EA Sues Zynga for Copying The Sims Social

kitsuta

<Clever Title Here>
Jan 10, 2011
367
0
0
EA Sues Zynga for Copying The Sims Social

EA says its lawsuit over Zynga's The Ville is a "case of principle."

Zynga has been no stranger to accusations of copyright infringement - its games often bear a striking resemblance to games by smaller studios, with titles like Dream Heights earning angry letters [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115475-Indy-Dev-Calls-Zynga-Out-Over-Plagiarism] from the studios that felt ripped off. Most aggrieved studios are too small to afford the expense of litigation, which has thus far kept the company safe from lawsuits. But what happens when Zynga makes a game like The Ville that resembles The Sims Social, made by EA? Well, as it turns out, EA has answered that question definitively, by filing a lawsuit against Zynga for copyright infringement.

Make no mistake - this is not EA threatening to sue Zynga, or simply claiming that Zynga ripped off its game. EA has, according to Maxis Label General Manager Lucy Bradshaw, officially filed a lawsuit against Zynga today. Bradshaw summed up the legal argument [http://www.ea.com/news/eamaxis-sue-zynga-for-copyright-infringement] of the suit by stating, "in legal terms, our claim is that Zynga copied the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a clear violation of the U.S. copyright laws." The complaint specifically points out that the similarities between Zynga's and EA's games were noticed immediately upon The Ville's release.

But, according to Bradshaw, it goes beyond superficial similarities. "Zynga's design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions and actions have been directly lifted from The Sims Social," she stated. "The copying was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable."



This isn't just an effort to protect EA's profits, though - Bradshaw said that this "is a case of principle." Bradshaw pointed out that, while EA isn't the first to accuse Zynga of copyright infringement, it is "the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it." She condemned copyright infringement as both unacceptable and illegal, and wrote that, by suing Zynga, EA hopes to "have a secondary effect of protecting the rights of other creative studios who don't have the resources to protect themselves." Bradshaw ended her statement by saying that "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 fired back in short order, releasing a brief statement about the upcoming lawsuit. After taking a couple sentences to plug Zynga's own games, including The Ville, YoVille, and CastleVille, General Counsel Reggie Davis flatly stated, "it's unfortunate that EA thought that this was an appropriate response to [The Ville], and clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic copyright principles." Davis also made sure to mention the resemblance between Zynga's long-running CityVille and EA's recently-released SimCity Social, which went so far as to not-so-subtly mock CityVille [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/118170-EA-Mocks-Zynga-in-New-SimCity-Social-Trailer] in a trailer for the game.



Although accusations of copyright infringement are as common as cheap copycat games, particularly in the mobile and social spaces, this is the first time a company with the legal and financial weight of EA is officially suing a studio on copyright-infringement grounds. Other high-profile lawsuits, while often related to copyright infringement, have legally been based on NDA violations [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115804-Zynga-Sued-Over-Patent-Infringements] instead. This has partly been due to the difficulty of proving copyright infringement over design alone - a game can use one mechanic that's similar to another game without a problem, but the line between "inspired by" and "clone of" gets hard to define as the design similarities increase.

Thus, the common counter-argument is that the game accused of infringement merely iterates on its predecessor - a claim Bradshaw recognized when she wrote that "some will say The Ville simply iterates [on The Sims Social]." But if EA sticks to its principles and refuses a settlement, then successfully proves that ripping off design alone can constitute copyright infringement, that could make a lot of developers think twice about how much "inspiration" they take from successful games.

Source & Image: Inside Social Games [http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2012/08/03/ea-taking-zynga-to-court-over-the-ville/]

Permalink
 

Fappy

\[T]/
May 1, 2020
12,010
0
0
Country
United States
By the time this is all said and done EA will be getting the few remaining nickles out of whatever couches Zynga has left in their office. Way to kick them while they are bleeding from the eye sockets guys.
 

gigastar

Insert one-liner here.
Sep 13, 2010
4,419
0
0
Its no secret that i dislike EA, but i have a burning hatred for Zynga. The kind that wants me to toss thier bosses into the maggot pit and keep them in until the flies start... flying.

So, im rooting for EA on this one.
 

the7ofswords

New member
Apr 9, 2009
197
0
0
While EA has been a terrible influence in the industry over-all, I have to side with them here.

Gods! But, that feels icky.
 

FalloutJack

Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
15,489
0
0
A matter of principle...?

*Snerk*

We'll wait for the train to leave the station before addressing that one, EA.
 

80Maxwell08

New member
Jul 14, 2010
1,102
0
0
nikki191 said:
silly silly people thinking they could get away with stealling a game from EA. this could be the final nail in the coffin for those thieves
Agreed. Putting yourself within lawsuit range of EA is always a bad idea.
 

Somethingfake

New member
Oct 22, 2008
316
0
0
Fappy said:
By the time this is all said and done EA will be getting the few remaining nickles out of whatever couches Zynga has left in their office. Way to kick them while they are bleeding from the eye sockets guys.
So you're cool with someone blatantly stealing a game's look and feel if they're poor? Way to support the law breaker mate.
 

ElPatron

New member
Jul 18, 2011
2,130
0
0
EA suing someone and I actually support it?

I'll have to start watching out for the pig crap falling from the sky and bring a coat to Hell.
 

kajinking

New member
Aug 12, 2009
896
0
0
Hey it's like Alien Vs. Predator! I get the feeling EA only did this since Zynga no longer has the ability to really fight them and they may as well get all the money they can before it's all gone.
 

MrMunchies

New member
Mar 6, 2012
23
0
0
They couldn't have picked a better time... If EA's right on this one, it'll be over for Zynga... Another nail on the coffin..
 

Fappy

\[T]/
May 1, 2020
12,010
0
0
Country
United States
Somethingfake said:
Fappy said:
By the time this is all said and done EA will be getting the few remaining nickles out of whatever couches Zynga has left in their office. Way to kick them while they are bleeding from the eye sockets guys.
So you're cool with someone blatantly stealing a game's look and feel if they're poor? Way to support the law breaker mate.
Never tried to defend Zynga. They are getting what they deserve. I was just commenting that this is a waste of time for EA's legal department. I suppose they could be just trying to repair their imagine after this disasterious year. Standing up for something when it won't actually benefit you all that much always earns brownie points.
 

Zanez

New member
Aug 8, 2008
60
0
0
Wait, did Zynga think they could counter by saying SimCity social is a rip off of CityVille?
SimCity Social is a part of the SimCity series, which all look like this, and which existed LONG before CityVille. If anything, CityVille is a rip off of the SimCity series in general...

I am usually the first to attack EA, but my hate for Zynga is even more serious than my hate for EA, so I need to side with EA now. I have a hard time believing they are sueing Zynga specifically to stick up for all the studios who have been destroyed by Zynga, but even if that is not their primary goal, those studios deserve to see Zynga crash and burn as a neat little bonus.

I'm sorry Zynga, but you are going down now. I am glad to see these thieves suffering. Even with all the money they made, they haven't been able to buy any original creative talent. This is what happens when you stop stealing kindergarten children's lunch money and start stealing money from the teachers...
 

J Tyran

New member
Dec 15, 2011
2,407
0
0
EA are, well EA but I hope they win this case. Zyngas business practices have bordered on criminal in the past, the way they rip off small 3 man indie studios and then use their greater resources for marketing sucks big time too.
 

WhiteTigerShiro

New member
Sep 26, 2008
2,366
0
0
Saviordd1 said:
I'm...rooting for EA?



Seriously, this seems like an "end world" scenario.
Think of it this way: We aren't bandwagoning behind EA so-much as siding with the lesser of two evils. I mean, at least with EA we can point to SOME good things they've done in the past. Zynga's been nothing but shit from start to (hopefully soon-to-be) finish.

As for the lawsuit, hard to say how much ground they'll really have. In order to prove that its copyright infringement, don't they basically have to show that The Ville uses the exact same code as The Sims Social? Or maybe they just have to show enough ripped-off code? What exactly does EA have to prove in order to have a case here? Because there's a fine-line between just ripping-off a game idea and actually infringing on copyrights, otherwise Darksiders would have been a lawsuit waiting to happen with how many games it ripped-off. ;P

I mean, granted that Zynga doesn't really have the money to fight, so maybe they don't have to prove anything, but let's say it does go to court.
 

dnazeri

New member
Jul 2, 2012
42
0
0
YES YES YES. As much as I hate EA, I hate Zynga 40 times that amount. All of EA's faults are shitty business practices which treat consumer poorly, and they do me no damage cause I don't buy their games, plus the people who do buy EA games don't seem to mind. But Zynga actively hurts developers I support even though I don't buy their games.

So +1 for EA indeed. This brings their running total to -1546.