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Zynga sues developer for copying games

Brazilian developer Vostu accused of "blatant copyright infringement"

FarmVille creator Zynga has filed a lawsuit against social games developer Vostu, alleging "blatant copyright infringement" of a number of its games.

The lawsuit alleges that Vostu has created "near-identical games" and has been engaged in copying "Zynga's specific business model and product strategy, including accessing, copying and using Zynga's copyrights".

Zynga claim that the similarities run so deep that Vostu's titles even have the same bugs as Zynga's games.

The full text of the lawsuit provides numerous visual examples of the similarity between Zynga and Vostu's games, which are striking.

The text also makes connections between the two company's logos and even their mottos, with Zynga's famous "Connecting the world through games" contrasted with Vostu's mission statement "to bring you closer to the people around you through games".

Speaking to website TechCrunch, Zynga's Reggie Davis claimed that, "We welcome Vostu into the arena of social games, but blatant infringement of our creative works is not an acceptable business strategy - it is a violation of the law."

Zynga itself has often been accused of copying ideas from other developers, a fact which Vostu referred to in a statement to website VentureBeat:

"Zynga has been accused of copying so many games that they've sadly lost the ability to recognise games like ours that are chock full of original content and have been independently created."

"Zynga's anti-competitive effort to bully us with a frivolous lawsuit - especially when we have some of the same key investors - is pathetic. While Zynga plays games with the legal process we will continue focusing on using our substantial resources to create games that entertain our customers."

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Latest comments (11)

gi biz ;,pgc.eu 5 years ago
So why doesn't zynga close down and wait for Vostu to follow? -_-
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Pot and kettle comes to mind....
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Sam Maxted Journalist / Community / Support 5 years ago
"Pot and kettle comes to mind...."

That's pretty much what I thought on reading this, too.
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Show all comments (11)
John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London5 years ago
Zynga (like most big Facebook developers) have a habit of copying other people's work (everybody has a city game, a mob game, a cafe game, etc etc, and all the interfaces and underlying mechanics look fairly similar), but if you look at the examples in the linked legal document, it does look like Vostu have pretty much copied games pixel-by-pixel in this case, which is extreme even by the low standards of Facebook games.
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Edward Buffery Head of LQA (UK), Testronic5 years ago
If Zynga copied the original developers, then Vostu copied Zynga, couldn't Vostu just say they copied the same original developers that Zynga copied? If Zynga point out that's still illegal, then they'd be admitting their own guilt too.
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Who knows.

I prefer folks to develop games like the world of good for facebook, and let these farming games die a ruinous death in facebook litigation hell :)
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Doug McFarlane Co-Owner, KodeSource5 years ago
Vostu is clearly in the wrong in this case.

Zynga may have been accused of stealing game concepts (even gameplay perhaps).
But Vostu clearly replicated Zynga's games at it's core, whether or not they introduced new concepts or ideas.
The have the same POV, HUD (layout AND graphics style), game layout, graphics style, game play, and what puts the nail in the coffin, they even have the same bugs!

Hmm, call me crazy, but did Vostu have access to Zynga's code? (rhetorical!)

I've only seen the images from the above link, and I'm no lawyer, but I can't imagine anything Vostu could say that would convince me of their innocence.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Doug McFarlane on 17th June 2011 7:52pm

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Gavin Hartman associate producer, Replay Games5 years ago
Wow, the similarities in the screen grabs pretty much makes me wonder what the hell Vostu was thinking when they started developing this stuff.
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Jake Clayton5 years ago
Doug, try a game called farmtown on facebook.

When farmville was launched zynga was criticized, because it was a carbon copy 100%.

Zynga are now claiming others are copying their stolen games.

They deserve everything they get.
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Jake Clayton5 years ago
Doug, try a game called farmtown on facebook.

When farmville was launched zynga was criticized, because it was a carbon copy 100%.

Zynga are now claiming others are copying their stolen games.

They deserve everything they get.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 5 years ago
Zynga suing for copying? Now I've heard everything!
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