Similarities with 'God of War' due to cliche not copyright

A federal judge rejected claims that Sony’s “God of War” videogame infringes on a series of works from two Northern California screenwriters.

U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, in a ruling issued on Tuesday, wrote that the similarities between screenplays written by Jonathan Bissoon-Dath and Jennifer B. Dath were merely “cliched and unprotected elements.”

“No reasonable trier of fact could conclude that ‘God of War’ is substantially similar to any of plaintiff’s works,” she wrote.

The screenwriters filed suit against Sony Computer Entertainment and David Jaffe, the lead designer of the “God of War” videogame. Their five treatments and screenplays are set against the backdrop of the Spartan attack on Athens, while “God of War” had the same ancient Greece setting.

Among other things, the plaintiffs argued that certain scenes and dialogue were similar or identical, such as scenes depicting a gathering of the gods. But Patel said such instances are “stock elements that have been used in literary and artistic works for years, if not millennia.” Moreover, she wrote, they “pointed to no persuasive similarity in dialogue or narration that would suggest actual copying.”

“God of War” was released in 2005 for PlayStation2.

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