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Copyright mess in the games industry

Copyright law and 'The Banner Saga'
Copyright law and 'The Banner Saga'
The Banner Saga on Steam

The state of the games industry lately has been a pretty treacherous one when it comes to copyright law, especially in the mobile markets. In the past couple of weeks there has been a multitude of lawsuits in the news. The first that comes to mind is King, the creators of the popular mobile game Candy Crush Saga, have put a patent on the word "candy" and are pursing a patent on the word "saga" as well. The legal department at King then has spread around a multitude of cease and desist letters all around the iOS and Android app store, sometimes rightfully so, sometimes just to protect their right to the names.

However, King didn't stop at just the mobile marketplace. The company also went after the PC game The Banner Saga which is hardly anywhere close to a Candy Crush Saga clone. The Banner Saga is a RTS (real time strategy) game featuring Nordic tones with a beautifully hand drawn art style. Candy Crush Saga is a match 3 puzzle game, which at it's core, is kind of hypocritical of them to be worried about imitators when they are highly imitating match three puzzle games themselves. Many people and other writers in the games industry have been very upset with the mobile titan that King has become, but instead of blaming the player, why not look at the game?

When asked for comment a King spokesperson said that they didn't really believe that The Banner Saga was infringing on anything other than having the word "saga" in the name. With the way that copyright law works, King's legal department had to file the correct papers against the The Banner Saga so that there would be legal precedence for later judgments against games that actually do infringe on their intellectual property. This, in itself, is an injustice. While it may be terrible that King is pursing copyright legislation against The Banner Saga, it is probably worse that a game company may need a huge legal department to have any claim at all to it's intellectual property.

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