Free iPhone Tetris Clone Pressured Off iTunes by Apple, Tetris Company

By Chris Faylor, Aug 25, 2008 8:00pm PDT Independent developer Noah Witherspoon has revealed that his free Tetris-esque iPhone puzzler Tris will be removed from the iTunes App Store this Wednesday, following a strongly worded letter from Apple sent on behalf of The Tetris Company.

The Tetris Company, which owns and licenses the Tetris property, accused Witherspoon of violating its copyright. Witherspoon added that Apple was poised to "take action" if he did not resolve the "dispute" of his own accord.


Left, Noah Witherspoon's Tris. Right, EA Mobile's Tetris.

"The approach they're taking seems to me little more than petty bullying," Witherspoon wrote on his blog. "They have little to no legitimate legal claim, and are, presumably, relying on my being a small developer with insufficient resources to defend myself."

While he was confident that the claim could be challenged in court, Witherspoon opted to remove the game due to his lack of funds and status as a college student.

However, he appeared understanding of The Tetris Company's action. "The lack of protection for the idea of a game is troubling, in that it promotes quick ripoffs of a concept that someone, somewhere, spent a lot of effort on," reads his entry.

"I don't think this will be permanent," Witherspoon concluded. "When I have the time and can find a good copyright lawyer, I'll be figuring out exactly what my position is and how I can make Tris available again."

Until then, Tetris-craving iPhone and iPod Touch users will have to make do with EA Mobile's Tetris, which sells for $9.99 and was made under license from The Tetris Company.

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