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Zynga Sues Brazilian Dev For Copying Its Games

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-show-those-jerks-who-copy-games dept.

The Courts 115

An anonymous reader writes "In what can only be described as a case of the pot calling the kettle black, Zynga has launched and settled a lawsuit against Brazilian game developer Vostu after accusing Vostu of copying their games. The settlement resulted in the loss of jobs for many Vostu employees. How Zynga managed to carry out such actions while keeping a straight face after dealing with similar allegations remains to be seen."

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oh the hypocrisy (5, Insightful)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041257)

*sigh*.

Re:oh the hypocrisy (5, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041273)

He who has the lawyers wins.

Re:oh the hypocrisy (5, Interesting)

jduhls (1666325) | more than 2 years ago | (#39043687)

I would just shorten it to "the lawyers win". Innovation, competition, and the fair market lose. It's a nuclear arms race to acquire lawyers. What is this bubble? An over-litigious-society bubble? I hope it pops soon, though by then all the lawyers will have weaved golden parachutes or gotten jobs as lobbyists and politicians, right?

Re:oh the hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39045259)

Its actually quite simple, the west will become gridlocked, with nobody able to innovate anything the constant copyright and patent trolling shut everything down or drag it for a decade through the courts, while the east that have made it clear they won't be buying our products OR playing our reindeer games will become the new powerhouse while the west rots. We've seen this before, in the rise of the USA who ignored the old world's copyrights and patents and were therefor able to build upon the work done before and "stand on the shoulders of giants" as it were. Now our entire history is being locked behind paywalls, can't anything get done with an army of lawyers, all so the 1% at the top can try to keep their strangehold on the wealth. Sad really but all good things must end and the current reign of the USA as the big dog will end with massive unemployment, out of control debt, and the jobs all being sent to places where they can build without an army or lawyers on retainer.

Re:oh the hypocrisy (2)

Chatsubo (807023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39044061)

He who has the gold, makes the rules.

Re:oh the hypocrisy (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39044587)

Gold buys a lot of lawyers.

Sort of, I suppose (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041429)

A predator kills and eats its prey while simultaneously doing everything within its power to make its own predators fail to kill and eat it. This is not hypocrisy.

If Zynga sees the illegality of its own practice of copying other people's games as a calculated risk of doing business, then suing others for doing to it exactly what it does to others is really no different than basic predator behavior (which is natural enough...humans are predators after all).

If you misinterpret Zynga's allegations to be some sort of political or moral statement about what kinds of business models/actions are not appropriate, then yeah I guess they are being hypocritical. But since when do large wealthy corporations bother with principles?

Re:Sort of, I suppose (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041487)

Really, who cares in this case. This isn't Apple or Google, this is some crap Rollercoaster Tycoon-quality(in 2012!) games shop that got rich peddling its lousy wares off of Facebook's back. Zynga is a flea, and FB is the big dog - scratching Zynga off his balls with his muthafuckin' paws --

-- Y'alls - you can expect this shop to go under when Facebook does, which hopefully will be not long from now.

Re:Sort of, I suppose (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39043675)

Unfortunately, if you take the Games market, Zynga is a giant. Taunt the quality of their games all you want, the company profits are well on par with Ubisoft and EA.

Re:Sort of, I suppose (4, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39043989)

the company profits are well on par with Ubisoft and EA.

Oh really? You might want to reconsider that comment.

Zynga recent earnings and prospects [marketwatch.com]

EA recent earnings and prospects [cnbc.com]

The numbers between these two aren't even close, neither in revenue or earnings.

its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (5, Insightful)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041809)

and it smacks of a massively corrupt, medieval style social organization in which 'might makes right', and trial by combat was the norm. if we have 'trial by most lawyers', completely disregarding any principles of legal ethics or empiricism, we have not really advanced past the state described in the Viking Sagas of the 11th century .

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (5, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041983)

The issue is that if you find a way to level the playing field, someone will learn to play the game better than everyone else and you're right back to where you started. Companies used to exploit workers because you had to work somewhere if you wanted to survive and there were few laws against it. They used to rule with iron fists, threatening to fire people at every turn, or straight up beating them or subjecting them to other inhumane treatment.

Then the law stepped in with a new civilized way of handling matters. Now you have to take your disputes to court, they said, where a judge can enact justice! Here are new laws to go by. As a result, companies still exploit workers and rule with iron fists backed up by massive legal departments and boatloads of money instead of a few strong guys that don't care to beat the shit out of you.

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39042303)

Are you saying that we should give up and stop trying?

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39042775)

You forgot about the trade union movements.
Oh wait, I forgot that in the US, collective action is evil except when done in the name of profit.

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042825)

Companies used to exploit workers because you had to work somewhere if you wanted to survive and there were few laws against it. They used to rule with iron fists, threatening to fire people at every turn, or straight up beating them or subjecting them to other inhumane treatment.

Then the law stepped in with a new civilized way of handling matters.

Used to?

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#39043199)

Have you considered reading to the end of comments before posting?

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39045075)

Considering how Renraku was saying "they used to get physically violent, now it's all verbal", have you considered that Ihmhi may have meant "no, they still get physically violent"?

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#39046163)

If he meant that, he's even more of an idiot than he first appeared. That's the sort of thing that makes the news, big time.

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39043173)

That panting and clicking sound you hear is the keyboard army of furious mouthbreathing libertarians coming to rip apart your post.

You just can't talk about worker's rights 'round these parts boy. It's dangerous.

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39043205)

The issue is that if you find a way to level the playing field, someone will learn to play the game better than everyone else and you're right back to where you started. Companies used to exploit workers because you had to work somewhere if you wanted to survive and there were few laws against it. They used to rule with iron fists, threatening to fire people at every turn, or straight up beating them or subjecting them to other inhumane treatment.

Then the law stepped in with a new civilized way of handling matters. Now you have to take your disputes to court, they said, where a judge can enact justice! Here are new laws to go by. As a result, companies still exploit workers and rule with iron fists backed up by massive legal departments and boatloads of money instead of a few strong guys that don't care to beat the shit out of you.

Labour law in some western nations is quite rightly heavily weighted towards protecting employees. How eager are companies to go to court for labour related disputes? It's similar to consumer claims in countries that actually have decent consumer law and government agencies that take an active interest in addressing bad behaviour. Companies prefer to settle these things outside of court, and will go to court only if forced to by the complainant or if it's pretty clear that they'll win and won't incur bad publicity.

Doesn't mean that there aren't little cheats (such as part-time hiring or working with temporary contracts), but in civilised countries it's nowhere near as bleak as your post would suggest. Move to Europe, and if already in Europe, consider relocating to Denmark or somewhere similar.

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (2, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041993)

You got a point. Why don't we just say fuck it to the massively corrupt system pretending to be just, and go straight to Thunder Dome .

It would make you think twice about frivolous lawsuits.

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39045411)

Nope. You'd sue as often as you'd likely sue now, because you'd have comparable resources in each case. In the current model, you'd have a bad-ass legal team. In the proposed model, you'd have a bad-ass combat champion.

In both cases, it's a matter of "all the justice you can afford." And Zynga, well, it can afford a lot of justice.

Broadening the scene a bit, this was one of the things that made me shake my head in amazement at SCO v. IBM. IBM is legendary at its ability to field whole armies of "legal champions" and keeping huge arsenals of "legal weapons" (patents, etc.). As well as a documented history of pursuing legal warfare with the "Conan the Barbarian" mindset:

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

Bravo Zynga, bravo (5, Interesting)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041995)

The really ironic thing is, supposedly laws are to supposed to remove 'might makes right' from disputes in a civilized society, and move disagreements to a courtroom where they can be decided in a rational way without bloodshed. If we have gotten to a place as a society where having more money allows one to buy legal victories with more lawyers, then there really isn't any reason for the fiscal/legal 'little guys' to not just pull out a gun and kill someone they disagree. The whole non-violent method of solving disputes goes straight out the window.

Interestingly enough, that is how radical and terrorist groups are created: the disenfranchisement of a group from society because it feels it has no voice. With no stakes in a society, there isn't any reason not to kill anyone who looks at you cross eyed.

Re:Bravo Zynga, bravo (2, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042855)

The really ironic thing is, supposedly laws are to supposed to remove 'might makes right' from disputes in a civilized society, and move disagreements to a courtroom where they can be decided in a rational way without bloodshed.

you didnt 'come' to that point. you never left that point. the actual might which made the medieval ages, was never dropped - property ownership and wealth. only, the method changed. back then the wealthier used more goons to overwhelm the poorer, now they use lawyers. the 'might makes right' tribal justice was much more just than the actual 'might makes right' justice of feudal power. at least, you could somehow win against a single person with the tribal law. with medieval might makes right, there is always another goon serving the lord who could smack you after you took one down.

Interestingly enough, that is how radical and terrorist groups are created: the disenfranchisement of a group from society because it feels it has no voice

except that the 'group' currently disenfranchised from society is around 95%. the only thing preventing what you speak of, is that most of them think that they have a place in the system, due to conditioning and brainwashing by media.

Re:Bravo Zynga, bravo (1)

silverglade00 (1751552) | more than 2 years ago | (#39044423)

One thing I never understand about "might makes right": it doesn't. You tell me that Earth is a star. I say it isn't. You kick my ass. Poof, the Earth magically turns into a star through the Power of Right. Wait, no it doesn't. So how did this become our way of deciding things in the first place?

Re:Bravo Zynga, bravo (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39044945)

it has become so in early antiquity, and it has not change since. it just transformed and translated to other mediums. it was raw arm power first. then it became religious power. then it become aristocratic power. then it became wealth.

Re:Bravo Zynga, bravo (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39046229)

Your conclusion faulty, based on a faulty premise.

The root problem is greed. The symptom is that money got involved with laws. He who can afford the most lawyers can win. Notice this is the SAME problem & symptom in Politics.

The solution is to remove money from the equation:

If one side wants to pay one lawyer more then half of it should be given to the other side. That is, pool the resources, so one side does not have a monetary advantage.

OR,

the better long term solution: Get rid of money. Now you're probably thinking -- LOLz , what?!

What do you think money _is_? Money is nothing more then the exchange of energy.

We all get "free" energy from the Sun everyday. It doesn't ask for anything back. It just gives and gives. Therefor, research alternative ways to provide "free" energy.

When everyone has a safe portable energy generator in their home that is equivalent to the power of a nuclear reactor you don't think the world is going to change?

That is what is coming down the pipe ~ 50 to 100 years.

The maturity of removing greed from systems, because greed is a cancer -- it causes whatever system it touches to implode.

Re:its inhuman barbarism, evolution backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39042219)

Amazing what business can be accomplished, when the mafia has your back.

Leaked internal Zynga CEO memo to employees (5, Informative)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042587)

Without this gem [forbes.com] , the discussion is not really complete.


“I don’t f***ing want innovation. “You’re not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers.”

Re:Sort of, I suppose (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39042103)

Corporations aren't individuals and doesn't work like a predator.
Whatever Zynga does is becasue the people at the top wants it to do that way.
Some large corporations actually bother with principles since the people behind the corporation isn't psychopaths, this is obviously not the case with Zynga.

Re:Sort of, I suppose (1)

loneDreamer (1502073) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042113)

Sure, but law and society are there exactly to avoid living in such the jungle where the predators win. Else I might as well go and shoot the CEO of Zinga. The "natural state" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_nature, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGyygiXMzRk [youtube.com] ) is not were you want to live. The (extreme) irony here is Zynga using the exact tools (law) created to move from predator behavior to morals human rights to do the opposite.

Re:Sort of, I suppose (2)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042293)

If you misinterpret Zynga's allegations to be some sort of political or moral statement about what kinds of business models/actions are not appropriate, then yeah I guess they are being hypocritical. But since when do large wealthy corporations bother with principles?

Just off the top of my head, if Nimblebit were to sue Zynga, they could point at Zynga v. Vostu as Zynga's agreement that this kind of case is valid.

Why? Because legal systems take your past actions into account and corporations aren't exempt from that.

Re:Sort of, I suppose (2)

Boscrossos (997520) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042399)

Of course, the lawsuits would probably take place in a different country, with a different legal system. Not all legal systems put precedent over law-as-written.

Re:Sort of, I suppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39042403)

A predator kills and eats its prey while simultaneously doing everything within its power to make its own predators fail to kill and eat it.

In human society this is called capitalism. A model which keeps us locked near the animal behavior. Hopefully someday we'll be able to move on. Evolution gave us brains which allow us to understand what we are and from where we are coming, now it's time to use them and decide where we want to go next, because it's clear we are stagnating as a species.

Re:Sort of, I suppose (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042459)

If you see the justice system as little more than "survival of the fittest" then you would be right in your statement. But that's not how the justice system is supposed to work or to be used.

The people behind Zynga are committing these acts wilfully and knowingly. There can be no hiding it nor denying it. They need to be sued out of existence and their lawyers disbarred.

Re:Sort of, I suppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39043113)

yeah but if you're trying not to be eaten, isn't it a good idea to stay under the radar and not broadcast your own weaknesses to other predators?

even if this isn't an example of hypocrisy, it's a little short-sighted and probably counter-productive in the long term. now they've given everyone "ideas".

Re:Sort of, I suppose (2)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39043175)

A predator kills and eats its prey while simultaneously doing everything within its power to make its own predators fail to kill and eat it. This is not hypocrisy.

If Zynga sees the illegality of its own practice of copying other people's games as a calculated risk of doing business, then suing others for doing to it exactly what it does to others is really no different than basic predator behavior (which is natural enough...humans are predators after all).

If you misinterpret Zynga's allegations to be some sort of political or moral statement about what kinds of business models/actions are not appropriate, then yeah I guess they are being hypocritical. But since when do large wealthy corporations bother with principles?

The real irony is not what Zynga is doing -- because they're *not* breaking the law, even if they're being unethical.

The real hypocricy is the whining on Slashdot about it. If Zynga copies a two man developer, people get all up in arms about stealing their idea, or their IP. But when the word patent shows up in an article, or copyright on music or movies, people all of a sudden get up in arms.

I suspect the common denominator is that people are hiding behind a veil of righteousness, but their motivations are entirely selfish. IP is bad when it means its not safe to steal other people's work and ideas for their gain, but its good when it prevents someone else from doing it.

You're the problem. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39043883)

No, your arguments are trying to focus on a narrow view, try looking at the big picture and open you eyes.

Watch "Pump up the Volume"; then multiply it across many domains and perhaps you may get enlightened.

Personally, I have no problem with Patents, Copyright, or Trademarks; in fact, I do believe (as do most everyone here that I have ever read about) that these are necessary and serve a VERY important function in society. What I disagree with is a double standard; where one group of people can dictate/force anything they want on another group just "because".

Examples:
Lengthening of patents and copyrights to unrealistic lengths.
Allowing legal avenues to be bypassed for their own use.
Creating laws that punish but have no recompense for when the instigator are wrong.
Using the Legal system as a Club to terrify and control people.
Using "trickery" to make, what seems common sense, illegal:
-- You buy a DVD for your kids, then make a backup of it so they can use that and if it gets broken you can copy your original again, -- why is this "almost" illegal?
-- You want to put your movies onto your Media center -- same as above?
-- You want to copy your CD to your MP3 player (you use for running), your media system (for listening at home), and onto a bought CD for storing in your Car so the original will not be stolen (and acts as a backup) -- why should this be illegal if it's for your use only? Why should you be guilty if someone steals your car and then uses the CD's?
-- Using more than a 30 second clip of music in your home photos CD you want to send grandma to view?
-- Posting a video that just happens to have the TV on in the background. TV is "BROADCASTED!" so is idiotic (but not if the whole TV is the video (but this should be left up to a Judge to decide and at the very least should not go to trial unless an entire "show" is posted this way.... Again, why is this illegal (or laws being made to make it so)?
-- Why do these companies get away with making stuff that may NEVER enter the public domain? DRM, I know, I have games I CAN NOT LEGALLY (and possibly physically) play because of it and this is only after a few decades, what is the chance we'll have this stuff after a hundred years... Search for "lost movies" and you'll see how much those "producers" are losing because the stuff doesn't enter the public domain soon enough and they have NO WILL OR INTEREST in protecting it themselves since they see that as competition to themselves.

I can go on and on and on, but I hope this enlightens you a little bit about the real world and what people (especially here on Slashdot) are really looking for; and Yes, there are fringe groups that will always go overboard and want nothing but chaos and anarchy, but truthfully, we need these people for the simple fact that we need an opposite to the totalitarian views that we are fighting against as well. Only a good balance will work, and most people here are fed up with being treated like criminals and prevented from doing that which is common sense since we "WANT" to be legal and ethical. And that I believe is the real problem, a large fraction of people just DON'T care and do the above "common sense" stuff illegally and say "so what?" not realizing the pinchers are closing and if they manage to close all the way we could face a digital dark age as bad as the medieval one (a little hyperbole but not much if you follow the logic of these media conglomerates to their ultimate wet dream).

Re:Sort of, I suppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39044993)

If we are justifying their behavior by reducing it to animal instinct then it should be fine to treat them like animals.

Grab the rifles, it's safari time boys!

Re:oh the hypocrisy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041455)

Pincus is Jewish, so is Brad Feld and company at Foundry, Zynga's major VC backer. That's all you need to know. They are gonna do what they gotta do to get rich. They have no scruples.

Re:oh the hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39042677)

You act like that makes them any different from any other CxO

Obligatory (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#39044007)

The Amish are still waiting for their class action status ruling against Zynga.

Remains to be seen? (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041277)

Zynga has more money and better lawyers.

Re:Remains to be seen? (5, Interesting)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041313)

Lawyers maybe, but they lost nearly half a billion in Q4 alone. [usatoday.com]

Re:Remains to be seen? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041617)

I think you should read that article closer. Revenue was up significantly. User base was up significantly.

The losses were attributed to one time expenses related to their IPO.

Re:Remains to be seen? (1)

famazza (398147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042781)

I think you should read that article closer. Revenue was up significantly. User base was up significantly. The losses were attributed to one time expenses related to their IPO.

Are we back to 1999?

Re:Remains to be seen? (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041655)

It not how much money the corporation makes or loses, it's how much the psychopathic corporate executives can suck out of the investors before it all collapses, bonus if they get to keep their multi-million dollar golden parachute as for the coders at Zynga, if they print out their stock options, punch a hole in the corner and tie the bundle together with string, next time they go to the toilet, they'll have something to use.

Why is it that companies that behave like this so often go up in flames in the great bankruptcy fire sale while the corporate executives retire to their mansions in tax havens.

Re:Remains to be seen? (2)

isfry (101853) | more than 2 years ago | (#39044251)

Soon we will have a new app from them called Lawyerville!

Contest (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041283)

Did I miss the announcement of a contest offering a prize for the company that can be the biggest douche-bag? I must have. Between these guys, Apple, Microsoft, and a handful of others, they must be having some fun at our expense.

Re:Contest (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39044161)

Did I miss the announcement of a contest offering a prize for the company that can be the biggest douche-bag?

No, it's simply called 'doing business'. The prize is money.

Nothing has changed, companies have always acted like that if it gets them the most money. It's not like in the last few months we've changed the rules to favor those who act like greedy bastards -- that's always been how it's worked.

And, sadly, Zynga is far from the first company to be involved in two separate lawsuits, and arguing totally opposite (and incompatible) things in each.

Corporations and lawyers don't have cognitive dissonance by doing contradictory things.

I Zynga win this. (1)

VJmes (2449518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041305)

Does that mean every developer that has inspired Zynga can sue them for copying their games?

Re:I Zynga win this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041325)

It helps if you have millions of dollars laying around to pay for lawyers.

Re:I Zynga win this. (5, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041647)

Nope, you don't need millions of dollars.

You wait for Zynga to win and set precedent.

Then you sue using their own precedent against them.

No major lawyers required. Even a fresh law grad could figure it out.

Re:I Zynga win this. (3, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041847)

You wait for Zynga to win and set precedent. Then you sue using their own precedent against them.

That assumes that any lawsuit would actually get won. The majority of the time a company will settle the case if it looks like they are going to lose (or they deem it cheaper to settle than pay for a lengthy trial).

Re:I Zynga win this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041957)

Which is what happened here. Likely with no admission of guilt, so no precedent.

Precedent =/= win (1)

Boscrossos (997520) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042463)

I should point out that not all legal systems value precedent as much as the US system. A lot of countries (my native Belgium included) use law as written as a basis for guilt or innocence, setting much lower value on previous cases (although they can be used to give credibility to an interpretation of the law).

Re:I Zynga win this. (4, Interesting)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042649)

Yes, it's too bad they didn't fight the suit. All they had to do is show a copy of that Zynga letter that was basically saying that, in the cutthroat business of mobile apps, copying other people's apps was the norm and you should just learn to live with it and stop whining. That's basically them giving anyone permission to do the same, right? My defense would consist of a cover page, a copy of the recent article comparing one of Zyga's games to the original, and a copy of Zynga's response letter. Nothing else, no hundreds of pages of quotes from laws, just those two articles. Case closed.

Re:I Zynga win this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39042641)

The precedent has been set before. It's nice that you want to exercise your armchair legal knowledge, but it really doesn't apply here.
Atari and Nintendo fought this over Tetris and Atari/Tengen lost in a spectacular way. Authors of Pac-man clones get nasty letters from lawyers with words like "actionable" in them. It's just not safe to violate someone's copyright, no matter how trivially you infringe.

Re:I Zynga win this. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041461)

Yes. Your point?

It's a business, duh! (4, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041317)

What a silly question. It's not about consistency, morality, or ethics. It's about what they can get away with, how far they can get away with it, and what happens if/when they get caught.

Gotta get with the times. There's no such thing as corporate responsibility. How the money is made, where it comes from, and what the consequences of making it are, are all problems left for everyone else to deal with. There's only quarterly earnings, year over year growth, and valuation. Get in, make a boatload, and pray to your local diety you get out before the whole system comes crashing down on the heads of all the less fortunate ones who couldn't get out in time.

No it's not like this everywhere (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041379)

There ARE businesses that do not behave like this and they will get my money.
I hate Zynga and their crap games anyway but this would just encourage me to avoid them.

Re:No it's not like this everywhere (0)

preaction (1526109) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041457)

Like one customer ever made a difference.

Re:No it's not like this everywhere (4, Insightful)

engun (1234934) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041671)

If something can be virally adopted, it can be virally killed.

haha (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042867)

those businesses will start behaving exactly like these, when one of companies like these come and start competing with them with these methods. they have no choice. otherwise they would go under.

allowing bad behavior, forces others to the same behavior.

Re:It's a business, duh! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041469)

There's no such thing as corporate responsibility.

There is such a thing as corporate responsibility, Zynga just chooses to ignore it.

There's a difference.

You can choose to do business with companies that exhibit corporate responsibility and not do business with companies that don't.

Re:It's a business, duh! (1)

EnempE (709151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041593)

What a silly question. It's not about consistency, morality, or ethics. It's about what they can get away with, how far they can get away with it, and what happens if/when they get caught.

For the sake of clarity morality and ethics are largely about the decisions of what one can get away with, how far one can get away with it and what happens if/when they get caught. Corporate Social Responsibility is about the effort to make moral and ethical decisions into economic decisions by placing a financial cost against the cost of immoral acts on the part of the company. Throwing ones hands in the air and running off is what makes the whole system come crashing down, communicating dissatisfaction with immoral behavior is what makes it work. You may think that no one will hear you screaming, but these companies pay people to vanity search them, they will find your complaint and do something (though maybe not enough) about it.

Re:It's a business, duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39042391)

It depends entirely on the context. Asking whether the company doesn't have any guiding morals actually can be a very sensitive question. If only trying to inspect the company's motives, you are right.

If, on the other hand, you try to examine the state of your society and the direction it is stearing, this question is all about morality and ethics. As a matter of fact, attempts to answering this question proves libertarianism (the way the word is being used in the US) wrong in a single blow.

Re:It's a business, duh! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042863)

Gotta get with the times. There's no such thing as corporate responsibility. How the money is made, where it comes from, and what the consequences of making it are, are all problems left for everyone else to deal with. There's only quarterly earnings, year over year growth, and valuation. Get in, make a boatload, and pray to your local diety you get out before the whole system comes crashing down on the heads of all the less fortunate ones who couldn't get out in time.

congrats. you have grasped the precise essence of capitalism.

It's like rain on your wedding day! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041319)

Iron is delicious.

Typo in your post (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041351)

I believe what you mean to type was: "It's like RAAAAAEEEEYYYAAAAAAAAAAAIIN... on your wedding day!"

Re:Typo in your post (2)

QQBoss (2527196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041413)

My European friends used to love to use that song as proof at the lack of education of Americans. I used to retort that the only irony related to that song was that Morissette is Canadian. We all got over it pretty much by 2000 or so.

Re:Typo in your post (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041475)

Irony - an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

This is not the full definition of course but is still an acceptible definition of irony. Which if you then refer to the song in question, the song does indeed showcase ironic situations.

Ironic people seem to not understand that when complaining about the song or using it to make a point.

No. (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041921)

By your definition, both slapstick and knock-knock jokes qualify as irony.

...or might have been, expected. (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042621)

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Re:Typo in your post (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042031)

Many of the examples were actual irony, the rest are artistic license. Free ride after you've already paid is ironic, depending on the nature of the distribution of the free ride, and someone afraid of flying dieing on his first flight is ironic. Sure, rain on your wedding say is unfortunate, not ironic. But most are ironic, or at least have e hint of irony.

A Brazillion Developers? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041335)

How could they possibly sue a brazilian devs? Surely that would be way too many for the court to handle at the same time.

Re:A Brazillion Developers? (2)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041359)

I though it meant they'd been sued down to the bare boards.

Re:A Brazillion Developers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39043761)

How could they possibly sue a brazilian devs? Surely that would be way too many for the court to handle at the same time.

Oh man, I laughed at that. HUE-HUE-HUE-HUE-HUE

Why would they need to keep a straight face? (2)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041417)

Why would they need to keep a straight face? They can afford better lawyers than anyone they're likely to sue or be sued by. The kind of business Zynga is involved in has nothing to do with ethics or image. If it was they'd have been out of business long ago.

Fingerprints (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041463)

Claim 71 is the most interesting.

Zynga claims that Vostu replicated a "bug" that was in CityVille. This kind of claim has been successful in map making and directories to prove copying of works. I would suspect this is why Vostu settled.

Looking at the claims it would be very interesting to know if any source was actually lifted from Zynga by Vostu. But from a layperson or judge looking at it the conclusion may be the same.

Game rules are not subject to copyright, however the exact source code and images are. I can imagine a judge saying that this "bug/feature" while independently coded in a clean room - is the equivalent of a trap street on a map or fictitious entry in a directory.

Re:Fingerprints (3, Interesting)

am 2k (217885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042795)

Looking at the claims it would be very interesting to know if any source was actually lifted from Zynga by Vostu.

It might be a case of cargo cult: Perhaps the programmers had the management-given task to replicate the game in every detail, noticed the bug and implemented it as well.

I'm a freelance programmer, and I get a spec like "do it exactly like program X" very often (it's just limited to certain features in my case, not whole apps). Nowadays I refuse these tasks, since it's hard to replicate a feature in every detail without just copying the source, and it might even be something the client didn't want.

Re:Fingerprints (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39044785)

Perhaps the programmers had the management-given task to replicate the game in every detail, noticed the bug and implemented it as well.

and I get a spec like "do it exactly like program X" very often

Reminds me of oddities related to Windows compatibility features. Sometimes what is required to make a program run "correctly" in newer versions of Windows is to replicate the previous broken API behavior because some program was designed around the way it previously "worked". Including buggy behavior can make sense in a certain context.

Also seen in other ways, like how OpenGL now passes an incomplete list of extensions to Quake so it doesn't crash on startup.

Re:Fingerprints (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#39045453)

It might even have been intentional, did they specify what the bug was? In an online game i play (which is _not_ one by Zynga btw) there is a slot-machine type game you can play once a day to get extra prizes. There was a "bug" that you could exit the game screen and reenter it and get a new selection of items. This didn't let you choose what you won, it just let you choose which prizes you had a chance of winning. And there were a _lot_ of complaints from the players when they finally got around to fixing that "bug."

Sound Legal Move (4, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041739)

I don't see what the issue is here. Yes, Zynga copies other people's games. Yes, this company was just doing the same thing. What you people are all apparently are missing though is that Zynga is simply applying simple, well know, and accepted legal practice of "I have more lawyers so fuck you because I said so". I really don't see how you can argue with that.

Re:Sound Legal Move (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39043679)

So what you're saying is that because something shitty is widespread, it must be okay now? Right. I'll keep that in mind.

Game rules are not copyrightable (4, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041743)

But lots of other parts are copyrightable. Such as some of the graphics and sounds.

The dream heights/tiny tower was an obvious copy of the gameplay. But the graphics were completely different. And you are alllowed to do that.

These ones look much closer to copying of elements like art, which you aren't allowed to do.

Of course once you introduce patents gameplay might end up protected - but I don't believe that's applicable in either of the cases.

Where will the court find a judge & 12 jurors. (3, Interesting)

billybob_jcv (967047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041915)

...that don't have farmville, mafia wars or yoville accounts?
 

Re:Where will the court find a judge & 12 juro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39042585)

china maybe?

Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39043061)

I don't play flash games. None of my friends play flash games.

Unfortunately, I've interviewed with Zynga for a security hardening job ... it was clearly a waste of my time.

They refused to do the main thing that I suggested to be more secure by simply saying that it wasn't possible. Security is less important than making money even with in-game money being stolen in huge amounts due to the lack of security measures.

I bet lots of normal people have never played any of their games.
I also bet lots of folks in rural areas, like East Texas don't.

Re:Where will the court find a judge & 12 juro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39043265)

Hot Damn! Vostu might just get an intelligent jury.

Just remember... (2, Interesting)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042041)

Google didn’t create the first search engine. Apple didn’t create the first mp3 player or tablet. And, Facebook didn’t create the first social network. But these companies have evolved products and categories in revolutionary ways. They are all internet treasures because they all have specific and broad missions to change the world.

Re:Just remember... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39043313)

They are all internet treasures because...

For some meanings of the word 'treasure' you are undoubtedly correct. My cat, for instance, buries treasure in a little sandbox in the laundry room.

Seems legitimate. (3, Interesting)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042313)

It's one thing to post a rip-off game or a general concept. But Vostu did exact replicas. As in, side-by-side pictures look basically identical, game bugs were replicated, artwork is nearly identical. I think there is a line and that Vostu crossed it.

What are the comments here arguing? That exact copies of games should be allowed? That's obviously faulty. That no games with any similarity can come out? That doesn't seem right either. Obviously there has to be some compromise between these two extremes.

Really a lot of the comments here boil down to "I hate Zynga games," or "I hate lawyers."

Re:Seems legitimate. (1)

misof (617420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042571)

What you may be missing is the fact that this is a case of a pot calling the kettle black -- Zynga is notorious for being the opposite party in such cases. If you re-read the discussion with this in mind, I guess you'll find that many of the posts actually say "I hate Zynga's business strategy".

I am surprised (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042711)

that Vostu agreed that it produced games very similar to those produced by Zynga, but said that Zynga could not sue as it had unclean hands and had done exactly the same with reference to its own products.

Re:Seems legitimate. (1)

Terrasque (796014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39043619)

I think there is a line and that Vostu crossed it.

IMHO Zynga have already tiptoed over the line. Vostu just seems to have cheerily flown past it with a jet engine.

Only one word for it....... (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 2 years ago | (#39042779)

Bazynga!!!!! [youtube.com]

Brazil is West China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39043143)

Let's not forget it.

Silly Peons (1, Troll)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39043323)

Don't you know the law is only for big fish. That's why the FDA goes around in sting operations against Amish farmers who might sell the occasional court of raw milk.

But then turns a blind eye to Mosanto (no, no, no....don't let consumers decide. GMO warning labels might scare people. How about GMO Free, no, no, no...).

Not so simple, I have more info about this. (2)

goruka (1721094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39044353)

Vostu is a Brazilian company, but the main workforce is in Argentina. Zynga came to the country first by spreading rumours that they were going to acquire a company. Zynga was, then, in the typical process of expanding it's assets and workforce to raise the value of their IPO or whole company value (The same way Playdom did before being sold to Disney, for example).
Vostu is very strong in South America, the strongest social game company here, so it was naturally the best target of aquisition by Zynga. However, Vostu execs asked for a much higher price than Zynga was willing to pay. In consequence, Zynga sued Vostu to attempt to drive their price down.
But in the end, the lawsuit carried for too long, and Zynga decided to go public anyway. Having no more reason to acquire Vostu, the lawsuit was settle briefly before the IPO.

So, not really pot calling the kettle black, just corporate bussiness as usual.
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