The argument against piracy is that it is not actually stealing, since with theft the original owner no longer possesses the item. hence the constant stream of memes relating to the “piracy is theft” campaign. I kind of agree with this. However if I made a car and someone else copied my design but had more money to put behind marketing and made millions of dollars from it, I’d be pretty pissed. I’m pretty sure most people would. Unless you’re Leo Babauta.
This kind of thing is so common in the app world that sometimes it’s hard to find the original game amongst all of the clones. Just look at Flappy Birds. A game which took the mechanics of the helicopter game and the art style of Super Mario Bros. and made the creator, at a peak, $50,000 in ads a day, was still a rip off of Piou Piou! While even casual gamers can see that the Candy Crush Saga gameplay is almost exactly the same as Bejeweled (match three), they went one step further and also copied the art style and game concept from 2010 game CandySwipe. Read this open letter from Albert Ransom, the creator of CandySwipe game, below and tell me you’re not even a little sick at the attitude of Candy Crush creators King.com
Congratulations! You win! I created my game CandySwipe in memory of my late mother who passed away at an early age of 62 of leukemia. I released CandySwipe in 2010 five months after she passed and I made it because she always liked these sorts of games. In fact, if you beat the full version of the android game, you will still get the message saying “…the game was made in memory of my mother, Layla…” I created this game for warmhearted people like her and to help support my family, wife and two boys 10 and 4. Two years after I released CandySwipe, you released Candy Crush Saga on mobile; the app icon, candy pieces, and even the rewarding, “Sweet!” are nearly identical.
So much so, that I have hundreds of instances of actual confusion from users who think CandySwipe is Candy Crush Saga, or that CandySwipe is a Candy Crush Saga knockoff. So when you attempted to register your trademark in 2012, I opposed it for “likelihood of confusion” (which is within my legal right) given I filed for my registered trademark back in 2010 (two years before Candy Crush Saga existed). Now, after quietly battling this trademark opposition for a year, I have learned that you now want to cancel my CandySwipe trademark so that I don’t have the right to use my own game’s name. You are able to do this because only within the last month you purchased the rights to a game named Candy Crusher (which is nothing like CandySwipe or even Candy Crush Saga). Good for you, you win. I hope you’re happy taking the food out of my family’s mouth when CandySwipe clearly existed well before Candy Crush Saga.
I have spent over three years working on this game as an independent app developer. I learned how to code on my own after my mother passed and CandySwipe was my first and most successful game; it’s my livelihood, and you are now attempting to take that away from me. You have taken away the possibility of CandySwipe blossoming into what it has the potential of becoming. I have been quiet, not to exploit the situation, hoping that both sides could agree on a peaceful resolution. However, your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me.
This also contradicts your recent quote by Riccardo in “An open letter on intellectual property” posted on your website which states, “We believe in a thriving game development community, and believe that good game developers – both small and large – have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create.”
I myself was only trying to protect my hard work.
I wanted to take this moment to write you this letter so that you know who I am. Because I now know exactly what you are. Congratulations on your success!
President (Founder), Runsome Apps Inc.