Silicon Knights Must Pay Epic $9M, Destroy All Its UE3 Games
After losing its legal battle with Epic Games earlier this year, developer Silicon Knights has now been ordered to destroy all games it built with the Unreal Engine.
According to page 41 of the case court document, Silicon Knights has until December 10th 2012 to destroy any software it built with Unreal Engine 3, including the code for Too Human, The Box/Ritualyst, The Sandman, X-Men: Destiny and Siren in the Maelstrom — at its own expense.
In May, Silicon Knights was ordered to pay Epic $4.45 million in damages after the court ruled that Silicon Knights breached their Unreal license agreement, misappropriated Epic’s trade secrets and infringed Epic’s copyrights in the Unreal Engine 3 code.
The legal battle started in 2007 when Silicon Knights claimed that Epic was withholding money that it should have spent supporting the Unreal Engine, pouring it into Gears of War development instead. Because of this, SK alleged, the engine had problems that caused the studio to ditch the tech at the last minute and develop its own system, resulting in increased costs for SK.
Judge Dever wrote:
“Silicon Knights deliberately and repeatedly copied thousands of lines of Epic Games’ copyrighted code, and then attempted to conceal its wrongdoing by removing Epic Games’ copyright notices and by disguising Epic Games’ copyrighted code as Silicon Knights’ own.”
Evidence shown in the court documents proved to the judge that SK “willfully” and “maliciously” tried to hide its theft by changing the variable names in the engine’s code. Lines of engine code can number in the millions, and Epic’s attorneys went to “significant efforts” in order to reveal the “breadth and scope” of Silicon’s “prolonged coverup.”
Judge Dever said the evidence against Silicon Knights was “overwhelming,” as its “copying” included not only the functional code contained within Unreal Engine 3, but also “non-functional, internal comments Epic Games’ programmers had left for themselves.”
Judge Dever said:
“Silicon Knights even failed to remove or correct typographical errors Epic Games’ programmers had made in those comments.”
I can’t say I’m a fan of Silicon Knights, but it’s a shame that a developer that has been around since the early ’90s has to be crippled like this — through its own fault.
via Eurogamer, VG247