The Apple TV+ film Tetris was copied from a book written years ago, according to a lawsuit filed against the tech giant and the Tetris Company. Dan Ackerman, the editor-in-chief of Gizmodo, has accused the plaintiffs of ripping off his book The Tetris Effect, which tells the history of the game in the form of a Cold War-era thriller. In his lawsuit (PDF, via Reuters), Ackerman said he sent the Tetris Company and its CEO Maya Rogers a pre-publication copy of his book back in 2016. Later that year, his agent received a “strongly worded Cease and Desist letter” to stop him from pursuing film and TV opportunities.
Ackerman accused Rogers of working with screenwriter Noah Pink to develop a screenplay using content taken from his book without his knowledge or consent. Apparently, numerous producers showed interest in adapting his book, but the Tetris Company refused to license its IP for the project. “This was done at the direction and behest of Ms. Rogers so that she and the Tetris Company could pursue their own project and opportunities based on Mr. Ackerman’s book without compensating him,” the lawsuit reads.
In his complaint, Ackerman explained that for writers, the option to license their work for film and TV is typically a major source of revenue. That’s why he takes the Tetris Company’s actions not as a means to prevent the unauthorized use of its IP, but as an “economic attack” on his business. To drive the point home, Ackerman included quite a lengthy list of “glaring similarities” between his book and the film in his lawsuit. Several items in the list explain how scenes in the movie mirrored his versions of events. That said, those events were based on scenarios that happened in real life, so it remains to be seen if the court will agree with him. Ackerman is asking for actual, compensatory and punitive damages equivalent to 6 percent of the film’s $80 million production budget.