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3dfx tries to wrap up Creative's wrapper

Legal challenge claims copyright infringement, breach of contract

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3dfx hit Creative Technologies with a copyright infringement and breach of contract suit on Friday, lashing out at the add-in vendor's development of a wrapper application to allow Glide-based games to run on Creative's nVidia TNT-based 3D accelerator cards. Creative issued the first beta of the wrapper, dubbed Unified, almost a month ago. At the time, it insisted it was safe from 3dfx's ire because the software wasn't a wrapper. Instead, Creative brand manager Jim Carlson described Unified as a "pure transition layer and nothing more". That's why Unified contains no 3dfx code, claims the company. 3dfx, however, says its source code was used in the development of Unified, and since that code was provided solely for use with Voodoo cards, Creative has infringed both its contract with 3dfx and the latter's copyrights. Naturally, Creative has no truck with that argument, and since 3dfx has been refusing to comment on the evidence it claims to have for Creative's infringement, you have to wonder whether the plan here is simply to bully Creative into dropping the release of the software. Certainly, it has a record of threatening amateur wrapper developers with legal action (despite the company's own tech-support teams recommending their use in certain circumstances), so an attack on a professional developer doing the same thing is no great surprise. ®

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