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Decision, EA: Judge Reverses Multimillion Dollar Award To Madden Dev 125

Posted by timothy
from the such-bizarre-reasoning dept.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that "A federal judge overturned a jury's multimillion-dollar damage award to the programmer of the original John Madden Football video game on Wednesday, saying there was no evidence that his work was copied for seven years, without credit, by the marketer of later versions of the hugely successful game. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco spared Electronic Arts Inc. from nearly $4 million in damages, plus interest that could have exceeded $7 million. The jury verdict also could have led to larger damages against the company for later versions of the game, which reaped billions of dollars in revenues, if future juries found that those, too, had been lifted from the work of programmer Robin Antonick." Also at Kotaku.
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Decision, EA: Judge Reverses Multimillion Dollar Award To Madden Dev

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  • Silly Wabbit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PortHaven (242123) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:52AM (#46071073) Homepage

    Patents and Copyrights are for rich companies....not people.

  • by codepigeon (1202896) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @02:21AM (#46071145)
    " they had signed with the programmer, an agreement for the developer to be compensated by royalties for the first edition and any derivative works"
    FTFY

    The fact that a jury already found his claim valid, and he is only asking for compensation from the first few editions of Madden (not all versions up to current gen), makes me think he probably is due compensation.

    But, you now how lawyers are. I am sure the EA lawyers can prove that the sky is green. ...."it depends on what your definition of 'is' is..."
  • by chaboud (231590) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @03:30AM (#46071301) Homepage Journal

    I disagree on this one.

    Let's take a car analogy.

    If I bring suit because you hit my car and drove off, then bring a witness who says you hit my car and drove off, and you do jack+shit in the case only to claim in a post-verdict motion that I didn't provide photographs of my car in support of my case, you will get laughed out of court.

    Unless you're EA. The judge may have thought that the judgement was high, but a jury found that the preponderance of the evidence supported the plaintiff's claim. Remember, that burden is a greater than 50% chance that the plaintiff's claim is true. Sure, showing the games might help show that, but an expert witness who has made a deep inspection of the games in question can determine if the underlying mechanics of scoring, play selection, and player rating are derivative, without getting bamboozled by 16-bit graphics.

    In this case, the staggering move is the absolute lack of source code. Sheesh, people. Just subpoena the source. Oh, it's not available? How about expert analysis determining the algorithmic similarity? Oh, surprise, here we are.

    We need more judges who want to learn to code. The rest should sit the fuck back and stop screwing things up.

  • by The Rizz (1319) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @03:42AM (#46071343)

    [...] also there is always the chance that the other party will run out of money and give up. Being a civil case this is fair game.

    No, as always, a "deep pockets" win is not a fair game, it is dirty pool.

  • Re:Silly Wabbit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @08:59AM (#46072097)

    The Law is for rich companies, not people.

    FTFY

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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