Crytek Suing Star Citizen For Copyright Infringement/Breach of Contract

Always read your fine print, folks, it’ll help you out of a lot of problems.

Crytek has officially launched a lawsuit against Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries, alleging copyright infringement and breach of contract. The lawsuit alleges that CIG violated its contract with Crytek back in 2016 when they announced that the first person shooter spinoff Squadron 42 would be sold as a separate product. According to the lawsuit, Crytek contacted CIG to inform them that their license only covered one game, and thus Squadron 42 was not licensed for use with their engine.

Crytek has not been compensated for Defendants’ unlicensed use of Crytek technology in the Squadron 42 game, and has been substantially harmed by being deprived of that compensation, which would ordinarily include a substantial up-front payment as well as a substantial royalty on game sales.

Star Citizen has not been on the CryEngine in some time, it moved over to the Amazon Lumberyard engine which, incidentally, is based on the CryEngine. Based on the lawsuit, Chris Roberts was able to successfully negotiate a substantially reduced licensing fee as long as they promised to prominently promote both Crytek and CryEngine. In return, CIG allegedly reduced and then removed the copyright notices and trademarks completely.

Outside of copyright infringement and breach of contract, it looks like CIG may have signed a clause into their license that made CryEngine the exclusive engine, thus making their move over to Lumberyard in violation of said agreement. Outside of the obvious now-missing revenue stream, Crytek’s lawsuit also notes that CIG’s license included requirements to send bug fix and optimization reports on at least an annual basis, an obligation that the company did not meet. Crytek also alleges that the Bugsmashers video series constitutes publicizing confidential information regarding CryEngine.

On May 6, 2015, Defendants began posting a series of videos online titled “Bugsmashers.” The videos contain excerpts of information from CryEngine that were confidential, in breach of the GLA, and should not have been shown to the public. The series continues today.

Crytek is asking for damages well in excess of $75,000 (the exact number will be seen). The charges seem pretty cut and dry, if Crytek has the supporting evidence than the next step would be for the court to determine damages.

CIG has commented to several websites on the matter:

“We are aware of the Crytek complaint having been filed in the US District Court. CIG hasn’t used the CryEngine for quite some time since we switched to Amazon’s Lumberyard. This is a meritless lawsuit that we will defend vigorously against, including recovering from Crytek any costs incurred in this matter.”

(Source: Scribd)

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