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Ozimals’ owner Candy Cerveau has responded with a statement on the Ozimals blog about the today’s news of the copyright dispute between Ozimals and Amaretto Ranch Breedables, and has included a copy of the cease-and-desist letter that was sent to Amaretto (PDF format).

Unfortunately – in my own personal opinion – I do not believe that any of the infringements described by Ozimals to actually be within the domain of United States Copyright Law. That is, it does not appear that Amaretto is actually infringing on areas where Ozimals has copyright protection (scripts and textures, for example). Functioning in an identical or very similar fashion, even if it was reverse-engineered from Ozimals’ creations is not enough to support a copyright claim.

Of course, stranger things have happened. For example, as you probably know, clothing cannot be protected by copyright (though that could suddenly change), so clothing manufacturers protect articles of clothing with branding and trademarks. Adidas recently managed to convince a judge that a shoe with a logo that had four stripes was copyright infringement of its trademark (which has three stripes), producing one of the most bizarre copyright/trademark rulings I’ve seen come out of a court in quite some time.

So, while Ozimals’ complaint (on the surface of it) doesn’t seem to have much in the way of any legal standing under Title 17 of the United States Code, there doesn’t seem to be any real guarantees of which way this is going to go.

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