• Author arn
  • Posted On2008-08-25 10:33:03
  • News

Tris [App Store] developer Noah Witherspoon posts that his very popular Tetris clone will be removed from the App Store as of Wednesday, August 27th.

The removal is due to a copyright claim made by the Tetris company.

Well — I've received notice from Apple that they've been contacted by The Tetris® Company about Tris. That, I'm afraid, is essentially game over. Do they have a case? No. Not really. I am convinced that if it went to court, the "copyright" claim would get thrown out completely. The trademark, perhaps not — but if I changed the name, to e.g. “Trys”, that would be much harder for them to argue. 

Witherspoon reports that as a college student he does not have the resources to fight this action and so the application will be removed on Wednesday.

Tris is a free download and remains in the App Store at this time. [Download]

  • CSJ

    I'm tired of apps getting pulled for grey-area copyright/trademark reasons! First PhoneSaber, now this. I'm glad I have both of them already on my phone and system.

  • CSJ

    I'm tired of apps getting pulled for grey-area copyright/trademark reasons! First PhoneSaber, now this. I'm glad I have both of them already on my phone and system.

  • http://robmaurizi.com Rob

    Damn, that's too bad... Awesome version of the game at the best price possible.

    Kudos to the developer for writing it though, and I'm sure there will be plenty of work for him once he's out of school.

  • http://robmaurizi.com Rob

    Damn, that's too bad... Awesome version of the game at the best price possible.

    Kudos to the developer for writing it though, and I'm sure there will be plenty of work for him once he's out of school.

  • Nanda

    That's too bad, this is the best tetris game since the gameboy.

  • Nanda

    That's too bad, this is the best tetris game since the gameboy.

  • Omar

    Should have thought about that before he made the app. Sucks he has to get it pulled, and sucks that he's a college student.

  • Omar

    Should have thought about that before he made the app. Sucks he has to get it pulled, and sucks that he's a college student.

  • Pingback: Tris to Be Removed from App Store | FingerGaming

  • http://fingergaming.com/ Matt Burris

    This is the same thing that happened with Flying Rider, the Line Rider clone. Seems as the more lucrative the App Store becomes, the more sue-happy companies will get.

    Tris is definitely one of the more fun free games out there, I really enjoy how they handled the controls, it just feels very natural and smooth.

  • http://fingergaming.com/ Matt Burris

    This is the same thing that happened with Flying Rider, the Line Rider clone. Seems as the more lucrative the App Store becomes, the more sue-happy companies will get.

    Tris is definitely one of the more fun free games out there, I really enjoy how they handled the controls, it just feels very natural and smooth.

  • David P

    This is my favorite time waster. Once you get used to the controls, it's very natural. I play this at least three times a day.

    It's ashame it's gonna get pulled. Doesn't EFF help out with this kind of stuff?

  • David P

    This is my favorite time waster. Once you get used to the controls, it's very natural. I play this at least three times a day.

    It's ashame it's gonna get pulled. Doesn't EFF help out with this kind of stuff?

  • Pingback: get “Tris” free till Wednesday | Games Are Evil: Console, Portable, iPhone Gaming Magazine

  • Ryan

    Another reason why the app store is fail....

  • Ryan

    Another reason why the app store is fail....

  • bud

    NO. The App Store isn't a fail. The copyright laws are. Do you think a game like Tris can be sold via another outlet on another phone? No. Same problem there. Plenty of people are coming up with new an innovative games for the iPhone. And as fun as Tris is, perhaps the dev can be original next time.

    I think it sucks that Tetris IP owners are being draconian. I saw a documentary on the history of Tetris and there was a time early on where there was a big schism between the original creator and the guy who brought it over to the US. And for a while there was a lot of conflict about who could license the game for what platforms and in what countries. It was a mess. So in a way, I can understand a certain amount of protection for their IP.

    There are plenty of other great games. It pays to be original.

  • bud

    NO. The App Store isn't a fail. The copyright laws are. Do you think a game like Tris can be sold via another outlet on another phone? No. Same problem there. Plenty of people are coming up with new an innovative games for the iPhone. And as fun as Tris is, perhaps the dev can be original next time.

    I think it sucks that Tetris IP owners are being draconian. I saw a documentary on the history of Tetris and there was a time early on where there was a big schism between the original creator and the guy who brought it over to the US. And for a while there was a lot of conflict about who could license the game for what platforms and in what countries. It was a mess. So in a way, I can understand a certain amount of protection for their IP.

    There are plenty of other great games. It pays to be original.

  • WiseWeasel

    Welcome back to Installer, Tris. The jailbreak community still loves ya!

  • WiseWeasel

    Welcome back to Installer, Tris. The jailbreak community still loves ya!

  • Ryan

    @bud

    There are a plethora of tetris clones on a plethora of systems. Heck, I used to have it on my TI-83 system. The copyright is paper thin and if the guy had the money he'd win in a heartbeat. The fact of the matter is that regardless, Aple would pull the app.

    The App store fails on a LOT of fronts...this is just one of many. App developers are severely limited. The iPhone is the ONLY phone out there that requires you to jump through all these hoops to get an app released, and it's the only phone out there that requires you to go through the company itself to get apps on the device as an end user. It sucks. Period. But....it's all we have so we deal with it.

  • Ryan

    @bud

    There are a plethora of tetris clones on a plethora of systems. Heck, I used to have it on my TI-83 system. The copyright is paper thin and if the guy had the money he'd win in a heartbeat. The fact of the matter is that regardless, Aple would pull the app.

    The App store fails on a LOT of fronts...this is just one of many. App developers are severely limited. The iPhone is the ONLY phone out there that requires you to jump through all these hoops to get an app released, and it's the only phone out there that requires you to go through the company itself to get apps on the device as an end user. It sucks. Period. But....it's all we have so we deal with it.

  • arn

    @ryan I think you are way off.

    #1 Apple can't get in the middle of legal disputes. I don't expect them to. The only reason it became an issue is that Tris has reached a level of popularity that few other homebrew apps do. And that leads to #2:

    #2 Despite all the "limitations" you list, the App Store is the easiest way to get apps on any device. Other phone companies are racing to come up with their own versions of it.

  • arn

    @ryan I think you are way off.

    #1 Apple can't get in the middle of legal disputes. I don't expect them to. The only reason it became an issue is that Tris has reached a level of popularity that few other homebrew apps do. And that leads to #2:

    #2 Despite all the "limitations" you list, the App Store is the easiest way to get apps on any device. Other phone companies are racing to come up with their own versions of it.

  • http://www.davidleblond.com/ David Leblond

    @ryan

    Yes there are a ton of clones, so many that The Tetris Company couldn't possibly go after them all. But one that has lots of exposure (like Tris), they lock in on. Can't see how that is Apple's fault.

  • http://www.davidleblond.com/ David Leblond

    @ryan

    Yes there are a ton of clones, so many that The Tetris Company couldn't possibly go after them all. But one that has lots of exposure (like Tris), they lock in on. Can't see how that is Apple's fault.

  • Joe

    Where's the gray area? Witherspoon made an almost exact copy of a game that's copyrighted by someone else.

  • Joe

    Where's the gray area? Witherspoon made an almost exact copy of a game that's copyrighted by someone else.

  • bud

    @ryan
    I think arn said it already in his #2 reply. But to be more specific, you should look into truly how many hoops devs have jump through to get approved apps on other platforms. First, there's the initial higher cost of the SDK. Often the telecos impose restrictions on what's allowed. Then if you want your app to reach a large audience you'll end up paying a large sum to list on a popular mobile apps site.

    But set aside all the above and consider games only. You want official apps on the DS or PSP? How strenuous do you think the approval process is for those gaming platforms? You certainly won't see any unsanctioned Tetris clones.

  • bud

    @ryan
    I think arn said it already in his #2 reply. But to be more specific, you should look into truly how many hoops devs have jump through to get approved apps on other platforms. First, there's the initial higher cost of the SDK. Often the telecos impose restrictions on what's allowed. Then if you want your app to reach a large audience you'll end up paying a large sum to list on a popular mobile apps site.

    But set aside all the above and consider games only. You want official apps on the DS or PSP? How strenuous do you think the approval process is for those gaming platforms? You certainly won't see any unsanctioned Tetris clones.

  • arn

    @Joe I think the grey area is that you can't "copyright" a game concept. Patent perhaps. There appears to be a long history of Tetris legal battles
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris#History

    arn

  • arn

    @Joe I think the grey area is that you can't "copyright" a game concept. Patent perhaps. There appears to be a long history of Tetris legal battles
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris#History

    arn

  • Noodles

    The real shame here is that the commercially available alternative (at least, in the countries where it's available - not here for example) is a poorer game in terms of the classic gameplay that Tetris is famous for.

    This free game is much more faithful to the original that everyone fell in love with, and unlike the commercial version it contains no buggy behaviour. If the Tetris Company knew smart business it'd buy the code or hire the developer of Tris to continue development, because Tris is so much better than the EA version.

  • Noodles

    The real shame here is that the commercially available alternative (at least, in the countries where it's available - not here for example) is a poorer game in terms of the classic gameplay that Tetris is famous for.

    This free game is much more faithful to the original that everyone fell in love with, and unlike the commercial version it contains no buggy behaviour. If the Tetris Company knew smart business it'd buy the code or hire the developer of Tris to continue development, because Tris is so much better than the EA version.

  • rd

    Please have the developer release the source code.
    Buy the time I buy ipod Touch. The download will be gone.
    I can build it myself. TIA

  • rd

    Please have the developer release the source code.
    Buy the time I buy ipod Touch. The download will be gone.
    I can build it myself. TIA

  • Ataru

    Considering that TRIS is the only Tetris game on the iPhone available here in the UK (EA's official Tetris is not on the UK iTunes store at all), this is really lame.

  • Ataru

    Considering that TRIS is the only Tetris game on the iPhone available here in the UK (EA's official Tetris is not on the UK iTunes store at all), this is really lame.

  • http://gavinovz.wordpress.com thegavino

    Darn it, I loved that game..

  • http://gavinovz.wordpress.com thegavino

    Darn it, I loved that game..

  • Gregz0r

    @ rd:
    Download it now via iTunes. It should stay there, until you get your Touch, where you can sync it.
    It'll be good to see if the Apple Remote App Kill0r™ will be implemented here. Seeing as it's a free app, there'll be no worries(for Apple anyway) if they suddenly wiped it from ALL devices, lol. Be a good test for them, I'd guess. I'm keeping it on my iPhone to see if this happens. :P (not that I want it to)

  • Gregz0r

    @ rd:
    Download it now via iTunes. It should stay there, until you get your Touch, where you can sync it.
    It'll be good to see if the Apple Remote App Kill0r™ will be implemented here. Seeing as it's a free app, there'll be no worries(for Apple anyway) if they suddenly wiped it from ALL devices, lol. Be a good test for them, I'd guess. I'm keeping it on my iPhone to see if this happens. :P (not that I want it to)

  • SteveJ

    If you make what is essentially an exact duplicate of Tetris (just adapted to the iPhone's controls) and price it for free when there is a commercial, license-paying version of the game available on something as big as the AppStore, you are asking for trouble.

    You can get away with that kind of thing in the Jailbreak world because the Jailbreak community is so tiny. I'm sure Tris will live on there, so those of you unwilling to pay $10 for EA's (well-reviewed) Tetris, you can always Jailbreak.

    Hopefully the developer of Tris won't just go back to the jailbreak world and keep producing exact clones of existing games. Maybe now they will put their obvious talents into something more original.

  • SteveJ

    If you make what is essentially an exact duplicate of Tetris (just adapted to the iPhone's controls) and price it for free when there is a commercial, license-paying version of the game available on something as big as the AppStore, you are asking for trouble.

    You can get away with that kind of thing in the Jailbreak world because the Jailbreak community is so tiny. I'm sure Tris will live on there, so those of you unwilling to pay $10 for EA's (well-reviewed) Tetris, you can always Jailbreak.

    Hopefully the developer of Tris won't just go back to the jailbreak world and keep producing exact clones of existing games. Maybe now they will put their obvious talents into something more original.

  • http://www.3deified.net Easy Writer

    The guys who hold the Tetris license have been sue happy forever. The problem is that they use the threat of litigation to over-extend a basic trademark right to work like a patent right in order to keep the concept of a Tetris-like game all to themselves. That is illegal. But they get away with it because the nice guys who make tetris clones can't be bothered to go through the legal process.

    Personally, if I were an intellectual property lawyer, I'd volunteer my time on this case to resolve it once and for all. It would only take a day in court to get a precedent on the books. Then we'd all be free from the Tetris a$$holes for good.

    As for Apple, they are being wussies. Unless the Tetris company gets an injunction against the distribution of the tetris clone while litigation is underway, Apple should just keep on distributing it. But if they did that, the games author would probably ask them to pull it for him. :)

  • http://www.3deified.net Easy Writer

    The guys who hold the Tetris license have been sue happy forever. The problem is that they use the threat of litigation to over-extend a basic trademark right to work like a patent right in order to keep the concept of a Tetris-like game all to themselves. That is illegal. But they get away with it because the nice guys who make tetris clones can't be bothered to go through the legal process.

    Personally, if I were an intellectual property lawyer, I'd volunteer my time on this case to resolve it once and for all. It would only take a day in court to get a precedent on the books. Then we'd all be free from the Tetris a$$holes for good.

    As for Apple, they are being wussies. Unless the Tetris company gets an injunction against the distribution of the tetris clone while litigation is underway, Apple should just keep on distributing it. But if they did that, the games author would probably ask them to pull it for him. :)

  • http://www.3deified.net Easy Writer

    I should also mention that "copyright" doesn't extend to software concepts. That's why we always have to agree to those stupid "shrinkwrap" licences (you know, the scroll to the bottom and click OK things). It's basically a private contract between the software vendor and you.

  • http://www.3deified.net Easy Writer

    I should also mention that "copyright" doesn't extend to software concepts. That's why we always have to agree to those stupid "shrinkwrap" licences (you know, the scroll to the bottom and click OK things). It's basically a private contract between the software vendor and you.

  • Fraser

    Does anyone realize who controls the Tetris company? The original creator of the game. It's not just some faceless corporation, he has every right to defend the property rights that have been abused for so long by both his country and countless companies over these years.

  • Fraser

    Does anyone realize who controls the Tetris company? The original creator of the game. It's not just some faceless corporation, he has every right to defend the property rights that have been abused for so long by both his country and countless companies over these years.

  • Bingo

    Any way to still get it? It has apparently been pulled before I could grab it...

  • Bingo

    Any way to still get it? It has apparently been pulled before I could grab it...

  • Clara

    I got Tris before it was pulled and from the hype I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, it doesn't rotate the pieces correctly. This drives me nuts :(

  • Clara

    I got Tris before it was pulled and from the hype I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, it doesn't rotate the pieces correctly. This drives me nuts :(

  • Bingo

    Thank You Dan...You Da'Man! (couldn't resist!)

  • Bingo

    Thank You Dan...You Da'Man! (couldn't resist!)

  • Hugo

    hey Dan thank you for the download, but is asking me to get it authorize and to input your itunes password, please help.

  • Hugo

    hey Dan thank you for the download, but is asking me to get it authorize and to input your itunes password, please help.

  • Fat Phil

    Copyright law doesn't protect a concept, but rather appearance and name (the branding).

    He could fix this by simply replacing the coloured cubes with spheres or alternate shapes.

    I get pretty narked when I see lazy clones (like the recent Tempest clone), but there's enough space out there for improving on ideas and providing choice, which is precisely what the law permits.

    Making a decent game is a lot of effort - shame to waste all that by taking the easy road.

  • Fat Phil

    Copyright law doesn't protect a concept, but rather appearance and name (the branding).

    He could fix this by simply replacing the coloured cubes with spheres or alternate shapes.

    I get pretty narked when I see lazy clones (like the recent Tempest clone), but there's enough space out there for improving on ideas and providing choice, which is precisely what the law permits.

    Making a decent game is a lot of effort - shame to waste all that by taking the easy road.

  • Eric

    Is there any way to get Tris back??

  • Eric

    Is there any way to get Tris back??

  • http://myspace.com/kurogane08 Oscar parrilla

    hey dudes can anyone give me a copy of the TRIS GAME? PLZ? hit me up on myspace if you can thanks! i love this freaking game! makes the original tetris look like a joke.

  • http://myspace.com/kurogane08 Oscar parrilla

    hey dudes can anyone give me a copy of the TRIS GAME? PLZ? hit me up on myspace if you can thanks! i love this freaking game! makes the original tetris look like a joke.