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 Scratch  Source Code Handover Imminent, Legal Bills Mount

Scratch Source Code Handover Imminent, Legal Bills Mount

May 13, 2009 | By Simon Carless

May 13, 2009 | By Simon Carless
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The complex legal battle surrounding Scratch: Ultimate DJ continues with today's revelation that the game's source code will see a court-ordered handover in exchange for up to a $2 million bond.

A new LLC formed by Scratch publisher Genius Products and turntable peripheral maker Numark must put up the bond money in order to have the game's code returned to them by developer and Activision subsidiary 7 Studios.

Activision, which is developing its own rival product, DJ Hero, has used its mounting legal costs as a basis to ask the court to raise the bond amount -- the publisher has spent $350,000 on the lawsuit to date, and claims its legal costs will reach $4 to $5 million by the end of the process. Activision's willingness to commit this volume of expense is illustrative of the importance of the music genre to the publisher.

But Scratch LLC argues that Activision merely wishes to keep the game's source code out of Genius' hands for as long as possible, hoping to prevent the release of Scratch from competing with the launch of DJ Hero.

"You asked why [Activision's lawyers] are fighting so hard?" Asked attorneys for Genius/Numark in court, according to today's 34-page court transcript (). "Just today it was announced that Activision was going to be releasing its competing game [DJ Hero] this Fall. They are holding us up to get out in front of us. That is exactly what is going on."

"We sent every member of 7 Studios home, your honor," complained Activision's attorneys in response. "They have [been] sitting at home because we wanted to make sure [Genius/Numark] didn't have the basis for an argument that some trade secrets went to Activision."

"I'm going to arbitrarily pick a bond amount," said the judge of the $2 million, according to today's 34-page court transcript. It may go down -- it may never go up."

Gamasutra
previously analyzed other court records surrounding the suit. We'll continue to follow this story and provide updates as they occur.

Genius Products and Numark are still currently planning to show Scratch at E3 -- and Activision is also presumably planning to showcase DJ Hero there.


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