Electronic Arts Inc. v. Zynga Inc.

Filing 1

COMPLAINT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT against Zynga Inc. ( Filing fee $ 350, receipt number 34611077142). DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL. Filed by Electronic Arts Inc. (far, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/3/2012) Modified on 8/7/2012 (far, COURT STAFF). (Additional attachment(s) added on 8/8/2012: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet) (far, COURT STAFF).

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1 Plaintiff Electronic Arts Inc. (“EA” or “Plaintiff”), by and through its attorneys, brings 2 this Complaint against Defendant Zynga Inc. (“Zynga” or “Defendant”) for injunctive relief and 3 damages under the laws of the United States. EA alleges as follows: 4 5 NATURE OF THE ACTION 1. This action arises out of Zynga’s infringement of EA’s copyrights in its online 6 game on Facebook, The Sims Social. The Sims Social is one of the latest games in EA’s iconic, 7 world-renowned franchise, The Sims. In The Ville, Zynga’s recently released game on Facebook, 8 Zynga has copied and misappropriated the original and distinctive expressive elements of The 9 Sims Social in violation of United States copyright laws. 10 2. Developed by the EA studio Maxis and originally released in 2000 for the personal 11 computer (“PC”), The Sims is widely recognized as one of the most original and revolutionary 12 video games of all time. Unlike established video games at the time, which dictated a fixed game 13 progression (such as winning car races, killing enemies or scoring touchdowns), The Sims gave 14 players the ability to create and customize their own virtual persons, known as “Sims,” including 15 their physical appearance, clothing, and personality traits. Players have the freedom to draw upon 16 the game’s highly creative and original expressive elements to give life to the choices that they 17 make for their Sims. For example, players can build a home for their Sims and furnish it with 18 decorative objects, furniture, and appliances. Players also must satisfy a Sim’s physical and 19 social needs in order to keep them happy, such as eating, resting, interacting with other Sims and 20 even becoming romantically involved. All of this is presented to the user though unique audio- 21 visual elements that create a highly distinctive game universe. The Sims was the first game of its 22 kind, and to this day is regarded as one of the most creative video games ever developed. 23 3. With The Sims Social, EA’s Maxis studio brought the highly creative and original 24 universe and gameplay of The Sims to the Facebook platform, allowing users to interact with their 25 Facebook friends as fellow Sims in the game. Upon its release in August 2011, The Sims Social 26 became an instant hit on Facebook, rapidly gaining tens of millions of users. The Sims Social at 27 one point became the second most popular game on Facebook, surpassing Zynga’s flagship 28 product FarmVille. -1- COMPLAINT 1 4. As The Sims Social increased in popularity and visibility, Zynga turned to its well- 2 known competitive playbook: “Steal someone else’s game. Change its name,”1 then cross- 3 promote the Zynga clone to its extensive user base. It has been widely reported that much of 4 Zynga’s current position in the online social gaming market is not the result of creative 5 development and innovation, but rather has been achieved through cloning rivals’ games. 6 5. Zynga’s The Ville, released on June 26, 2012, is an unmistakable copy of EA’s The 7 Sims Social. Not only does The Ville blatantly mimic the entire framework and style of gameplay 8 in The Sims Social, but it so closely copies the original, creative expression and unique elements 9 of The Sims Social — i.e., the animation sequences, visual arrangements, characters’ motions and 10 actions, and other unique audio-visual elements — that the two games are nearly 11 indistinguishable. The Ville was not an attempt to innovate on a game concept — it was an 12 intentional effort to copy EA’s creative work. 13 14 6. The obvious replication of The Sims Social in The Ville has been immediately and widely recognized. As third-party reviews of The Ville have stated, • 15 “[E]very trait that has made The Sims iconic has been rehashed by Zynga. Characters 16 in The Ville communicate via pictographs and a garbled language [as in The Sims]. 17 Even their bodily gestures are eerily similar to what you find in The Sims.”2 • 18 “[I]t looks shockingly similar to Electronic Arts’ The Sims Social, and frankly, at times, it is hard to tell the two apart.”3 19 • 20 “The Ville bears such a striking resemblance to The Sims we’d be surprised if the average person could tell the difference between the two games.”4 21 • 22 23 “[I]t was hard not to ignore [The Ville’s] glaring resemblances to one of the longest running, most popular simulation games ever: The Sims, especially EA’s Sims Social 24 1 http://www.sfweekly.com/2010-09-08/news/farmvillains/. 2 http://www.gamezebo.com/games/ville/review. 25 26 27 28 3 http://allthingsd.com/20120626/zynga-taking-on-eas-sims-social-with-its-next-game-called-theville/. 4 http://mashable.com/2012/06/26/zynga-the-ville/. -2- COMPLAINT 1 for Facebook. In an area where Maxis and EA planted their flag firmly, wouldn’t it be 2 hard to blatantly copy them? Apparently not.”5 3 7. To remedy Zynga’s willful infringement, EA brings this suit for injunctive relief 4 and damages, and Zynga’s unjust profits, gains and advantages as a proximate result of its 5 infringement under the Copyright Act of 1976, as amended, 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. 6 THE PARTIES 7 8. 8 City, California. 9 9. 10 EA is a Delaware corporation and has its principal place of business in Redwood Zynga is a Delaware corporation and has its principal place of business in San Francisco, California. 11 JURISDICTION AND VENUE 12 10. EA brings this action pursuant to the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 106 and 501. 13 11. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 14 §§ 1331 and 1338(a). 15 16 12. to personal jurisdiction within it, 28 U.S.C. § 1391. 17 INTRADISTRICT ASSIGNMENT 18 19 Venue is proper in this District because Zynga resides in the District and is subject 13. This is an Intellectual Property Action to be assigned on a district-wide basis pursuant to Civil Local Rule 3-2(c). 20 FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS 21 EA and Maxis’ Groundbreaking, Highly Successful Sims Franchise 22 14. EA is a developer, publisher, and distributor of video games. Founded and 23 incorporated in May 1982, EA was a leading pioneer of the early PC games industry. Today, EA 24 is one of the largest video game developers and publishers in the world. It develops and 25 publishes games for several platforms, including video game consoles and PCs, and Internet 26 browser-based platforms such as Facebook. 27 5 28 http://mashable.com/2012/07/02/zynga-games-similar-to-others/#view_as_one_pagegallery_box6267. -3- COMPLAINT 1 15. One of EA’s most successful and established video game franchises is The Sims. 2 The Sims was developed by the EA studio Maxis and originally released for the PC in February 3 2000. Unlike established popular video games at the time, which involved traditional gameplay 4 themes such as fantasy, battles or science fiction and that dictated the role of the player within the 5 game, in The Sims players create virtual persons, known as “Sims,” and develop and manage the 6 lives of their Sims in a virtual environment. Within The Sims universe, players are free to engage 7 in most any activity they desire, subject to their Sims’ needs and wants. 8 16. The following is an image of gameplay from The Sims: 17. In recognition of its uniqueness, The Sims, upon its release, was heralded as a 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 groundbreaking, innovative game. It won numerous awards in the industry. GameSpot, a leading 20 website for game reviews, gave The Sims its “Game of the Year” award for 2000, stating that the 21 “game simply defies categorization” and is “such a remarkable game” because “its central 22 conflict is essentially life itself.”6 23 18. In The Sims, players are represented by Sims, which players create themselves. 24 Besides the traditional character creation choices such as physical appearance and clothing, 25 players have the freedom to draw upon the game’s highly creative, expressive audio-visual 26 elements to give life to the choices that they make for their Sims. For example, giving a Sim a 27 28 6 http://www.gamespot.com/gamespot/features/pc/bestof_2000/p5_02.html. -4- COMPLAINT 1 “Grouchy” personality will make them argumentative in conversation, and choosing an “Active” 2 personality will cause a Sim to spend time on athletics, all of which is displayed to the user in a 3 unique and original manner. 4 19. Players have the option for their Sims to learn skills and follow career paths. For 5 example, players can choose to find a job, which allows Sims to earn Sims money, known as 6 “Simoleans.” Or, players can choose to learn to cook particular dishes, which helps satisfy the 7 Sims’ hunger needs. The players’ choices dictate what skills and careers, if any, the Sims 8 develop. 9 20. The players follow their Sims with an isometric, bird’s-eye view of their 10 characters’ lives inside their homes. Players can watch as they direct their Sims going about their 11 daily business, e.g., waking up, making the bed, washing up, watching television together, 12 listening and dancing to music, engaging in romantic endeavors, and more. The choices of 13 activities are numerous and differ from player to player based on the player’s selections. Further, 14 players can purchase appliances, furniture, instruments, and other items, and expand their Sims’ 15 homes, which means more room for more goods and more Sims. 16 21. Each Sim has a set of fluctuating needs. These needs include basic bodily needs, 17 such as hunger, energy, comfort, hygiene, and bladder needs, and players must act accordingly by 18 eating, resting, washing themselves, and relieving as necessary. Each Sim also has a “social” 19 need, which requires the Sim to interact with other Sims in the game. In interacting with other 20 Sims, players can choose from a series of actions that will either raise or lower relationship scores 21 between Sims, which in turn can result in unlocking more interaction options. Players can choose 22 friendly interactions, such as complimenting or dancing with a Sim, romantic interactions such as 23 flirting or cuddling with a Sim, or mean interactions, such as insulting a Sim. “Fun” also is a 24 need in The Sims; like real people, Sims need to enjoy themselves once in a while. Fun activities 25 include listening to or playing music, watching television, playing video games, playing with 26 pets, reading, or sitting down to a game of chess. The personality type of a Sim will determine 27 how much enjoyment they receive from certain activities, e.g., an introverted Sim may receive 28 more pleasure from reading than interacting with other Sims. -5- COMPLAINT 1 22. Sims do not speak English to one another, but rather speak “Simlish,” a garbled 2 language of made-up words, thus leaving the meaning of the language to the imagination of the 3 players. When Sims converse, sleep, or when their needs are unmet, thought bubbles appear 4 above their heads with a symbol representing what the Sims are talking or thinking about. 5 23. In the years since its release, The Sims continues to be recognized as one of the 6 most original, creative, and important video games of all time. Wired Magazine named The Sims 7 the most influential game of the decade, stating that the game has “had a profound influence on 8 videogames in a dozen different ways,” was “revolutionary,” and “to a greater extent than 9 anything else released this decade, broadened the definition of what a game could be.”7 10 Gamespot declared The Sims one of the “Greatest Games of All Time,” noting that “[w]hile The 11 Sims was certainly revolutionary, it wasn’t simply the revolution that makes it one of the greatest 12 games of all time. Like all truly great games, it is the timeless and continually entertaining 13 gameplay that makes The Sims so worthwhile.”8 Forbes Magazine declared The Sims one of the 14 “Most Revolutionary Videogames Of All Time.”9 The website Gamasutra selected The Sims as 15 one of the top 12 games of the decade, declaring that “The Sims is important, and has left an 16 indelible mark on gaming.”10 17 24. As of July 2012, The Sims franchise had sold more than 150 million copies 18 worldwide, making it one of the best-selling game franchises ever.11 The franchise includes a 19 number of expansion packs and sequels to The Sims, including The Sims 2, The Sims 3, The Sims 20 21 22 7 http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2009/12/the-15-most-influential-games-of-the-decade/all/. 8 http://www.gamespot.com/features/the-greatest-games-of-all-time-the-sims-6140577/. 9 23 http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/07/video-games-wii-technology-revolutionaries-09games_slide_12.html. 24 10 25 26 27 28 http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4227/gamasutras_top_12_games_of_the_.php. See also “The 20 most important games of the decade,” http://www.gamesradar.com/the-20-mostimportant-games-of-the-decade-text-edition/?page=4 (#4 on the list and declaring The Sims a “revolution”); “Favorite Video Game of the Decade,” http://www.geeksugar.com/Sims-WinsFavorite-Video-Game-Decade-GeekSugar-6782319 (awarding The Sims the favorite video game of the decade award). 11 http://gamesandimpact.org/the-sims/. -6- COMPLAINT 1 Stories, MySims, The Sims Online, The Sims Medieval, The Sims Carnival, The Sims Freeplay 2 (playable on smartphones and the iPad), and The Sims Social for Facebook. The original The 3 Sims alone has sold more than 16 million copies, making it the best-selling PC game in history.12 4 EA’s The Sims Social 5 25. On August 9, 2011, EA’s Maxis studio brought the highly creative universe of The 6 Sims to Facebook for the first time by releasing The Sims Social. Continuing The Sims tradition, 7 in The Sims Social users create customized Sims with their own unique appearance, personalities, 8 and traits, fulfill their Sims’ hunger, hygiene, bladder, sleep, social and fun needs/motives, and 9 earn Simoleons and other forms of currency. Likewise, players can create their own homes and 10 purchase various items to decorate their homes, develop various skills (such as cooking or music), 11 aspire to a career, obtain traits, and craft special potions that can provide benefits to their Sims. 12 26. Below is an image of gameplay from The Sims Social: 27. Just as was the case in The Sims, in The Sims Social players can interact with other 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Sims in the game, speaking “Simlish” with thought bubbles. What is different in The Sims Social 25 is that the characters with whom players interact include their Facebook friends who are also 26 playing the game. Players can add their Facebook friends as neighbors and visit their houses in 27 28 12 http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/587-best-selling-game-list.html. -7- COMPLAINT 1 The Sims Social, and Sims can become friends, romantic partners, or rivals. Players also can send 2 and receive gifts from their friends to finish certain quests or obtain objects, and may need to send 3 help requests to friends to complete certain tasks. Users can earn virtual Sims currency through 4 gameplay, and they can use that virtual money to buy virtual goods within The Sims Social. 5 Players also can use real world currency to buy virtual energy and goods. 6 7 28. was widespread anticipation and excitement for the arrival of the Sims franchise on Facebook. 8 9 EA announced the upcoming launch of The Sims Social in early June 2011. There 29. When it launched in August 2011, The Sims Social became an instant hit on Facebook. The game added over 16 million users in its first three weeks, and has accumulated 10 over 30 million players since its release, becoming one of the fastest growing Facebook games of 11 all time.13 The Sims Social at one point surpassed Zynga’s Farmville to become the second most- 12 popular game on Facebook.14 According to a report by the video gaming website Raptr, The Sims 13 Social gained users at the expense of Zynga games. The report concluded that The Sims Social’s 14 growth had resulted in a 10%-25% decrease in playtime of Zynga’s top games, including 15 FarmVille and Empires and Allies.15 16 30. The Sims Social has received a number of awards, including the Social Networking 17 Game of the Year award at the 15th annual Interactive Achievement Awards,16 and the 2011 Best 18 Browser Game award at the Gamescom trade fair awards show.17 19 20 31. There are a large number of online social games on Facebook. Of those games, many fall within genres or categories of games. For example, there are now a variety of bubble 21 13 22 23 http://allfacebook.com/sims-social-is-facebooks-fastest-growing-application_b56278; http://allfacebook.com/facebook-fastest-growing_b60343; http://www.edgeonline.com/news/sims-social-passes-30-million-users. 14 24 http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/09/sims-social-surpassesfarmville-as-second-largest-facebook-game.html. 25 15 26 27 28 http://www.gamezebo.com/news/2011/10/13/sims-social-stealing-players-zynga-other-simsgames; http://blog.raptr.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Raptr-Report-The-Sims-Social.pdf. 16 http://www.interactive.org/images/press_release/IAA-2012-Winners-FINAL.pdf. 17 http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2011/08/22/gamescom-2011-roundup-social-mobilehighlights/. -8- COMPLAINT 1 shooter games, farming games, mafia RPG games, restaurant management games, and match-3 2 games. At the time The Sims Social launched in August 2011, EA is informed and believes and 3 therefore alleges that there were no other virtual person simulation games in which players’ 4 customized characters could directly interact with their friends on Facebook. 5 EA’s U.S. Copyrights in The Sims Franchise 6 32. EA owns the copyrights to the series of games in The Sims franchise developed by 7 EA’s Maxis studio, including The Sims Social. EA’s copyright registration certificates for a 8 representative cross-section of games within The Sims franchise — The Sims, The Sims 2, The 9 Sims 3, MySims, The Sims Online, and The Sims Social — are attached hereto as Exhibit A. 10 11 Zynga Is Widely Reported To Have Achieved Much Of Its Success In The Gaming Market Through Cloning Competitors’ Games. 33. 12 EA believes and therefore alleges that Zynga did not achieve its success in online 13 social gaming through creative game design and innovation. To the contrary, it is widely 14 reported, and EA believes and therefore alleges, that Zynga explicitly discourages innovation in 15 game design and instead watches successful games, plays and analyzes those games, and then 16 creates its own games that closely follow the games of its competitors. Zynga’s practice is well 17 recognized,18 and demonstrates that the substantial similarity between The Sims Social and The 18 Ville is not mere coincidence, but is the result of willful, intentional conduct that lies at the heart 19 of Zynga’s business model. 20 34. Zynga’s practice was prevalent in the company’s earliest days. 21 35. For instance, Mafia Wars was one of Zynga’s first games, released in August 22 2008. EA is informed and believes and therefore alleges that Mafia Wars closely resembled 23 Psycho Monkey’s Mob Wars game, which was released in February 2008. 36. 24 In 2009, Mob Wars developer Psycho Monkey sued Zynga for copying its Mob 25 Wars game. EA believes and therefore alleges that Zynga settled the copyright infringement 26 litigation filed by Psycho Monkey. 27 28 18 http://blog.games.com/2012/01/26/zynga-copycat-history/ (blog summarizing various Zynga games that emulated earlier games by competitors). -9- COMPLAINT 1 37. Then, Zynga built and released FarmVille. EA is informed and believes and 2 therefore alleges that FarmVille closely followed Slashkey’s FarmTown, SocialApps’ myFarm, 3 and various other farming games from China. 4 5 38. among others.19 6 7 After its launch, the gaming press described FarmVille as a copy of FarmTown, 39. The following is a graphic comparison of Farmville and FarmTown in 2009 as published by Inside Social Games.20 8 Slashkey’s Farmtown in 2009 Zynga’s FarmVille in 2009 9 10 11 12 13 14 40. 15 16 In 2011, SocialApps sued FarmVille for copyright infringement, alleging that Zynga copied myFarm. 41. 17 Zynga’s practice of copying competitor games continued. In October 2009, Zynga 18 released Café World, which closely resembled Playfish’s Restaurant City, and in November 2009, 19 Zynga released FishVille, which closely resembled Crowdstar’s Happy Aquarium. The next 20 month, Zynga followed with PetVille, which was a clone of Playfish’s Pet Society. 42. 21 With each of its early games that closely followed predecessor games, Zynga’s 22 user base grew. It continued to cross-promote each new game to that larger and larger group of 23 users. 43. 24 In 2010, SF Weekly magazine did an article profiling Zynga. The title of that 25 26 27 28 19 http://allfacebook.com/zynga-farmville_b6260 (describing Farmville as “almost an exact duplicate” of FarmTown). 20 http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2009/07/15/with-farmville-zynga-joins-the-facebookfarming-fray/. -10- COMPLAINT 1 article was “FarmVillains” and it bore the headline describing Zynga’s strategy: “Steal someone 2 else’s game. Change its name. Make millions. Repeat.”21 3 44. In the article, a former Zynga employee recounted that, at a meeting with Zynga’s 4 CEO Mark Pincus, Pincus proclaimed “I don’t f[***]ing want innovation. . . . You’re not smarter 5 than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers.”22 6 45. Similarly, Business Insider published an article in January 2010 with the title 7 “Zynga’s Secret to Success: Steal Great Ideas.” The article stated that the approach Zynga “has 8 taken to becoming so successful” is to “[c]opy a competitor’s product, then crush the competitor.” 9 The article contains a slide show with side-by-side comparisons of Zynga’s most popular games 10 and the similar-looking games that preceded Zynga’s games.23 11 46. It has been alleged by others that Zynga’s practice of copying competitors’ 12 successful games continues to this day, and EA believes and therefore alleges that this has 13 happened with The Ville. 14 47. In 2012, a small developer named Nimblebit publicly accused Zynga’s Dream 15 Heights game of copying Nimblebit’s Tiny Tower game,24 and developer Buffalo Studios has 16 alleged that Zynga Bingo is a copy of Buffalo Studios’ game Bingo Blitz.25 The following are 17 comparisons of Nimblebit’s Tiny Tower and Zynga’s Dream Heights, and Buffalo Studios’ Bingo 18 Blitz and Zynga’s Zynga Bingo. 19 20 21 22 23 21 http://www.sfweekly.com/2010-09-08/news/farmvillains/. 24 22 Id. 25 23 http://www.businessinsider.com/how-zynga-is-just-like-microsoft-2010-1. 24 26 http://mashable.com/2012/07/02/zynga-games-similar-to-others/#view_as_one_pagegallery_box6267. 27 25 28 http://venturebeat.com/2012/01/29/buffalo-studios-blasts-zynga-for-copying-bingo-blitz-socialgame/. -11- COMPLAINT 1 Nimblebit’s Tiny Tower Zynga’s Dream Heights 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Buffalo Studios’ Bingo Blitz Zynga’s Zynga Bingo 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 48. A recent article on the website Mashable noted in documenting Zynga’s history of 23 copying competitors’ games, “one company seems to perpetuate more unoriginal games than the 24 rest: Zynga . . . . Zynga’s entire history has been rife with accusations of copying previous game 25 ideas.”26 26 27 28 49. Zynga’s CEO Mark Pincus stated in a 2012 interview with the VentureBeat 26 http://mashable.com/2012/07/02/zynga-games-similar-to-others/#view_as_one_pagegallery_box6267. -12- COMPLAINT 1 website in response to allegations that Zynga was copying Bingo Blitz: “I don’t think anyone 2 should be surprised when they see us come out with games that they’ve seen before, a decade or 3 more ago. I don’t think there are a lot of totally new games that are invented.”27 4 50. But in fact, The Sims was a “totally new game” that was invented by EA’s Maxis 5 studio and which contains highly creative and original expressive elements. Moreover, The Sims 6 has spawned a franchise that has stood out as unique and innovative for more than 20 years, up 7 through and including The Sims Social. 8 9 10 51. Then, in The Sims Social, EA translated the innovative, original expressive elements of The Sims to the Facebook platform to create a new and original online social game for which EA owns the copyright. 11 52. The Ville is just the latest in this long history of Zynga watching successful games, 12 copying them, and then promoting them to Zynga’s user base. 13 Zynga Had Access To Both Confidential and Public Information Regarding The Sims Social 14 53. With The Ville, however, Zynga went one step further, by targeting and hiring 15 away a number of high level executives from EA who had access to highly sensitive, internal EA 16 information about the development of The Sims Social. 17 54. In the Spring and Summer of 2011, when The Sims Social was in its final stages of 18 development and EA was preparing its rollout, Zynga hired EA’s Chief Operating Officer John 19 Schappert to become Zynga’s Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Schappert was a 15-year veteran of 20 EA. Mr. Schappert was then the most senior executive responsible for EA’s online social gaming 21 business. The online social gaming business divisions reported directly to Mr. Schappert, and he 22 was directly responsible for designing and implementing EA’s competitive strategies in this 23 market. As such, Mr. Schappert had detailed, internal strategic plans and development 24 information related to EA’s effort to bring The Sims franchise to Facebook with The Sims Social. 25 26 55. After hiring Mr. Schappert, after learning about the anticipated launch of The Sims Social, and only weeks before The Sims Social actually launched, Zynga hired Jeff Karp, an 11- 27 28 27 http://venturebeat.com/2012/01/31/zynga-mark-pincus-copycat-interview/. -13- COMPLAINT 1 year EA veteran who headed EA’s casual games division (“EA Play”). In this role, Mr. Karp was 2 the leader of the division responsible for The Sims franchise. Mr. Karp had access to detailed 3 information about Maxis’ development of that game, including information about design 4 decisions during the development process. 5 56. Then, in early 2012, Zynga hired Barry Cottle, who was then EA’s Senior Vice 6 President in charge of the EA Interactive division responsible for social, mobile, and online 7 games at EA. Mr. Cottle was then the senior executive directly responsible for EA’s social game 8 development and publishing business (i.e., games on Facebook), and thus was the person at EA 9 most responsible for competing with Zynga in that space. In this role, Mr. Cottle had access to 10 detailed information about the strategy, design, and development for The Sims Social. 11 57. Thus, by early 2012, Zynga had targeted and hired away three of EA’s top 12 executives who had access to the most sensitive design, development, and strategic information 13 about The Sims Social. 14 15 58. EA is further informed and believes that Zynga accessed the released version of The Sims Social, which was widely disseminated on the Facebook platform. 16 Zynga’s The Ville Copies The Protectable Original Expression of The Sims Social 17 59. On June 26, 2012, Zynga released The Ville for Facebook.28 The Ville copies the 18 original, creative expression and distinctive audio-visual elements of The Sims Social, i.e., the 19 game’s animation sequences, visual arrangements, characters’ motions and actions, and other 20 unique audio-visual elements. 21 60. As a result of Zynga’s extensive copying, The Ville and The Sims Social are 22 substantially similar in their total concept and feel. Every key element that has made The Sims 23 series, and The Sims Social, so original and unique has been replicated by Zynga in The Ville. 24 61. The similarities are not hard to miss. Indeed, reviews of The Ville almost 25 uniformly and immediately commented on how the game is a clone of The Sims Social. For 26 example, the Kotaku gaming website noted, The Ville 27 28 28 Zynga also announced future plans to launch the game on its own website, Zynga.com. http://www.joystiq.com/2012/06/26/the-ville-is-latest-from-zynga-spiritual-successor-to-yoville/. -14- COMPLAINT 1 crib[s] heavily from EA’s hugely popular The Sims Social. . . . The setup of The Ville is essentially identical to The Sims Social. You’ll make a character, to whom you can assign any of a number of physical traits. You can also customize his or her clothing, and then immediately begin building a “dream home” in which to spend time. This character is tied to your Facebook account, and so is also connected to any of your Facebook friends who play The Ville. . . . Where The Ville most resembles The Sims Social is in the interpersonal relationships you can build up with your Facebook friends. You can invite your neighbors over to your house at any time, and by doing activities with them, you'll build up your relationship.29 2 3 4 5 6 7 Similarly, the gaming website Gamezebo stated that 8 10 It’s hard to play The Ville without feeling some wholesale deja vu. . . . [E]very trait that has made The Sims iconic has been rehashed by Zynga. Characters in The Ville communicate via pictographs and a garbled language. Even their bodily gestures are eerily similar to what you find in The Sims.30 11 62. 9 The website All Things Digital noted in reviewing The Ville that “it looks 12 shockingly similar to Electronic Arts’ The Sims Social, and frankly, at times, it is hard to tell the 13 two apart.”31 The website Mashable likewise commented that “at first glance, The Ville bears 14 such a striking resemblance to The Sims we’d be surprised if the average person could tell the 15 difference between the two games.”32 Mashable further commented that “it was hard not to ignore 16 the [Ville’s] glaring resemblances to one of the longest running, most popular simulation games 17 ever: The Sims, especially EA’s Sims Social for Facebook. In an area where Maxis and EA 18 planted their flag firmly, wouldn’t it be hard to blatantly copy them? Apparently not.”33 63. 19 The similarities between The Sims Social and The Ville are widespread and 20 pervasive. The comparisons provided below are a representative list of these similarities. The 21 expressive audio-visual game elements of The Sims Social that Zynga has copied are highly 22 original and creative, are not “stock” or “standard” within the social gaming genre, and are not 23 29 http://kotaku.com/5921307/zyngas-new-take-on-the-sims-launches-tomorrow-on-facebook. 24 30 http://www.gamezebo.com/games/ville/review. 25 31 26 27 28 http://allthingsd.com/20120626/zynga-taking-on-eas-sims-social-with-its-next-game-calledthe-ville/. 32 http://mashable.com/2012/06/26/zynga-the-ville/. 33 http://mashable.com/2012/07/02/zynga-games-similar-to-others/#view_as_one_pagegallery_box6267. -15- COMPLAINT 1 required by any concept or idea underlying the game. Zynga could have designed The Ville in 2 innumerable different ways without copying EA’s original, protectable expression. 3 4 Character Creator 64. When playing The Sims Social and The Ville, the player creates a character to 5 “live” within the world that they create for the game. In both games, the player has the 6 opportunity to customize his or her character’s appearance. The player may select the character’s 7 gender, hairstyle, skin tone, clothing, etc. The customized appearance of players in the two 8 games is illustrated in images throughout this Complaint. This aspect of customizing a player’s 9 appearance is common in social games. 10 11 65. Even without taking into account this common attribute, there is substantial similarity between the character creator for The Sims Social and The Ville. 12 66. 13 character creator. 14 67. The Ville replicates various unique expressive elements of The Sims Social’s For instance, The Ville copies six of the nine personality types in The Sims Social, 15 with names slightly changed. Below are images from each game of personality types that may be 16 selected, lined up to demonstrate their similarity. 17 The Sims Social personality types 18 19 20 21 The Ville personality types 22 23 24 25 26 68. Notably, the personality types in the original Sims were entirely different than 27 those used in The Sims Social and copied in The Ville—they were neatness, outgoingness, 28 activeness, playfulness, and niceness. In other words, nothing about the context of a person -16COMPLAINT 1 2 simulation game required these specific personalities present in The Sims Social and The Ville. 69. Beyond simply copying the personality types, The Ville goes further by copying 3 the distinctive animation in The Sims Social associated with the respective personality. This 4 copying is further demonstrated in the video included on the DVD attached hereto as Exhibit B. 5 6 70. For instance, in the animation associated with selecting the “Villain” / “Scoundrel” personalities, the characters in both games are seen doing the same evil-scheming gesture. The Sims Social (Villain) 7 The Ville (Scoundrel) 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 71. In the animation associated with selecting the “Creative” / “Artist” personalities, the characters in both games are seen writing on a notepad. The Sims Social (Creative) The Ville (Artist) 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -17- COMPLAINT 1 2 72. In the animation associated with selecting the “Socialite” / “Partier” personalities, the characters in both games are holding a glass of champagne. 3 The Sims Social (Socialite) The Ville (Partier) 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 73. In the animation associated with selecting the “Tycoon” / “Mogul” personalities, the characters in both games are seen holding money. The Sims Social (Tycoon) The Ville (Mogul) 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -18- COMPLAINT 1 74. The character creators of both games not only have a similar look and feel to them, 2 with a blue background, character rotation arrows, and green exit/play buttons, but The Ville even 3 copies the exact same 8 skin tone options from The Sims Social. 4 The Sims Social The Ville 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 The Sims Social Skin Tones The Ville Skin Tones 15 16 17 18 75. The skin tones in both games have a corresponding RGB (red-green-blue) value, 19 which is represented visually and numerically. RGB values range from 0 to 255, resulting in 20 more than 16 million different color combinations. As demonstrated in the chart below, The Ville 21 uses the same precise RGB values for its skin tones as does The Sims Social. There is an 22 infinitesimally small chance that the use of the same RGB values for skin tone in The Ville as The 23 Sims Social is mere coincidence. 24 25 26 27 28 -19- COMPLAINT 1 76. When a user customizes a character in both The Sims Social and The Ville, the user 2 can select different outfits for the character to wear. This is common in many online social games 3 where players can customize their character or avatar. Players’ choices of different outfits are 4 depicted in images throughout this Complaint. In The Sims Social, however, EA categorized the 5 different clothing options into five categories: Formal, Casual, Sleepwear, Swimwear and Sport. 6 These categories are not typical of online social games, and are in no way required by the concept 7 or idea of the underlying game. The Ville copied these five categories, with some minor name 8 changes (e.g., “active” instead of “sport”). 9 The Sims Social The Ville 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Homes 77. As is the case with The Sims, in both The Sims Social and The Ville players have an isometric perspective over their characters’ homes. 78. When a player begins playing both The Sims Social and The Ville, the player is 23 given a “starter” home. The look and feel of the starter homes in both games is remarkably 24 similar, as demonstrated by the following images. Both homes have two rooms of similar sizes, 25 with a single white bathroom, a small kitchen with basic white appliances, a desk and a computer. 26 27 28 -20- COMPLAINT 1 The Sims Social Starter Home 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 The Ville Starter Home 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 79. The basic dimensions of the home in the two games are also similar. The Ville, for instance, copies the exact height of a wall (in proportion to the floor) of a home in The Sims Social. The following image shows a comparison of different wall heights used in other games, including other Zynga games, as compared to the identical wall height in The Sims Social (displayed as “TSS”) and The Ville. 28 -21- COMPLAINT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 80. Just as a player in both games may customize his or her character, the player may also customize his or her home. 12 81. The player can decorate the starter home with different wallpaper, carpet, and 13 furniture. The similarity of the homes a player creates in the two games will depend on the 14 player’s choices, but there are choices in each game that allow a player to create nearly identical 15 homes. 16 17 82. Here are images demonstrating how player customization choices in the two games can lead to nearly identical homes and characters in each game. 18 The Sims Social The Ville 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 83. Among the decorative elements that are a choice in The Sims Social and The Ville, 27 it is apparent that Zynga used the EA art as a reference point. For example, the refrigerator 28 shown above in The Ville starter house so closely resembles the refrigerator shown above in The -22COMPLAINT 1 Sims Social starter house that they align almost perfectly with one another when overlapped. 2 3 4 5 6 7 84. Similarly, Zynga’s cloning of The Sims Social is so pervasive that unique, fanciful 8 objects in The Sims Social that players can purchase for their characters’ homes are also available 9 in The Ville. For instance, in both games players can purchase for their characters near-identical 10 green yoga mats with white tree designs on the mat. 11 The Sims Social The Ville 12 13 14 15 16 85. The Ville also copies how the player’s home is displayed. The Sims Social has a 17 unique feature whereby the player can take the walls of their home down. In both games, the 18 player accesses this “walls down” feature by clicking on an icon with a flattened square. The 19 player can put the walls back up in both games by clicking on a thicker square. Using these 20 icons, the player can toggle between having all the walls of a home down, or showing the walls. 21 Here are the selection toolbars for both modes in each game. The Sims Social The Ville 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 86. In the “walls down” mode in The Sims Social, windows and doors free float around the house. The Ville copies the “walls done” mode almost identically, replicating the unique and original look of the free-floating windows and doors. -23- COMPLAINT 1 The Sims Social (“Walls Down” Mode) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 The Ville (“Walls Down” Mode) 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 87. Zynga also copied The Sims Social’s use of home value. 21 88. When players in The Sims Social purchase new items or appliances for their homes 22 or expand their homes, this can increase the home’s value. The value metric in The Sims Social is 23 a house that resembles an upward arrow. As shown below, The Ville closely emulates the look 24 and use of this distinctive metric. 25 26 27 28 -24- COMPLAINT 1 2 The Sims Social Home Value Metric When New TV Purchased The Ville Home Value Metric When New TV Purchased 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 89. Zynga also copies the manner in which the home value metric aggregates home value and is displayed to the user. The Sims Social 10 The Ville 11 12 Character Bodily Needs 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 90. As in The Sims, in The Sims Social players must satisfy their character’s bodily needs, including hygiene, bladder, sleep, and hunger needs. In The Ville, characters not only have these same bodily needs, but Zynga has closely replicated how those needs are both visually expressed and addressed. 91. For example, in The Sims Social, if a Sim needs to take a shower, green clouds appear around the Sim indicating a foul smell and a shower faucet appears in a thought bubble above the Sim’s head. The Ville copies these unique images almost identically. The Sims Social Shower Need The Ville Shower Need 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -25- COMPLAINT 1 92. The Ville also copies the original and unique animation sequence associated with 2 showering in The Sims Social. In both games, when the player decides to let the character take a 3 shower, the player clicks on the shower stall, prompting nearly identical animation sequences 4 depicting the character taking a shower — the character walks to the shower located in a corner, 5 takes his or her clothes off with a fanciful spin or poof revealing the character in some 6 undergarments, gets into the shower, the shower curtain or door closes, and steam rises to the top. 7 The showering sequence is depicted in the following images, and the showering animation is also 8 included on the DVD attached hereto as Exhibit B. 9 The Sims Social Showering Sequence 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 The Ville Showering Sequence 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 93. The Ville further copies the unique sleep animation sequence of The Sims Social — 25 when a Sim is tired and needs to sleep, ZZZs will appear above the Sim’s head, and the player 26 can direct the Sim to a bed by clicking on the bed, where he or she will take off his or her clothes 27 (again revealing undergarments) and go to sleep. This sequence is replicated almost identically in 28 The Ville. The sleep sequence in the two games is depicted in the following and the sleep -26COMPLAINT 1 animation sequences are also included in a video on the DVD attached hereto as Exhibit B. The Sims Social Sleep Sequence 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 The Ville Sleep Sequence 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 94. Similarly, in both games when the characters feel the need to use the toilet, they 18 make similar uncomfortable pigeon-toed stances, with thought bubbles indicating the need to use 19 the toilet. In both games, the player then clicks on the toilet and the character dashes to relieve 20 him or herself. 21 The Sims Social The Ville 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -27- COMPLAINT 1 2 95. Another need in both games is hunger. That need is expressed similarly in both games with thought bubbles regarding food and eating when a character is hungry. 3 The Sims Social The Ville 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Character Interaction and Socialization 11 12 96. The Ville closely emulates the unique visual manner and style in which characters 13 in The Sims Social socialize with one another. In both games, when a player decides to socialize 14 with another character, there are several options. The player can click on another character who 15 is already visiting his or her home and select from a menu of socializing options. Alternatively, 16 the player can “visit” another player’s home through the leaderboard on the bottom of the page. 17 Visiting other players within social games is very common. However, in The Sims Social, a 18 player can also “invite over” another character through the leaderboard and that character then 19 appears in the player’s house to socialize. This is depicted below. EA is informed and believes 20 and therefore alleges that The Sims Social was unique in its use of this invitation vehicle for 21 character interaction and engagement. The Ville copied this aspect of The Sims Social and also 22 allows the player to invite other characters over through the leaderboard. 23 24 25 26 27 28 -28- COMPLAINT 1 The Sims Social 2 3 4 The Ville 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 97. In both games, when a player clicks on another character to interact with that 13 character, a player can select from various modes of interaction, a unique feature in The Sims 14 Social. The player can, for example, choose to engage in friendly social interactions or romantic 15 social interactions. In both games, the romantic interactions are separated from the friendly 16 interactions by heart markings, and the interactive options vary depending on the level of 17 relationship developed with that character. For example, in developing a romantic relationship, 18 early interaction options include choices like flirting. 19 20 The Sims Social The Ville 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 After a player’s character flirts with another player, in both games, the player earns points towards that relationship. The points are expressed in a horizontal relationship meter at the 28 -29- COMPLAINT 1 top of the screen that gradually fills up with more and more points from each interaction with that 2 specific player. The Sims Social 3 The Ville 4 5 6 7 Ultimately, in both games, once a player accumulates a certain number of points 8 for a particular relationship, the player receives a notification that a notice may be sent to the 9 other player requesting a changed relationship status, which will unlock new and different 10 interactions. The following are examples of similar notifications to players of the potential 11 change in relationship status. 12 13 The Sims Social The Ville 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Until a player has developed a more serious romantic relationship with another player, certain interactive options are not available. For example, in both games, a player cannot kiss or snuggle/cuddle another player until they have engaged in a certain amount of prior interaction. Below are images of the similar snuggle/cuddle options in both games: 25 26 27 28 -30- COMPLAINT 1 The Sims Social “Cuddling” 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 The Ville “Snuggling” 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 And when a romantic relationship comes to an end, in both games players have the option to “break up” with another player, as depicted by the similar images below: 17 The Sims Social The Ville 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 98. When socializing, characters in both games also engage in conversation or interaction with each other, animating in a similar style and showing speech and/or thought balloons above them. And as demonstrated in the video of this animation, included on the DVD -31- COMPLAINT 1 attached as Exhibit B, in The Ville the player hears a garbled language for its characters, 2 remarkably similar to Simlish in The Sims Social. 3 The Sims Social The Ville 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 99. In both The Sims Social and The Ville, characters in the game also will interact 13 with one another on their own without the player’s direction. During these interactions, they 14 again “talk” with pictograph bubbles, animate in substantially similar ways, and speak in nearly 15 identical gibberish languages. 16 100. Characters in both The Sims Social and The Ville can engage in the same activities 17 together, which are graphically expressed in a closely similar style. For example, characters in 18 both games dance with one another next to a stereo, surrounded by music notes (by selecting a 19 “Dance together” icon in each game). 20 The Sims Social The Ville 21 22 23 24 25 26 101. Similarly, in both games characters can watch television together on the couch (by 27 selecting a “Watch TV together” in each game icon). 28 -32- COMPLAINT 1 The Sims Social The Ville 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 102. After watching TV with another character or engaging in other joint activities, players in both games have the option of sharing the news with their friends. The Sims Social 10 The Ville 11 12 13 14 House Activities 15 16 17 18 19 103. The Ville copies a number of household activities in which the players in The Sims Social engage. 104. For example, to get rid of wildlife around the house and yard in The Sims Social, players can have their characters take pictures of animals. This unique activity is known as collecting “artifacts.” The Ville copies it identically. 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -33- COMPLAINT 1 The Sims Social 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 The Ville 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 CLAIMS FOR RELIEF COUNT ONE – COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT (17 U.S.C. §§ 106 et seq. and 501) 18 19 20 21 105. EA repeats and realleges each and every allegation above as if fully set forth 106. EA’s The Sims Social is an original, creative work that constitutes copyrightable herein. 22 subject matter under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. EA has secured the exclusive 23 rights and privileges in and to the above referenced copyrighted work, and in compliance with the 24 law has received from the Register of Copyrights the appropriate certificate of registration, which 25 constitute prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyrights in the work and of the facts stated 26 in the certificate. At all relevant times, EA has owned all applicable rights, titles and interest in 27 and to this copyrighted work. 28 -34- COMPLAINT 1 107. By its actions alleged above, Zynga has infringed and will continue to infringe 2 EA’s copyrights in The Sims Social by, inter alia, copying, publicly displaying, and distributing 3 The Ville, which is substantially similar to and derived from The Sims Social, without any 4 authorization or other permission from EA. Zynga has violated EA’s exclusive rights under 17 5 U.S.C. § 106. 6 7 8 9 10 11 108. On information and belief, Zynga’s infringement of EA’s copyrights has been deliberate, willful and in utter disregard of EA’s rights. 109. Zynga has realized unjust profits, gains and advantages as a proximate result of its infringement, and will continue to realize unjust profits, gains and advantages as a proximate result of its infringement as long as such infringement is permitted to continue. 110. As a direct and proximate result of Zynga’s willful copyright infringement, EA has 12 suffered, and will continue to suffer actual damages. EA is entitled to its actual damages and any 13 gains, profits, and advantages obtained by Zynga as a result of its acts of infringement and its use 14 and publication of the copied materials, 17 U.S.C. § 504(b). Alternatively, at EA’s election, it is 15 entitled to an award of the maximum statutory damages as permitted by the Copyright Act, 17 16 U.S.C. § 504(c). 17 111. EA has no adequate remedy at law for the injuries currently being suffered, and the 18 additional injuries that are threatened, and Zynga will continue to engage in its wrongful conduct 19 and EA will continue to suffer irreparable injury that cannot be adequately remedied at law unless 20 Zynga is enjoined from engaging in any further such acts of infringement. EA is entitled to an 21 injunction restraining Zynga from engaging in any further such acts in violation of the United 22 States copyright laws, 17 U.S.C. § 502. 23 PRAYER FOR RELIEF 24 WHEREFORE, EA prays for judgment against Zynga and for the following relief: 25 a. A preliminary and/or permanent injunction restraining Zynga, and its 26 agents, servants, employees, attorneys, successors and assigns, and all 27 persons, firms and corporations acting in concert with them, from directly 28 or indirectly violating EA’s rights under the Copyright Act; -35COMPLAINT Exhibit A Exhibit B DVD provided to Court.

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