EA Asks Court to Dismiss Madden Coder Case

June 2, 2011 -

Electronic Arts has asked a California court to dismiss a lawsuit brought forward by former Madden NFL developer Robin Antonick. Antonick, a programmer who helped create the original John Madden Football while working as a contractor 20 years ago, sued EA earlier this year claiming that he is owed twenty years worth of royalties.

On Tuesday, EA asked the Californian Federal Court to dismiss Antonick's claims because they are invalid. EA disputes the claim of "code legacy," because the game was built from the ground up when the second game was made and provided Antonick with the source code of that game as proof. Antonick's claims describe the four key areas of the code as "methods, processes and algorithms," but these concepts, EA argues, are not covered by US copyright law.

"The Complaint itself describes all four elements as 'methods,' 'processes' and 'algorithms," reads a statement from EA. "Since copyright protects only expression, not ideas, methods of operation, or algorithms of a computer program, the Complaint's own allegations defeat the contract claim.  Antonick's contract with EA provides for royalty payments only for derivative works under copyright law, not simply for any work that traces some idea back to, or shares a name with, the versions Antonick worked on."

Antonick will have to prove that the code he created was used in subsequent games and if that use constituted "original expression." This becomes more problematic for Antonick to prove as the shift from PC code to console development changed everything about the game.

Source: GI.biz


Comments

Re: EA Asks Court to Dismiss Madden Coder Case

Hate to say it, but I sort of see what Sony means here, if you could copyright something like a Process, then that leads to all kinds of trouble, all you'd need to do is something like 'A code loop which contains an internal value to store the number of iterations already made' as a Copyright, and you'd be on to a killing.

Re: EA Asks Court to Dismiss Madden Coder Case

I know Sony was often in the news recently, but I think you mean EA. Also, Patent, not Copyright. And yes, people did patent stuff even simpler than that; see Patent Trolls.

Re: EA Asks Court to Dismiss Madden Coder Case

Yeah, got my headlines confused.

And in the article EA are arguing Copyright law, not Patent, I know patents for stuff like that already exist, but I feel that letting it slip into Copyright as well would be a dangerous precedent.

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