December 5, 2023

A legal storm has erupted as Dan Ackerman, the editor-in-chief of Gizmodo, files a lawsuit against tech giant Apple and the Tetris Company, alleging that their Apple TV+ film “Tetris” was lifted from his book, “The Tetris Effect.” The gripping lawsuit highlights a contentious battle over intellectual property and creative rights, shedding light on a tale of alleged deceit and economic impact.

In a detailed complaint, Ackerman claims that his book, which delves into the enthralling history of the iconic game within the framework of a Cold War-era thriller, was replicated without his consent. Ackerman asserts that he provided a pre-publication copy of his work to the Tetris Company and its CEO, Maya Rogers, in 2016. However, his literary aspirations were met with a “strongly worded Cease and Desist letter,” a move that, according to Ackerman, aimed to quash his pursuit of film and television endeavors.

The heart of the matter revolves around Ackerman’s contention that Rogers collaborated with screenwriter Noah Pink to develop a screenplay derived from his book’s content. While numerous producers expressed interest in adapting Ackerman’s work, the Tetris Company allegedly refused to license its intellectual property for such ventures. This stance, Ackerman claims, was a strategic maneuver designed to enable Rogers and the Tetris Company to embark on their own creative projects rooted in Ackerman’s book, all while sidestepping any compensation to the author.

Ackerman paints this legal saga as more than a mere dispute over intellectual property. He characterizes the Tetris Company’s actions as an “economic attack” targeting his livelihood. The lawsuit emphasizes the substantial financial implications for authors when their work is adapted for film and television, making it a critical source of revenue.

The lawsuit provides an extensive catalog of what Ackerman describes as “glaring similarities” between his book and the film, demonstrating how pivotal scenes within the movie closely mirror his interpretations of real-life events. However, it remains uncertain whether the court will validate these claims, considering that some of the depicted events are grounded in historical reality.

As the legal battle unfolds, Ackerman seeks reparations in the form of actual, compensatory, and punitive damages equivalent to 6 percent of the film’s staggering $80 million production budget. The outcome of this legal showdown holds significant implications for the realms of creative ownership, intellectual property, and the relationship between literature and cinematic adaptations.

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