Electronic Arts announced today that they have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Zynga, alleging that their Facebook game The Ville is a blatant clone of The Sims Social, that goes “well beyond any superficial resemblance.”
Lucy Bradshaw, the General Manager of the company’s Maxis Label, spoke about the lawsuit in a blog post on EA’s website. In part, the post reads:
“…the infringement of The Sims Social [by The Ville] was unmistakable to those of us at Maxis as well as to players and the industry at large… 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.”
Bradshaw also notes that this is not the first time that Zynga has been accused of copying the work of others, and claimed that part of their motive for filing the lawsuit is to protect the rights of other creative studios that “don’t have the resources to protect themselves”.
Zynga’s general counsel, Reggie Davis, disputed EA’s claims, saying, “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.”
The Sims Social launched back in August 2011, and was based upon the company’s extremely successful The Sims franchise. Zynga’s The Ville launched this last June, and was developed in part by Mark Skaggs, a former game designer for EA.
EA’s full complaint can be read in the embedded court documents below. Several screenshots of both The Sims Social and The Ville are shown side-by-side, detailing EA’s claims against Zynga.
Source: EA, VentureBeat