Ken Penders Files Lawsuit Against Sega, Electronic Arts

Ken Penders Files Lawsuit Against Sega, Electronic Arts

by June 1, 2011

Copyright Claims Appear to Again be at Issue

Former Sonic comic writer and artist Ken Penders has filed a civil lawsuit against both Sega and Electronic Arts, TSSZ has learned.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday at the Central District of California Western Division court, a federal court in Los Angeles.  Sega of America and Electronic Arts are specifically named as defendants, according to documents obtained by TSSZ.  A summons has been issued to the named defendants.

Portions of the public record made available to TSSZ indicate the case, at its core, will center on copyright infringement claims.  Included in the filing is a notification to the US Copyright Office, which is required for any action or appeal on a copyright, and in this matter details more than 30 claims Penders filed going back to early 2009.  According to a statement Penders made last year, the US Copyright Office certified those claims.  In this case, the copyrights cited include material from the Sonic’s Friendly Nemesis Knuckles , the Knuckles The Dark Legion mini-series, and the proper Knuckles series that followed.  Also included in the claims are data files for Julie-Su and Brotherhood of the Guardians. If nothing else, it now appears Penders is serious about defending his still valid copyrights.

Though we cannot confirm the circumstances of the case due to the current absence of the formal complaint in the public record, it should be noted Electronic Arts bought BioWare in October 2007–almost a year before the BioWare developed, Sega published Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood was released to the Nintendo DS.  In his initial public statement about the copyright claims last year, Penders does say that game, amid other factors, prompted him to take action in the first place:

I initially took the action of reclaiming my work when I was contacted by many SONIC fans asking me if I had contributed in any way to the development of the video game SONIC CHRONICLES: THE DARK BROTHERHOOD. I was then startled to learn how many characters and concepts from the KNUCKLES series I created were adapted within the framework of the game’s storyline. It was clearly obvious why suddenly so many fans sat up and took notice.

We should also note Penders remains at the center of another ongoing legal matter between him and Archie Comics, in which Penders is named as a defendant, and Archie is seeking a declaratory judgment to determine who owns what of Penders’s past work.

We will bring you more information on this developing story when more material becomes publicly accessible.