PUBG Developer Sues Google, Apple, and Game Maker Over Copycat Apps

PUBG developer Krafton has sued Apple, Google and the maker of what it says is a PUBG impersonator for offering a “mobile version of Battlegrounds in gross violation”.

Like the edge reports, the trial filed on January 10 alleges that in 2017, Apple and Google began selling Garena’s Free Fire: Battlegrounds (later rebranded as Free Fire). Garena then released a separate app, Free Fire Max. Krafton argues that Garena’s games copy many aspects of PUBG, from the unique aircraft drop-off at the start of each match and game structure to weapon and item selection and even color schemes.

(Image: Krafton trial)

Even YouTube is embroiled in this legal battle, as Krafton claims the video site “hosts countless Free Fire and Free Fire Max gameplay posts, many of which have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and in some cases more than a million times.” They “featured many elements of Free Fire and Free Fire Max that violate Battlegrounds”.

Krafton also takes issue with a Chinese feature film widely streamed on YouTube which he says is a “blatant live-action dramatization of Battleground.”

On December 21, 2021, Krafton asked Garena to remove its games from Apple and Google’s app stores and asked YouTube to remove posts containing game footage containing infringing material, as well as the Chinese film. Krafton says Garena refused.

“Apple and Google do not respond to legitimate claims of copyright infringement on their networks where they are compensated by deep-pocketed co-infringers, like Garena,” the lawsuit states. “This selective enforcement of copyright law makes Apple and Google liable for willful infringement.”

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Data from Sensor Tower shows that Free Fire earned $1.1 billion from in-game spending in 2021, reports The Verge.

This isn’t the first legal battle between Krafton and Garena. In 2017, the two sides settled a similar knockoff case in Singapore, believing it had not signed a license agreement, according to the lawsuit.

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