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Uh Oh, Electronic Arts Files Lawsuit Against Zynga

Someone start busting out the popcorn .gifs.

Of course, the only reason I know this is The Sims Social is thanks to the iconic green triangle.

Prepare for a nasty fight, folks.

Electronic Arts has filed a lawsuit against popular social gaming punching bag Zynga over The Ville, accusing Zynga of infringing upon The Sims Social copyrights.

“As a longstanding game developer, I know what it feels like to pour your heart and soul into creating something unique and special for your fans to enjoy,” said Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw in a blog post this afternoon. “Today, we hope to be taking a stand that helps the industry protect the value of original creative works and those that work tirelessly to create them.”

Zynga, of course, disagrees, and issued a statement pushing back on EA’s claims not long after news of the lawsuit became public.

“It’s unfortunate that EA thought that this was an appropriate response to our game, and clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic copyright principles,” said Zynga general counsel Reggie Davis. “It’s also ironic that EA brings this suit shortly after launching SimCity Social which bears an uncanny resemblance to Zynga’s CityVille game. Nonetheless, we plan to defend our rights to the fullest extent possible and intend to win with players.”

EA’s decision to press forward with a lawsuit regarding Sim City Social and The Ville is also baked into a larger context, the publisher argued. EA is not the first company to accuse Zynga of playing fast and loose with game design (see: Nimblebit and Tiny Tower), and EA claims it wants to use this case as a way of settling the score for everybody who’s felt as though Zynga has plucked from them.

Whether or not this is actually true doesn't really matter--it'll prove a popular rallying cry.

"This is a case of principle,” said Bradshaw. “Maxis isn’t the first studio to claim that Zynga copied its creative product. But we are the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it. Infringing a developer’s copyright is not an acceptable practice in game development. By calling Zynga out on this illegal practice, we hope to have a secondary effect of protecting the rights of other creative studios who don’t have the resources to protect themselves.”

Ouch.

The lawsuit is online, courtesy of Kotaku, and is a hugely detailed account of EA’s claims. Some of the images are sure to raise an eyebrow. Here’s just a selection:

Zynga has taken a beating in the past few weeks, with its stock price crashing and accusations of insider trading. This is just the latest in a series of negative news waves for the company, and you need only look at the comments on EA's blog post for an indication for how the public is going to react to this lawsuit.

People may not like EA very much, but it turns out they hate Zynga a whole hell of a lot more.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
224 Comments
Posted by patrickklepek
Of course, the only reason I know this is The Sims Social is thanks to the iconic green triangle.

Prepare for a nasty fight, folks.

Electronic Arts has filed a lawsuit against popular social gaming punching bag Zynga over The Ville, accusing Zynga of infringing upon The Sims Social copyrights.

“As a longstanding game developer, I know what it feels like to pour your heart and soul into creating something unique and special for your fans to enjoy,” said Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw in a blog post this afternoon. “Today, we hope to be taking a stand that helps the industry protect the value of original creative works and those that work tirelessly to create them.”

Zynga, of course, disagrees, and issued a statement pushing back on EA’s claims not long after news of the lawsuit became public.

“It’s unfortunate that EA thought that this was an appropriate response to our game, and clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic copyright principles,” said Zynga general counsel Reggie Davis. “It’s also ironic that EA brings this suit shortly after launching SimCity Social which bears an uncanny resemblance to Zynga’s CityVille game. Nonetheless, we plan to defend our rights to the fullest extent possible and intend to win with players.”

EA’s decision to press forward with a lawsuit regarding Sim City Social and The Ville is also baked into a larger context, the publisher argued. EA is not the first company to accuse Zynga of playing fast and loose with game design (see: Nimblebit and Tiny Tower), and EA claims it wants to use this case as a way of settling the score for everybody who’s felt as though Zynga has plucked from them.

Whether or not this is actually true doesn't really matter--it'll prove a popular rallying cry.

"This is a case of principle,” said Bradshaw. “Maxis isn’t the first studio to claim that Zynga copied its creative product. But we are the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it. Infringing a developer’s copyright is not an acceptable practice in game development. By calling Zynga out on this illegal practice, we hope to have a secondary effect of protecting the rights of other creative studios who don’t have the resources to protect themselves.”

Ouch.

The lawsuit is online, courtesy of Kotaku, and is a hugely detailed account of EA’s claims. Some of the images are sure to raise an eyebrow. Here’s just a selection:

Zynga has taken a beating in the past few weeks, with its stock price crashing and accusations of insider trading. This is just the latest in a series of negative news waves for the company, and you need only look at the comments on EA's blog post for an indication for how the public is going to react to this lawsuit.

People may not like EA very much, but it turns out they hate Zynga a whole hell of a lot more.

Staff
Posted by Akyho

*fingers crossed* is this the death of zynga?

Edited by Milkman

Edited by gbrading

I too disagree with much of what EA is doing, but if they want to unite against a common foe, I think Zynga is a pretty good target. Their plagiarism is well documented. They are a company which exists more or less to steal and consume other people's intellectual property.

Edited by Wrighteous86

Whoever wins, we lose.

But let's hope EA wins.

Posted by simpsonsfan

I have to actually agree with EA on this one.

Posted by Tangeu

Sure, I dislike what Zynga is doing but is EA implying that they own the rights to categories of clothing? To skin tone selectors?

Posted by Maginnovision

This is one of those lawsuits that almost never ends.

Posted by TehChich

Die, Zynga, DIE!!!

Posted by Brydolf

I do like the statement by Zynga about how EA's SimCity Social is copying off of their own Cityville game. I like how they discredit the similarities of the games in question, but the City stuff is definitely copying off of their own ideas. Also, hasn't SimCity been around forever?

Posted by Gravehound

Good on EA for this. Maybe if this case pans out in their favour it could give the other devs who got ripped off like Nimblebit the justification for similar cases (if they wanted to do them)

Posted by Aetheldod

Though I do not wish to protect Zynga and what not ...but those images arent alike and how can you copy personalities , we all have them D:? Tho there must be other and more blatant stuff that justifies EA´s claims.

Posted by tourgen

Unless they copied and distributed actual EA-created assets or binaries there is no grounds for a suit. Just looking a lot like someone else's product is not copyright infringement.

Posted by Dogma

I am one of those few that don't hate EA but I don't like Zynga's business practices. They are a company with many skeletons in their closet and it is not cool or ok to rip off or copy games in this way. It's one thing to get inspired and iterate but this is not that, this is shameful ont he verge of copy/paste tactics.

Online passes, shutting down studios, milking franchises and all that stuff does not compare to when a companybasically makes a living by taking others ideas and make money of them. If there is one thing EA still does it is to have their own ideas and don't go around copy others. Zynga clearly does that. I hope they for once get burned by this practice.

And...I don't know enough about SimCity Social and Zyngas CityVille to comment on eventual simularites,

Posted by Flappybat

This is kind of concerning as there are a lot of similar elements between many videogames. We do not want to be in a position where developers are nervous of using established convention to avoid being too similar to another game.

Posted by RustySanderke

That ain't a triangle, it's a hexagonal bipyramid.

Posted by Phatmac

@Milkman said:

Posted by Video_Game_King

I'll do you one better:

Posted by MikkaQ
Posted by JoeyRavn

This is like when the hero has to join forces with his deadliest enemy to fight AN EVEN GREATER MENACE, right?

Online
Posted by leejunfan83

@Akyho said:

*fingers crossed* is this the death of zynga?

Posted by RenMcKormack

Posted by Nill

Posted by RecSpec
@Phatmac said:

@Milkman said:

Posted by scraz
Online
Posted by Dogma

Okey people those gif are not fun anymor when they bog down the web browser! Have some restraint!

Posted by Rowr

At least someone is calling them out, the tiny tower rip off was blatant and disgusting.

Online
Posted by ThatPrimeGuy

Whoever wins, we lose.

Posted by iAmJohn
Posted by Ryuku_Ryosake

Well that Zynga quote of "clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic copyright principles" is super shady. That sounds like a lawyer who has pouring over copyright law for a long time. Which you clearly wouldn't do unless you feel like you have broken or are close to breaking a law. It's like asking any sort of criminal about the law. They know it better a lawyer or a cop.

Posted by cbarnes86
Posted by Cloudenvy
Posted by Nokterian

I never, ever want to see developers lose their jobs, but Zynga... I'll make an exception.

Posted by Rolyatkcinmai

@Akyho said:

*fingers crossed* is this the death of zynga?

Posted by Vexxan

There will be war.

Posted by c_rakestraw

Oh, this will be good.

Posted by GlenTennis


like this?
Posted by DieTheShisno
Posted by BaneFireLord
Posted by alibson

This is like Hitler fighting Stalin

Posted by Maginnovision

So many awful gifs. Jesus christ.

Posted by Tylea002

I'll put my cynicism hat on and say this is one obvious ass move to get EA some good press. Anyone could have made this claim against Zynga at anytime.

Posted by therealspratt

@Flappybat: Or maybe we do?

Posted by Milkman

@Maginnovision said:

So many awful gifs. Jesus christ.

Edited by MeatSim

If I ever need a popcorn gif I now know were to go.

Posted by mrpandaman

So... when does Gameloft get sued too?

Posted by Lunar_Aura

Fuck EA but fuck Zynga more. Go EA, go!

Posted by Spikey

@RustySanderke said:

That ain't a triangle, it's a hexagonal bipyramid.

The proper term is "plumbob."

Posted by AngriGhandi

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT

Posted by morrelloman

I play EA games. I don't play Zynga games. Zynga has been accused of slavery. So they are the greater evil.