Beijing Olympics Update

Apr 30

Stop Stealing
I still get asked about what happened with the Olympics stealing my game last year. I’ll try to bring everyone up to speed here.

What happened?
The Olympics stole my game.
I made a blog post about it here, and was later contacted by a reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald who wanted to write an article about the story. Apparently the reporter also contacted the Olympic Organization. While they didn’t comment for the story, the pirated game was quickly taken off the site.

Did you sue them?
No. My intention was never to sue. The only damage I suffered was the cost of a license for the game which would be at most a couple thousand dollars. It wouldn’t have been worth the effort for such a small matter. I was told though that had I registered the copyrights for the game, I wouldn’t have had to prove damages and could have gotten a large settlement just by proving they stole my game (which would have been incredibly easy). Let this be a lesson to you kids—always register your copyrights.

Did you at least get some publicity from it?
I got a fair amount of traffic to my site for a couple of days.
Something unfortunate happened with most of the major coverage of the story though. Ars Technica wrote up a nice article about the story and contacted me for comment. Unfortunately, for some reason they neglected to put any links in the story to my site, my games, or my blog entry even though they mention all three in the article. So I got virtually no traffic from that story.

To make matters worse, most of the other sites that picked up the story were either summarizing the Ars Technica story or simply posting a snippet from it, so none of these articles (like this one on Kotaku) brought me any traffic either.

Beyond just being disappointed that I wasn’t getting hits on my site, I felt the Ars article misrepresented the story. Even though they neglected to link to any comparisons of my game to the stolen one, they did link to the other games that were much more nuanced rips of the Orisinal games. So anyone reading the story checked out those games which are pretty similar, but not blatant copies like the one they made of mine, and concluded that I was just being whiny that someone made a game similar to mine.
I wrote to Ars Technica about this and they put up a new story with links to my stuff. I thought that was nice of them, but it doesn’t really correct the problem that anyone who comes across the original story is going to be misled about what really happened.

Did you ever hear anything from the Olympics?
No. I sent letters to both the BOCOG and (the company that made the web site) asking for a public apology and received no response.

The stupidest part about this whole thing is that if they had just contacted me, I would have been thrilled to license them the game, or to create something custom for the Olympics. It would have worked out better for everyone involved.