CARY – Epic Games has filed a notice of motion and motion for a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit against Google.

In the filing, Epic Games alleges that the conduct of Google “violates the Sherman Act, the Cartwright Act and California’s Unfair Competition Law.”

According to a preliminary statement from Epic Games, the case will challenge Google’s conduct in “the market for the distribution of apps on Android” and alleges that Google holds a monopoly due to the Google Play Store.

The lawsuit then claims that Google uses this monopoly to impose a a fee on all purchases that Google “forces through” Google Play Billing.

The lawsuit states that Bandcamp, which Epic Games acquired in a deal that closed in March, is currently operating “consistent with Google’s Policy exemption” in order to use a “payment solution of its choice.”

“Bandcamp’s ability to use its preferred payment solution is critical,” the filing reads, noting that the Google Play Billing system “does not provide Bandcamp with the services it needs and comes at a price Bandcamp cannot afford.”

According to Epic Games, Google is attempting to change its policy following an announcement in September 2020 that Epic refers to in the filing as a “clarification.”

Why did Epic Games buy Bandcamp? Maybe not for the metaverse …

Why now?

According to the filing, Google “confirmed that it will enforce its new Policy against Bandcamp,” and that the consequences of Bandcamp not integrating Google Play Billing will be removal of the Bandcamp app from the Google Play Store on June 1, 2022.

Epic Games is seeking to prevent this from occurring.

In the filing, Epic Games describes the policy change as one that “will cause Epic irreparable harm by forcing it to make the untenable choice” between integrating Google Play Billing, removing the in-app option to make purchases, or removal from Google Play Store resulting in severing the company from the “primary app distribution channel on Android.”

Epic Games filed yesterday.  The court date will hear the case for the preliminary injunction on June 2, 2022, at 10 a.m.  A footnote in the case filing notes that “Epic intends to meet and confer with google following the filing of this Motion to seek Google’s agreement not to enforce the new policy while the Motion is pending.”

Epic Games and Google were parties in a lawsuit in 2021 following the removal of Epic Games’ popular game Fortnite from the Google Play Store when the Cary-based games developer released a new payment system that Google said violated the terms of the Play Store.

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Bandcamp CEO and co-founder speaks

In a blog post published earlier today, Ethan Diamond, the co-founder and CEO of Bandcamp, noted that the company has been operating under an exemption for digital music in Google’s guidelines since 2015.

Diamond explains the case: “Google is now modifying its rules to require Bandcamp (and other apps like it) to exclusively use Google Play Billing for payments for digital goods and services, and pay a revenue share to Google.”

Should those changes be implemented, Diamond notes that Bandcamp “would have to either pass Google’s fees on to consumers (making Android a less attractive platform for music fans), pass fees on to artists (which we would never do), permanently run our Android business at a loss, or turn off digital sales in the Android app.”

Diamond also noted that Bandcamp can currently pay artists within 48 hours, but said that if the changes were to go into effect, they may not be able to receive payment until 15 days following the actual sale transaction, at the earliest.

Google has not been reached by WRAL TechWire to provide comment.