Apple’s Tetris movie faces legal challenge from author

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The author who first documented the weird story of Tetris’ conception is suing the film’s producers for adapting his work. 

Tetris released earlier this year via Apple to some acclaim. It managed to take a story about a game where you rotate blocks into a absorbing cold war thriller, based on real events that would lead to Tetris becoming one of the most iconic video games of all time.

However, in the wake of the film’s success, one man is claiming foul. Daniel Ackerman, author (and Editor-in-Chief at Gizmodo) is suing the film’s producers claiming that they without permission, they adapted swathes of his 2016 book, The Tetris Effect: The Game That Hypnotized the World.

According to the report from ReutersAckerman claims that upon receiving a pre-publication copy of his book, The Tetris Company refused to grant him licence to pursue any projects related to the book, presumably meaning he wasn’t able to sign any deals to adapt his book into a film.

Whilst that would have been something of a blow, Ackerman claims that things took a sourer turn when Maya Rogers, The Tetris Company’s CEO (along with screenwriter Noah Pink) then began developing their own take on the story using many of the elements documented in Ackerman’s book. He is claiming for copyright infringement and unfair competition and demanding at least 6% of the film’s $80m production budget, totalling around $4.8m.

It will be a difficult case to prove because the book covers a series of historical events and facts which aren’t covered by copyright. However, Ackerman is claiming that it is the framing of the story that is ‘similar in almost all material respects’ and the shaping of the story as a ‘Cold War spy thriller’ is a direct lift from his book. We’ll let you know how this one unfolds, although as the product movie becomes more commonplace in Hollywood, hopefully disagreements of this nature won’t be quite as frequent.

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