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JS Joust creators respond to Papa Quash controversy


Johann Sebastian Joust developer Die Gute Fabrik deliberated over its response to inquiries about the similar iOS app Papa Quash for more than a day, delivering a comprehensive response on its blog last night. "To be clear, we've never given anyone permission to make a derivative version of any of our commercial products – existing or forthcoming," DGF said. "That said, the definition of 'derivative' is elusive. We generally don't believe that game mechanics themselves can or should be copyrighted or otherwise protected."

"We've also never requested any studio to pull any of its products," the studio added, referring obliquely to Papa Quash's removal from the App Store. "We believe that game developers have the responsibility to decide for themselves what is "over the line" in terms of cloning vs. innovating (separate from legal obligations regarding copyrights, trademarks, patents, and other intellectual property rights)." As for the specific case of Papa Quash, Die Gute Fabrik demurred from outright calling it a clone – while still expressing disappointment about cloning in general.

In an email to Joystiq, Die Gute Fabrik lead game designer Douglas Wilson provided clarification about the email conversation that took place between Papa Quash creator Sam Pepper and DGF.

"Sam Pepper did email me back in January," Wilson said. "However, I never gave him 'permission' to develop Papa Quash. In his emails, he told me about his general plans to make a motion control game, which he indicated was different from J.S. Joust. He never provided a well-formulated game/design, and as such, there simply was nothing to 'approve.'"

According to Wilson, the decision to pull Papa Quash was not his. "I spoke with Steve Bittan from Ustwo last night, and I made it clear that the determination was theirs (and potentially Sam Pepper's) to make as to whether the game is "different" enough (separate from legal obligations regarding copyrights, trademarks, patents, and other intellectual property rights). I don't harbor any animosity towards Ustwo or Sam Pepper."

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