While most of what's been heard of late in terms of technology lawsuits has to do with patents, copyright also plays a major role in terms of who gets targeted with lawsuits. On Friday, Electronic Arts announced that it would be throwing a copyright infringement suit at Zynga (News - Alert) over their recent release of The Ville.
Zynga, the folks behind Farmville, turned their attention to a much less rural feel with The Ville, and as such, that drew EA's attention in terms of EA's popular The Sims line of games. More specifically, EA alleged that Zynga's The Ville is a copy of EA's The Sims Social, and as such, has launched a lawsuit on behalf of EA's Maxis subsidiary, who produces The Sims titles for EA.
Lucy Bradshaw, Maxis' general manager, had few kind words in the wake of the suit, saying that it was clear to "those of us at Maxis as well as to players and the industry at large" that similarities between The Ville and The Sims Social were sufficiently glaring to make pursuing a lawsuit well worthwhile. Bradshaw's assessment, which also called the copying "so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable," focused on a variety of points, including a variety of animations involving characters like motion and actions. EA even went so far as to put screenshots of both titles in side-by-side comparisons directly into its complaint.
Bad enough to get sued by a major name like EA, but this is only the latest in lawsuits for Zynga, who faced suits from Nimblebit's three-person company, as well as Buffalo Studios and a pair of shareholder lawsuits over Zynga's lackluster second-quarter earnings report.
Indeed, the two shots in EA's complaint certainly look to share similarities, from the orientation of the playing field to issues of general design. Though staging a lawsuit on the strength of aesthetics may not be the surest road, EA certainly isn't wanting for points to mention against Zynga. Zynga has not, as yet, responded to EA's suit, and many are certainly looking forward to hearing what they have to say. Just when the suit will go to trial is anyone's guess as yet, but for Zynga to take on a massive player like EA sounds like it will be a pretty one-sided battle indeed.
Edited by Juliana Kenny