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The Courts Games

Zynga Sues EA For 'Anti-competitive' Practices 116

An anonymous reader writes "In early August, Electronic Arts sued Zynga for allegedly copying EA's Sims Social game. Zynga has now launched a counterattack, suing EA for 'anticompetitive and unlawful business practices, including legal threats and demands for no-hire agreements.' The company also accuses EA of copying a Zynga game called YoVille. Zynga has also demanded a jury trial to settle EA's claims."
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Zynga Sues EA For 'Anti-competitive' Practices

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  • by TheRecklessWanderer ( 929556 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:39PM (#41346583) Journal
    We are using you for being mad at us for copying your product. Take that good company!
    • Re:Zynga hahahahah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 15, 2012 @02:54PM (#41347381) Journal

      You gotta give Zynga credit though, it takes some VERY large brass balls to basically say "We stole your product and now we are gonna sue you....because you won't let us steal more of your products."

      Which is why I can't see how ANYBODY can defend Zynga in this case. Is EA run by douchebags? Yes it is, and thanks to their douchebaggy ways EA is now up for sale, showing that refusing to buy from companies that treat you like shit works, even if it takes awhile.

      But with Zynga the ONLY reason you haven't heard of this before is they were stealing from the little devs that couldn't fight back. Look up any of their games, going back to the very first ones like Farmville and you'll find an indie dev that had put out the EXACT SAME GAME one to two years before, and I mean the EXACT same game, Zynga doesn't bother to change shit but the name!

      We don't let ANY other artform do this, I can't put out my own version of "Lord Of The Rings" with every character and word of dialog and simply rename it "Lord Of The Bracelets" and not get my ass sued off, I can't hire studio musicians to knock off the songs on the top 10 and simply change the title and put out my own top ten mega mix albums, so why in the fuck should Zynga be allowed to steal every damned thing, from the characters to the art style to the fricking UIs, slap a new name on it and then sell it?

      If you can't see how this is seriously bad for indies then you are blind. if Zynga gets away with this why should I buy "Plants VS Zombies" when some corp will hire a bunch of Chinese coders and I can have "Shrubs VS The Undead" next week for free on FB? Why buy Minecraft when I can have MineBuilder for free? One of the great things that has come along is the way the Internet allows small artists to compete and sell their wares no different than the big guys, but if this kind of shit isn't stopped when it comes to games they won't have a prayer, either they work for the megacorps who have enough money to sue, or everything they do will be taken from them. That is frankly a shitty choice and as much as I don't care for EA they are 100% in the right on this one and I hope they crush Zynga like the bugs that they are, go EA!

      • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @03:51PM (#41347687) Journal
        It's one of those situations where you wish BOTH could lose.
        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          A case of "the enemy of my enemy is an even larger enemy."
          • by Ambvai ( 1106941 )

            Maxim 29: The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more. No less.

            • And like last time there was a zynga vs EA story I will say it again: I hope they both bankrupt each other. I hate lawyers too but if they are going to be ripping someone off, please let it be both Zynga and EA at the same time. Burn baby burn.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Gameplay mechanics can not be copyrighted.

      • Zynga didn't steal YoVille, they bought it off someone else.
      • by Bob9113 ( 14996 )

        If you can't see how this is seriously bad for indies then you are blind. if Zynga gets away with this why should I buy "Plants VS Zombies" when some corp will hire a bunch of Chinese coders and I can have "Shrubs VS The Undead" next week for free on FB? Why buy Minecraft when I can have MineBuilder for free? One of the great things that has come along is the way the Internet allows small artists to compete and sell their wares no different than the big guys, but if this kind of shit isn't stopped when it c

        • Re:Zynga hahahahah (Score:5, Insightful)

          by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @05:59PM (#41348331)

          How close were Zynga's copies

          Pretty close to adding a mustache to the mona lisa and calling it an original work of art.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by EdIII ( 1114411 )

            Is it not an original work of art?

            That's kind of a bad example because art is all about perception and some sort of statement from the artist. Would you say Andy Warhol was infringing upon Campbell's IP?

            Just what exactly makes something original? I would actually claim that the work of art you propose is original because it is striking and thought provoking. It's the Mona Lisa, but why does she have a stache? Why are there 10 pictures in a row? Why does this one have a goatee?

            In Zynga's case so much wa

            • by vux984 ( 928602 )

              Is it not an original work of art?

              The mustache might me. Maybe. But no, its a derivative work.

              Would you say Andy Warhol was infringing upon Campbell's IP?

              Yes. Absolutely. Without question. It was clearly a transformative but derivative work.

              But that's not really the important question. The important question is whether it was fair use. The mustachioed mona lisa was parody and defendable as fair use.

              The Warhol on the other hand... not so much... I expect Campbell's could have asserted trademark and copyrigh

            • Dude you can break out the ruler and their "creation' is pixel perfect, so much so that you could mix and match furniture between the two games and nobody would ever notice!

              And look at the characters, their look, their animations, there isn't a damned original ANYTHING! Not a single thing! Don't you think that that goes above and beyond a simple idea?

              Nobody is saying "you can't make a FPS" or "You can't make a tower defense game" but what I'm saying is you at LEAST have to do SOMETHING, anything, that isn't

        • Re:Zynga hahahahah (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 15, 2012 @09:16PM (#41349321) Journal

          Dude, look up "Zynga rips off indie" in the search engine of your choice and be ready to shit brick, because as another poster put it "Its like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa and calling it an original artwork". Look up "The Farm" I believe it was called and compare it to farmville, hell pick ANY game they have and look up its name and "ripoff" and you'll find that some little indie had put out a game one to two years before and once it started gaining a few users? here comes Zynga and a pile of their Chinese coders to bold face rip it off!

          Hell look up the EA court papers man, they have in it side by side photos, they fucking stole EVERYTHING. The characters, their animations, the thought bubble, the UI, the sound, they might as well have just took EA's code and stuck their name on it, it's THAT blatant.

          Look, I got NO problem with taking a basic idea and making your own take, look at how we have a bazillion tower defense games, Good God half the FPS games out there are so generic war themed you could place them side by side and it looks like "Generic action movie #47" but that is NOT what we have here, they did NOT put out their own take, what they did is more like taking tracing paper and just ripping it off frame by frame!

          Please look it up for yourself Bob, I know how you feel. When I first heard of this I thought "So they both have Sims style games, so what?" but holy shit, they didn't even fricking pretend to have an original thought, it was a pixel to pixel copy. I'm not shitting you either, one of the EA guys actually took measurements and more than 3/4th of the artwork is even pixel by pixel sized so damned identically you could mix and match between the two games and nobody would notice! I'm sure after you see the pics, especially of the little indie guys that could afford to fight back, that Zynga deserves to die and EA deserves to win, this is just pure theft, no bones about it.

        • I would say the proper term is "plagiarised". What Zynga did was not (as one poster said) adding a moustache to the Mona Lisa and calling it an original, but rather selling copies of a famous painting that is alike except for the signature and the colour of the flowers in the far background. Alike enough to dupe careless buyers, and just different enough to pretend that it is an original work of art.

      • I worked for a company who was bought out by zynga (we made dopewars) It was a very very bad experience. They are the definition of a troll company with too much money and no brains.
  • by SpzToid ( 869795 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:43PM (#41346603)

    Patent wars are so passé. I am so ready for the anti-poach wars!

  • EA vs Zynga (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:44PM (#41346613)

    Who's side are we supposed to be on?

    • Re:EA vs Zynga (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Makoska ( 2731039 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:48PM (#41346639)

      Who's side are we supposed to be on?

      Battle for Wesnoth's LOL

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Good question. Certainly neither party to the lawsuit, and most definitely not with the lawyers. I'd have to say hope for all three to lose?

    • Sometimes you need to root for both sides to fight and both to lose. I can't remember the original quote but it was about America selling weapons to both sides of a conflict because the US wanted both sides to lose.
      • That was 'Lord of War' IIRC. Great movie, one of Cage's best.
        • I watched that yesterday. Agreed, fantastic movie.

          Opening lines:

          "There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?"

          I'm sure he was quoting someone else there...

      • by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @01:47PM (#41347009)

        Because nobody ever went broke selling weapons. Look at my cousin Gaila. He went into weapons, I bought a bar. Now he owns his own moon, and I'm staring into the abyss, and my only hope for salvation is the Federation.

        • by EdIII ( 1114411 )

          Now I am imagining all the executives of both companies being Ferengis. You know.... it just seems to fit perfectly.

          In fact, if anybody ever does a documentary about this legal battle (like Microsoft vs Apple) they should use Ferengis as the actors.


        • by C0R1D4N ( 970153 )
          I feel like Ferengi law would not have copyrights or patents. Companies would rely on DRM and proprietary stuff to try to keep customers locked in. Meanwhile the competition would use reverse engineering and industrial espionage.
        • Actually, ammunition is the killer app. You sell weapons once. They need ammunition to function as such and they keep needing the stuff to continue functioning.
      • by gmuslera ( 3436 )
        No matter which side loses, even if both does, lawyers win.
      • Re:EA vs Zynga (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @07:15PM (#41348717)

        if you're selling weapons the LAST thing you want is for either side to lose - which is why whatever you sell to one side, you sell to the other. This has several side effects, not least of which you get obscenely rich and you remain neutral (see: Switzerland during WWII, the US arms industry during the Iran-Iraq war and pretty much every other conflict since WWII...). The thing you want to keep in short supply, however, is ammunition.

    • Re:EA vs Zynga (Score:4, Informative)

      by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @01:16PM (#41346813)

      Who's side are we supposed to be on?

      Well, EA did once produce some good games, so them I suppose. They still have some potential: Zynga never had any. Zynga are also pretty blatant about ripping off other games producers (indie game makers included), EA are usually not quite so bad in that area at least.

      • Quadrapassel (Score:2, Informative)

        by tepples ( 727027 )

        Zynga are also pretty blatant about ripping off other games producers

        Any more so than the free software community, with it's "Quadrapassel" and its "M-x tetris"?

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        EA rips themselves off. Madden [$year] and such. Zynga should be applauded for copying games. And punished for copying copyrighted images creatively designed for it. The idea of a game of farmville should not be protected. Othewise, nobody else can make a 2D scrolling shooter, as Contra did it years ago (and wasn't th first) and if it isn't a shooter, Mario did it before you (and Pitfall before them).

        I want Zynga to win because the idea that the concept of a game should be copyrightable is absurd.
    • Who cares? Pass the popcorn.
    • Neither. As in political reporting, the concept of "sides" [wikipedia.org] is one way that journalists turn stories into BS [cracked.com] because they have vested interests in the public not learning what's really going on [pineight.com].
    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      No matter who loses this battle, humanity wins!
    • Who's side are we supposed to be on?

      Anything that hurts Zynga, hurts facebook, as they reminded us over and over in the IPO filing [sec.gov]. So, depends what you think of the Zuckerborg.

    • >Who's side are we supposed to be on?

      The third side: mutually assured destruction ...

      ...a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two opposing sides would effectively result in the complete, utter and irrevocable annihilation of both the attacker and the defender.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_assured_destruction [wikipedia.org]

    • by Narnie ( 1349029 )

      Well, if you mean to choose the winning side, then its the lawyers obviously.

    • The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy and nothing more I'm on the lawyer's side
    • by DiEx-15 ( 959602 )
      The one that isn't evil...

      ...Oh. Wait...
  • My choice (Score:5, Funny)

    by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:53PM (#41346663)
    I'm cheering for EA on this one. Oh god, I feel sick and dirty, I need to take a shower now. :(
  • EA is going to counter counter sue you, yo!
  • Can't think of two companies I'd rather see hemorrhaging money in the courtrooms.
  • Ripping off games: BAAAAAAD

    Just taking down some notes here for the zombie slashdot poster bot I've been writing.

    • I don't need to write anything down to see how retarded this post is.
      THERE IS NO HIVE MIND! \ LOTS OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE POSTING THEIR OPINIONS. ' To claim hypocrisy when you're taking different pinions, and making some hoopla about how /. is contradictory, when it is different people in these threads posting different individual opinions, well, there is no word to describe how dumb that is. Get off your high horse, read up on basic logic, basic lingual skills pertaining to debate.
  • When I was at PAX Dev a couple of weeks ago, one good way to get a laugh would be to mention virtually any player-manipulative or too openly copying large sections of games, then just insert the word 'Zynga'.

    The words 'E.A.' will also get some laughs connected to generic corporate thuggery, but after the whole 'Worst Company in America" stuff, it's a bit overplayed.

    Ryan Fenton

  • It comes down to personal perception more than the law. EA is the big bad guy on the block, Zynga is the family friendly buddy on facebook. There are no good guys here though, both are greedy thieves who would rob you blind in a moment if they could do so legally. Welcome to the business of studio game development/publishing. Thank god for indies.
  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @02:01PM (#41347109)

    does anyone give a crap? let them both sue each other into oblivion and the world will be a better place

    • Sounds great, but they'll finance this B.S. by cutting their respective workforces!

      • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

        if those people have any skills they will easily find another job, and if not, they will have time to make some decisions about their lives.

        I dont buy this feeling that no company can fail for the poor workers will starve to death in a gutter crap ... I was recently unemployed for a year and yet I am still alive, newley employed and doing better than I was at my last job. So let them cut jobs, again its better for everyone.

  • by TRRosen ( 720617 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @03:13PM (#41347489)

    Well let's see.
    Nether company creates there own games. EA buys them and Zynga steals them.
    Both companies steal from their users it's just that EA does it $50 at a time while Zynga does it $.50 at a time.
    Both companies treat gamers like crap.
    EA abuses the hell out of professional developers while Zynga abuses the hell out of people that think they are developers.
    (sorry Zynga workers but my dog writes better code)
    EA uses huge expensive marketing campaigns of BS while Zynga just spams you until you give in.
    EA often ruins good games after taking them over. Zynga often ruins good games after copying them and flooding the market with their version.
    EA actions makes you hate them. Zynga's actions make you hate yourself.
    All in all the world would be better off if neither existed. But the tie breaker goes to EA as we would actually miss their games.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    With both Zynga and EA lying financially in shambles because of the lawsuit, their lawyers team up and buy both Zynga and EA to form ZEANGA.

  • by flimflammer ( 956759 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @06:28PM (#41348521)

    It amazes me how often lawyers try to redact information from the public by changing the foreground and background to black when we can just select the text to reveal it.

    Their counterclaim is full of not-so-redacted text.

  • I hate to say this, but Zynga has a point. Consider how many crappy b movies are made in Hollywood related to hits. It's particularly bad with children's movies, but it also happened to Jaws and Jurassic Park. I heard on NPR recently that they're making a big comeback since digital distribution has taken over. It's easier to get on Netflix or Amazon's service than in stores. How is it different to copy a game versus a movie?

    My big problem with Zynga isn't that they copy games shamelessly from EA and ot

  • Companies like Zynga that churn out these games to feed off the souls(and wallets) of those who have the time to devote to them make me sick. These companies create games that lead people to absolutely nowhere, working tirelessly at something seemingly insurmountable, only to have something new and even more insurmountable to take its place. Repetitive nonsense spewed forth with slightly different packaging to make it a little different the next go round.

    I'm looking at you Blizzard *evileyes*

  • I'd expect to read on the Onion. Not CNET.

  • You know, the tagline, "whoever wins... we lose"?

    Also reminded of that joke that was so popular in elementary schools, "what would you rather be eaten by, a [any random carnivore], or a [random other carnivore]?" "I'd rather the [two carnivores from the previous sentence] eat each other."

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.