Zynga, the top social games maker on the web, is suing PlayersAuctions.com for trademark and copyright infringement. According to Milford & Associates LP, Zynga is accusing the defendant of allowing users to post and sell their Zynga game virtual currencies and virtual goods on their PlayersAuctions.com website, which is strictly against Zynga’s terms of service.
In the suit, Zynga claims that PlayersAuctions.com is using Zynga’s trademarks without authorization, earning profits off of Zynga’s virtual goods and virtual credits, violating their terms of service and using images from their games without permission. This kind of thing has been happening in the MMO scene for years, and with the popularity of these virtual social games, the practice has entered into the mainstream. The scary thing here is that a lot of casual game players will have no idea whether or not this is legal or legit, and may just buy currency assuming it’s a legitimate way to pay for Farmville Cash.
This practice, of course, completely undermines Zynga. People can buy Farmville coins at a heavy discount and that prevents them from engaging with the actual Farmville Cash currency on the Farmville game. Here’s the text from the actual complaint:
Zynga accuses Defendant of allowing users to post and sell virtual currency or virtual goods to be used in Znyga’s games on its playerauctions.com website. Zynga claims that in addition to using Zynga’s trademarks without authorization, Defendant profits from the sale of virtual currency and goods by selling them for real-world money in violation of the “Terms of Service” agreement. Further, Defendant is accused of using images of Zynga’s games without authorization, which use infringes its copyrights. The case is Zynga Game Network, Inc. v. Playerauctions.com, CV10-2576 CBM (C.D. Cal. 2010).