[Column] Mobile Legends Threatens The Press, Good Luck With That

Riot Games is currently suing Moonton over alleged copyright infringement in regards to their game Mobile Legends. I’m going to reiterate that last statement because Moonton apparently doesn’t want me to tell you this: Moonton is currently being sued in court over alleged copyright infringement regarding Mobile Legends allegedly ripping off League of Legends. Those of you who are interested in reading up on the lawsuit, filed in California, can do so here. If you don’t feel like sifting through 44 pages of legal documents, I’ll be running an In Plain English article summarizing the charges. There are plenty of photos comparing the two games to gawk at, so I recommend taking a look.

The part of this lawsuit that caught my eye is that Moonton needs to read up on the free press and the definition of slander, because the company has posted a threat to the media reporting on this lawsuit: Stop, or potentially face intimidation through legal threats. Moonton posted the below statement on their Facebook page calling the stories “unreal,” and “rumors,” albeit refusing to go into detail on either aspect. For their part, Moonton has explicitly denied all claims of infringement, which can also be read in the statement below. The lawsuit is real, for a case that will occur in a real court in the real state of California.

The lawsuit notes that Riot Games had initially gone through Google and Apple to remove the app from both stores, alleging that Moonton simply changed its name, made minor changes, and put the game back on the store.

Most notably, after Riot discovered Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA and notified Google that the game was infringing, Moonton purported to remove the game from the Google Play store. But that was simply a subterfuge. Immediately after removing Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA, Moonton (without notifying Riot or Google) released a “new” game, Mobile Legends: Bang bang. However, Mobile Legends: Bang bang was not a new game at all, but in fact was the exact same game as Mobile Legends: 5v5 MOBA, with some modest changes. This ploy of “hide the ball” was part of Moonton’s deliberate business strategy, designed to hamper Riot’s ability to protect its intellectual property.

Winning a defamation lawsuit in the United States would be incredibly difficult. It requires that the plaintiff prove that the allegations are false (a nonstarter in this case, as the lawsuit is very real) and that the author knew that the statements were false and can prove material damage related to said statements. In cases of lawsuits, the press can’t be sued for writing about a lawsuit, provided the author isn’t making their own conclusions, and represents the allegations as just that (charges, not convictions). Moonton can’t sue the press for reporting on the allegations made by Riot Games and win, not in the states anyway.

More on this lawsuit to come.

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