Back in Blek


It’s one thing when fairly generic games get ripped off, but when you’ve worked on some­thing unique, like min­i­mal­ist live cal­lig­ra­phy puzzler Blek, you might feel a bit miffed – es­pe­cially when the clone is lit­er­ally called Cloned Blek.

“I don’t re­call my first re­ac­tion, but I prob­a­bly laughed, be­cause it is ac­tu­ally funny… kind of…”, mulls Blek cre­ator De­nis Mikan. “But all Blek clones so far have been com­par­a­tively aw­ful, and we do get emails and com­plaints from peo­ple who’ve played one and ap­par­ently some­how think we are re­spon­si­ble for the fact they bought the wrong game”.

Mikan says while he doesn’t spend a lot of time think­ing about app fak­ers, he’s “ready to take legal ac­tion if nec­es­sary”, and he has re­ported rip-offs to Ap­ple: “Cloned Blek’s name was changed, and I’ve re­ported other games that vi­o­lated our IP rights – icons, de­scrip­tions, screen grabs, and so on”.

As for Ap­ple’s re­view process, Mikan says, “[Ap­ple] can’t be held re­spon­si­ble for things like dis­tin­guish­ing be­tween orig­i­nal and cloned con­tent”, be­cause it’s hard to de­fine what’s cross­ing the line. “But there are cases where Ap­ple should re­act, and Cloned Blek was one of them”.

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