Ubisoft sues Apple & Google over released Rainbow Six: Siege mobile clone

The gaming company accuses Apple and Google of distributing a ripoff of their hit first-person shooter.

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Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six: Siege has become one of the most popular first-person shooters in the world since it was initially released for PC and consoles back in 2015. In spite of its rocky launch, Ubisoft’s dedication to Siege has helped it grow into one of the biggest multiplayer titles available. With this success comes those trying to cash in on it and make a quick buck. In comes “Area F2”, a close-quarters shooter recently released on iOS and Android devices. Developed under Alibaba, the similarities between Area F2 and Rainbow Six: Siege are alarming - to say the least.

Originally reported by Bloomberg, Ubisoft has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Apple Inc. and Google LLC for distributing Area F2 in their digital stores. Ubisoft’s lawsuit claims that Area F2 is a “near carbon copy” of Rainbow Six: Siege. Area F2 is being marketed as “The first CQB FPS on mobile” on its App Store page. The game has already picked up quite the momentum, as it currently stands as the #4 strategy game on Apple’s App store.

Ubisoft’s lawsuit goes into further detail, claiming that the entire Area F2 experience has been directly lifted from Rainbow Six: Siege. They go on to state that “Ubisoft’s competitors are constantly looking for ways to piggyback on R6S’s popularity and to capture the attention, and money, of R6S players.” Another major component to the lawsuit was the amount of success Ubisoft has seen from Siege, detailing the games 55 million registered players and professional esports league.

The lawsuit was filed on Friday May 15 in a federal court in Los Angeles. At this time, there has been no comment on the matter from Apple, Google, or Alibaba.

Contributing Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. Donovan is currently studying broadcast journalism at Bowie State University with hopes to join the Shacknews team full time after graduation. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 18, 2020 7:00 AM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Ubisoft sues Apple & Google over released Rainbow Six: Siege mobile clone

    • reply
      May 18, 2020 2:12 PM

      This is an interesting approach, going after the distributor of content. I assume they also want to shut down the producer, but may not have the legal power to achieve that on a Chinese company.

      Why not just file a DMCA takedown request?

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        May 18, 2020 2:32 PM

        What part of the DMCA allows going after a clone? As best as I understand the suit, they're claiming its not asset stealing or the like (which is where DMCA would come into play), but the assets are so close in nature in addition to gameplay and everything that this falls into the Tetrio v. Mino "look and feel" case law.

        And just trying to track down a few other things: because Seige is not on mobile, this doesn't flip Apple or Google's clone alerts (which were put in after the whole mass spam of Flappy Bird clones). I will assume Ubisoft did attempt to get the game kicked off via standard dispute practice at the storefronts without luck and they had to resort to this action here when they failed to take action.

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          May 18, 2020 2:42 PM

          And yup, they did try to get it removed, neither Apple nor Google did so. And because the clone does in-app purchasese, Ubi is added financial damages that Apple/Google take on top of it.

          . With respect to Defendants Google and Apple, by failing to
          expeditiously remove AF2 from the Google Play store and Apple App Store after
          receiving notice from Ubisoft that R6S infringes Ubisoft’s rights, by having actual
          and constructive knowledge of the infringement, and by obtaining a direct financial
          benefit from the infringement while failing to control infringement on their
          platforms, Google and Apple are unable to avail themselves of any of the safe
          harbors of Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, to the extent that
          any of those safe harbors ever were even arguably available to them.

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            May 18, 2020 2:42 PM

            (And I guess they do get DMCA :P)

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        May 18, 2020 2:37 PM

        Also yes, the game producer Ejoy is part of the suit. Trying to get to the complaint now (I have the case number now just to find the unpaywalled access...)

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            May 18, 2020 2:54 PM

            Those pictures in this speak thousands of words. Knowing how the Tetris suit went I cannot see how Ejoy has a case to defend here outside of being in China. I'm sure Apple and Google will try to resolve outside of court.

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            May 18, 2020 3:35 PM

            Thanks for the follow-up!

            Seems like a pretty convincing argument, especially considering the drastic similarity in map design, texture work, and stylized iconography, although this sort of thing eats at my soul a bit. I wanted years ago to make a modern take on x-com, but decided against it for fear of staying too true to the original and getting sued. There are now plenty of other options in that space, but I'm uncertain how far a game has to jump from a competitor to be considered distinct and not derivative.

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              May 18, 2020 4:01 PM

              Well, the case law is that you cannot copyright gameplay, hence why zillions of clones of Tetris exist, but if you get far enough into copying gameplay AND bring in too much of the look and feel, you open yourself for legal action.

              Not a lawyer, but having read enough on this, if you were to make a tactics game like Xcom, that played out on an isometric battlefield, but with wholly original art, novel setting and all that, you'd be fine. But the more you got closer to their art style, their story beats, and all that the more you'd likely be seeing problems. I mean, the court recognizes that if you introduced aliens in a game, your game will likely come across weird alien tech your troops will use (This is known as scènes à faire - no company can hold a copyright on a narrative trope) so a tactical RPG about fighting aliens is going to have immediate gameplay comparisons to Xcom that they cannot sue you for.

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