Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. lost another battle in the war to retain its dominance in the video game market May 4 when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the unauthorized use of a “screen shot” in comparative advertising falls within the fair use exception to copyright infringement (Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. v. Bleem LLC, 9th Cir., No. 99-17137, 5/4/00).

There are two types of personal video games: console games and personal computer games. Sony manufactures console games, which are played by loading a game disk into a console that is connected to the player’s television. Sony also manufactures consoles — the “highly popular” Sony PlayStation. Sony’s game disks can be played only on the PlayStation; they cannot be loaded into the CD drive of a PC.

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