PUBG developer Krafton has sued Apple, Google, and the maker of what it says is a copycat PUBG for offering a “blatantly infringing mobile version of Battlegrounds.”
As The Verge reports, the lawsuit filed on Jan. 10 alleges that in 2017 Apple and Google began selling Free Fire: Battlegrounds from Garena (later renamed Free Fire). Garena later released a separate app, Free Fire Max. Krafton argues that Garena’s games copy many aspects of PUBG, from the unique airplane drop-in at the start of each match and the game structure to the weapon and item selection and even the color schemes.
(Image: Krafton lawsuit)
Even YouTube is getting drawn into this legal fight, as Krafton claims the video site “is hosting countless posts of Free Fire and Free Fire Max gameplay, many of which have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and in some cases more than a million times.” They “feature numerous elements from Free Fire and Free Fire Max that infringe Battlegrounds.”
Krafton also takes issue with a feature-length Chinese film posted widely on YouTube that it claims is a “blatantly infringing live-action dramatization of Battleground.”
On Dec. 21, 2021, Krafton requested that Garena pull its games from Apple and Google’s app stores and that YouTube take down posts containing game footage with infringing elements, as well as the Chinese film. Krafton says Garena refused.
“Apple and Google fail to address legitimate claims of copyright infringement on their networks where they are indemnified by deep-pocketed co-infringers, like Garena,” the lawsuit says. “This selective enforcement of copyright law renders Apple and Google liable for willful infringement.”
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Data from Sensor Tower shows Free Fire earned $1.1 billion from in-game spending in 2021, The Verge reports.
This isn’t the first legal battle between Krafton and Garena. In 2017, the two sides settled a similar copycat case in Singapore, thought it did not sign a licensing deal, the suit says.
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