Dont Copy Yourself

The case of Burrows v Smith has been heard by the Chancery Division.

Burrows was a computer game designer, he came up with a game in 1998 and very sensibly recorded it in a document. Fast-forward to 2005 and Burrows became an employee of Circle Studion Ltd.

At Circle Studio Ltd Burrows designed a game called Traktix, Traktix included parts of the 1998 game however Circle Studio Ltd did not know this. Effectivley Burrows was copying himself.

Circle Studio Ltd went into liquidation and another company Crush Digital Media bought some of its assets.

Burrows claimed that he gave Circle an implied licence to use the work he had created back in 1998 and that this licence had terminated on Circle’s liquidation. However the judge held that as Circle did not know of elements of the 1998 document being used in Traktrix there was no licence and in fact there was an assignment.

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