On Presidents and Prime Ministers Appearing in Games

September 27, 2010 -

In light of President Obama’s appearance in Madden NFL 11 and the upcoming NBA 2K11, Kotaku took a look at the Politics of Presidential Appearances.

In both games, a representation of Obama is used to help celebrate a Super Bowl win or an NBA championship. While the President does have rights to his likeness, Villanova University School of Law Professor Michael Risch stated that, “A sitting president is probably never going to sue.”

Kotaku wrote:

Essentially, a president is the one A-list celebrity you get to use for free, provided you’re not too egregious about it. A sitting president filing a civil suit over the unauthorised use of his image is as bad a play politically as could be imagined, especially if the work in which he’s appearing is complimentary and respectful as is the case with Madden and NBA 2K.

The piece argues that a President would never sue over the use of his likeness, unless his family was involved and/or depicted, or his appearance was meant to construe an endorsement of sorts, neither of which comes into play with his popping up in videogames. While Obama does appear in NBA 2K11 with a Spalding basketball, Kotaku notes that it is the official league ball.

While Obama could sue, but probably won’t, Jas Purewal over at the UK’s Gamer/Law blog was inspired by the Kotaku piece enough to theorize about the similar usage of Prime Minister David Cameron's likeness.

Purewal wrote:

There is no equivalent right of publicity under English law.  The courts have considered (and are still considering) the matter through case law but so far their approach has been that individuals do not need a right of publicity (if they feel sufficiently strongly about an unauthorised use of their likeness, they can rely upon other legal remedies such as passing off, but the application of such remedies to celebrity publicity cases is untested as far as I know).  Or, I suppose, he could potentially rely upon defamation law if the effect of including him in a game was defamatory.


Comments

Re: On Presidents and Prime Ministers Appearing in Games

Ew, I'm glad I don't play these games.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Will Target Australia sell the next GTA game upon its release?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Goth_SkunkFinally, I never misspelled Chipman's name. So, feel free to try your luck again, but pick an opponent you can beat.07/30/2015 - 8:32pm
Goth_Skunk@Technogeek: I paid for the experience of the seat, and upon completion of the movie determined that the extra for the seat wasn't worth it. Additionally, your opinion is not law. You thinking the movie is crap does not make it so.07/30/2015 - 8:31pm
Craig R.1st I heard of Pixels was seeing trailer in theater. Was interested until Sandler appeared, then it became an instant 'Nope'.07/30/2015 - 4:52pm
james_fudgesick burns are not always allowed in the shoutbox.07/30/2015 - 4:28pm
MechaCrashIt's especially funny because I said "you'd have to be a moron to enjoy it," and Goth boasted about enjoying it, as if that does anything to change my opinion of the movie or of him.07/30/2015 - 4:19pm
TechnogeekMatthew: Back when that law was first implemented, I kept trying to come up with a scenario where it would be anything other than an unmitigatedd sisaster. Nothing ever came to mind.07/30/2015 - 4:16pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/07/new-study-shows-spains-google-tax-has-been-a-disaster-for-publishers/ no duh Sherlock!07/30/2015 - 4:10pm
TechnogeekI can't even make a joke about that. It's like poking fun at Donald Trump's hair.07/30/2015 - 4:01pm
TechnogeekSo you willingly paid more money than you needed to in order to watch a crappy Adam Sandler movie (but I repeat myself), just to spite a reviewer that you can't even spell the name of properly.07/30/2015 - 4:01pm
Goth_SkunkMy one regret was paying extra for a DVX seat, which jostles and vibrates in relation to the action on screen. What a waste of money.07/30/2015 - 3:55pm
Goth_SkunkYes, I did watch Pixels just to spite Chipman. I was originally going to see Minions, but moved it down the list. AND I ENJOYED IT. So nuts to you, MechaCrash.07/30/2015 - 3:44pm
Matthew Wilson@phx works fine for me, but I did it the long way. I upgraded, made a recovery drive, than did a full install.07/30/2015 - 3:24pm
Andrew EisenReally liking Child of Light so far (I play on console so UPlay isn't a concern). Gorgeous aesthetic with a fun presentation and battle system. So far, so good!07/30/2015 - 1:36pm
PHX CorpWell I'm offically on Windows 10 Laptop Wise(I had to download the Windows 10 Media tool from Microsoft to get it now rather than waiting for the update through windows update)07/30/2015 - 12:16pm
ZippyDSMleeI dunno I'd go to see it, seems liek dumb fun, better than half assed serious stuff that has so many holes large enough to drive mac trucks through(coughinterstellercouch).07/30/2015 - 10:58am
Andrew EisenGoth - Wait, you went to see Pixels just to spite Chipman?07/30/2015 - 10:49am
MechaCrashYou can see Pixels, which requires you to be a moron to enjoy it, or you can actually spend that time and money watching something actually good. Gosh, what a choice.07/30/2015 - 10:49am
benohawkHot damn, I'm sold. Why see something you can enjoy on multiple levels when you can nap through half the film and still get it all?07/30/2015 - 10:17am
james_fudgeSo what people are saying is PIXELS is a great movie to see if your are comatose.07/30/2015 - 9:47am
ZippyDSMleePixels is something to shut your brain off with and just try and enjoy. The rest of films not so much. LOL07/30/2015 - 8:49am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician