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Zynga counters EA's copyright suit with a claim of its own
Zynga counters EA's copyright suit with a claim of its own
September 14, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

September 14, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
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    9 comments
More: Social/Online, Business/Marketing



After a month and a half of silence, Zynga has finally responded to EA's accusations of copyright infringement, and the major social game company isn't taking these legal claims lying down.

When EA first sued Zynga in early August, it claimed that Zynga had copied The Sims Social when making its recent Facebook game, The Ville. In a new three-part response, Zynga predictably denied those allegations, and even turned the tables on EA by accusing the company of violating anti-trust laws.

In the first part of the filing, Zynga said that it wants to eliminate portions of EA's claim that it believes are "redundant, immaterial, impertinent and/or scandalous matter that is unfairly prejudicial to Zynga." The company said that any similarities between The Ville and The Sims Social are simply standard elements of the "life simulation" genre, and are thus not protectable by copyright law.

While that initial response is somewhat expected from a company charged with copyright violations, Zynga added another layer of complexity to the legal battle by filing a counterclaim that accuses EA of unlawful conduct.

Zynga claims that EA CEO John Riccitiello wanted to establish an illegal "no-hire" agreement with Zynga that would prevent the company from hiring employees away from EA. The filing says Riccitiello had grown upset that many EA employees had moved over to Zynga, and had gone "on the war path" to put an end to the talent bleed.

The company also says EA filed its lawsuit in August not because it believes Zynga copied The Sims Social, but because the company wanted to discourage its employees from jumping ship.

[Update: EA has issued an official response to Zynga's filing that largely dismisses the new allegations. EA's statement reads:

"This is a predictable subterfuge aimed at diverting attention from Zynga's persistent plagiarism of other artists and studios. Zynga would be better served trying to hold onto the shrinking number of employees they've got, rather than suing to acquire more."]

Zynga's original court filing can be found below:
Part 1 Zynga's Motion to Strike

Part 2 Zynga's Answer and Demand for Jury Trial

Part 3 Counterclaim (Public)


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Comments


Rodolfo Camarena
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This is exactly how I predicted it. YoVille, SimCity Social, etc... Now we just have to wait for this to unfold some more. Grab some popcorn and pop in a movie, folks!

E McNeill
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This reminds me of when they claimed that Tiny Tower and Dream Heights were just two examples of the "tower genre". No respect for game design.

E Zachary Knight
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But they are. Did you not see the graphic another developer of a tower sim made?

http://imgur.com/ajaYt

Jacob Germany
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@E Zachary Is that sarcasm? It doesn't read well in text, so I honestly can't tell.

Bob Charone
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"But they are. Did you not see the graphic another developer of a tower sim made? "

i agree with the top comment posted:
"I have played corporation Inc, Tiny Tower and Sim Tower, and they all have pretty different gameplay, if a similar premise. The zynga game is more or less an exact gameplay copy of Tiny Tower. "

Ken Love
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"The company also says EA filed its lawsuit in August not because it believes Zynga copied The Sims Social, but because the company wanted to discourage its employees from jumping ship."

Yes! All EA employees just can't wait to get on the good shop Titanic.

- K

Chris OKeefe
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EA vs Zynga? Can anyone say grudge match? Both are dirty fighters, this ought to get ugly.

I think Zynga is on the ropes as a company, they seem to be coming apart at the seams. But you know what they say about cornered animals...

Terry Matthes
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My prediction is that EA wins because they have more money to spend on legal fees or at least the ability to rely on successful annually renewing franchises to offset said fees whereas Zygna does not.

Joe Cain
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"The company said that any similarities between The Ville and The Sims Social are simply standard elements of the 'life simulation' genre, and are thus not protectable by copyright law."

Not to kick a guy while he's down, but what other games make up the "life simulation" genre, exactly? The SIMS and... uh... ???


none
 
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