Epic Games has strongly refuted Apple's claim that its use of direct payments in Fortnite constitutes "theft," on the grounds that it is "implausible and deficient as a matter of law."
In a new filing with the US District Court, Epic addressed various allegations in the countersuit Apple issued last month -- itself the response to a legal complaint filed by Epic after Fortnite was removed from the App Store for adding direct payments to avoid paying a 30% share of revenue.
The filing -- first spotted by The Verge -- asserted that "Apple has no right to the fruits of Epic's labor, other than the rights arising under a contract."
Epic's legal team continued: "Consumers who choose to make in-app purchases in Fortnite pay for Epic's creativity, innovation and effort -- to enjoy an experience that Epic has designed."
While Epic's contractual agreement with Apple includes a mandatory share of all payments made in Fortnite, Epic took action due to its belief that "those contractual restrictions are unlawful" -- a fundamental repudiation of Apple's claim that Epic's actions were "theft, period."
"Apple seeks to compare Epic's conduct to stealing cash from a vault in ApplePark, or raiding Apple's bank account," the document stated.
"The money in Apple's vault or bank account is the property of Apple, in which Apple unquestionably has a possessory interest; the money paid by Fortnite users is not. It is money that Fortnite users choose to pay in return for Epic's creative endeavors.
"Apple's repeated assertions of theft boil down to the extraordinary assertion that Epic's collection of payments by players of Epic's game to enjoy the work of Epic's artists, designers, and engineers is the taking of something that belongs to Apple."
While Epic conceded that it had a contractual obligation to pay Apple a 30% commission, the filing also repeatedly disputes the legal basis for the provisions of that contract.
You can read the filing in full in a Scribd post from Mike Wuerthele.