Cease Fire! All of the Tetris Clones Desist to Exist


The Tetris Company LLC has taken action against all of the unauthorized Tetris clones on the market: they’ve sent a cease and desist letter to Google to pull 35 games based off of the popular classic puzzle game off of the market. FallingBlocks was one of the first developers to suffer the ban hammer, stating to SlashDot:

“… I have received an email warning that my game was suspended from Android Market due to a violation of the Developer Content Policy… I emailed Google asking what is the reason for the application removal. Google promptly answered that The Tetris Company, LLC notified them under DMCA to remove various Tetris clones from Android Market. My app was removed together with other 35 Tetris clones…”

They’ve also included the full cease and desist notice below for our viewing pleasure. I can’t imagine why flattery in the form of imitation (at least when some of those games were being offered for free) is looked at as a bad thing. Unless they’re hoping to introduce their own game for Android (or continue to bank on publishers like EA that has licensed the use of Tetris), then we’ll soon see a Tetris-less marketplace (I say “soon” because – at the time of this writing – I still see a good selection of Tetris clones by searching the market).

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. This is just stupid, if Tetris Company LLC released a DECENT Tetris app then I wouldn’t care, but their rubbish $5 app is just that… rubbish.

  2. “If we can’t make a decent Tetris game, then nobody can!”

  3. Is it me, or is the grammar in this ‘based off of the popular classic puzzle game’ slightly wrong? Surely something more to the tune of ‘based on the popular classic puzzle game’ would be more appropriate and grammatically correct.

  4. “Based off of” has long been accepted as a term that stands to “deflect” associability. Essentially what I’m trying to say is that these apps are not official, and a lot of them don’t necessarily “clone” the original game of Tetris.

  5. @FisherP, excellent catch! “on” and “off” are the complete opposites of one another and for them to be used interchangeably like that really grinds my gears.

  6. People still playing tetris in this day and age is just weird and creepy

  7. aww crap. Sorry, I don’t mean to propagate another “could/couldn’t care less” type discussion so I just wanted to make it clear I have no real grammar beef with anyone here.

    Although, I would like to point out that my biggest peave ever is the misuse of the word “nauseous” when the word “nauseated” should be used in its place. I get mad when I hear it on television and immediately correct people when I hear it in social conversation and it makes me look like a tool.


    Apparently you can’t copyright gameplay. So these C&D letters/DMCA notices are just posturing by them. They are just bullies when it comes to this type of thing.

  9. Ahhh, EA, this is why I have not bought any of your games since Battlefield 2 back in 2005.

  10. @DroidRiffic – one of my biggest peave is the way English speakers uses Effect vs Affect. I see a lot of affect around when it should be effect, as the first is dealing with feelings. I don’t understand how people are not learning the proper use of these two words.

  11. I would like to point out that my biggest peeve ever is the misuse of the word “peave” when the word “peeve” would be correct and the word “peave” just doesn’t exist.

  12. I haven’t bought anything from EA since they political-corrected the re-relase of “Seven Cities of Gold” so that conquering and subjugating native villages was no longer a feasible winning strategy…

  13. Guys,
    If I wanted an English lesson, I would register for classes.

  14. @Krugger et al

    I am the programmer of *the best* Tetris like game on Android, Tetrominos (it was yanked as well). The law that they are trying to use is “trade dress” which I believe a part of trademark law. I don’t believe that they have a good case, but I would still have to hire a lawyer and go to trial. So it’ll basically cost me more to bring my game back to the market, than I made in the entire 1.5 years it had on the market.

    Unfortunately, no one has ever taken TTC to court…I guess no one has yet been able to justify hiring a lawyer for the meager sales. I contacted the EFF–they entertained my request, but never responded again. I guess they have more important things to do.

  15. Sorry, in my previous post I linked to copyright law. Clearly, copyright law does not cover the idea of a game…so it seems that they knew not to mention it at all.

  16. Good job I got a tetris clone a couple of days ago. I’d better back it up now.

    (What annoys me most is the use of could care less)

  17. Then vs. than. Now that really bothers me. The worst is when it is misused in university text books.

  18. what really bothers me is people complaining about grammar STFU! thank you:)

  19. > I would like to point out that my biggest peeve ever is
    > the misuse of the word “peave” when the word “peeve”
    > would be correct and the word “peave” just doesn’t exist.

    I tell you what I really hate – exaggeration.

  20. > Guys,
    > If I wanted an English lesson, I would register for
    > classes.

    That second comma is not required.

  21. I love you guys.

  22. This is not the first time that Tetris clones are yanked from the Market. It happened before, quite a while ago.

    Although I loath the actions of Tetris LLC, their actions don’t come as a total surprise…

  23. @Hank
    The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) only affects copyright law.

  24. Grammatical pet peeve: your vs you’re :-P

  25. They do say Britain and America are two countries separated by the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s true. No, they say, “two countries separated by a common language,” that’s the line; it’s an Oscar Wilde line, I think. And we do pronounce things in a different way, like you say “caterpillar” and we say “caterpillar,” and… You say “aluminum” and we say “aluminium.” You say, “centrifugal” and we say “centrifugal.” You say, “leisure” and we say “lizuray.” You say “baysil” and we say “bahsil.” You say “’erbs” and we say “herbs,” because there’s a fucking “H” in it…

  26. My pet peeve has to be people who think they are better or more educated then everyone else online and have this NEED to correct grammatical errors of others posts trying only to prove something to themselves.

    Who cares?

  27. Better “than,” msgnyc. . . Hank, is your game “Tetromino” by Mahoney? That is up on Market. My grammar peeve is when people use “it’s” as a possessive pronoun.

  28. This is not the first time that the tetris company has had clones pulled from the Android market. No big surprise here.

  29. My pet peeve is people that turn postings and forums into English class.

  30. > My pet peeve has to be people who think they are better
    > or more educated then everyone else online and have this
    > NEED to correct grammatical errors of others posts trying
    > only to prove something to themselves.

    You meant “other’s posts” – you need a possessive apostrophe there.

  31. FYI, I *JUST* downloaded Tetronimo (by Mahoney). So it (and other clones) are still in the market.

  32. @dave: Actually, msgnyc means “others’ posts,” the plural possessive. This thread all started with Quentyn’s odd phrase “based off of,” which he claims “has long been accepted…” That is too strong a claim. The usage has certainly increased over the past couple decades, but many of us consider this an unfortunate development. “Based on” is based on the metaphor of a “base,” a “foundation.” You can build “on” a base, but not “off” one. As for “‘deflecting’ associability,” there are plenty of truly well accepted phrases that accomplish that, from “loosely based on” to “inspired by.” In this context, neither really applies, since the Tetris clones are usually pretty much clones, and therefore truly based on Alexey Pajitnov’s creation.

    That said, I have mixed feelings about The Tetris Company’s actions. I worked for Blue Planet Software about nine years ago. (I was the lead programmer on Tetris Worlds for the PS2.) We were proud to be associated with this great game, happy to be taking it to new platforms and introducing new variations, some of which were cool, and delighted that Alexey was receiving a reward for his game. (He didn’t for the first ten years or so. The game belonged to the Soviet government initially.)

    At the same time, a lot of the company’s efforts were spent quashing clones. While I am a huge fan of free software, people certainly have a legal, and arguably a moral right to decide whether and what rights they wish to grant regarding their creations. The Tetris Company has decided that they will continue to milk their cash cow. That’s their choice, but I think it is fair that that choice comes at a cost in terms of PR and reputation. I have also seen some really nice variations of Tetris that went well beyond cloning get quashed. That is the truly unfortunate consequence of copyright law.

  33. As someone who’s watched the BBC documentary “TETRIS: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE”, it’s hard not to sympathize with the creator of the game. Those other companies really don’t have the right to be making clones of someone else’s game and profiting from it. If they want to do so, they should license it, and from what I understand the Tetris Company licenses often.

  34. Is there a place where we can get these Tetris clones before they get lost forever? I think the company is wrong, because many of these titles update Tetris with original interface or content, and basically, Tetrominoes was an existing concept til antiquity. I always had admiration for Pajitnof, but not anymore if he’s behind this. Clones are just part of videogame culture. No one is getting rich out of this, yet people are always going to encourage the original Tetris makers if they don’t taint their reputation like they are doing with such legal whinings.

  35. Ah there’s better than Tetris out there.

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