DSI Outruns Accolade

Video Game Law Blog

January 01, 1990

(This is an archived case summary)

Accolade and the defendants entered into a licence agreement under which the defendants were to develop the video game "The Duel — Test Drive II". The licence stated that Accolade was to own the copyright and the rights to publish and distribute the game. The defendants subsequently developed the video game "Outrun" for Sega. Accolade alleged that the defendants violated its copyright by using computer code from "The Duel" in "Outrun".

The District Court interpreted the licence agreement and held that Accolade owned the copyright in the concept and design of the game but not in the underlying source code. The court found that the games were not substantially similar and that only routine library commands were duplicated between the games. On balance, the court held that the defendants had not violated Accolade's copyright in the game.

Accolade, Inc. v. Distinctive Software, Inc.
1990, US. Dist. Ct., ND Cal.
1990 US Dist. LEXIS 14305
KEYWORDS: licence – copyright
SUMMARY BY: Chris Metcalfe