Apple was sued over the Tetris movie by the editor-in-chief at Gizmodo. Daniel Ackerman has now stated that Tetris reportedly ripped off the tone and events from his history, The Tetris Effect.
Apple Sued Over Tetris Movie
Daniel Ackerman, Gizmodo editor-in-chief has now sued Apple as well as other parties over the 2023 Apple TV Plus film Tetris, thus alleging that it rips off his 2016 book The Tetris Effect. Ackerman however claims that Apple, Tetris rightsholder the Tetris Company, the producers of the Tetris film, and screenwriter Noah Pink reportedly copied “the exact same feel, tone, approach, and scenes” from The Tetris Effect and particularly its framing of the release of the game as a “Cold War spy thriller.”
Initially reported by Reuters, the lawsuit of Ackerman outlines a yearslong correspondence with the Tetris Company as he reportedly wrote The Tetris Effect. He however claims that the Tetris Company was well aware of his work and then threatened him with legal action for trying to pursue film and TV adaptations of his very own book, only to then draw heavily from his framing of the Tetris story. “The film liberally borrowed numerous specific sections and events of the book,” Ackerman claims.
What Apple and Tetris Has To Say About the Lawsuit
Both Apple and the Tetris Company did not respond immediately to requests for comment on the matter from The Verge. But the case Ackerman may well be difficult given the fact that Tetris and The Tetris Effect both draw on real historical facts, which are generally not protected by copyright law. And as a result of this, the suit in question relies strongly on arguing that Tetris copies the feel of The Tetris Effect. (He also argues that many potential inventions of the movie just like a guide who eventually turns out to be a secret KGB agent are all based on speculations in his narrative.)
The Content of the Lawsuit
“Ackerman’s book took a unique approach to writing about the real history of Tetris, as it not only applied the historical record but also layered his own original research and ingenuity to create a compelling narrative non-fiction book in the style of a Cold War spy thriller,” the suit states. “Mr. Ackerman’s literary masterpiece, unlike other articles and writings, dispelled of the emphasis on the actual gameplay and fans, and instead concentrated on the surrounding narrative, action sequences, and adversarial relationship between the players … This was the identical approach Defendants adopted for the Tetris Film, without notable material distinction.”
Previous Legal Battles between Studios and Authors
Authors have previously sued studios for developing semi-historical films based on their works. Both Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema once settled a lawsuit over the horror film The Conjuring back in 2017, for example. But that in question involved paranormal events whose historical accuracy is, well, to put it mildly, highly disputed thus putting it very much closer to the territory of potentially copyrightable fiction.
Ackerman states that he reached out after the release of Tetris trailer’s and unsuccessfully requested Apple as well as the other defendants address legal issues just before the release of the film. His suit in question alleges copyright infringement as well as unfair competition, among many other offenses.
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