Millions at Stake as EA Sues Bank Robber's Relative Over Godfather Game Machine Guns...

September 2, 2009 -

Notorious bank robber John Dillinger was gunned down by FBI agents in 1934, but his fame lives on. And that is causing some problems for game publisher Electronic Arts.

EA has filed suit in federal court in San Francisco, requesting that a U.S. District Court judge grant them the okay to use the name "Dillinger" in association with a pair of virtual machine guns depicted in its Godfather games. The "Dillinger Tommy Gun" appears in the original Godfather game, while the "Modern Dillinger" is featured in The Godfather II.

The publisher has taken the unusual step because the owner of Indiana-based Dillinger LLC, reportedly the grandson of the famous gangster's half-sister, lays claim to all things Dillinger, including his name and likeness.

The lawsuit, filed by attorneys for the publisher last week, claims that Dillinger LLC tried to commit a bit of strongarm robbery on EA recently:

On July 22, 2009 Dillinger LLC, through its litigation counsel, contacted EA to accuse it of violating Dillinger's right of publicity and infringing upon its trademarks. Dillinger threatened EA with litigation unless it agreed to pay Dillinger millions of dollars for the game elements...

 

Following Dillinger's recent conduct, EA is faced with the choice of either abandoning its rights to develop, publish and sell the works at issue or risk liability for damages.

The EA case is not the first time Dillinger LLC has gotten legalistic over the use of the Dillinger monicker. The Arizona Star reports that in 2007 Dillinger LLC claimed its permission was needed for local hotel to run a "Dillinger Days" event. As the newspaper explains, an Indiana law has apparently emboldened Dillinger LLC:

The hotel is being sued under an Indiana law that protects a person's personality for 100 years after his or her death. It works like a trademark, because a person who wants to profit from the use of the personality must obtain written permission. Arizona has no such law, and it's not clear whether the Indiana law applies here.

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of EA's lawsuit here...


Comments

Re: Millions at Stake as EA Sues Bank Robber's Relative ...

Zip, it was pretty clear from the article that (a) Dillinger LLC (the grandson's company) lays claim to ownership of the rights to the name and likeness and (b) under Indiana law, those rights do not revert to the public domain for 100 years.

Re: Millions at Stake as EA Sues Bank Robber's Relative ...

Let me clearfiy my question if you became famous through crime do you still own the rights of the moive?


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

Patreon

Deviantart

Re: Millions at Stake as EA Sues Bank Robber's Relative ...

That's tricky. Many if not most states have passed so-called "Son of Sam" laws which prohibit profiting in way (books, movies, etc.) from crimes. But, regardless of the relative infamy of the crime, the criminal still owns the right to otherwise exploit their name and likeness.

Re: Millions at Stake as EA Sues Bank Robber's Relative ...

I guess the legal question would be (for modern crimes), do the 'Son of Sam' laws also prohibit 3rd parties from profiting without the concent of the family?

Re: Millions at Stake as EA Sues Bank Robber's Relative ...

I believe most Son of Sam laws apply only to the person who committed the unlawful acts.

Re: Millions at Stake as EA Sues Bank Robber's Relative ...

That's correct. Which would, I assume, pave the way for someone else to depict a crime without fear of legal action by the person who committed the crime (e.g., Spike Lee's "Summer of Sam") It ain't like the real Son of Sam can successfully sue Spike Lee for doing something he himself was prohibited by New York law from doing.  

Re: Millions at Stake as EA Sues Bank Robber's Relative ...

Ah ok.

 

Well then this is jsut EA walking on anothers rightfull CP..... and they wonder why normal folk disregard CP so easily.....


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

Patreon

Deviantart

Re: Millions at Stake as EA Sues Bank Robber's Relative ...

That's an easy question, the answer to which is: unchallenged infringement equals more profit.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
james_fudgeI hereby dub this space the Mainifesto Box (tm)06/30/2015 - 8:34am
Infophile13 shouts in total by Goth in a row. I think I'm to blame here. If I'd read the Breitbart link when he'd posted it, maybe he wouldn't have felt the need to say everything here.06/30/2015 - 8:27am
E. Zachary KnightI go away for one night and Goth writes his Gamergate manifesto in the shoutbox.06/30/2015 - 8:15am
james_fudgeI blame Andrew for this.06/30/2015 - 8:10am
Goth_SkunkAnd at long last, I think I'm finally done.06/30/2015 - 3:08am
Goth_SkunkAnd if those progressive games fail to make any headway in the market, don't blame gamer culture for not being cultured enough to appreciate the product. Own up to the fact that the game either sucks, is not interesting, or both.06/30/2015 - 3:06am
Goth_Skunknor suggest that the games industry and culture is rife with toxicity because of it and needs to change for the good of the medium. There is room in the market for progressive games to co-exist with games like Hatred, not replace them outright.06/30/2015 - 3:04am
Goth_SkunkAnd if the overly violent content of most AAA games or the perceived mistreatment of women in such games bothers one, by all means criticize it, but do not under any circumstances suggest that it such content shouldn't exist or be promoted,06/30/2015 - 3:02am
Goth_SkunkGames, for the most part, let you do this! You can be the man or woman you're not. You can escape reality and immerse yourself in the experience. And that's wonderful! I play as female characters all the time in games I play, when the option is available.06/30/2015 - 2:59am
Goth_SkunkA choice that nature denied transgender people at birth! People don't undergo gender reassignment because they want to be transgender; they undergo gender reassignment because they want to be the gender they identify with!06/30/2015 - 2:52am
Goth_SkunkBut I think it gets silly when people start asking for the ability to play as a transgender protagonist. I mean, why would one do that? One usually has the option to create a character that's either a man or a woman, gay or straight. You have the choice!06/30/2015 - 2:50am
Goth_Skunkfirst two games, a move which was ultimately corrected in the 3rd game. By extension, Dragon Age has always had the option, and good on it!06/30/2015 - 2:45am
Goth_SkunkBut it certainly is good to see developers entertain the allowance of allowing the player to develop their protagonist to be homosexual if they want. The Mass Effect series was criticized rightly for not allowing a male homosexual romance plot in the06/30/2015 - 2:44am
Goth_Skunkand only just by the slimmest of margins. Homosexuality is sadly still a hot button controversy in the USA, which makes developing a noteworthy game with a hardcoded homosexual lead or theme a dangerous risk to take.06/30/2015 - 2:37am
Goth_SkunkThe United States is the largest single customer base for video games in the world, and it only just mandated by rule of its Supreme Court that marriage ought to be just as much an inalienable right for homosexuals as it is for heterosexuals,06/30/2015 - 2:35am
Goth_SkunkFor example, it would be difficult for a developer to produce a AAA quality game where the protagonist is hardcoded to be MtF transgender, and convince enough people to buy it in order to make it worth its production costs.06/30/2015 - 2:31am
Goth_SkunkNo Mecha, not woe unto those who ask for representation. By all means, ask and be represented. I don't have an issue with it, nor would I say anyone in GamerGate does either. But be reasonable about asking too.06/30/2015 - 2:27am
Goth_Skunkthat would've made Benedict Arnold raise a glass in toast.06/30/2015 - 2:25am
MechaCrashGamers are more than straight white men, but woe unto those who actually ask for representation!06/30/2015 - 2:24am
Goth_SkunkBut Games Journalism, who in the past has stood up for gamers and developers, when their hobby was under attack by idealogues and governments for being overly violent, suddenly switched sides in a move06/30/2015 - 2:24am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician