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EA is suing Zynga for copying the Sims Social

The Ville accused of aping game elements
Mon Aug 06 2012, 11:33
A lawsuit document

GAMES PUBLISHER Electronic Arts (EA) has filed a lawsuit against Zynga because it thinks Zynga ripped off its game, The Sims Social, with The Ville.

The firm explained its lawsuit in a blog post, where it alleged that Zynga copied "original and distinctive and expressive" elements of its game. According to the post, EA is not doing this just for itself, but for anyone that has ever been harmed by similar flattery.

"The core legal issue is our belief that Zynga infringed copyrights to our game, The Sims Social. 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," said the post from Lucy Bradshaw, GM of EA's Maxis Label.

"The legal reasons are solid. But for creative teams who feel that their hard work and imaginations have been ripped off, there's obviously an emotional element too."

Bradshaw said that The Ville, a game that followed Maxis' The Sims Social by around a year, infringes the title in an unmistakable way, one that is so bad that it could not be ignored.

"The similarities go well beyond any superficial resemblance. Zynga's design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions and actions have been directly lifted from The Sims Social," she added.

"The copying was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable. Scores of media and bloggers commented on the blatant mimicry. This is a case of principle."

Bradshaw seems to be suggesting that EA is standing up for the little guy here, the smaller publisher that does not have the weight to throw lawsuits about.

"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," she added.

"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."

We have asked Zynga to respond. µ


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