EA/Maxis Sue Zynga for Copyright Infringement

by on August 3, 2012

EA have filed a lawsuit against Zynga over their game The Ville, which they say is a copy of Maxis title, Sim Social.


Maxis Label General Manager, Lucy Bradshaw released this statement on EA’s official site:

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.

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.

As outlined in our complaint, when The Ville was introduced in June 2012, the infringement of The Sims Social was unmistakable to those of us at Maxis as well as to players and the industry at large.  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.  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.  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.  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.

It’s hard not to agree with EA/Maxis and as the statement says, this isn’t the first time Zynga have been accused of copycat developing. Nimblebit’s iOS game Tiny Tower appeared to be blatantly ripped off by Zynga when the social gaming giant released, Dream Heights.

What do you think, is it a case of no idea being original nowadays or have Zynga over stepped the mark?

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