If you only ever read one post on this site, I hope it’s this one. The following is my opinion, with links and information that I can find on the subject. (this post will be duplicated on the http://appsandhats.com site because I feel it is unbelievably important as many people are aware of this as possible)
On the EDGE
I have only recently become aware of the battles that some game designers have to deal with, but in this case as it involves a game (EDGE) we previewed in our last episode, I couldn’t believe that it had been quietly pulled from the app store. Especially it was one of their top games to celebrate their 1st birthday.
I had to look into this a little closer, how can this app, nominated for multiple awards (won a Milthon award in France for the best mobile game 2008, IMGA (international mobile game award) during the mobile world congress in Barcelona this year for Best Gameplay and Operator Choice for the IGF, we have been nominated 3 times – best mobile game, best soundtrack, best iphone game).
… just be pulled & not heard of again? I HAD TO FIND OUT.
Well, there was far more information and battles then I can even hope to cover here. I hope you will take the time to look at some of the resources that I list here, and follow / support the developers plight. They seem to be up against a system that does little to protect them.
This involves 2 parties, firstly the Developers Mobigame of the fabulous EDGE iPhone game and a chap called Tim Langdell. From what I can gather he founded a company, Edge Games in 1979. Here is the description I came across:
Founded in 1979 by Tim Langdell, originally as Softek Software (later Softek International Ltd.) in London, England. In 1990, Edge Games moved its headquarters from its home of the prior decade in London’s Covent Gardento Los Angeles (Pasadena). Edge is best known for its 1985 title Fairlight and its 1987 title Garfield: Big Fat Hairy Deal. Though the company is still active, Edge Games hasn’t developed and released a new title since the 1980s.
So, no new titles since the 80’s isn’t all that impressive, especially if you are trying to establish that people associate the name “Edge” with your company. I’m not convinced they do. There is mention in an article on the Internet stating that they also developed Snoopy: The Case of the Missing Blanket (1992). Which is more, erm recent?
Site FingerGaming have written about this dispute, and contacted developer Mobigame to get more information about what is happening. They write about how award-winning puzzler Edge has been unceremoniously yanked from the US and UK App Stores a few weeks ago.
Here is an exerpt from the story on their site:
“We have legal issues with a man named Tim Langdell,” says Mobigame’s David Papazian. “If you already asked why Soul Edge (the Namco game) was called Soul Blade and later Soulcalibur in the US, you have your answer.”
Langdell, CEO of EDGE Games … contacted Mobigame and Apple in April asking that the game be pulled. Langdell claims his company owns the worldwide “trademark” EDGE. Despite this, the game remains up in other territories.
“We have the trademark EDGE in Europe (where the game is still available),” Papazian tells FingerGaming. “And we are trying to register it in the US.”
And more fuel for the fire seems to be Langdell’s own connections to IGDA.
He is a board member on the IGDA, which is described as a non-profit organization created to empower game developers and advocate on their behalf. There is huge debate now about their own credibility if he is part of the board, and how it affects what the purpose of the IGDA actually is. I have no comment about this, because I am not a member, but I have been reading the comments posted about this and there is real mixed feeling about having him on the board.
There has been a petition set up to remove Langdell from his position. You can sign a petition asking for Langdell to be expelled from the IGDA here.
The Story so Far, TigSource
TigSource has followed this story from it’s inception. It has amazing list of links and facts about the case and the folks involved. I think they have done a great job at representing the issues. You can read the debate on the forums.
Taken from their site, they have tried to simplify what has been happening with these (slightly edited) points.
1. Fingergaming posts an article revealing that the popular, award-winning iPhone game Edge has been removed due to a legal issue with Langdell. Mobigame’s David Papazian suggests that Langdell was also responsible for Namco’s Soul Edge being renamed to Soul Blade and then Soul Calibur in the United States. (Source)
2. Simon Carless posts an article on GameSetWatch in which he suggests that Langdell has a habit of engaging in lawsuits over his trademark on the word “Edge.” The article is removed, for unknown reasons, but has been quoted on various other websites and forums. (Source)
Tim Langdell and David Papazian Speak
So this is some of what has been happening, if we look further into how they both see the situation, we find a blog by Stephen Jacobs’s Gamasutra. [Jacobs has been involved with the IGDA for at least 4 years and once worked with Langdell to try and establish an organization for game educators and researchers.]
In the comments section, they have both been speaking. Here are the basic points to surface…
1. Langdell claims that EDGE Games informed Apple of the trademark violation, whereupon Apple sent a standardized notice to Mobigame. At that point, Langdell claims that Mobigame pulled the app voluntarily.
2. Langdell claims that it is, in fact, Mobigame that is bullying EDGE Games over the trademark. He also asserts that Mobigame started the “flame war” with the intention of causing him embarrassment.
3. Langdell claims that he has never sued anyone over EDGE trademarks, or ever started any litigation over the trademarks. Furthermore, he claims that “EDGE has never engaged in anything other than entirely legitimate practices to protect its trademarks.”
4. Langdell asserts that he has personally produced all of the several hundred gamesEDGE Games has developed or produced since 1979, and that every other statement he has made regarding his own accomplishments are entirely true.
(Note: Langdell, even when asked directly, has seemingly made no attempt to verify any of this, or even provide a simple list of games he has produced. Update: But if you go to the EDGE Games website and click “Videogames” at the top, you can see a list.)
5. Papazian responds to Langdell by saying that he has not made any comments regarding the dispute since the Fingergaming article and has no prior connection to either Simon Carless or Owen Good (who penned a Kotaku articleabout Langdell). He regards Langdell’s accusation that Mobigame is trying to cause Langdell embarrassment as a lie.
6. Papazian corroborates Langdell’s claim that Edge was voluntarily pulled.
7. Papazian claims that Mobigame offered to change the name to “EDGY” whereupon Langdell refused the offer and proceeded to register the trademark “EDGY”. Papazian also asserts that Langdell holds the trademarks “MIRROR’S SPORE” and “SOULSPORE,” suggesting a connection to EA’s games Mirror’s Edge and Spore, and Namco’s Soul Edge.
8. Papazian claims that Langdell has never given proof of his connection to Edge Magazine, or any proof that he has actively used the mark in recent years. He claims that the only person he has spoken to from EDGE Games has been Langdell.
After my research into what has been happening from the numerous sites on the web I wonder what can actually be done. I have felt over the past year or two a change within the Internet community, a sense of sharing and collaboration. The creative commons spirit to make more things accessible to more people, heck even talk of Microsoft making online Word etc…
Cult of Mac : Tim Langdell Still Being a Jerk – Resues Edge iPhone Game Maker Over Rights Issue This article by Craig Grannell is really a must read, it has lots of facts and updates about the situation.
The full and updated article from http://www.tigsource.com/pages/edge-games/ charts all the actions and events. Really well written and explained. Compiled by Derek Yu. [Last edited on July 18, 2009.] Including articles, court cases and other resources.
Australian Gamer brings this great ‘personal opinion’ piece from Matt, I have to admit loving reading this. Really easy to read, informative and raises some excellent points. Tim Langdell – On the Edge of Law and Ethics
Do Morons in a Hurry Play Games on Their iPhones, from TechDirt.
Bytes: Tim Langdell, at it again! Gamasutra brings us a view breakdown about the role of a director for IGDA and points to say why this could be a conflict of interest.
IGDA Forums discussing this topic.
Tim Langdell is still a Jerk from freelance writer John Bardine also makes comment.
The Terrible Tale of Tim Langdell from KrisSteele.net adds comments and info on the case.
From OffWorld, Brandon Boyer writes Edge of Madness: The Copyfight between Mobigame and Tim Langdell
> > SPECIAL MENTION > > You are Even More Beautiful than Tim Langdell is Grotesque. I had to include this creative and wonderful post which through doing the opposite (playing a love song!) they are showing what they describe as “distaste for such people…”.
There is also a blog post from “gamer attorney” Tom Buscaglia. You can also see a picture of Tom’s Mini Cooper S there, not sure what that has to do with game law… his stand is the only one I have come across to try to defend Langdell’s position.
*image used was creative commons.