Epic argues Apple has 'no rights to the fruits' of its labor in 'Fortnite' filing

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in iOS
Apple's claims of theft in Epic's lawsuit against the company over App Store rules have been argued against by the game developer once again, with a Friday filing putting forward the idea that Epic didn't "steal" anything from Apple at all.

A still from Epic's parody of Apple's '1984' Super Bowl commercial
A still from Epic's parody of Apple's '1984' Super Bowl commercial


The latest filing in the ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple over "Fortnite" and monetization in the App Store features more accusations by Epic that it is innocent of claims by Apple that it was failing to fulfill contractual commitments. Instead, Epic asserts that Apple's theft claims are absurd when applied to purchases made through its own servers.

The lawsuit covers a number of topics, but largely boils down to whether Epic should be allowed to take payments related to the iOS game through its own payment mechanism, bypassing the App Store's own transaction system that Apple mandates apps like "Fortnite" must use. Apple tossed "Fortnite" from the App Store, prompting a lawsuit from Epic that triggered the whole affair.

Apple has so far insisted its actions were for legitimate business reasons, including the threat of closing developer accounts relating to the Unreal Engine. However, Friday's filing objects to the suggestion from Apple that "Epic's flagrant disregard for its contractual commitments and other misconduct has caused significant harm to Apple."

In its response, spotted by The Verge, Epic enters an argument that its actions are a "far cry from the tortious - even purportedly criminal - conduct that Apple's Opposition depicts."

"Simply put, Epic did not 'steal' anything that belonged to Apple. Epic could not and did not 'steal' the proceeds from the sales of its own creative efforts. Nor did Epic interfere with any prospective economic advantage Apple sought to gain from 'Fortnite' users separate and apart from their interest in 'Fortnite," the filing claims.

Later in the 20-page document, Epic likens Apple to "Epic's agent" for App Store transactions, in providing the App Store, but it "is not a party to the sales contract or user agreement" itself, in reference to iTunes legal documents.

Epic then accuses Apple's theft accusation of boiling down to the "extraordinary assertion that Epic's collection of payments by players of Epic's game to enjoy the works of Epic's artists, designers, and engineers is the taking of something that belongs to Apple."

It is then alleged that Epic was "forced to agree to make Apple its agent" for App Store sales as part of the license agreement, before openly admitting that "by offering 'Fortnite' users the choice of making purchases directly from Epic, Epic breached those contractual provisions (assuming they are legal."

Epic then doubles down, reasserting "Epic did not steal or convert Apple's property."

Following the most recent hearing on the matter on September 28, the lawsuit will be heading to a full trial, which should take place sometime in July 2021. A deadline has been set by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to file data for the trial, but though Rogers suggested it should be a trial by jury, both Apple and Epic agreed the decision should be made by the court itself and not the public.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47

    LOL. I hope one day I do stuff so well that my efforts appear so natural as to be taken for granted.

    If my electronic engineering days taught me anything: it's f/loads harder to make a platform than it is to make an app.

    SpamSandwichronnyojimbo007StrangeDaysmattinozradarthekataderuttermagman1979lolliverGaby
  • Reply 2 of 47
    Epic has also no rights to the fruits of Apple's labor.
    SpamSandwichgregoriusmronndanhzeus423yojimbo007roakeStrangeDaysuraharawilliamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 47
    I think Apple’s fees are high, but it’s difficult to sympathize with Epic.
    olscrowley
  • Reply 4 of 47
    mejsric said:
    Epic has also no rights to the fruits of Apple's labor.
    You mean the same fees that Google and Amazon charge with a fraction of the support?
    SpamSandwichdhawkins541Dogpersonzeus423yojimbo007StrangeDaysolsuraharaleavingthebiggflyingdp
  • Reply 5 of 47
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,372member
    Holy cow, where to even START with this new line of bullshit!

    How did Epic seemingly not know anything about the contract with Apple they signed, including a) what the rules were and b) what the commission fee was? Oh wait, they knew it perfectly well and agreed to it, that's why they signed it.

    As a matter of contract law, this case is so open-and-shut it should have taken a short afternoon to decide it (and will, when the actual trial begins). Epic broke its contract, Apple triggered the mechanisms built into said contract for non-compliance.

    As for their latest nonsensical argument, I suppose the grocery store should operate for free because they are not entitled to the fruits (literally) of the farmer's labour. Indeed, the entire distribution chain there should be working for free. In other news, the bank that holds your mortgage or your car loan is forbidden from charging interest or fees in the Epic universe because doing so would cause them to (gasp) profit from your purchase of a house! And when you sell your house, certainly the real estate agent who did all the work to close the deal deserves nothing for his efforts, as that would be profiting off "the fruits" of your investment.

    WHAT are these guys (and their lawyers) smoking?? And more to the point, aren't these lawyers criminally profiting of the fruits of Epic's labour, or are they peddling this folderol pro bono? Not only should Epic lose this case, they should be fined triple Apple's legal bill as punitive damages for wasting everyone's time. Welcome to capitalism, Epic!
    edited October 2020 mwhiteronnmobirddanhRayz2016viclauyycCuJoYYCStrangeDaysolssigma4life
  • Reply 6 of 47
    FU Epic

    Tim Sweeney is a mental case.   He has flushed a half billion dollars down the toilet and is still going to lose the case

    What an ungrateful bastard

    SpamSandwichronnzeus423SamsonikkStrangeDaysolsuraharawilliamlondonradarthekataderutter
  • Reply 7 of 47
    chasm said:
    Holy cow, where to even START with this new line of bullshit!

    How did Epic seemingly not know anything about the contract with Apple they signed, including a) what the rules were and b) what the commission fee was? Oh wait, they knew it perfectly well and agreed to it, that's why they signed it.

    As a matter of contract law, this case is so open-and-shut it should have taken a short afternoon to decide it (and will, when the actual trial begins). Epic broke its contract, Apple triggered the mechanisms built into said contract for non-compliance.

    As for their latest nonsensical argument, I suppose the grocery store should operate for free because they are not entitled to the fruits (literally) of the farmer's labour. Indeed, the entire distribution chain there should be working for free. In other news, the bank that holds your mortgage or your car loan is forbidden from charging interest or fees in the Epic universe because doing so would cause them to (gasp) profit from your purchase of a house! And when you sell your house, certainly the real estate agent who did all the work to close the deal deserves nothing for his efforts, as that would be profiting off "the fruits" of your investment.

    WHAT are these guys (and their lawyers) smoking?? And more to the point, aren't these lawyers criminally profiting of the fruits of Epic's labour, or are they peddling this folderol pro bono? Not only should Epic lose this case, they should be fined triple Apple's legal bill as punitive damages for wasting everyone's time. Welcome to capitalism, Epic!
    You have to think (given the contract they signed) that Epic are not necessarily hoping to win this case, but to use it to build public pressure on Apple and their App Store policies to get them to change it. 
    ronnradarthekat
  • Reply 8 of 47
    Just one Epic battle after another. It started with a poorly choreographed charade from Epic. And who piles on after that? The Justice Dept. with little to no concrete understanding of Apple, or for that matter, any tech company's operations. Then Microsoft decides to pile on, which is a bit surprising given their own nefarious history and their current profitable relationship with Apple. The darkest player of all in the Tech sector - Zuckerberg then very publically adds his venom as a distraction to his own woes, a result of his, like Google's, dissatisfaction with Apple's new Safari anti-tracking feature that would reduce their ability to harvest our information. Maybe they think we're blind to the fact that our information is bought and sold to…………anyone who can cough up the $$$s. That is their primary business after all. I think Google has been more hands-off on this matter as a result of their current Justice Dept. woes + their very lucrative deal with Apple as the default search engine in Safari.
    ronncornchipRayz2016viclauyycolsradarthekataderuttermagman1979chasmlolliver
  • Reply 9 of 47
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,316member
    And yet epic has rights to use Apple's platform, tools, marketing, hosting, payment processing, etc for free while it gets access to its billions of users?

    Yeah, Epic can go fuck themselves. How entitled can you be. Absurd amount of greed and dishonesty. 


    ronnzeus423cornchipRayz2016SamsonikkStrangeDaysolsuraharafotoformatwilliamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 47
    What utter BS.
    ronnzeus423williamlondonmagman1979lolliverBittySonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 47
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,411member
    I'm beginning to think that Apple's strategy is flawed. They could have simply tried to respond to Epic's lawsuit by saying "Apple has no legal obligation to accept any software from Epic. We don't like them and will no longer accept anything from them." But no, they are getting into the weeds. They should have just perma-banned Epic. Winning this issue would be the biggest win of all that Apple could obtain. I mean really, why would Apple be interested in accepting software from a company that takes you to court? Apple should even ban the companies that recently created the organization against Apple. You don't think that Google, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have companies that they won't allow on their stores? They don't need justification to choose business partners. But there is no better justification than "They are suing us in court." By choosing not to fight for their rights to select business partners, Apple is weakening its right to fight back against them.
    viclauyycwilliamlondonflyingdpradarthekataderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 47
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,411member
    I think Apple’s fees are high, but it’s difficult to sympathize with Epic.
    Right now Apple's fee structure favours the small developer, because all developers pay almost NOTHING (only that $99 annual developer fee) until they start selling products, through that 15% to 30% fee. Would you prefer that there be an upfront fee of $1000 per developer for the Xcode tools and developer accounts and services, even before a single product is sold? That would be great for big companies like Epic but bad for the million developers who would have to pay $1000 each just to join the table.

    Basically Epic doesn't want to be subsidizing the small developer (who include their competitors) any more. Understandable. But every one of the 200 million socialists in the US should be outraged at Epic.
    williamlondonradarthekataderuttermark fearingtenthousandthingslollivermdriftmeyerskippingrockhlee1169watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 47
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 902member
    I would recommend the court require a full psychological examination. 
    zeus423viclauyycStrangeDaysmagman1979chasmlollivermdriftmeyerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 47
    yojimbo007yojimbo007 Posts: 1,134member
    Epic can go (F) themselves..... ungrateful scoundrels ....
    APPLE created the platform and runs the platform from which Epic and millions of others  have tons of money.

    Dont like the Platform.. LEAVE!
    Samsonikkolswilliamlondonradarthekataderuttermagman1979lollivermdriftmeyerskippingrockhlee1169
  • Reply 15 of 47
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,842member
    I think Apple’s fees are high, but it’s difficult to sympathize with Epic.
    Before Apple entered the mobile market, fees averaged between 50 and 70 per cent.  They bought the fees down across the board. 
    edited October 2020 olsuraharawilliamlondonflyingdpradarthekatJinTechaderuttermagman1979chasmlolliver
  • Reply 16 of 47
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,852member
    I am not a lawyer, but I haven’t seen one of their arguments yet where I’m even remotely like “oh ok, yeah, I kinda see their point”. as another commenter noted; are they even trying to win? How could they possibly think they will? 
    olsaderutterlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 47
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,411member
    cornchip said:
    I am not a lawyer, but I haven’t seen one of their arguments yet where I’m even remotely like “oh ok, yeah, I kinda see their point”. as another commenter noted; are they even trying to win? How could they possibly think they will? 
    I did read a long document Epic submitted to the court, I think it was the original filing. And I do try my best to see things from every side. I didn't find their case very convincing. I felt that Epic was arguing that Apple has no right to control the App Store. But they didn't say who should control it. They just hate the status quo. I think they want the courts to decide what's fair and what the rules should be. I did write a pro-Epic post about a month ago just for the challenge, and as I recall I got some compliments and no criticism for my post. You can read my case and its feedback here: https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/217620/epic-says-apple-no-longer-plans-to-disable-sign-in-with-apple/p1 but let me just re-post the main paragraph here. This is what I thought Epic Software should say to the court:
    In short, Epic wants phones to function like computers. As Tim Sweeney tweeted, the founding principles of general purpose computers were to give full control of the computer to the user, not to the hardware manufacturer or operating system manufacturer. Nobody at either IBM, or Microsoft, or Apple (all of which wrote operating systems for PCs) ever tried to stop anyone from running anything on their own PC hardware. There was nothing to jailbreak because all computers were delivered, essentially, jailbroken. As time progressed the dangers of malicious software increased but the defenses available to users increased in parallel. These days there are numerous different mechanisms to keep computers safe, including (a) anti-virus software; (b) firewalls; (c) file permissions; (d) digital signatures; (e) online license validation; (f) SSL-protected websites; and (g) curated app stores. Each of these defense mechanisms is mature and effective. All of these defense mechanisms put security in the hands of the user except for the last one, "(g) curated app stores." It's this one, and only this one, that introduces a sinister danger into society, not unlike the dangers in Orwell's book "1984." Because this is the only mechanism that puts your security and privacy in the hands of another person. Who is this person, and how does this person decide what you may do and what you may not do? And to whom is this person accountable, if anyone? There are several countries in the world where the government curates everything that users see and touch. We won't mention which countries here but that should be obvious to the courts. In these countries the curation has gone amok. Users are under constant scrutiny; users try to access remote data but are blocked by Great Firewalls; users do not know what the criteria of their own government's monitoring are. This curation of software in some countries has led, and is still leading, to brutal dictatorial rule. Do we want or need this sort of UNCHECKED control of our online freedoms, and all that in the hands of unaccountable private citizens? Although censorship by private companies is legal in America, it goes against the guiding principles of the Constitution. This is not just a censorship of a company's employees, which Epic would not object to, but it's a censorship of all people who use a phone. Traditional phone companies, which are private companies like Apple (and also publicly traded), have never been allowed to censor or monitor individual phone calls in America. Voice and data are just two forms of the same thing: data. "Smart phones" are the new telephones. Telephone companies may not legally monitor or curate anyone's telephone calls, and for the same reasons as that, Epic asks the court to place an injunction on Apple from being able to block or monitor any data or speech that occurs on their phones too.

    I don't recall anyone responding with any arguments against this proposal. Does this argument hold water with you?

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 47
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,411member

    Rayz2016 said:
    I think Apple’s fees are high, but it’s difficult to sympathize with Epic.
    Before Apple entered the mobile market, fees averaged between 50 and 7 per cent.  They bought the fees down across the board. 
    I presume you meant to say "between 50 and 70 per cent." It took me 5 minutes to realize you made a typo.
    SamsonikkwilliamlondonaderutterBittySon
  • Reply 19 of 47
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,842member

    Rayz2016 said:
    I think Apple’s fees are high, but it’s difficult to sympathize with Epic.
    Before Apple entered the mobile market, fees averaged between 50 and 7 per cent.  They bought the fees down across the board. 
    I presume you meant to say "between 50 and 70 per cent." It took me 5 minutes to realize you made a typo.
    Yup. Just fixed it. 

    Outfits like Handango were charging us up to  70%
    williamlondonaderutterchasmlolliverskippingrockwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 47
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,452member
    Epic is the new Google. Believes Apples labor belongs to them to take.
    williamlondonmagman1979lolliverwatto_cobra
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