On January 10, Krafton, Developer of PUBG: Battlegrounds and PUBG Mobile, filed a lawsuit against Apple, Google, and Youtube over alleged PUBG Clone. Krafton has accused Apple and Google of allowing a mobile version of Battlegrounds, called Free Fire, and is developed by defendant Garena to be sold on their app stores.
The lawsuit alleges that shortly after Krafton launched Battlegrounds in 2017, Garena started selling a game in Singapore that copied Krafton’s game. Krafton’s predecessor, PUBG, and Garena settle the Singapore-related claims. The parties didn’t enter into a license agreement, nor did Krafton’s predecessor, PUBG authorize Defendants to sell or distribute games infringing its copyrights in the United States.
Also, in 2017 Apple and Google began selling the infringing mobile version, Free Fire, on their apps. The lawsuit alleges as well on Sept. 28, 2021, Garena released another app called Free Fire Max, which also copies Battleground. Free Fire Max is an entirely distinct app, that requires players to separately download from the Apple Store and Google Play Store. Free Fire Max was intended to provide the same user experience as Free Fire and infringes several aspects of Battlegrounds, both individually and in their combination.
Allegedly, Free Fire, and Fire Max, extensively copy numerous aspects of Battlegrounds’ copyrighted unique game-opening “air drop” feature, the game structure and play, the combination and selection of weapons, armor, and unique objects, locations, and overall choice of color scheme, texture, and choice.
Since the initial release, Garena has wrongfully authorized Apple and Google to distribute hundreds of millions of copies of the Free Fire app through their online “app stores” and Garena has earned hundreds of millions of dollars from its global sales of the infringing apps. It is alleged that Apple and Google have as well earned a substantial amount of revenue from their distribution of Free Fire, as both platforms retain a significant portion of what users spend within the infringing game.
Apple and Google have also collected highly valuable user and purchase data through requirements that their customers utilize their online payment systems. The level of infringements has increased since the recent launch and distribution of Free Fire Max.
Youtube, owned by Google, is also engaged in the infringement of Battlegrounds. Currently, it 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. These videos feature numerous elements from Free Fire and Free Fire Max that infringe Battlegrounds. Youtube has been hosting numerous posts containing a feature-length Chinese film that is nothing more than a blatantly infringing live-action dramatization of Battlegrounds. Youtube was asked to take down numerous posts of Free Fire and Free Fire Max gameplay that include the infringe Battlegrounds, the infringing feature-length film. To date, they failed to remove these posts.
Krafton asked Apple and Google to cease distributing and exploiting Free Fire and Free Fire Max on their platforms. To date, they continue to exploit Free Fire and Free Fire Max. Upon information and belief, 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.
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