Beiswenger may have dismissed his suit against Ubisoft in the Assassin’s Creed dispute, but the battle is not over yet. In the original case, John Beiswenger sued Ubisoft for copyright infringement, alleging that Ubisoft copied elements of his book, “Link,” in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. In a statement made to Gamasutra, a Ubisoft representative said “The plaintiff in the case alleging copyright infringement by Ubisoft has dropped his claim, without settlement. Ubisoft believes this suit was frivolous and without merit, and is seeking a ruling to prevent future related claims.” The complaint that Ubisoft filed alleges Beiswenger attempted to protect elements of his work that are not able to receive protection under copyright law. The complaint continues, “A declaration is necessary to enable Ubisoft to continue to develop and market creative content under the Assassin’s Creed brand free from the cloud that Beiswenger’s meritless claims have placed over Ubisoft’s right to do so.”
It’s hard to play The Ville without feeling some wholesale deja vu. . . . [E]very trait that has made The Sims iconic has been rehashed by Zynga. Characters in The Ville communicate via pictographs and a garbled language. Even their bodily gestures are eerily similar to what you find in The Sims.
The reviewers at the website Mashable also found similarities between the two games, stating “at first glance, The Ville bears such a striking resemblance to The Sims we’d be surprised if the average person could tell the difference between the two games.” Accordingly, Electronic Arts alleged that Zynga could have designed The Ville in a different way as not to infringe upon Electronic Art’s Copyrights.
Before delving into the specific instances of copying in its own game, Electronic Arts boldly outed a criticism held by many about the casual gaming giant: Zynga achieves success through copying other products instead of through creative innovation. Electronic Arts claimed that this was not the first time Zynga had been accused of copyright infringement. For example, Zynga was sued in 2009 for copying the game Mob Wars when it released Mafia Wars in 2008. Zynga was sued again in 2011 by SocialApps for copying the game myFarm (among others) to create the popular game Farmville. In its complaint, Electronic Arts accuses several other popular Zynga games of being clones of previously existing intellectual property. Such instances of copying include the “cloning” of Playfish’s Restaurant City to create Cafe World, Crowdstar’s Happy Aquarium to create FishVille, and Nimblebit’s Tiny Tower to create Dream Heights. Electronic Arts also quoted an article in SF Weekly Magazine that described Zynga’s business model. The headline of this article allegedly describes the strategy behind Zynga’s success: “Steal Someone else’s game. Change its name. Make Millions. Repeat.” In this article, the CEO of Zynga is quoted as saying “I don’t f[***]ing want innovation. . . . You’re not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers.” Electronic Arts concluded that Zynga had a history of copying other competitors and believes that Zynga is now engaged in the same business practice with The Sims Social.
In its complaint, Electronic Arts pointed to several areas where Zynga allegedly copied the protectable original expression in “The Sims Social,” “i.e. the game’s animation sequences, visual arrangements, characters’ motions and actions, and other unique audio-visual elements.” The character creator used by “The Ville” is one such element that Electronic Arts believes was copied from its own game. For example, six out of nine personality types in The Ville, “Jock, Artist, Charmer, Partier, Mogul, and Scoundrel,” can be compared with EA’s “Athlete, Creative, Romantic, Socialite, Tycoon, and Villain” personality types. Electronic Arts further noted that these personality types were not required in a simulation game since the original The Sims used different personality types such as playfulness. Electronic Arts went even further by accusing Zynga of copying animations used to designate the aforementioned personality types. For example, the animation associated with a “creative” or “artist” personality type includes the selected character writing on a notepad. Electronic Arts also found similarities in the ways that users customize their characters’ skin tones and outfits. For example, Electronic Arts alleged that Zynga copied the RGB values to create the same skin tone colors as those found in “The Sims Social.” Since RGB values can be combined to create “more than 16 million different color combinations,” Electronic Arts concluded that “there is an infinitesimally small chance that the use of the same RGB values for skin tone in The Ville as The Sims Social is mere coincidence.”
Electronic Arts also detailed similarities between houses in The Sims Social and The Ville such as the basic dimensions of the houses, the wall heights, and decorations. For example, Electronic Arts highlighted how a user could create an almost identical house in The Ville to one he created in The Sims Social. Electronic Arts also noted that many of the objects and appliances that can be bought in The Ville are similar to those that can be bought in The Sims Social, and that these objects increase the value of the user’s home in the same way. Since many of the objects found in both games are so similar, Electronic Arts stated that “is apparent that Zynga used the EA art as a reference point.” The game mechanisms related to the way a user’s house can be viewed were also allegedly copied from Electronic Arts according to the complaint. For example, The Sims franchise has traditionally included a “walls down” way of looking at a building. This feature allows users to look at their house without walls showing, giving users a different perspective. Electronic Arts alleges that Zynga copied this feature almost exactly, even keeping the floating windows and doors visible when in “walls down” mode.
Other elements that were allegedly copied by Zynga include characters’ “bodily needs.” Electronic Arts believes that Zynga not only copied these bodily needs themselves, but also the way that these are represented in game. Electronic Arts used the showering sequence used in both games to exemplify this type of copying. In The Sims Social, a character approaches the shower, takes his clothes off in an animated spin, walks into the shower wearing under garments or a bathing suit, and then proceeds to shower. After the character walks into the shower, the curtain closes and steam rises from the top of the shower. Electronic Arts alleges that Zynga copied this “original and unique” animation sequence in The Ville.
Finally, Electronic Arts alleged that Zynga copied the “unique visual manner and style” of The Sim Social’s social interaction mechanisms. For example, Electronic Arts claims that its feature of letting players invite others into their own houses is unique in the sphere of social games. By including this feature in The Ville, Electronic Arts alleges that Zynga copied The Sims Social. Electronic Arts also alleged that Zynga copied other social interaction mechanisms from The Sims Social, such as the visual separation of romantic interactions from friendly interactions. The way that characters communicate with one another is also a similarity noted by Electronic Arts. Characters in The Sims franchise have usually “spoken” to one another using a gibberish language and images in speech bubbles. Electronic Arts alleges that Zynga “animat[es] in a similar style and show[s] speech and/or thought balloons above them,” also using “garbled language for its characters, remarkably similar to Simlish in The Sims Social.” Electronic Arts also notes other similar animations for interactions between characters such as dancing or cuddling on a couch.
More information will be released when it becomes available to us.
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
Case No. 6:2012cv00470, Filed on July 20, 2012
Mojang, the studio responsible for creating the game Minecraft, has been targeted in a recent patent infringement suit by Uniloc USA and Uniloc Luxembourg. In its complaint, Uniloc alleges that Mojang infringed upon its Patent No.6,857,067 entitled ” “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PREVENTING UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO ELECTRONIC DATA.” Mojang allegedly infringed Uniloc’s patent through making its Android applications available over mobile devices that “require communication with a server to perform a license check to prevent the unauthorized use of said application[s].”
According to Uniloc’s complaint, “said applications” include Mojang’s most famous game, “Mindcraft.” Yes, “Mindcraft.” Uniloc was most likely referring to “Minecraft,” the critically acclaimed game that has sold more than 4 million copies since 2009. Mojang’s Notch released a copy of the complaint over twitter, also stating that: “Unfortunately for them, they’re suing us over a software patent. If needed, I will throw piles of money at making sure they don’t get a cent.”
This article will be updated when more information becomes available to us.
Case no. 5:2012cv03881 , Filed on July 24, 2012
A settlement has finally been reached in the lengthy battle over Electronic Arts’ football video games. In 2008, plaintiffs sued Electronic Arts alleging that Electronic Arts violated several antitrust and restraint of trade laws by entering into exclusive licensing agreements with the NFL, NFL Players Association, AFL, NCAA, CLC, and ESPN. Through these licensing agreements, the plaintiffs alleged that Electronic Arts excluded competitors from entering the football video game market and was able to inflate prices due to its monopoly in violation of several antitrust and fair trade laws including California’s Cartwright Act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code Sec. 16720, et seq., California’s unfair Compettiion Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code Sec. 17200, et seq., and the federal Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 2. Plaintiffs claimed that Electronic Arts entered into exclusive licensing agreements as a response to competition from Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. that offered discount pricing. In December 2009, Plaintiffs filled a motion to certify the class that was granted by Chief Judge Walker who certified a nationwide class that includes “[a]ll persons in the United States who purchased Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL, NCAA or Arena Football League brand interactive football software, excluding software for mobile devices…with a release date of January 1, 2005.”
To give you an idea of how extensive this case became, Class Counsel analyzed and reviewed more than 2 million pages of documents produced by Electronic Arts and third parties and took 22 depositions, and responded to 1,295 requests for admission during discovery. Experts were brought in by both parties who produced “two lengthy reports involving economic analyses of the parties’ claims and defenses” exploring such topics as the economic implications of Electronic Arts’ exclusive licenses. During this discovery period, Plaintiffs and Defendants participated in the first of two mediations, however no agreement was made. During the second mediation that took place on May 4, 2012, the parties reached this settlement agreement. As part of the settlement agreement, Electronic Arts agreed to pay $27 million into a settlement fund. In addition, Electronic Arts can no longer enter or renew an exclusive trademark license with the AFL for 5 years, nor can Electronic Arts renew an exclusive collegiate football trademark license with the CLC that is set to expire in 2014. Part of this settlement agreement also prohibits Electronic Arts from entering any new exclusive trademark license with the NCAA, CLC, or NCAA member institution covered by the exclusive license for “a period of 5 years thereafter.” The agreement also allows counsel for plaintiffs to request fees up to 30 percent of the fund not exceeding $2,000,000, and that Electronic Arts would not “oppose a request for attorney’s fees and costs within these limits.”
For Class Members seeking to get compensation out of the Net Settlement Fund (the amount left over in the fund after other costs have been deducted), they can expect payments according to the type of video game purchased. For example, after filing a claim form, a class member who purchased a Sixth Generation Title is entitled to a cash payment of “up to $6.79 per unit purchased, up to a maximum of eight units ($54.32).” Comparatively, a purchaser of a Seventh Generation Title is only entitled to $1.95 per unit up to $15.60 for 8 units. If the Net Settlement Fund does run out, then the parties will identify other Sixth Generation purchasers who have not filed a claim form through addresses that they had provided to Electronic Arts.
If you are seeking more information on this case or the settlement agreement, you can visit www.easportslitigation.com.
In its complaint, Blizzard alleged that Reeves had violated its copyrights, circumvented copyright protection systems, and engaged in unfair competition among other claims. Blizzard alleged that Reeves violated its copyrights through the operation of a website called “scapegaming.” Users of scapegaming’s services did not have to pay a subscription fee and the service allowed users to access unauthorized servers that emulated Blizzard’s own. Furthermore, scapegaming allowed pirated or unauthorized game clients to access its servers since it did not use an anti-piracy system. Blizzard alleged that scapegaming achieved this by reverse engineering code taken from Blizzard’s game client and servers. Users were able to access WoW content through these servers and could make donations to scapegaming to keep its servers operational. Between July 22, 2007, and September 26, 2009, Reeves received approximately $3,052,339 from donations and transactions through Paypal’s “shopping cart.”
After the initiation of this lawsuit, Reeves failed to appear and did not respond to the complaint. Blizzard filed a motion for default judgement that was granted on August 10, 2010. Blizzard was awarded $88,594,539 in damages: $3,052,339 in disgorged profits, $85,478,600 in statutory damages, and $63,600 in attorneys fees. The statutory damages appear suspect, and could be overturned on appeal, but in view of the default judgment it doesn’t appeal likely that will happen.
On April 27, 2012, Judge William Alsup of the Northern California District Court denied Textron’s motion to dismiss, stay, or transfer the action. Textron argued that Electronic Arts had engaged in a race to the courthouse and forum shopping when it filed for declaratory judgment. The Judge reasoned that Electronic Arts acted to seek a determination of its rights and that it did not have to wait until Textron decided to sue. The court further rejected Textron’s argument that Electronic Arts engaged in forum shopping.
United States District Court, Central District of California
Case No. 2:2011cv08173, Filed On October 3, 2011
Courthouse News has recently reported that ProCloud Media Invest AB has brought a suit against Paramount Pictures Corporation for breach of contract and unjust enrichment when Paramount allegedly walked away from an agreement between the two companies. ProCloud is suing for $10 million dollars, claiming that it had an agreement with Paramount for the exclusive right to develop video games for the media giant. ProCloud claimed that it paid a $500,000 license fee for the rights to develop video games based off of Paramount movies on two occasions: once as part of the original agreement, and again when this agreement was amended. The head of Paramount Digital Entertainment was fired, however, after the agreement was amended, and the Digital Entertainment division was shut down. ProCloud claimed that since Paramount had changed its organizational structure, it has been difficult to speak to anyone knowledgeable of the agreement and ProCloud has been unable to fulfill its part of the agreement. Regardless, ProCloud alleges that “Paramount unequivocally indicated it did not intend to continue with the deal.”
More information will be added as it becomes available to us.
This page will be updated when we receive new information.
In March this year, Swedish Minecraft developer Mojang and Zenimax/Bethesda Softworks settled a lawsuit over the trademark “Scrolls.” Mojang had filed a trademark registration for this mark on May 17, 2011, intending for it to be used as the title of Mojang’s latest game. Mojang’s founder Marcus “Notch” Persson revealed through twitter that he had received a letter from Zenimax/Bethesda alleging that the name “Scrolls” infringed upon Bethesda’s trademarks for The Elder Scrolls. Meanwhile, The USPTO issued a letter on September 13th, 2011, that refused the trademark, stating that it was likely to be confused with The Elder Scrolls trademarks: “The examining attorney refuses registration under Trademark Act Section 2(d), 15 U.S.C. §1052(d), because the applicant’s mark, when used on or in connection with the identified goods and services, so resembles the marks in U.S. Registration Nos. 2634683, 2861127, 3375520, 3421731 and 3584564 (THE ELDER SCROLLS) and 4010219 (SCROLLS) as to be likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive.” Zenimax/Bethesda ended up filing suit against Mojang on September 27, 2011, in Swedish court.
In this high profile case, trademark issues were highlighted by individuals on both sides of the fence. In his blog, Perrson stated “The implication that you could own the right to all individual words within a trademark is also a bit scary. We looked things up and realized they didn’t have much of a case, but we still took it seriously. Nothing about Scrolls is meant to in any way derive from or allude to their games.” As reported by Kotaku, Vice president of Bethesda Pete Hines explained that “This is a business matter based on how trademark law works and it will continue to be dealt with by lawyers who understand it, not by me or our developers…Nobody here enjoys being forced into this. Hopefully it will all be resolved soon.” What both Perrson and Hines are alluding to are the nuances in Trademark law. Trademark infringement can occur if a company uses a mark that would cause confusion, mistake, or deception regarding another mark. Furthermore, if a mark holder does not act to protect his trademark, his mark may become weakened or he may lose rights over the mark.
Evony filed its verified complaint on January 21, 2011. Holland failed to return and answer within 21 days after service of the summons. On February 22, 2011, Evony filed a motion for default judgment. The judge granted this motion on March 31, 2011 and awarded Evony $300,000 in statutory damages. Whether Evony ever collects that money is another matter entirely…
A recent decision coming from the Southern District of New York raises important implications about the usage of trademarks without permission in artistic works. While this case concerns the usage of unauthorized trademarks in film, the reasoning may be applied to video games as “artistic works.” Electronic Arts is engaged in a similar legal battle with Textron over its usage of helicopters in Battlefield 3. Electronic Arts’ First Amendment defense is comparable to that of Warner Brothers in a case with film as the medium instead of a video game.
In Louis Vuitton Mallatier S.A. v. Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc., the court declared that Warner Brothers did not infringe upon Louis Vuitton’s trademarks when it used a knock-off Louis Vuitton bag in “The Hangover: Part II.” Warner Brothers admitted that it had used a knockoff bag from Diophy, a company that makes knock-off bags that imitate the Louis Vuitton Toile monogram, however claimed that it was protected by the First Amendment and filed for a motion to dismiss. In the contested scene of the film, the main characters are walking through an airport. One of the characters, Alan, carries the knock-off bag while a porter transports several luggage pieces behind him. As the characters sit down, Alan puts the knock-off bag on a chair between him and “Stu,” another main character in the film. Stu moves the bag and Alan quips, “Careful that is … that is a Lewis Vuitton.”
As emphasized by the court’s opinion, it is important to distinguish what Louis Vuitton was actually claiming in this suit. In this case, Louis Vuitton was suing over the usage a third party’s product that allegedly infringed upon its trademarks. Unlike the Hyundai case decided in Louis Vuitton’s favor earlier this year, the bag company did not claim that Warner Brothers misled the audience to believe that Louis Vuitton sponsored or was affiliated with the film. Likewise, Louis Vuitton did not protest the usage of its trademarks in the film or the reference to its name. Instead, the company alleged that the usage of the Diophy bag would confuse the audience into believing that the bag was a Louis Vuitton product and that Louis Vuitton “sponsored or approved of Warner Bros.’ use and misrepresentation of the infringing Diophy [b]ag as a genuine product of Louis Vuitton in The Hangover: Part II.” In its complaint, Louis Vuitton further asserted that the use of the Diophy bag “is likely to blur the distinctiveness of the LVM Marks” and “tarnish the LVM Marks by associating Louis Vuitton with the poor quality and shoddy reputation of the cheap products bearing the Knock-Off Monogram Design.”
Judge Carter cited Rogers v. Grimaldi in his analysis of Warner Bros.’ claim of First Amendment protection. Under Rogers, artistic works are given protection from the Lanham Act when they include an unauthorized use of a trademark when the usage is “(1) “artistically relevant” to the work and (2) not “explicitly misleading” as to the source or content of the work.” 875 F.2d at 999. The court determined that Warner Bros.’ usage of the bag was “artistically relevant” to the film since it played a role in defining Alan’s personality and relationship with other characters in the movie. According to the opinion, the usage of the bag “add[ed] to the image of Alan as a socially inept and comically misinformed character.”
In the court’s analysis of whether the usage of the Diophy bag was “explicitly misleading,” Judge Carter brought up the purpose of the Lanham Act and in what scenarios it can be used to limit freedom of expression. That is, the Lanham Act protects against trademark uses that “dupe consumers into buying a product they mistakenly believe is sponsored by the trademark owner.” In this case, Louis Vuitton did not claim that Warner Brothers misled the audience into believing that it sponsored or was otherwise affiliated with the film. The Judge continued that even if Louis Vuitton did establish a valid claim of confusion, it would still fail because the likelihood of confusion was “not plausible, let alone ‘particularly compelling.'” The Judge noted that it was unlikely that any person in the audience could tell that the bag in the movie was a knock-off. Regarding Louis Vuitton’s claims that the audience would believe the Diophy bag to be an authentic Louis Vuitton bag based off of what Alan said in the movie, Judge Carter held that the statements made by Alan could not be attributed to the views of the film producer. He continued by stating that any misrepresentation made by Alan “assumes that the fictional Alan character knew that his bag was a knock-off; otherwise, he would simply be (innocently) misinformed about the origin of his bag.” Thus, Judge Carter determined that there was no likelihood of confusion when the fictional character Alan claimed that the Diophy bag was a Louis Vuitton product in the film.
Since Warner Brothers’s usage of the Diophy bag was protected by the First Amendment under Rogers, Judge Carter granted the film producer’s motion to dismiss.
Despite Warner Brother’s victory over Louis Vuitton, using trademarks without permission in an artistic work is risky business. For example, Louis Vuitton successfully brought Lanham charges against Hyundai for using its marks in a “luxury” themed commercial. During the 2010 Superbowl, Hyundai aired an advertisement that included a one second shot of a basketball with a pattern resembling Louis Vuitton’s trademarked toile monogram. The court found that Louis Vuitton had established blurring of its trademark according to six factors that answer “whether an association, arising from the similarity of subject marks, ‘impairs the distinctiveness of the famous mark.’” The court rejected Hyundai’s Fair Use and First Amendment defenses and granted Louis Vuitton’s motion for summary judgment. Contrast this case to Caterpillar Inc. v. Walt Disney Co. In this case, Caterpillar sued Disney for trademark infringement and dilution for using its bulldozers and trademarks in the movie “George of the Jungle 2.” In this suit, the judge found that Caterpillar in the film was unlikely to succeed in its trademark dilution and unfair competition claims. In his analysis, the judge asked the question “For example, action movies frequently feature automobiles in a variety of situations. Is the mere appearance of a Ford Taurus in a garden variety car chase scene sufficient by itself to constitute unfair competition?” He concluded that, in regards to Caterpillar, Caterpillar was unlikely to prove unfair competition because “It does not appear to the Court that an intent to free ride on the fame of Caterpillar’s trademarks to spur the sales and awareness for Defendants’ George 2 movie is present here.”
The usage of trademarks without permission in film is analogous to the usage in video games. Using real life products and brands in video games may be desirable for game developers to add to the realism or appeal of the digital worlds that they create. For example, Electronic Arts is engaged in a similar legal battle with Textron over the usage of helicopters in Battlefield 3. In this case, Textron has claimed trademark infringement and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act, unfair competition and misappropriation, and injury to trademarks. Electronic Arts believes that its usage is expressive, and therefor protected by the 1st Amendment. In instances like this, the video game developer’s use of a trademark or product without permission opens the door to more realistic and compelling universes, however the trademark owner may wish to be compensated for its product’s role in the game. For example, Electronic Arts paid Textron for a license to use its property for the previous two Battlefield games. After all, being able to control the trademarked helicopters will surely add to the marketing value of the game. Will Electronic Arts be able to prevail using a similar argument to Warner Brothers or will the court consider the usage to be commercially motivated?
Given the disparity between the aforementioned decisions, it appears that cases such as these are very much fact based. However, when using trademarks or products without asking permission, an important distinction should be made between artistic works and works where usage of the mark is commercially motivated. According to Rogers v. Grimaldi, unauthorized use of a trademark is protected from the Lanham Act if it is artistically relevant and does not mislead the audience as to the source of the trademark. Thus, the usage of a product in a video game may be protected under Rogers and under the First Amendment if it satisfies these two requirements. If the usage of the trademark in a video game is deemed to be commercially motivated or “intends to associate with the mark to exploit the mark’s popularity and good will,” however, protection may not be granted since the usage would fall outside of an artistic work. It is important to note, however, that this threshold is very low according to Judge Carter, who stated in the Warner Brother’s case that “The threshold for ‘artistic relevance’ is purposely low and will be satisfied unless the use ‘has no artistic relevance to the underlying work whatsoever.'” In describing the threshold for artistic relevance, Judge Carter quoted another video game case that used the First Amendment defense to ward off trademark infringement charges: E.S.S. Entertainment 2000, Inc. v. Rock Star Videos, Inc. In this case, the owner of the Los Angeles strip club “Play Pen Gentlemen’s Club” sued Rock Star for its inclusion of a strip club named “Pig Pen” in the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” game. The court rejected ESS’s trademark infringement claim, stating that the game was protected by the First Amendment. In this case, the court decided that the inclusion of a strip club similar to “Play Pen” was artistically relevant, stating that “the level of relevance merely must be above zero.”
The case law on this subject seems to indicate that the usage of trademarks without permission in a video game is allowed if certain requirements are met. That is, the usage will be protected by the First Amendment if it is “(1) “artistically relevant” to the work and (2) not “explicitly misleading” as to the source or content of the work.” 875 F.2d at 999. Fulfilling these requirements does not grant immunity from being sued, however, and the individual circumstances of the usage will be taken into account by the court. It is also important to consider whether or not the usage is being made with commercial motivation or in a way that takes advantage of the trademark’s popularity and good will. Whether or not Electronic Arts succeeds with its First Amendment claims will be highly dependent upon the above factors, and we eagerly look forward to the court’s decision.
In April of 2011, New World brought suit against Zoo for violation of a licensing agreement between the two companies. Law360 reported that under this licensing agreement, New World granted Zoo the rights to produce more than 60 games it owned in exchange for a royalty payment. New World alleged that Zoo had not provided it with any of the royalty accounting and thus the licensing agreement had been breached. Moreover, New World believed that Zoo owed a minimum royalty payment of around $1.9 million. When Zoo refused to pay the minimum royalty payment, New World ended the licensing agreement between them. After this termination, New World determined that Zoo had not ceased the use of its trademarks. In its defense, Zoo alleged that 65 out of 69 games covered by the licensing could not be sold or produced since they were not complete. Zoo further claimed that it had already spent $500,000 on finishing the games so that it could sell them. Besides, Zoo alleged that it had already paid royalties to New World in the amount of $500,000.