Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds studio Krafton has filed a lawsuit against Apple, Google, YouTube and free-to-play company Garena over two mobile games Free Fire (originally called Free Fire: Battlegrounds) and Free Fire: Max, saying it “extensively copied many aspects” of the pioneering Sexual battle royale game.
Garena started selling Free Fire in Singapore in 2017 shortly after PUBG launched. litigation (pass through edge). This apparently led to a complaint and settlement, but that settlement did not include any kind of licensing deal or license to distribute the game. Still, a mobile version of the game appeared on the App Store and Google Play that same year, followed by Free Fire Max in 2018.
The lawsuit alleges that both games replicate features of PUBG, including “unique game-opening ‘airdrop’ features, game structure and gameplay, combinations and choices of weapons, armor and unique objects, locations, as well as color schemes, overall selection of materials , and texture.”
Krafton claims that Garena has made “hundreds of millions of dollars” globally through the sale of apps and in-app purchases. It also accused Apple and Google of depositing money on in-app purchases (each taking a percentage of purchases through their in-game payment processing systems), while rejecting Krafton’s demands to stop distributing games.
YouTube was also named as a defendant for hosting (and refusing to remove) videos featuring Free Fire and Free Fire Max gameplay, as well as Chinese feature film Biubiubiu, an “unauthorized adaptation of PUBG” depicting live-action battlefield gameplay .”
Video game analyst Daniel Ahmad actually pointed out the potential for copyright infringement in July 2021:
Is this the official poster, uh, possible copyright infringement? who knows. But PUBG (PC) and Peacekeeper Elite (Mobile) are hugely popular in China, and it’s not surprising to see films like this made. It will be released on Youku on August 6 (Chinese only) pic.twitter.com/bfmKb0JCKeJuly 24, 2021
Interestingly, the lawsuit claims that Krafton filed a copyright infringement notice on another film called PUBG before efforts to remove Biubiubiu run wildIn this case, YouTube took action (though the film is still available), which Krafton sees as evidence of a double standard: “Unlike Biubiubiu, the Run Amuck video was posted by an individual user who undoubtedly lacked depth and fully compensated YouTube. necessary pockets of liability for copyright infringement,” the lawsuit states.
Crafton also cited a similar lawsuit Ubisoft filed in May 2020 against Google, Apple and game developer Ejoy over the Rainbow Six Siege mobile clone. “Apple and Google have refused to comply with the demands of video game developers that they remove infringing games from their respective stores,” the lawsuit states. “Only after the developer filed a lawsuit against the infringing developer, as well as Apple and Google, did the infringing developer remove the app itself. Notably, neither Apple nor Google took any action individually.”
In this case, Ubisoft withdrew its legal action against the parties after the Rainbow Six Siege clone was taken down, and the same could have happened in this case. For now, though, Krafton is seeking a ban on the sale of Free Fire and Free Fire Max, the release of videos containing games and Biubiubiu movies, and various financial damages. The sums involved can be large: Garena is not particularly well-known, but in 2020 its parent company Sea Ltd. report income That’s over $2 billion in the “digital entertainment” category alone.