Video games have been delighting generations right from the 1980's when Pacman was introduced to the current Nintendo, PS4, Xbox etc. have been reducing the boundaries between virtual and reality through sate of art interfaces. Videogames have become a huge source of income and therefore, protecting their intellectual property is no child's play.
Recently the United States District Court Southern District of New York passed an order against an infringer who created an infringing program of the famous GTA Vice City 2. One Mr. Perez created an Elusive program (the "Infringing Program") which creates new features and elements in Grand Theft Auto which can be used to harm legitimate players. This Infringing Program allowed users to create unlimited virtual currency for making in-game purchases. This hampered and disturbed the sale of the legitimate virtual currency. The proprietor of the said game, Take-Two Software Inc. ("Take Two") therefore sought action against the infringer Mr. Perez for direct and contributory copyright infringement, breach of User Agreement and tortious interference with contract.
Take-Two claimed that such infringement irreparably harmed it and if injunction was not granted against Mr. Perez, his infringing conduct will continue harmed the company's interests. Take-Two lost control over its carefully balanced plan for how its video game was designed for the players. Take-Two's reputation for maintaining its gaming environment, discouraging users from future purchases and gameplay was drastically tampered with by this Infringing Program.
The Court observed that the balance of hardships favors Take-Two. In contrast to the harm that Take- Two will suffer, there is no evidence of any injury against the infringer. It observed that Mr. Perez was liable to Take-Two for wilfully and directly infringing Take-Two's copyrights in GTAV. The Court therefore ordered a permanent injunction against Mr. Perez in the public interest. It also required Mr. Perez to pay Take-Two a sum of $150,000.00 in statutory damages and $66,868 as attorney's fees.
2 CASE NO. 1:18-cv-07658 (PKC)
Compiled by: Adv. Sachi Kapoor | Concept & Edited by: Dr. Mohan Dewan
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