EA Looms Legal Threats Over Ex-Employees To Keep Them In Check
Author: William Usher
published: 2012-09-26 14:26:43
Ever wondered why former employees of Electronic Arts never bad mouth the company or publicly lambast them for all the dirt the mammoth corporation has built up over the years? Well, a little legal threatening goes a long way in keeping ex-employees in check, as evidenced by a letter from EA that found its way online with a passive aggressive tone about the ramifications of leaking trade secrets.
Gameindustry.biz managed to get their hands on the letter and it's now out and available for everyone to see. In fact, you can read the entire letter right here if you're so inclined to get an idea of what happens if you decide to leave EA for another more appeasing place of employment.
The letter kicked into the online media circle after Ben Cousins, former manager at EA's Easy Studio, accepted a job at rival mobile company in Sweden, ngmoco. To ensure that they weren't going to have their trade secrets outed, EA sent the aforementioned letter to Cousins, which starts with...
"We understand that you recently accepted the employment as General Manger of ngmoco Sweden, "EA is seriously concerned about the possible solicitation of its employees and the possible misuse of protected intellectual property and trade secret information by you and ngmoco in violation of your continuing obligations to EA, and we want to both remind you of your obligations to respect EA's confidential and proprietary information, as well as EA's relationship with its current employees, and inform you that we will take action if we discover past or future breaches of you obligations."
This is common for most big corps who value their “trade secrets” but it's funny because it just further stereotypes EA as the kind of company most people expect them to be. What's more is that even if you get out, you're not really out.
The letter also kind of lends itself as credence to the belief that former BioWare heads Dr. Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, left gaming for good not because they really wanted to but possibly as part of a non-compete clause in their contract or an NDA.
It would also make sense why some of the top talent of BioWare aren't completely rushing out the door after the Mass Effect 3 fiasco due to contractual obligations. And just think, EA's Easy Studio is no where near as profitable as something as grand as BioWare. If they have stiff legal wrangling going on regarding their smaller, lesser known subsidiaries, one can only imagine what kind of lengthy, novel-sized contract comes with creative heads departing from one of their more prestigious studios such as EA Canada, BioWare, Criterion or dare I say...DICE.
One of the more interesting tidbits from the letter was as follows...
EA will not hesitate to vigorously enforce all agreements and take any legal action necessary to protect its rights and its intellectual property. EA takes a firm stance in seeking all available remedies against persons or entities who misappropriate our trade secrets and confidential information or who interfere with the contractual relations between EA and our employees.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone, though, since EA was also accused of anti-competitive employment measures by Zynga (I know, I know, that's like a robber calling a thief a liar). Allegedly, EA tried blocking Zynga from hiring in former executives from the company, not that it mattered much since Zynga and EA's stock both tumbled throughout this year and are about as appealing to investors as an obese 86-year-old in a spring break bikini contest.
More than anything, this probably makes EA look like a real cheery place to work, especially when the people they cater their products to hates them, their employees have more legal bondage on them than Bob Bashara in his sex dungeon, and the company bleeds more money than MGM at a movie licensing auction.
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