While the idea of a Tetris movie might inevitably get us thinking about the questionable Pixels, the adaptation of that mythical YouTube video that became popular in 2010, but the truth is that the premise of the new movie Jon S. Baird (El Gordo y el Flaco, Cass) is very interesting.
As has already happened with the creation of Facebook and its legal battle on Fincher’s social network, the tetris movie will tell about the fight for the rights of the legendary video game of Alexei Pajitnov. A pitched battle between Japanese and American companies and the Russian government of an USSR with time running out.
The controversial Tetris property
The origins of Tetris are already quite a worn-out story, and many of us have heard of how a young Pajitnov shaped the idea of Tetris during his stay at Moscow Academy of Computer Sciences. The game turns out to be a genius that soon ends up jumping from its original machine, the Electronics 60, to IBM computers.
With the game’s growing popularity westward, the idea reached the ears of Robert Stein, president of the company Andromeda Software which, to a large extent, was dedicated to acting as an intermediary between the Eastern bloc and the rest of Europe so that the programmers of the USSR could bring their creations out of the Soviet Union.
The idea of Stein is to acquire the publication rights of Tetris of Pajitnov and the Academy, but before even contacting them, he sells the rights to Tetris to Robert Maxwell for your english company Mirrorsoft and its American subsidiary Spectrum Holobyte.
Stein He travels to Moscow to strike a deal with the Russians, but returns empty-handed and begins to devise a plan to seize the rights. during Mirrorsoft and Spectrum Holobyte They release their version of the video game by selling it as ” the first game behind the iron curtain It goes without saying that this becomes a total success.
With Tetris triumphant beyond its borders, the Russians, through a Russian entity called Electronorgtechincafinally agree to give Stein the creation rights for computers, but not for arcade machines or portable versions, and Mirrorsoft and Spectrum are trying to capitalize on their recent success licensing of Tetris rights to other companies.
Mirrorsoft give license to Tetris at Atari for exploitation rights in Japan and the United States and, for its part, Spectre do the same with the company Bulletproof software for publication in Japan. Two companies of the same company selling rights that they do not own for exclusive use to different companies. The soap opera of Robert Maxwell begins to squirm.
Atari Launches an arcade version and another for NES by its subsidiary Tengen, and Armored does the same in the Japanese market with Tetris for Famicom. The game reaches the ears of Nintendo, who decide to enter the fight for the rights to bring the game to NES and its next console, Gameboy.
The Tetris Legal Battle
Negotiations for the rights of Tetris start moving between all parties involved, including Electronorgtechinca, which ensures that you have all rights to the game.
During a meeting in Moscow to clarify the situation, Nintendo’s envoy –Henk Rogers, the president of Bullet-Proof who was already triumphant with the game for Famicom, manages to win the favor of the Russians and takes the portable rights to Tetris at the first meeting of the day. The second meeting, on the other hand, gets a little more awkward. Rogers shows the Russians the game for Famicom and, unsurprisingly, they get angry.
They only the PC operating rights had been transferred Stein, but after Rogers explains that it was Maxwell’s companies that caused the mess, they manage to make a deal to operate the license in laptops and those in the console end up in the air.
After that comes Stein, who are forced to sign a clarification in the contract in which they point out that a PC is a gadget with a processor, monitor, hard drive and keyboard. Solved the panorama, they decide to cede to Stein the operating rights for arcade.
And then the family comes into the picture Maxwell, who also went there to make deals. The Russians show off the cartridge that Rogers showed them and hide behind it saying they had absolutely no knowledge of the situation and that the game must be a pirated copy. They walk away empty-handed, but the right to bid for the remaining rights to Tetris.
A month after the meetings, Rogers he returns to Moscow and manages to get his hands on all rights to Tetris with the portfolio of Nintendo and, as a gift, the possibility that Electronorgtechinca will declare itself in favor of Japanese society in the more than likely legal battle to come.
And my boy, it’s coming. The Tengen of Atari registers the patent of Tetris, Nintendo sends Atari a cease and desist letter to stop selling game cartridges for NES and ultimately Nintendo and Tengen they end up in court decide on the ownership of the license.
At trial, it is ultimately stated that, as neither Mirrorsoft nor Spectrum had the right to Tetris they couldn’t have sold the license to Tengen and Atari, so Nintendo It is the only company that can exploit the license and the rest of the versions must stop selling.
Despite this, the licensing issues continued for a while here and there until 1996. Alexei Pajitnov, who until then had not seen a penny of his creation, founded The Tetris Company and he manages to secure the rights to his game. Even today, Pajitnov is forced to face legal battles so that the idea is not copied by clones.
Source : Gadgetsnow