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EA: Zynga's Infringement on Sims Social is ''Unmistakable''

By - Source: Electronic Arts | B 27 comments

EA says the infringement is so severe, it's hard to distinguish Maxis' The Sims Social and Zynga's The Ville with an untrained eye.

Electronic Arts announced on Friday that it has filed a a lawsuit on behalf of its Maxis Label against Zynga Inc. for infringing EA’s copyrights to its Facebook game, The Sims Social.

According to the publisher, the complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on August 3, 2012. It alleges that Zynga has willfully and intentionally “copied and misappropriated the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a violation of U.S. copyright laws" with the launch of The Ville on Facebook.

"The similarities go well beyond any superficial resemblance," said Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of EA’s Maxis Label, in a recent blog post. "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."

The Sims Social launched in August 2011, bringing the distinctive Sims universe to Facebook. EA claims that it became an instant hit, rapidly gaining "tens of millions" of users. The Sims Social currently maintains a user base of several million active players on the popular social network alone (the iOS and Android apps are separate). Meanwhile, Zynga's The Ville was introduced in June 2012, and Bradshaw claims the infringement of The Sims Social was "unmistakable to those of us at Maxis" as well as to players and the industry at large.

"This is a case of principle," Bradshaw said. "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."

"Today, we hope to be taking a stand that helps the industry protect the value of original creative works and those that work tirelessly to create them," she added.

As of this writing, Zynga has not responded to the lawsuit.

 

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Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    dormantreign , August 4, 2012 4:08 AM
    I hate everything about EA, but do agree with this lawsuit. This is an example of crossing the line.
  • 21 Hide
    mharry860 , August 4, 2012 4:29 AM
    Well duh, I've never seen anything so blatant. The first time I saw "The Ville", I said "Well there's the next lawsuit."
  • 20 Hide
    chewy1963 , August 4, 2012 5:00 AM
    CaedenVbecause Sim City Social is somehow not a direct copy of Cityville?


    Fail on two fronts... first, this article is about Sims Social, NOT Sim City Social. Second, Sim City has been around since the early 90's at least.
Other Comments
    Display all 27 comments.
  • 25 Hide
    dormantreign , August 4, 2012 4:08 AM
    I hate everything about EA, but do agree with this lawsuit. This is an example of crossing the line.
  • 8 Hide
    Inferno1217 , August 4, 2012 4:15 AM
    Just checked it out and yes it's way too close. I loath EA and they probably deserve this after all the crappy games they put out.
  • 21 Hide
    mharry860 , August 4, 2012 4:29 AM
    Well duh, I've never seen anything so blatant. The first time I saw "The Ville", I said "Well there's the next lawsuit."
  • 20 Hide
    chewy1963 , August 4, 2012 5:00 AM
    CaedenVbecause Sim City Social is somehow not a direct copy of Cityville?


    Fail on two fronts... first, this article is about Sims Social, NOT Sim City Social. Second, Sim City has been around since the early 90's at least.
  • 6 Hide
    Pinhedd , August 4, 2012 5:33 AM
    oh I wish I had a tiny virtual tissue for Zynga
  • 14 Hide
    teslacoilftw , August 4, 2012 5:43 AM
    I heard you can Buy a Tiny Virtual Tissue on The Ville :D  Of course there is a cost to it
  • 10 Hide
    s3anister , August 4, 2012 6:19 AM
    teslacoilftwI heard you can Buy a Tiny Virtual Tissue on The Ville Of course there is a cost to it

    But can you buy a tiny virtual violin?
  • 3 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 4, 2012 6:51 AM
    Pick your poison!
  • 2 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 4, 2012 6:53 AM
    CaedenVbecause Sim City Social is somehow not a direct copy of Cityville?


    Cityville has a distinctive different micromanagement. It feels a lot more like managing a communist city than actually running a city.

    Sim City Society was EA's attempt at building a new fan base. They not only failed to repeat the success of the original SimCity, but they also pissed off many of the existing fans that thought SCS was a true successor to SC4.
  • 1 Hide
    rohitbaran , August 4, 2012 9:04 AM
    I loathe EA for their microtransactions, but I loathe Zynga even more for being copycats. They have gotten away with it so far, I hope the company goes belly up this time.
  • -8 Hide
    demonhorde665 , August 4, 2012 10:07 AM
    technically they can't nail zygna , unless zy actualy ifted code adn artistic work directly from the actual sims social game. and i mean litterally. it doesn't matter how similar the game is as long as zygna did all their own work on theirs it's jsut a matter it being a clone , whichare perfectly elgal clones do make genres. i remeber battle toads it was almost spot on exactly like the TNMT video games of that tim. and no one ripped them a new a0-0 in court over it. this is jsut EA being dicks
  • 0 Hide
    Thunderfox , August 4, 2012 11:39 AM
    Hard to choose who to root for since I hate both sides.
  • -5 Hide
    CaedenV , August 4, 2012 11:50 AM
    chewy1963Fail on two fronts... first, this article is about Sims Social, NOT Sim City Social. Second, Sim City has been around since the early 90's at least.

    Failure in reading comprehension.
    It was a tongue-in-check response because SimCity Social and Cityville are also damn near identical, and yet this does not make waves. The point being that they are both dirt-bags who liberally copy game-play and layout ideas from eachother, it is hardly a one-way street. And there is nothing illegal about having a similar product unless they can prove that they copied code, or that there is some active deception of claiming that one product is the other.
  • 4 Hide
    NuclearShadow , August 4, 2012 12:17 PM
    As I don't have a Facebook account and thus unable to see and judge for myself perhaps adding screenshots of both and putting them side by side would do this article some good? It would let the readers be able to help make a judgement for themselves.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , August 4, 2012 12:48 PM
    one dying ship sues another one...
  • -5 Hide
    Cy-Kill , August 4, 2012 1:54 PM
    chewy1963Fail on two fronts... first, this article is about Sims Social, NOT Sim City Social. Second, Sim City has been around since the early 90's at least.


    Fail on one front for you, SimCity came out in late '89!
  • 1 Hide
    srap , August 4, 2012 1:59 PM
    http://www.technet.hu/data/cikk/40/7/10/cikk_400710/2.jpg
    The Sims Social (left) and The Ville (right)
  • 0 Hide
    aoneone , August 4, 2012 2:16 PM
    Will they get the chair?
  • -3 Hide
    bigdragon , August 4, 2012 3:52 PM
    You all realize this is just EA trying to assert absolute dominance over the human simulator genre, right? What Zynga has done is innovate. They've taken the old concept Maxis came up with and EA milked to death in order to try to improve it. It's clear to me that there's a difference in the games. The graphics on the Zynga version are cleaner, characters are more recognizable, the UI is better designed, and the social features are better executed. It looks like innovation to me. Zynga hasn't stolen any of the assets from The Sims Social. EA's complaint boils down to them claiming copyright on certain colors, isometric grids used to display houses, the concept of appliances, and other facts of human life -- ridiculous!

    Of course The Ville and Sims Social will have similarities. As games in the same genre that's what is supposed to happen! There are supposed to be similarities. This is why it can be hard to distinguish Modern Warfare 3 from Battlefield 3, Need For Speed from Ridge Racer, or Medal of Honor from Red Orchestra. I'm not willing to allow EA to claim exclusive ownership over the human simulator genre with their The Sims franchise. I'm also not willing to jump all over Zynga because they've taken established ideas and made them better. Dream Heights did what Tiny Tower did but better, and they both stemmed from Sim Tower. I'm not going to punish someone for innovation. If Zynga can do it better then let them.

    It's better for the industry as a whole to fight against EA's copyright claim. Let them compete with Zynga. Don't punish innovation and competition. EA wants to perform an NFL-style lockout against Zynga to keep them out of the human simulator genre -- EA's most profitable business acquisition.
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