Zynga vs Vostu Part 5: U.S. judge calls off Brazilian Vostu shut-down

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Judge's GavelHonestly, we're almost as bewildered as you might be on this one. TechCrunch reports that a U.S. judge has filed a TRO (temporary restraining order) against the Brazilian court that granted Zynga a preliminary injunction against developer Vostu, demanding that it take down four of its games that allegedly copy Zynga games directly in the face of a massive daily fine. Basically, a San Jose court is telling a Brazilian court that it cannot go through with its ruling in Zynga's favor.

Some brief background: Zynga filed suit in a U.S. court against Brazilian developer Vostu in June for copying its games. Vostu then retorted publicly, pointing fingers at Zynga for doing the very same thing, and filed a lawsuit of its own with the same allegations in July. Most recently, Zynga filed a second lawsuit against Vostu in Brazilian court for the very same allegations, this time bringing Google down with it as Orkut, a Google-owned company, hosts Vostu's games.

"Brazil has an important interest in enforcing its copyright laws," says U.S. District Judge Davila in the recently-issued TRO. "Zynga-which chose the U.S. forum first-now seeks to enforce an injunction it obtained abroad that would paralyze this Court's ability to decide this case."

Zynga copy Vostu
I guess this is what happens when you file lawsuits in two courts (internationally, mind you) regarding the same allegations. Now, we have two courts from across both sides of the equator that will duke it out over who can make what ruling. In essence, as TechCrunch's Michael Arrington puts it, this U.S. judge is saying that his court's desire to retain decision on this case outweighs the Brazilian court's rights to enforce its copyright laws.

This battle of the copycats just got incredibly nasty (and somewhat confusing), but speaks volumes to one of the most pressing issues the social games industry faces today. As Sean Ryan, director of games partnerships at Facebook, put it recently (in Inside Social Games's words): "The days of monetizing by making a clone of a clone are over." The sooner social games companies stop "borrowing" each others' ideas, the sooner we'll move on from insane international legal battles like so. And social games on the whole will be better for it.

Do you think this legal battle has gotten out of hand? Which do you think is in the right in this case? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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