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Businesses The Almighty Buck The Courts Games

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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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Bribes are so easy nowadays.

  • Silly Wabbit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PortHaven (242123) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:52AM (#46071073) Homepage

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by amiga3D (567632)

      The Law is for rich companies, not people.

      FTFY

  • Why don't they just look at the source code of the two versions? It should be obvious whether it was copied. Maybe the lawyers don't make enough money of they use common sense.

    • I suggest speculating why the source code of the possible derived version was not made available to the court or the expert witness.

      It may have been completely innocent worry about trade secrets but there are other possibilities, such as the unwillingness to incriminate themselves, that sound more likely to me.
      • by lucm (889690)

        I suggest speculating why the source code of the possible derived version was not made available to the court or the expert witness.

        It may have been completely innocent worry about trade secrets but there are other possibilities, such as the unwillingness to incriminate themselves, that sound more likely to me.

        Sounds plausible: "Your honor, I invoke the fifth, there is no way I will show you the source code of Module1.bas".

    • Maybe they don't have the source code from the 1988 version any more. They claim they weren't using that source code for subsequent versions of the game, and they couldn't release a patch on the Internet if they found bugs after it was released, so there wasn't much perceived value in preserving the source code. And they certainly didn't expect to have to preserve it for 25 years.

    • by tomhath (637240)

      If the source code was reused you can be quite sure they would have introduced that as evidence. But they never introduced the code or even the games as evidence. Hmmm.

      They based their claim on an "expert" opinion that the games looked very similar, therefore the source code must have been copied. Because everyone knows that you couldn't possibly rewrite the game to run on the same hardware using the same story without copying the code, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    One judge or a thousand judges SHOULD NOT be able to overturn a ({[JURY'S]}) virdict. Period.

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