从遏制不正当竞争的角度对权利游戏的玩法和规则进行了有效的保护。

一、事件回顾

暴雪娱乐有限公司(原告一)于2013年3月22日在美国游戏展上公布了最新开发的一款电子卡牌游戏《炉石传说:魔兽英雄传》。上海网之易网络科技发展有限公司(原告二)经授权将该游戏引入中国市场并于2013年10月23日向中国公众开放测试。上海游易网络科技有限公司(被告)于2013年10月25日向公众展示了一款名为《卧龙传说:三国名将传》的网络游戏。《卧龙传说》游戏全面抄袭和使用了与原告游戏界面极其近似的装潢设计及其他游戏元素(包括游戏表示、战斗场面、382张卡牌及套牌组合),抄袭了原告的游戏规则,并且还在网站上发表了题为"惊现中国版<炉石传说>,是暴雪太慢?还是中国公司太快?"的宣传文章,宣称《卧龙传说》是中国版的《炉石传说》,并称《卧龙传说》几乎完美的换皮复制了《炉石传说》。两原告认为被告的行为分别构成了《反不正当竞争法》第二条、第五条第(二)项、第九条所禁止的不正当竞争行为,请求判令被告承担停止侵犯原告知名商品特有装潢,停止虚假宣传,停止向公众测试、发布、出版或以任何形式传播《卧龙传说》游戏,消除影响并赔偿损失的民事责任。

二、法院观点

法院认为,游戏规则尚不能获得著作权法的保护,并不表示这种智力创作成果法律不应给予保护。如果将游戏规则作为抽象的思想一概不予保护,将不利于激励创新,为游戏产业营造公平合理的竞争环境。

《卧龙传说》使用了与《炉石传说》基本相同的游戏规则,包括卡牌数量及构成、卡牌数值、卡牌使用方法等卡牌规则及回合制竞赛模式等战斗规则。除此之外,被告还在游戏标识。界面等方面对原告游戏进行了全面的模仿。被告公司员工在《炉石传说》未进入中国市场前即已经实际接触到《炉石传说》游戏卡牌核心数据并还原整个数值体系,《卧龙传说》立项后仅耗时20天即制作出,远少于通常游戏公司研发一款类似原创游戏正常耗时;两款游戏在卡牌构成及使用规则、基本战斗规则上基本一致。因此,本案查明的事实足以支持原告关于被告整体抄袭了其游戏的指控。对于这种抄袭,被告非但不引咎自省,反而作为其推广游戏的卖点而大肆渲染,其"搭便车"的目的和行为非常明显。

电子游戏远不只是仅为大众娱乐而存在,而是具有极大的商业价值。中国软件行业协会制定了《中国游戏行业自律公约》,鼓励行业从业者开展合法、公平、有序的竞争。本案原被告均为游戏产品的同行业竞争者,理应恪守反不正当竞争法及游戏行业自律公约的相关规定,开展公平竞争。被告并未通过自己合法的智力劳动参与游戏行业竞争,而是通过不正当的抄袭手段将原告的智力成果占为己有,并且以此为推广游戏的卖点,其行为背离了平等、公平、诚实信用的原则和公认的商业道德,超出了游戏行业竞争者之间正当的借鉴和模仿,具备了不正当竞争的性质。

最终,法院做出了要求被告立即停止不正当竞争行为,停止通过信息网络或以任何其他形式运营、发行《卧龙传说:三国名将传》,消除影响并对原告的经济损失进行赔偿的判决。

三、律师点评

(一)确定网络游戏侵权的维权方向覧《著作权法》与《反不正当竞争法》

我国《著作权法》将"计算机软件"列为一类作品给予保护,网络游戏中包含的计算机程序可以获得《著作权法》的保护。同时,从游戏运行时、人机交互的过程来看,网络游戏在信息网络的环境中展现了数字形式的文字、图形、声音、动画、音响等表现方式,当这些内容具有独创性,符合《著作权法》意义上的"作品"时,则往往可以获得"艺术类"或"汇编类"著作权的保护。

但实践中,即便著作权法能够对游戏内容所展现的"图形、声音、动画"等要素进行保护,可能也无法满足游戏开发者对于保护其精心开发的游戏核心内容的心愿和目标,因为一款游戏的核心要素在于游戏(设计)的玩法和规则。一个游戏是很多有趣的选择的集合,一个成功的游戏应该经过一系列的选择,最后以胜利或其它完成的条件结束。对于角色扮演类的卡牌游戏来说,人物角色、职业、技能的参数项的设置及其取值的平衡,是区别于其他游戏的独创性的突出体现,有关人物角色游戏特定方式的设定、游戏中各种选择(包括但不限于各种、各类人与角色、道具、技能的平衡性)的设定是否合理,将从根本上决定一款游戏是否能吸引、进而承载数目巨大的玩家,以至于最终是否能够取得市场上的成功。本案中,《炉石传说》游戏的开发设计团队,花费了数年时间,创设了独特的游戏玩法和规则,使游戏具有极高的平衡性和趣味性。然而,从法律角度来说,游戏玩法和规则在本质上恰恰属于"思想"的范畴,不属于著作权法保护的"表达(具有独创性的表现形式)",这使得游戏玩法和规则无法获得著作权法的保护。

另一方面,《反不正竞争法》第二条(也称为一般条款)第一款规定,"经营者在市场交易中,应当遵循自愿、平等、公平、诚实信用的原则,遵守公认的商业道德。"并且,根据游戏行业的特点以及中国软件行业协会游戏软件分会制定的《中国游戏行业自律公约》,游戏行业的诚实信用原则及基本商业道德初现轮廓:即尊重他人与游戏产品有关的智力劳动成果,通过正常的技术交流,互相学习、取长补短,提高自身的开发能力和技术水平,在不损害他人利益和社会公共利益的前提下追求自身的利益;基于自身的智力劳动成果,开发、经营拥有自主知识产权游戏产品。而如今大多数的"山寨"游戏,恰恰背离了游戏行业的自律公约,有违基本商业道德。因此,《反不正当竞争法》一般条款的相关规定从制止不正当竞争行为的角度拓展了对"游戏玩法和规则"保护的思路,对游戏核心元素的保护起到更直接的作用。

(二)关于适用《反不正当竞争法》一般条款的争论

《反不正当竞争法》第二条属于原则性的一般条款,而该法第二章中,已经明文列举了十一项不正当竞争行为,可以见到的是,抄袭一个游戏的玩法和规则并不属于第二章列举的十一项不正当竞争行为,那么能否依据《反不正当竞争法》一般条款对十一项不正当竞争行为以外的行为进行认定并制止呢?关于这个问题,曾有观点持否定态度,即,"我们没有像国外那样建立级别很高并有很大权威性的执法部门作为主管机关。考虑到我国执法机关的实际水平状况,让一个基层的执法部门对需要根据经济形势进行判断的不正当竞争行为进行认定是无法想象的事",《反不正当竞争法》第二章以列举式规定了不正当竞争行为,如果允许进行法律判断,在条文中就会写一个兜底条款,比如"其他不正当竞争行为",然而实际情况是条文中没有写明兜底条款,因此立法意图是很明确的,一般条款中的"违反本法规定",指的就是第二章的规定,而不是其他。" [2]

对此,我们认为,由于市场经济的快速发展,不正当竞争行为花样不断翻新,第二章列举的情形已经无法涵盖市场上所有的不正当竞争行为。从我国的审判实践来看,法院并未固守当初的立法意图而任由法律的解释和适用脱离实际,在诸多案例(如上诉人上海伯特利阀门有限公司与披上诉人伯特利阀门集团有限公司不正当竞争纠纷案[3];山东省食品进出口公司、山东山孚集团有限公司、山东山孚日水有限公司与马达庆、青岛圣克达诚贸易有限公司不正当竞争纠纷案[4]等)的判决中,法院都认为,由于不正当竞争行为无法在《反不正当竞争法》中一一列明,故对于无法穷尽的不正当竞争行为,就被侵权的当事人可以援引该基本原则予以救济。

因此,一般条款规定了认定不正当竞争行为的抽象条件,即给出认定或者识别不正当竞争行为的最一般条件;该条款同时是法院在法律具体列举的不正当竞争行为以外认定其他不正当竞争行为的条款,是一种开放式的条款,由于其内容的抽象性,据此可以认定不特定的不正当竞争行为,具有广泛的适用性。对于日益发展的网络游戏市场,同样具有调整适用的可行性和必要性。

(三)关于《反不正当竞争法》一般条款的适用条件

一般条款的第一款规定了认定不正当竞争行为的基本准则要素覧"自愿、平等、公平、诚实信用、公认的商业道德",第二款规定认定不正当竞争行为的行为要素覧"经营者违反本法规定,损害其他经营者合法权益,扰乱社会经济秩序的行为"。但无论是基本准则要素还是行为要素,均十分抽象,很难给出固定的含义,其内涵更会随着时代的发展而变化。因此,结合不正当竞争行为的一般行为要素,从《反不正当竞争法》的立法目的和立法精神上去理解和把握上述条款的含义,将会使一般条款的认定标准变得鲜明和生动起来:

首先,该行为是一种市场竞争行为。认定不正当竞争,除了要具备一般民事侵权行为的构成要件以外,还要注意审查是否存在竞争关系。竞争关系是取得经营资格的平等市场主体之间在竞争过程中行程的社会关系,倘若不构成市场竞争行为,也就无从谈起构成不正当竞争问题。本案中,原被告均为游戏软件的开发商,《炉石传说》和《卧龙传说》均系角色扮演类卡牌游戏,是游戏产品的同行业竞争者。

其次,该行为违反了法律规定和市场竞争原则。竞争行为的本质是经营者争夺交易机会的行为,有竞争必然存在着损害,评价一个竞争行为是否属于不正当竞争行为,光有竞争意图和损害后果是不够的,关键在于评判其正当性。主要可以表现为:

(1)禁止食人而肥己和"搭便车",禁止不正当地投机取巧和巧取豪夺。正当的市场竞争,必须是竞争者通过付出劳动而进行的诚实竞争,竞争得来的果实必须是自己汗水的结晶。现代社会所鼓励的竞争必须是在增进技术、降低价格和提高商品质量等的基础上进行的竞争。正是由于竞争手段与竞争后果的关系直接影响到竞争行为的定性,禁止不劳而获或者少劳多获也就成为判断不正当竞争行为的重要精神。

(2)维护商业伦理。诚实信用原则是民事活动的基本原则,商业活动中的诚实信用原则更多的是体现为一种商业道德。市场竞争中的商业道德不同于日常生活道德,须按照商业社会或者市场竞争的伦理标准进行定性和衡量。实践中,行业协会制定的,符合法律规定与立法精神和立法目的相一致的《行业准则》、《自律公约》往往可以作为行业内公认的商业道德的集中体现。

(3)刺激创新与鼓励竞争。创新可以刺激竞争,而竞争又可以促进创新,两者是相辅相成的。但是,创新与竞争之间常常又会发生冲突,包括反不正当竞争法在内的知识产权法,都在创新和竞争之间进行平衡。只有在至关重要的利益需要保护时,才可以阻止竞争。对竞争的限制必须以明确界定的和有限的方式,其目的是为创新提供更充分的刺激。

本案中,根据法院查明的事实,"《卧龙传说》仅耗时20天即制作出,远少于通常游戏公司研发一款类似原创游戏正常耗时;两款游戏对所涉卡牌、界面相似度极高,视觉效果差别不大,区别仅在于角色形象由魔兽世界中的人物替换为三国人物,两款游戏在卡牌构成及使用规则、基本战斗规则上基本一致"。"被告公司员工《卧龙传说》游戏策划人员在《炉石传说》未进入中国市场前机已经实际接触到《炉石传说》游戏卡牌核心数据,并还原整个数值体系,游戏制作前期因无法取得《炉石传说》测试账号而对着《炉石传说》玩家视频制作样片,游戏立项后通过秒杀到的测试账号进一步获取《炉石传说》游戏数据,从而完善《卧龙传说》游戏细节。"上述事实进一步证明被告游戏用于吸引玩家的的核心要素不是基于自己的智力劳动成果,超出了游戏竞争者之间正常的技术交流、互相学习、合理借鉴的范畴,其行为明显背离了游戏行业的自律公约,有违基本商业道德,其"搭便车"的目的和行为非常明显。

第三,不正当竞争行为是损害其他经营者合法权益、扰乱经济秩序的行为。不正当竞争行为之所以具有不正当性,当然与其产生不正当的市场损害有关。"山寨"游戏泛滥的结果就是游戏产品同质化;从深层次上看,它损害了市场竞争机制,破坏了公平自由的市场竞争机制,损害了商业伦理。

(四)本案积极意义

网络游戏产业在中国是一个新兴的朝阳产业,需要游戏开发人员不断创新、投入大量劳动才能形成良性竞争。法院对本案的判决,对打击国内"山寨"抄袭之风,营造良好市场氛围具有重大影响。以《反不正当竞争法》保护游戏的玩法和规则,是对以往审判实践的突破,体现了该法的知识产权保护功能和对知识产权保护的补充作用,以及维护市场公平竞争的根本目的。

[1] 上海市第一中级人民法院(2014)沪一中民五(知)初字第22号民事判决书。

[2] 参见孙琬钟主编:《反不正当竞争法实用全书》,中国法律年鉴社1993年版,第26页。

[3] 上海市高级人民法院(2006)沪高民三(知)终字第87号民事判决书。

[4] 山东省高级人民法院(2008)鲁民三终字第83号民事判决书。

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Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com痴 content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd痴 services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with 渡o disclosure in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user痴 hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend痴 name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Emails

From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user痴 personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user痴 personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the 添our Profile page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.