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More Developments in Wizards vs. Cryptozoic

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We've written about Wizards suing Cryptozoic for the distribution of their game Hex, and today we have more information to add to the ongoing story.

First, the premise. Wizards believes Hex (a game that appears remarkably similar to Magic) infringes on its copyrights. Cryptozoic, which produces Hex, will likely stand on the legal position that game mechanics cannot be copyrighted. While that point is true, Wizards is countering with the claim that basically Hex doesn't borrow from Magic, it literally is Magic with a few words changed.

In the court of common sense, Wizards has a slam-dunk case. There are dozens of examples of Hex cards that function identically to Magic cards, which changes like calling creatures "troops" instead and nothing else changed. Giant Growth is an effect that has a place in a lot of games, but it's different when you literally copy Giant Growth.

Of course, the only courts that matter are the legal ones, and Cryptozoic certainly has a leg to stand on, even if they do eventually lose the case.

If that case ever happens, that is.

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Cryptozoic's first response to Wizards was that they didn't even have jurisdiction to file in Washington state. Wizards countered this week that because Cryptozoic employees logged onto Magic Online servers based in Renton, they do in fact have jurisdiction. You can read the full amended complaint here. Next up will be a ruling on whether or not Wizards can even sue Cryptozoic with their original motion. If not, they'll be forced to start the process over.

If that sounds long and wearisome, you're on the right track. This is how things get tied up for years in the courts, and this may end up being no different. Regardless of the outcome, I'm pretty sure the lawyers are the only ones winning here.

What do you think?

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Corbin Hosler

Corbin Hosler is a journalist living in Norman, Oklahoma (also known as the hotbed of Magic). He started playing in Shadowmoor and chased the Pro Tour dream for a few years, culminating in a Star City Games Legacy Open finals appearance in 2011 before deciding to turn to trading and speculation full-time. He writes weekly at QuietSpeculation.com and biweekly for LegitMTG. He also cohosts Brainstorm Brewery, the only financial podcast on the net. He can best be reached @Chosler88 on Twitter.

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3 thoughts on “More Developments in Wizards vs. Cryptozoic

  1. I think that Hex kickstarter backers are going to be unexcited to pay for litigation expenses instead of game features and that even if Hex wins the (strategically lengthy) trial the game itself is doomed.

  2. I guess magic players just don’t give a shit about it.

    WOTC wants to protect MTG.

    The only things they’ll end up is losing money that could have been invested in R&D.

  3. I’ll bet WotC has legal insurance, and won’t end up spending a whole lot out of pocket on this case. Cryptozoic, on the other hand has had to hire their own lawyer (a veteran who has defended against WotC before, forget his name.)

    I think that WotC’s aim here is to cripple Cryptozoic, which they have a good chance of doing, win or lose.

    I think there’s enough room in the market for both games to thrive, despite their similarity, (ala CoD and Battlefield, League and DotA, etc.), but no matter what, gamers and shareholders are going to end up losing, while lawyers win.

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