Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) announced August 3 that it has filed a lawsuit on behalf of its Maxis Label against Zynga Inc. for infringing EA’s copyrights to its Facebook game, The Sims Social.
“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.”
In the complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on August 3, 2012, EA claims that in Zynga’s recently-released Facebook game The Ville, 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.”
The Sims Social, launched in August 2011, brought the distinctive universe of EA’s world-renowned franchise, The Sims, to the social gaming audience on Facebook. An instant hit, The Sims Social rapidlygained tens of millions of users, and maintains a current user base of several million active players on Facebook.
Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of EA’s Maxis Label, commented on the lawsuit in a blog posted to EA’s website:
“As outlined in our complaint, 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.