Liz Gannes

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Electronic Arts Sues Zynga for Copyright Infringement Over The Ville

After loudly complaining that Zynga had ripped off one of its biggest hits, Electronic Arts is taking its rival to court.

Filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against Zynga, Electronic Arts charged today, “The Ville is an ‘unmistakable copy’ of EA’s The Sims Social.”

The complaint was filed in a federal court in San Francisco, and asks for injunctive relief and damages.

Lucy Bradshaw, general manager of EA’s Maxis Label, described the lawsuit as a stand on behalf of the gaming industry.

“Maxis isn’t the first studio to claim that Zynga copied its creative product,” she wrote on EA.com. “But we are the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it.”

Bradshaw wrote:

“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.”

Zynga responded that The Ville is simply a natural extension of its longrunning ’Ville series of games.

“We are committed to creating the most fun, innovative, social and engaging games in every major genre that our players enjoy,” said Reggie Davis, Zynga general counsel. “The Ville is the newest game in our ‘ville’ franchise — it builds on every major innovation from our existing invest-and-express games dating back to YoVille and continuing through CityVille and CastleVille, and introduces a number of new social features and game mechanics not seen in social games today.

“It’s unfortunate that EA thought that this was an appropriate response to our game, and clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic copyright principles. It’s also ironic that EA brings this suit shortly after launching SimCity Social which bears an uncanny resemblance to Zynga’s CityVille game. Nonetheless, we plan to defend our rights to the fullest extent possible and intend to win with players.”

And in response to that response, EA’s John Reseburg shot back, “They must be distracted right now; otherwise they would have noticed we have been shipping SimCity games since the 1990s.”

Okay, folks, save some for the courtroom.

The full EA complaint is embedded below:

EA v Zynga Complaint (Final)


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