Spark gets jolt as EA settles ‘Medal’ suit

Co. admits no wrongdoing, sez workers took assets

LAS VEGAS — Vidgame publisher Electronic Arts settled a lawsuit against a group of former Los Angeles employees whom it accused of swiping material from its bestselling “Medal of Honor: Frontline” title when they left to make a similar game for a competing publisher.

The suit against Spark Entertainment alleged that its employees, about 20 of whom had worked on “Frontline,” had taken computer source code, art, scripts, software tools and other creative assets, then signed a deal with Activision to create their own first-person shooter game set in World War II.

Under the settlement, Spark admitted no wrongdoing, but acknowledged some employees had EA assets, including versions of upcoming “Medal of Honor” titles that have not yet been released. Those assets, including storyboards, video files, scripts, animation, art, sound and source code, were to be returned. Spark also agreed to pay what insiders termed “a substantial settlement” to cover legal costs and damages, though the amount was not released.

“The settlement says they’re using the celebrity shoplifting defense: we didn’t steal anything but we returned the missing merchandise,” said Jeff Brown, EA’s VP for corporate communications. “But it’s like you can’t take reels of a film you worked on to use in your own movie.”

Spark could not be reached for comment.

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