Madden Creator Sues EA Over Royalties

April 1, 2011 -

Robin Antonick, who is credited with programming the very first Madden game, is suing Electronic Arts for royalty payments he never received. With 85 million copies sold to date that could prove to be a lot of money if Antonick prevails in court. Antonick is asking for a jury trial in California in a lawsuit filed Wednesday. He claims that EA cut him out of the Madden franchise fortune.

Antonick claims that he created the football video game and had signed a development contract with EA in 1986 that entitled him to royalties on "derivative versions" of the Madden franchise.

"Only recently, as a result of publicity surrounding the 20th Anniversary of the Madden videogame did Antonick become aware that Electronic Arts did not independently develop subsequent versions of its Madden NFL software," says the complaint filed in California. "Instead, according to recent statements by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, the current generation of software apparently derived from software developed by Antonick."

Antonick is seeking "tens of millions" in royalties, disgorgement of all profits from the sale of the game as the result of "fraudulent behavior." The Madden NFL game franchise has generated more than $4 billion in profits since its launch more than 20 years ago.

Antonick says that he has not received a royalty payment from the game since 1992.

Over the past couple years, EA and Antonick have supposedly engaged in confidential settlement negotiations. EA denies this claim.

"The complaint and its 20 year-old claim are utterly without merit," EA spokesperson Tiffany Steckler told the Hollywood Reporter. Commenting on alleged settlement talks, she added, "We never offered to pay Antonick a penny."

Source: The Hollywood Reporter by way of No High Scores


Comments

Re: Madden Creator Sues EA Over Royalties

EA's getting sued AGAIN?! Didn't the NFL already sue EA over Madden? Twice?!

Lesson learned: Stay AWAY from SPORTS!

Re: Madden Creator Sues EA Over Royalties

Or just stay away from developing sports games that have three letter organization names at the pro-level that pay most players over $200,000/year (NBA, NFL, MLB...)

There are lots of obscure sports out there.  I'm sure curling and the caber toss would be fun as video games.

- Left4Dead

Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

- Left4Dead Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

Re: Madden Creator Sues EA Over Royalties

Caber toss, I could see it being good on the Wii and with the PSMove.

Re: Madden Creator Sues EA Over Royalties

According to copyright law..

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/101.html

"A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”."

Kinda sounds like it is. It's a newer version of the C64 version. It's still called the same thing, more or less.

Depends on the contract's wording of course.

Still, typical of these companies to be hell bent on DRM until it means they have to 'pay the artist'. In spite of the 'protecting the artists' rhetoric.

Re: Madden Creator Sues EA Over Royalties

eh, publishers prove over and over that they don't give a damn about the artists, they care about the bottom line.

Re: Madden Creator Sues EA Over Royalties

I find it very difficult to believe that modern versions of Madden still contain legacy code from the Commodore 64.

I would venture to say that even stat and roster tracking algorithms (which are about the only thing the games could possibly still use) have been written from scratch several times over since 1986, especially since most C64/Apple2/etc games of that era were written almost exclusively in assembler.

And Trip Hawkins hasn't been at EA since 1991 (?), which pre-dates the original PlayStation, N64, and any other console that would have prompted the transition to a polygon based 3D engine for the franchise... so I don't know if I'd want to base a lawsuit on something the ol' tax dodger might have said recently...

Re: Madden Creator Sues EA Over Royalties

Wow, first the founder of EA owes the IRS $20 million in taxes, and now this? No wonder EA is clinging so desperately to their Online Pass.

"Power means nothing without honor and pride."

http://grifsgamereviews.blogspot.com My video game review site.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
prh99Portlandia, though I don't watch a lot of sitcoms. Heard it was good though.09/15/2014 - 8:02pm
E. Zachary KnightSitcom recommendations for someone who like Parks and Rec but hates The Office: Go.09/15/2014 - 6:08pm
NeenekoEven if they do change their policy, they can only do it moving forward and I could see the mod/pack community simply branching.09/15/2014 - 12:50pm
Michael ChandraAs for take the money and run, the guy must have a networth of 8~9 digits already.09/15/2014 - 10:33am
Michael ChandraMe, I'm more betting on some form of mod API where servers must run donations/payments through them and they take a cut.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraEspecially since they want it for promoting their phones. Killing user interest is the dumbest move to make.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraGiven how the EULA actively allows for LPs, I'm not sure Microsoft is ready for the backlash of disallowing that.09/15/2014 - 10:31am
Matthew Wilsonthey wont do that, the backlash would be too big.09/15/2014 - 10:25am
ConsterSleaker: how is that a flipside? Sounds to me like that's basically what Notch himself said, except rudely.09/15/2014 - 10:18am
MaskedPixelanteOn the plus side, no more lazy Minecraft LPs, since iirc Microsoft has a strict "no monetization period" policy when it comes to their stuff.09/15/2014 - 10:13am
james_fudgeBut it continues to sell on every platform it is on, so there's that09/15/2014 - 10:09am
james_fudgeOh, well that's another matter :)09/15/2014 - 10:08am
E. Zachary KnightNothing against Notch here. I think it is great that he made something so cool. I just can't understand how it is worth $2.5 bil09/15/2014 - 9:59am
InfophileWhat a world we live in: Becoming a billionaire was the easy way out for Notch.09/15/2014 - 9:42am
james_fudgelots of hate for Notch here. I don't get it. Sorry he made a game everyone loved. What a monster he is!09/15/2014 - 9:37am
SleakerOn the flipside, Notch has been a horrible CEO for Mojang, and the company has grown on sheer inertia, DESPITE being mishandled over and over.09/15/2014 - 9:33am
SleakerI can understand Notch's statements he made to Kotaku about growing bigger than he intended, and getting hate for EULA changes he didn't enact.09/15/2014 - 9:32am
MaskedPixelantehttp://pastebin.com/n1qTeikM Notch's statement about the MS acquisition. He wanted out for a long time and this was the easiest way.09/15/2014 - 9:08am
ConsterEh, I can't blame him.09/15/2014 - 9:01am
IanCNotch has left Mojang. Classic take the money and run situation.09/15/2014 - 8:57am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician