Atari Interactive has reportedly issued a complaint against indie developer Black Powder Media and has had its iOS titles Vector Tanks
and Vector Tanks Extreme
removed from the iTunes App Store.
According to Black Powder's Kickstarter page
for the next Vector Tanks
release, Atari is making moves to lock down its IP on mobile platforms, and has filed complaints against Black Powder's games for bearing a "passing resemblance to an Atari classic" -- in this case, that classic is the 1980 arcade game Battlezone
The action exemplifies the often blurry line that developers must walk between work that is inspired by an owned property and work that is considered copyright infringement.
"The cruel irony here is that I tried for years to get ahold of Atari to license their IP but they seemed to have fallen off the planet. Now this. It's very depressing," Vector Tanks
programmer Peter Hirschberg told VentureBeat
"For companies like Atari, our intellectual property portfolio is our most valued asset. While we have great respect for the indie developer community and greatly appreciate the enthusiasm that they have for our renowned properties, we need to vigorously protect our intellectual property and ensure that it is represented in highly innovative games," Atari told Joystiq
Previously, Atari has cracked down on other parties who have allegedly misused its properties, including hobbyist websites
and independent console manufacturers
The company also already distributes several of its classic games on the iTunes App Store, including new versions of Breakout
, as well as the multi-game app, Atari's Greatest Hits