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Sony and David Jaffe sued over God of War

18 September 2008

Sony Computer Entertainment America and designer David Jaffe are being sued for copyright infringement involving the million-plus selling God of War game. GamePolitics has grabbed the full text of their suit.

The complaint was filed this February with the U.S. District Court in California by two Californians - Jonathan Bissoon-Dath and Jennifer Barrette-Herzog. Bisson-Dath describes himself as "the author of a series of related works of fiction, including Olympiad, a screenplay," while Barrette-Herzog claims to have created The Island at the Edge of the Living World, "a map that was submitted with Bissoon-Dath's work: The Adventures of Owen: Owen's Olympic Adventure."

The plaintiffs allege that the original God of War borrows ideas from material they submitted to Sony Pictures in 2002. Here's a few snippets from the full document:

- Plaintiff's works tell the original story of how a champion saves Athens from destruction by the invading Spartan army that has been sent by Ares... [GoW]... is the story of how a champion chosen by Zeus and Athens saves Athen from destruction by an invading army sent by Ares...
- In plaintiff's original work and God of War, the Champion's family is hacked to death in a one-room building in a small peaceful village. In both stories the Champion feels partially responsible even though he is not really to blame...
- In exchange for Kratos' pledge, Ares gives him... the Blades of Chaos... two massive, glowing, sword-like blades fastened to chains fused to Kratos's wrists... These Blade of Chaos are taken directly from a scene in Bissoon-Dath's work... "As Zeus strides forward... his hands MORPH into two massive swords that glow like light sabers..."
- ...Owen must cross the Bottomless Valley over a long, sagging suspension bridge, shown on Barrette-Herzog's map... in God of War Kratos must cross the Bottomless Chasm on a long, sagging suspension bridge...


Sony and Jaffe's lawyers want the case thrown out of court, naturally, and Barrette-Herzog and Bisson-Dath to fork out for any subsequent legal fees. They argue that much of the material cited by the plaintiffs lies in the public domain, and have criticised alleged similarities as "inaccurate, incomplete, abstract and/or misleading." They also claim that some of the plaintiffs' work has not been properly registered under US Copyright Law.

We just hope this doesn't slow up the development of God of War 3. Or should we call it "The Adventures of Owen 3"?


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