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Stolen Right Down to Typos, Video Gamer Says

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The maker of a real-time online strategy game called "Evony" claims a contract employee stole its source code and released a competing game that is strikingly similar - right down to the typos. Evony sued Aeria Games & Entertainment and Feng Investment in Federal Court.

Evony says it hired Yuanfeng Lu around August 2008 to work on marketing projects through March 2009. During that time he "had access to Evony's copyrighted materials, including the computer source code for the Evony game," according to the complaint.

Evony claims that Lu also began working for Feng Investment and Heroic Era Ltd. "while, or soon after, working on projects related to the Evony game."

According to the complaint, "Feng Investment and Heroic Era released an Internet browser-based multiplayer real-time simulation strategy game known as Caesary after the release of the Evony game and after Yuanfeng Lu ceased working on the Evony game."

Evony claims game software for Caesary "is a copy of the Evony copyrighted software code and the same typographical errors found in the Evony copyrighted software code are also found in the Caesary software code. The Caesary game shares the same look and feel of Evony, incorporating almost every visual element of the game, and has an overall substantial similarity to Evony."

Evony claims that Aeria Games entered into an agreement with Feng Investment to distribute and publish Caesary through Aeria's website.

Evony claims Aeria "actively encourages" Feng's infringement "by contracting with Feng Investment to develop features and functions of the infringing Caesary game specifically for publication by Aeria Games."

Evony says it sent Aeria Games a cease and desist letter on Nov. 12, 2010, and that on Nov. 23 "Aeria Games sent Evony letter in which Aeria responded that it refused to cease its activity."

Evony demands the destruction of all copies of its copyrighted material and actual and statutory damages for copyright infringement.

It is represented by Jon-Paul LaPointe with Edwards Angell of Newport Beach.

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