Read EA’s Aggressive Warning Letter To A Former Employee

Read EA’s Aggressive Warning Letter To A Former Employee

Like any other big company, there are probably good sides to working at EA, and there are probably bad sides. Here’s one of the bad sides: the publisher keeps track of former employees, and sends them threatening letters when it’s worried those former employees will start spilling company secrets.

Below you’ll see correspondence sent by Electronic Arts to Ben Cousins, formerly of EA’s free-to-play business but now an employee of rival ngmoco. He published it on Twitter earlier today (via, later adding “The irony of course is that what EA covets as ‘trade secrets’, is actually ‘crappy old-fashioned design’ by DeNA standards :)”

I get it, when you’re high enough up the corporate ladder, you’re privy to things your employer wouldn’t want the competition knowing about. So when you up and leave and join the competition, they’ve every right to be worried.

But this letter isn’t saying anything new. It’s just reminding Cousins of stuff he already knew, and had signed off on. So this is just a follow-up, leaning on him about as heavily as a legal document can, while also treating him like a criminal suspect instead of a guy who, until last year, had done a damn good job being the public face of one of EA’s less marketable divisions.

You can read it in full below.


@BenjaminCousins [Twitter, via Gamesindustry]


  • Everyone should see the movie the header of this page is from. It’s called The Conversation and it’s brilliant. Stars Gene Hackman, made by Francis Ford Coppola.

    • In theory its reasonable. However it’s all about how you go about enforcing it. EA just pulled a major dick move in enforcing their ‘rights’. You don’t go essentially bullying someone saying ‘OI PRICK, Remember, you cant do THIS THIS THIS AND THIS or we’ll SUE YOUR ASS.’ you be a little more self conscious and discrete about it. Possibly a *lot* more friendly.

      The whole flies with honey vs flies with vinegar thing…

      • I don’t see how its aggressive, he seems to be flaunting around with the comments “what EA calls trade secrets…”

        I’d be getting legal on it. I’m genuinely surprised that its only limited to 6 months. Generally non-competition clauses seem to be a lot stricter.

  • Yeah, I’ve actually gotten one of these myself. If the company’s been burned before, it’s no surprise they’re going to try an enforce their rights.

    No big deal here in my opinion.

  • Makes sense, I guess this is why those Infinity Ward guys got in trouble for stealing employees for their new studio, which they initially denied knowledge of and then opened soon later lol.

  • I agree, there’s a what and a how. The content, as pure fact, is agreed on both sides. The delivery was pretty poor and would reflect badly on a company no matter how technically correct it was.

  • …this seems completely standard. It’s a little odd that they feel it necessary to remind him about this agreement, but doesn’t seem malicious…and from what I can tell this letter would actually help with avoiding a court case should Ben Cousins have forgotten his obligations or something.

  • It’s very standard for most any IP based industry.

    However, the letter itself is completely over the top. It could have been edited down to a single paragraph, and would still have made the required points.

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