Epic’s latest legal clapback says it couldn’t steal from Apple something Apple never owned

    
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Epic’s latest legal clapback says it couldn’t steal from Apple something Apple never owned

The Epic v. Apple lawsuit is slated to begin in full next May, which means 10 more months of smaller salvos between the companies. The most recent came Friday, when Epic Games responded to Apple’s claim that Epic’s “flagrant disregard for its contractual commitments and other misconduct has caused significant harm to Apple.”

“Apple’s repeated assertions of theft boil down to the extraordinary assertion that Epic’s collection of payments by players of Epic’s game to enjoy the work of Epic’s artists, designers, and engineers is the taking of something that belongs to Apple,” Epic Games argues, denying that it had stolen anything from Apple and claiming that it didn’t “interfere with any prospective economic advantage Apple sought to gain from Fortnite users separate and apart from their interest in Fortnite.”

The whole mess began in August when Epic Games attempted to wiggle its own discounted direct-payment system into Fortnite on Apple’s AppStore, essentially daring Apple to shut Fortnite down so that Epic could launch a lawsuit over it and hash out whether or not Apple is actually engaging in the monopolistic antitrust behavior critics have accused it of. Childish shenanigans and actual propaganda and absurd court filings ensued. You can stay tuned for a Lawful Neutral column recapping the whole showdown later this week, or skim through our coverage so far:

Source: The Verge

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Robert Mann

In before:

Apple for some reason does not “clap back” with… “Epic’s repeated assertions that they too should own our storefront, or that they will attempt to damage said storefront publicly, amounts to theft, but also to blackmail.”

I see no reason why they would not serve Sweeney a “Here’s your words back” sandwich, but they seem ever so loathe to do so.

P.S. Still just looking for more popcorn and bigger containers to hold it all on this.

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Bruno Brito

“Your honor, we move for dismissing this case in the grounds that we are going to lose, badly.”

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Tobasco da Gama

Epic’s entire handling of this case can be best summed up by that Dodgeball meme: “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for them.”

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Totes McGoats

But for some reason every inane argument they make is advanced as an incredible “clapback” by the cheering media.

These are press releases couched as legal briefs.

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Totes McGoats

Epic did an amazing job DESTROYING the strawman it set up.

“You claim I broke the contract? You can’t STEAL intangible property – checkmate!” I say, tearing up the contract and smiling smugly to myself.

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Tobasco da Gama

“Your honor, I believe even my opponent over there would have to concede that contracts are composed of words.

But what are words? How do we ascribe meaning to sounds and symbols? And even more importantly, how do I know that what a word means to you is the same as what it means to me?

My opponent says these random scribblings mean that my client agreed to a 70/30 revenue split. But I argue that they’re as meaningless as the haphazard arrangements of clouds in the sky that happen to take the shape of a rabbit. Who’s to say which of us is right?”

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Legend Of Vinny T

I am Tim Sweeney, and I’m here to ask you a question: Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?

“No!” says the man in Washington, “it belongs to the poor.”
“No!” says the man in the Vatican, “it belongs to God.”
“No!” says the man in Moscow, “it belongs to everyone.”
“No!” says the man in Cupertino, “it belongs to the app store.”

Sorry, Tim, but we’ve all had a chance to play Bioshock, so we recognize the Objectivist rhetoric when we read it. Still doesn’t change the fact that you signed a contract with Apple giving them a 30% cut, and then you broke it, willfully. Better luck next lawsuit.

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Arktouros

It’s particularly amusing because with Objectivism Apple should be taking Epic for every cent it could get away with for access to their client base they’ve created, setup and maintain.

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Mark Jacobs

Ark, yeah, I don’t get this argument by Epic (and I’ve supported most of their other moves). And you’re right, if I were Apple I’d be preparing to use Epic’s words against them in their next salvo. I’m not up to speed with the most recent salvos but this one doesn’t seem to be a smart one by Epic. Here’s a very quick example:

Epic’s repeated assertions of overcharging boil down to the extraordinary assertion that only after Epic has earned revenues of $$$$ to date, earnings that were made possible by Apples’s combination of a secure and robust payment system built into the largest and most successful ecosystem in the world that was created by the decades long work of Apples’s artists, designers, and engineers and the App Store community, that it should be allowed to continue to benefit from that work free of fees that Epic believes are too high.

They could then add something like:

If you apply Epic’s argument to their own efforts, would players of Epic’s games be able to say that because Fortnite has recouped its development costs on Fortnite more than 1000x (or whatever crazy number that it is), that new players are entitled to play the game for free or to to demand that Epic lower the costs of everything in the game for all customers? We eagerly await Epic applying the same logic to their own efforts and their customers rather than just apply it to other companies when it suits them and their own bottom lines.

Okay, back to work for me.

Apridise
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Apridise

It says it right above, the whole case is revolved around this: “monopolistic antritrust behavior critics have accused it of”.

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Crowe

Thanks, Mark — that was absolutely hilarious. Good thing I was out of coffee or I’d be cleaning my monitor now.

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Mark Jacobs

You’re welcome! I just couldn’t resist. Next time Apple says something dumb I’ll do the same thing. And as I said to Ark, I really don’t get this line of argument from Epic at all. I’ve thought some of the other things they’ve done have been quite clever and I agree that 30% is a lot more than it could and should be but this stuff, I don’t know what the lawyers were thinking. I’d be shocked if Apple didn’t try to use Epic’s words against them.

I’m still of the opinion that a deal will be struck and that this thing will not go all the way. Apple has a lot to lose and Epic well, I think if Apple will reduce the app store fees, will take the win and credit for doing so as a major victory.

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Bruno Brito

I’m still of the opinion that a deal will be struck and that this thing will not go all the way.

The moment that Epic realizes that this shitstorm will have some serious precedent, it’s the moment they’ll notice the pikes being sharpened towards them and will move to solve things quietly, like the good corporate dogs they are.

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James Crow

but than again its not like they removed apple 30% cut, they added alternative option for people who dont want paying to apple.

i think in the end people who are ios fanatic would still chose paying to apple than epic option.

its kind of a gray area, they tried to dodge the ball but they know this thing could happen, i dont like apple (only the mobile department) for alot of reason but in this case i think both of them are right.

and even if apple dont care about this they can’t say “ok go for it” bc than other companies do the same and we all know…getting money without doing anything is the best money and company can ask for.

Apridise
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Apridise

I always thought Apple overstepped on this. It’s one thing to charge a developer to sell through your site. But to take 30 percent of everything you sell?

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Schmidt.Capela

Before being allowed to sell something on Apple’s App Store you have to agree to follow its policies, which includes the Apple cut and not trying to circumvent it in any way. If you are not happy about that, you have the choice to stop dealing with Apple, but you should never be able to dictate how Apple operates its own App Store.

(On the other hand, I do think Apple — and Microsoft, and Sony, and Nintendo, etc — should be forced to allow users to install apps and games from outside their device-specific curated stores. But this isn’t what Epic is asking for.)

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Crowe

Nicely stated, Schmidt, and I’m in complete agreement. I think it’s a bad practice but if you signed the contract for the bad practice, you’re obligated to it whether or not it’s bad.

Apridise
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Apridise

but you should never be able to dictate how Apple operates its own App Store

Critics of Apple think you can because of Anti-Trust laws. Apple makes it impossible to install a separate app store on their devices and forces any app to go through their store. This is where Apple I think is going to lose.

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Schmidt.Capela

Apple makes it impossible to install a separate app store on their devices and forces any app to go through their store. This is where Apple I think is going to lose.

If Apple is forced to allow users to install separate, competing app stores on their iPhones, then you don’t need anymore to regulate how Apple’s App Store works in order to safeguard competition.

And yeah, this is what I hope happens; Apple allowed to operate their App Store in any way they see fit, while users are allowed to install third party apps without going through Apple’s App Store at all.

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Lily Cheng

Jailbreak your device and you can do whatever you want on it, including installing third party apps without the App Store.

If you believe that something you spent millions and millions of dollars creating should be given away for free then… HAHAHA no

If you don’t like the way Apple operates then there is an option to simply not support them.

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Blaaznar

I do think Apple — and Microsoft, and Sony, and Nintendo, etc — should be forced to allow users to install apps and games from outside their device-specific curated stores.

This is one of the main reasons I stay with Apple – so I don’t have to think about security – every single app on the app store is reviewed before it’s allowed in; I don’t have to worry about clicking a link if some malicious ransomware will install on my device and for that peace of mind I’m willing to pay a premium.

If you want freedom to tinker with your device, avoid Apple.

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Legend Of Vinny T

But the remedy to that problem (which, for the record, I agree is a problem) can’t be “intentionally break multiple terms of the contract then cry to the judge that you’ve been harmed by self-inflicted wounds”. Judge Gonzalez Rogers saw through that ruse right away in the preliminary injunction hearings. Epic’s Plan B of “create an astroturf groundswell of disgruntled Fortnite iOS players” flopped, and the longer this goes on, the more it looks like Plan C doesn’t really exist in any form useful to their case.