Zynga sues over virtual currency sales

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Mediocre players of games such as Zynga Poker, Mafia Wars and FarmVille may have to live with the consequences of their inadequacy. Zynga Game network, one of the biggest social games makers around, is suing playerauctions.com for selling virtual currency and goods.

Unfortunately, there's nothing virtual about the lawsuit, which accuses the auction site of trademark and copyright infringement.

In theory, players can increase their virtual bank balance only through play and buy buying it directly from Zynga. But playersauctions.com allows users to buy and sell their Zynga game virtual currencies and virtual goods for real-world money. While this is against Zynga's terms of service, users may well not be aware of this, and the company does brisk business.

"Further, Defendant is accused of using images of Zynga’s games without authorization, which use infringes its copyrights," says Milord Keshishian of Zynga's lawyers, Milord & Associates.

Zynga isn't saying what it's looking for in terms of damages. But it points out that its games are pretty successful, with an increase from 1.3 million daily users in July of 2008 to 9.5 million daily users in May of 2009.

Playersauctions.com is still selling game accounts and currency for Zynga's games.