EA: So-Called 'Threatening' Letter They Sent An Ex-Employee Was An Exception

A firmly-worded letter that made the rounds online a few days ago is not something that gaming giant EA sends to all its ex-employees and is certainly not part of standard operating procedure, a spokesperson for the company tells Kotaku. It was targeted at a specific ex-employee for a specific reason.

The letter emerged on the Twitter feed of ex-EA game developer Ben Cousins who exited the Battlefield and Madden publisher in 2011 and now works at free-to-play gaming company Ngmoco, while also touting the rise of mobile and other non-console gaming.

The letter, sent by an EA lawyer, threatened legal repercussions should Cousins divulge supposed confidential information from EA. Cousins scoffed, saying on Twitter, that "The irony of course is that what EA covets as 'trade secrets', is actually 'crappy old-fashioned design' by DeNA standards :)" Our report of the story characterised the letter as, more or less, a legal threat piling onto standard nondisclosure agreements any ex-EA employee would sign.

But EA spokesman John Reseburg tells Kotaku that the letter and Cousins' tweets about it should be read differently. "A cursory read of Ben Cousins' post should make it clear that this is NOT a form letter sent to all departing employees. This was a specific legal warning to an employee who was terminated over concerns about sharing proprietary information."

What EA is saying is that Cousins gave company secrets to an EA competitor and that they fired him because of that. It's a serious accusation, of course, but one that would make the letter seem more focused and less likely to be the kind of thing copied to anyone who splits from the company.

Cousins declined to comment for this story.

(You can read the letter in question in our original report.)


Comments

    Maybe EA should spend more time focussing on fixing its broken games?

      EA is a massive company, not everyone who works for EA is in game development or has contact with games on a day to day basis as apart of their job.

        But EA is a gaming company, surely their best efforts should be focused on fixing their broken games :/

          do you think 100% of people at blizaard, appl or EA are techos? more like 50

    This is ridiculous. EA produces digital informaton. The only kind of trade secret they can have is unpublished design documents - which would be of almost no value to anyone else even in their industry.

    I think that maybe they might do their shareholders a favor and downsize their legal department to return some profits to them as evidently these guys have too much time on their hands.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      Why?

        Stick it to the man. Even if you don't know who the man is or what it is you're sticking.

    i read the letter, and it was barely threatining, they just didn't want the guy to give the other company EA's secrets. i think the ex-EA guy who is flaunting this stuff around is the bigger idiot, but hey, it's EA, so they have to be the more evil one and not the guy, because internet.

    And EA wonders why they were given the title: Worst company in America

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