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Despite Nexon's protests, its case against Ironmace over Dark and Darker may be hashed out through the Korean legal system.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

August 17, 2023

2 Min Read
Adventurers in key art for Ironmace's Dark and Darker.

A Seattle, WA court has moved to dismiss the copyright claim against Ironmace and its RPG Dark and Darker. In the filed case document, US judge Tana Lin determined that South Korea's courts would be a more "adequate alternative forum," as Ironmace and publisher Nexon are both from there. 

Ironmace has been in a months-long legal battle with Nexon, which alleged that staffers Choi Ju-Hyun and CEO Park Sueng-ha) stole in-game assets from a project dubbed P3 when they both previously worked at Nexon. 

As a result of Nexon's DMCA takedown, Dark and Darker was later delisted from Steam. It only recently found a new publisher in the form of Chaf Games, and is presently being sold as an Early Access title.

Choi and Park reportedly wanted the case to be tried exclusively in South Korea, but Nexon's DMCA was issued in part because the game was "specifically marketed" towards players in the United States. 

Both parties are already suing each other in Korea, and she further noted that Choi and Park "obviously are amenable to (and have already accepted) service of process in a Korean forum."

During the case, Nexon tried arguing against letting its country's courts get involved, as it believes they are "powerless to compel the production of certain evidence." Even so, Lin was firm in her decision, saying that this issue may be more of a Korean matter given the parties involved and laws cited. 

"None of Nexon’s claims arise under any federal or state consumer protection laws," she continued. "Although some witnesses may be domestic, most of the witnesses and evidence are located in Korea or written in Korean. [...] These facts suggest that it would be more convenient for all Parties to litigate this matter in Korea."

As it stands, nothing has changed substantially beyond the fact that Nexon and Ironmace's case may be taken to court in South Korea. Dark and Darker is still delisted from Steam, and at time of writing, neither party has made a statement on the dismissed case or the possible case to come.

Update: This post has been corrected to state that US judge Tana Lin dismissed the case on the grounds of Korea being a better alternative to litigate Nexon's claim. She did not decide on the case's merits, and we regret the error. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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