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Five Nights at Freddy's creator gets a subpoena to find out who ripped off his game

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A mysterious entity called Lazada Polodi sold an unofficial Five Nights at Freddy's sequel in the iOS app store, and the game's real developer hired a legal team to find out who that is.

Attorneys for Scott Cawthon filed documents at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California yesterday. Those documents asked the court to issue a subpoena that would compel Apple, the operator of the iOS App Store where the unofficial sequel — Five Nights at Freddy's 4 — was sold, to disclose information about Lazada Polodi.

The Clerk of Courts then issued a subpoena that commands Apple to provide "all identifying information of the user 'Lazada Polodi.'" That includes IP addresses from which the unauthorized game was uploaded and any others associated with Polodi as well as other information like user accounts.

Apple has until May 25 at 10 a.m. PT to comply with the subpoena. The company may also challenge it.

The documents filed yesterday, first spotted by Patently Apple and obtained by Polygon, state that "the purpose for the DMCA Subpoena is sought is to obtain the identify (sic) of an alleged infringer or infringers and that such information will only be used for the purpose of protecting Cawthon's rights under Title 17 of the U.S. Code."

Title 17 concerns U.S. copyright law. Cawthon's attorney specified section 512, Limitations on liability relating to material online, subsection (h), which says that

A copyright owner or a person authorized to act on the owner’s behalf may request the clerk of any United States district court to issue a subpoena to a service provider for identification of an alleged infringer in accordance with this subsection.

Attorney Laura J. Magedoff of the Nissenbaum Law Group signed a document that the clerk of courts for the Northern District of California filed May 8, stating that Cawthon satisfied all DMCA requirements for subpoena issuance.

Sections six and seven of Magedoff's document state that the "alleged infringement is in connection with the promotion and sale of a game that was being sold as a purported sequel to Cawthon's games (the 'Infringing Content')" and that it "is purportedly created, posted and being sold by an individual named Lazada Polodi." The game, it claims, also included Cawthon's copyrighted images.

The unofficial game has since been removed from the iOS App Store, though App Annie includes an overview. Its description claims that "This is the official mobile port of Five Nights at Freddys!" because it's a straight copy and paste of the description from the real Five Nights at Freddy's. The unauthorized sequel is not on Google Play.

We've contacted the developer and the attorneys representing him and will provide updates with more information as it becomes available.

Five Night's at Freddy's was released on Steam last summer, and later arrived on Android and iOS. Two sequels arrived within the next six months. Late last month, Cawthon announced another entry, Five Nights at Freddy's 4: The Final Chapter, which is set for a Halloween 2015 release. Earlier in April, Warner Bros. acquired the rights for a feature film.

Video: Watch us get jump scared in Five Nights at Freddy's 3