Sunday, March 06, 2005

Online game copyright case in China

JoongAng Daily, Cho Young-tak and Koo Won-mo as the writers, had a wonderful story about the deal between We Made Entertainment and Shanda. The story is called “China proves both profitable, perilous”, Google it while it still is available in the net.

Anyhow, these companies got together in July 2001 and in the beginning, everything went fine. What the deal was all about was that We Made Entertainment needed an operator partner in China for their online game “Legend of Mir 2” and Shanda wanted to have a quality game for distribution to compete against other Chinese online game operators.

The beginning was absolutely stunning, within a year after the market launch, this online game had become a massive hit, garnering about 65% of the market. With the help of this success, Shanda established more connections to Korean online game companies – soon Shanda had become the market leader in online games. However, problems between the two companies evolved from other basic settings. Whenever there was a technical problem, Shanda had to wait assistance from Korea while customer complaints poured in.

Shanda realized the awkward situation and slowly, with the help of substituting Korean titles, was able to diminish its dependence on We Made Entertainment. Finally Shanda published its very own online game called “The World of Legend” and surprise, surprise, We Made Entertainment thought that it reminded too much of their “Legend of Mir 2” online game. Dispute was laid to the table. We do not have the results of this copyright violation case, as it still drags on in Chinese court. This could be an interesting trend setting case that – I bet – many foreign online game companies are following.
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