I probably shouldn't be writing this, as it may not be good for my friend and coworker Anthony Burch, but he's on his way to GDC and I can't get a hold of him. There is the chance that posting this will somehow negatively effect his ongoing lawsuit against Gaijin Games, the creators of Bit.Trip RUNNER, but I can't risk not getting this info to him ASAP. If someone reading this can tell him to read the site as soon as possible, thank you in advance. That would be a huge relief.
Anthony, it looks like you may not have acquired the copyright to the name and concept to Runner (the game we worked on together), so now you may actually be found at fault be at fault for using the name and concept, at least legally.
I'm torn about this. On one end, I still consider the guys at Gaijin Games to be some of my favorite game developers, and I don't want to ruin my working relationship with them. On the other hand, you're my friend and collaborator, and I don't want you to get screwed either. Also, if you get sued, are you going to make me pay your fines with you? I know I did a lot of the graphics for Runner, but I'm not sure that it's fair that I be involved with this legal stuff.
Anyway, past the jump is the email I got from Alex Neuse, CEO of Gaijin Games, forwarded from his lawyer. Anthony, please read this as soon as you can, and if it's not too late to get Runner copy-written, do so immediately. I don't like being caught in the crossfire like this.
To whom it may concern,
As General Counsel to Gaijin Games, Inc. I oversee all legal matters of the corporation, to include response to litigation and the threat of litigation.
I have reviewed the claim put forth by Destructoid that they somehow have exclusive rights to the word "runner".
I have researched all pertinent data banks with regard to copyright protection and found no evidence of that word being protected by any party.
Imagine if you would, a world wherein any person can claim any word as "his".
Their claim to the word "runner" has no more merit than an individual claiming all rights to the word "crap". For instance, a husband leaving his house to take his dog for a walk would no longer be able to say to his spouse "Honey, I'm taking Fido out for a walk so that he can take a crap". That poor slob would instead have to substitute something like "Honey, I'm taking Fido out so that he can lay some pipe. I would have used the word 'crap' but some bastard has that all locked up".
If Destructoid goes forth with their meritless claim, be assured that we will respond with a counter-suit that will tie them up tighter than a gnat's scrotum. We will include a count for frivolous litigation and will extract from them all of my legal fees incurred defending their defenseless claim. Come to think of it, I could use a replacement sail for my yacht.
Regards, Atty. Lawrence A. Osborn, J.D.