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.