According to the Hollywood Reporter, Madden NFL, the Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA) game, has sold more than 100 million copies and grossed over $4 billion in sales. The next annual release will be the 25th anniversary edition of the football game.
Robin Antonick developed a prototype for a football game on the old Apple II operating system before being hired by EA in 1984 to write the source code for a game called “Football,” according to the Reporter. EA contracted with Hall of Fame coach and broadcast announcer John Madden the following year to lend his name to the game. Antonick worked on the initial games in exchange for royalties, and the video game website Kotaku noted that Antonick is credited on the box cover of the original John Madden Football title.
On April 25, a federal judge ruled that Antonick’s lawsuit against EA alleging that the company owes him millions in unpaid royalties could go forward. EA had attempted to have the case thrown out by arguing that football plays are not subject to copyright protection because they do not fit into any of the eight subject matter categories defined by the Copyright Act, according to the Reporter. EA also argued that later Madden games were independently created by another developer who never saw Antonick’s source code, but the plaintiff claimed that his contract with the company entitled him to royalties to games even if his source code was not used verbatim.
As the Reporter noted, even though the judge narrowed the scope of Antonick’s claims, his decision to let enough go forward will potentially make for one of the “more important as well as entertaining trials this year.” Additional information about breach of contract issues is available on our website. If you are seeking experienced legal representation for a contract dispute enter your information in the form on this page or contact our firm at
(323) 653-3900 to let our Los Angeles copyright infringement lawyer review your case.
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