The lights are on
After a three day deliberation, a Californian jury awarded Robin Antonick – the original designer Madden NFL – more than $11 million dollars in damages after EA failed to pay the programmer royalties for the series.
Earlier this year, Antonick filed a suit against EA for using software he had programmed and then failing to pay him royalties on successive releases of Madden. EA tried to downplay Antonick's role in the series, but a Californian court didn't feel the same way, and now EA will have to pay Antonick over $11 million dollars. Antonick also has the option to continue to pursue EA for royalties on games that were published after 1997 – games with significantly higher revenues and possible damages.
In the case, Antonick claimed that he had signed a series of publishing and development contracts with EA, culminating in a 1986 agreement that stated that EA would pay Antonick royalties on any derivative works related to the original EA Madden, which Antonick had developed.
The jury determined that several of EA’s Madden games, published between 1990-1996, were similar enough to Antonick's original that that EA would have to play back royalties. A future phase of the trial will be held to determine whether EA is responsible for paying Antonick for games published after 1997.
An EA Spokesperson told us, "While we're disappointed with the jury's verdict and will appeal, this has always been a case about games from the early 1990s, and it has no impact on today's Madden NFL franchise."
Our TakeLawsuits suck, but so does not getting paid for something that you spent time working on. Game Informer's Mike Futter thinks, "This is an important step for Antonick, and even if EA proves victorious in the second phase of the trial, the funds awarded to Madden's original developer and the recognition from this suit should give him some peace. If he is able to succeed in the second phase. Things could be very interesting. A victory related to more recent titles would put EA in a difficult situation and likely incentivize a full overhaul in the development of future football titles. The second phase is about more than money. It's about the culture of Madden and its fans."
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"While we're disappointed with the jury's verdict and will appeal, this has always been a case about games from the early 1990s..."
I don't understand what they are saying here? What has always been the case, the fact that they used Antonick's work in the games? If so, why would they be disappointed and appeal?
And if that isn't what they mean, then what are they talking about?
Separate from my rant because it is more on-topic.
EA really should have just payed this guy way back when, and prevented this whole situation. That said, I do wonder how much of the code was similar for the newer games. It will be interesting to see it develop, that's for sure.
Great to hear. EA's always bullying around the smaller people, it's nice to see someone else win this round.
Well it is good that the man won. Rather embarrassing on EA's part for not even paying the man a game that he help create. Still this falls into the same realm of all of the other lawsuits that have been happening. They suck and it is big companies screwing their employees to make a buck. EA being the Mega Giant that it is. Doesn't really surprise me that it has stepped on a lot of toes and there will be many more lawsuits. Heck I bet that Antonick gets sued by people who worked under him during and didn't get piece of the pie. It always happens.
Excellent win for Antonick.. EA is a cheap skate for not paying this guy what he is due.. Furthermore, if he wins the next phase of this lawsuit EA will be paying out MEGA BUCKS for their cheapness.
Lord knows how much money EA off the madden series back in the days.! they should just pay the man what's due to him..for helping build a hot football title..theirs no " I " in team . So pay up E.A
How is EA surprised, when they have a written and signed contract. EA might lose the second suit too because the contract is still valid until they take out his source code. I feel sorry for EA, I hope this does not delay DA3: Inquisition.
not sure if he deserves the "phase 2" money since I'm sure bringing it into 3D required a complete overhaul of the code which probably required many programmers, but you could make the case that they owe all the programmers that wrote the 3D code for it royalties. Sequels to games like these especially only require minor tweaks here and there in the code. The original programmers were the ones who did all the work.