Scott Cawthon, creator of the Five Nights At Freddy’s series, has taken legal action against a fake sequel to his game that was being sold in Apple’s App Store. The fake was (somehow) approved for sale by Apple and was available for several days before it was taken down.
There’s nothing extraordinary about finding clones of popular games on the App Store, but few are so brazen as to be a literal copy of the game they are ripping off. The fake sequel in question was being sold as Five Nights At Freddy’s 4, but was actually just a copy of the first game. The developer, ‘Lazada Polodi’, had even copied and pasted their clone’s description text from the original game (“This is the official mobile port of Five Nights at Freddys!”). Then they slapped it with a $9.99 price tag and apparently made quite a bit of money before it was pulled. It makes you wonder why Apple bothers having a review team for their App Store at all.
Cawthon’s attorneys filed documents asking the United States District Court for a subpoena that would force Apple to hand over the details of the user “Lazada Polodi”. Those details would include information necessary to identify them, such as the IP address they used to upload the game. The court granted the request and Apple now has 10AM, May 25 to comply. Cawthon’s attorneys used Title 17 of the US Code, which is basically what most people know as a DMCA Subpoena. The very mention of DMCA can bring in negative connotations on the internet for its history of being abused by big copyright holders, but in this case its use is very much justified.
The clone’s developer is being accused of, among other things, using Cawthon’s copyrighted images to create and promote the fake Five Nights At Freddy’s game. Whoever was in charge of the App Store’s review team must have been asleep when this was uploaded. Apple can choose to challenge the subpoena, though it seems unlikely. The fact that this app ever got up has already embarrassed the company enough.
Five Nights At Freddy’s has had three installments released in the past year, with a fourth game set to be released on Halloween this year. Cawthon released a new teaser image for the fourth and apparently final Five Nights At Freddy’s game last week.