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Leaked Zynga Memo Justifies Copycat Strategy 384

bonch writes "After taking heat over allegations of copying hit indie game Tiny Tower, Zynga founder Mark Pincus wrote an internal memo justifying the company's strategy of cloning competing titles, citing the Google search engine and Apple iPod as successful products which weren't first in their markets. Pincus infamously told employees: 'I don't want f*cking innovation. You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers.'"
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Leaked Zynga Memo Justifies Copycat Strategy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @11:42AM (#38902761)

    And look where they are at.

  • by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:09PM (#38903127)

    And if the originators of the game ideas win the case, I strongly recommend that they demand jail time for Pincus seeing as he's clearly documented that this is a POLICY of the company under his leadership, so he can't pin the blame on some middle manager and fire him instead.

    You don't seem to understand much about U.S. law. Torts are not crimes, and civil cases are not criminal cases. Individuals can't prosecute someone for a crime. You can only sue them civilly and get monetary damages, and/or an injunction to stop doing something. To send someone to jail, the state or federal government would have to criminally prosecute them. And there's next to no chance this will happen here, since it's not even clear that what Zynga did was a tort, let alone an actual crime. (Most trademark and patent infringements are not crimes, though some forms of copyright infringement are.)

  • by bickle ( 101226 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:20PM (#38903261)

    This was in a SF Weekly article back in 2010. []

  • All's fair (Score:4, Informative)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <> on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:34PM (#38903459) Homepage

    It seems like everyone wants to object to this because Zynga's successful and commercial.

    If it was Take-Two suing FreeCiv, everyone would be taking the "information wants to be free" angle.

    We can't have it both ways. If you don't support Zynga on this, you've basically got to support software patents and all sorts of other bad, restrictive stuff.

    It's good that ideas can be copied. We can't change our minds on that just because the copier happens to be rich and successful.

  • by Lashat ( 1041424 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:35PM (#38904281)

    do not read as being *that* complex, but their interpretation is constantly being argued in courts across the country.

  • Re:oooooooh (Score:4, Informative)

    by xhrit ( 915936 ) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:45PM (#38904407) Journal
    The thing is, you can't copyright game mechanics. You can copyright an implementation of the mechanics, but not the mechanics themselves. For example you can write a rulebook that explains your game's mechanics and your competitors will be unable to copy your rulebook verbatim, however there is no law preventing them from re-writing your rulebook in their own words, and publishing a game that uses the exact same mechanics, and as long as they don't use any of your copyrighted text or images you have no legal recourse.

    Same thing with software. You can write the most innovative piece of software ever made, but your competitors can clone every feature your product has and as long as they do not use any actual code or graphics from your product there is nothing you can do to stop them.

    Ref. Warzone vs. Warhammer, Navigator vs Explorer, Doom vs Doom Clones, etc, etc...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:03PM (#38904625)

    No, that's not how it works at all. You blow through the sign, you get fined for that. You blow through the sign and kill someone, you get fined for blowing the sign *and* are additionally charged with manslaughter.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith