There are a few court cases coming up in the world of games that are looking to be quite interesting.
I thought I’d take a look at some of them and see if this is a trend which is growing and, importantly, if it’s healthy for the industry.
4mm Games & EMI
4mm Games, those of ‘Def Jam Rapstar’ fame, are currently being sued by EMI Music for failure to license the songs in said game.
EMI are claiming that 54 songs were used without permission. They reckon that each song is worth $150,000, leaving the bill for 4mm at $8.1 million. This comes hot on the heels of EMI getting bought up by Sony (or are at least in the process of).
This is especially tricky for 4mm to be dealing with right now as the studio are ‘on hold‘. This is a result of the studio failing to find extra funding and they also didn’t manage to turn ‘Def Jam Rapstar’ into the hit it needed to be. The end could be very near for 4mm, so this extra business involving EMI isn’t likely to help.
NovaLogic Sue Everyone for Using the Term ‘Delta Force’
Listen up, because it’s a little confusing.
NovaLogic created a series of games called ‘Delta Force’. As a part of this creation process they also made a logo. Having created said logo and ‘fictional’ squad, they rightly copyrighted the terms and the insignia as their own. All was well.
Some people may have thought using the term ‘Delta Force’ couldn’t be copyrighted, as they’ve heard about the legendary US Army outfit. The thing is, the US Army don’t officially recognise ‘Delta Force’ as a unit. They therefore don’t come under the US military’s jurisdiction, so the term ‘Delta Force’ is fair game.
Activision decide to use the term ‘Delta Force’ in the ‘Call of Duty’ (COD) franchise, along with a rather suspiciously similar insignia as created by NovaLogic. What makes this worse is that by licensing out the ‘Call of Duty’ IP to both Brady Games and Turtle Beach, these two compaies are also feeling the wrath of NovaLogic.
Something that could weaken Activision’s defence is the claim that Vivendi (now owners of Activision) have licensed the ‘Delta Force’ branding from NovaLogic before. Where it gets a little odd is the fact that Activision used Dalton Fury as an adviser on the ‘Modern Warfare 3’ Game and looking at Dalton’s book, that logo on the front look familiar.
Activision are also Wanted by ex-Infinity Ward Employees
Activision aren’t done yet. Neither’s the COD franchise. You see, Activision had something of a re-shuffle at Infinity Ward. It wasn’t pretty and a lot of feelings were hurt.
What this court case is all about, though, is the fact that those that got ‘re-suffled’ (a.k.a. fired) feel that they’re entitled to bonuses for the success of ‘Modern Warfare 2’ (MW2).
Judging by hhow Activision are handling this, it would appear they have a strong case. Activision have handed out $64 million to former employees. This is still not enough, they claim.
The case appears to be heading to court, with Activision’s attempts at keeping this out of the hands of a judge failing.
THQ are getting sued for failure to launch an Adidas game
THQ are being sued by sports clothing giants Adidas. Adidas claim that they had an agreement with THQ to make a game. Given THQ are in financial trouble, they decided to shelve the game.
This obviously ‘damaged’ Adidas (they REALLY wanted that game!) and as a result they want $10 million in damages for failure to meet the terms of the contract agreed upon.
THQ REALLY aren’t in the sort of position where they can just hand over $10 million, so this case may drag on.
Beyonce (yes the singer) is Being Sued by Gate 5 (no, I’ve no idea either)
Not all game companies are getting sued. Some are doing the suing (RHYME!).
Beyonce has been hit with a claim of $100 million(!) by ‘games company’ Gate 5. Gate 5 allege that they had a deal with Beyonce to produce a game with her name in the title. After investing $7 million of their own into the game, on the belief that the project was going ahead, Beyonce pulled out of the deal 3 days before contracts were to be signed.
It’s already been looked at by a judge who has gone to say;
“she should have given the company notice of her decision before she withdrew…”
So it looks like this will be going all the way to court. If anything, Gate 5 are guilty of having a terrible website.
In a day and age where everyone wants their IP to be ‘everywhere’, yet at the same time they’re desperate to protect it, you can expect to see this happen more often. ‘Cross promotion’ of IPs has proven to be quite lucrative, with games of films and films of games being only the starting point. There’s just too many insane uses of IP within games to go through them all.
It’s kind of a shame that everything has to come down to court cases. I guess it’s the day and age we live in. You see, back in my day…