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Sony prevails in copyright lawsuit over God of War

Judge rules that basic idea for a story cannot be owned

Sony and game designer David Jaffe have prevailed in a court battle against screenplay writers who claimed that God of War infringed on their copyright.

Jonathan Bissoon-Dath and Jennifer Dath said that they conceived the idea behind the game God of War, having submitted two treatments and two screenplays based on a story involving a Spartan attack on Athens and the resulting effort by the Greek Gods to restore peace.

But Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled against the pair in her verdict, concluding there were key differences between their story and Sony's, and that the basic idea for a story cannot be owned anyway.

"While violence is not absent from plaintiffs' works, it lacks the thematic centrality and intensity seen in God of War. For instance, plaintiffs' protagonist refuses to kill such an 'amazing animal' as the rampaging Nemean Lion and instead transforms the beast into his 'tamed pet'," she said in a verdict published in full by the Hollywood Reporter.

"No one can own the basic idea for a story. General plot ideas are not protected by copyright law; they remain forever the common property of artistic mankind," the verdict concluded.

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