EA and Zynga Quietly Resolve Copyright Dispute Out of Court

In federal court today, all lawsuits related to Electronic Arts’ claim that Zynga copied one of its Facebook games were dismissed.


According to a filing in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, the entire case was dismissed with prejudice. Both companies issued identical statements on the subject: “EA and Zynga have resolved their respective claims and have reached a settlement of their litigation in the Northern District of California.”

If you don’t recall, EA filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Zynga in August, charging that Zynga’s social game The Ville was an “unmistakable copy” of EA’s The Sims Social. The complaint was seeking injunctive relief and damages.

The following month, Zynga filed a pair of motions to rebut Electronic Arts’ claims, arguing that The Ville on Facebook is not similar to EA’s The Sims Social. And, in a third filing, it countersued, alleging that EA participated in unlawful actions, including anti-competitive business practices, when it came to recruiting employees.

All of the cases have now been dismissed. The terms of the settlement are confidential, so exactly how the two companies worked out their differences is not known.

But in some respects, the issues EA had surrounding The Ville should no longer be a concern.

In October, Zynga said it was “significantly reducing” its investment in The Ville as part of a restructuring plan that is designed to return the company to profitability. The Ville was just one of more than a dozen games being phased out.

Electronic Arts Vs. Zynga

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work