FIRST CANADIAN VIDEO GAME COPYRIGHT CASE?


(This is an archived case summary)

This was one of the first Canadian cases to consider whether copyright could attach to the source code of a game. The defendant's game units would flash the “Atari” logo, and when Atari sought an injunction the judge found that there was clear evidence of copying. However, the defendant raised the issue as to whether existing Canadian copyright laws extended to game machines, pieces of equipment, EPROMS, source code, or object code. Since this was a question of major importance to copyright law, and because damages would be an appropriate remedy should the plaintiff succeed at trial, the judge denied the injunction and stated that the issue of whether a video game was copyrightable should be sent to trial.
There is no record of this issue ever being sent to trial.

Atari, Inc. v. Video Amusements of Canada Ltd.
1982, Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division
FCJ No. 1100
KEYWORDS: copyright - source code - injunction
SUMMARY BY: Byron Yep

 

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