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Valve wins copyright infringement case against Vivendi

Half-Life 2 creator Valve Games has announced that a legal complaint filed against publisher Vivendi Universal Games in August 2002 has been upheld by a US court, but several other cases remain outstanding.

Half-Life 2 creator Valve Games has announced that a legal complaint filed against publisher Vivendi Universal Games in August 2002 has been upheld by a US court, but several other cases remain outstanding.

The complaint in question alleged that VU Games - or Sierra On-Line, as then was - had breached its contract with Valve by placing copies of the company's games in cyber cafes around the world.

The US Federal District Court in Seattle has now upheld that complaint, confirming that Vivendi's actions fell outside the terms of its license for Valve's products and that as such, the publisher was breaching copyright by distributing the games to cyber cafes.

"We're happy the court has affirmed the meaning of our publishing contract," Valve boss Gabe Newell said in an official statement today. "This is good news for Valve and its cyber cafî partners around the world."

However, the court has yet to decide what damages, if any, to award to Valve for this breach of contract, and this is only the first battle of what looks set to be a protracted legal war between Valve and Vivendi.

Several other complaints remain outstanding between the two companies - with Valve still waiting to hear judgements on other breach of contract claims related to alleged unpaid royalties and the delay of Counter-Strike Condition Zero past Christmas 2003, while Vivendi has counter-sued with allegations that Valve misled the publisher regarding the development of the Steam online distribution system.

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Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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