John Dillinger Clan Loses The Godfather Game Lawsuit

June 17, 2011 -

The family of famed gangster and bank robber John Dillinger have lost a 20-month federal court legal battle against Electronic Arts. The Dillinger clan sued EA for using the gangster's name to represent a special machinegun in the Godfather and Godfather II video games. The EA-developed video games are extensions of the storylines of the popular Mario Puzo novels and the Francis Ford Coppola-directed movies.

On Thursday Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the U.S. District Court of Southern Indiana ruled against the family, saying that their claim of copyright infringement was not valid.

The Dillinger family claimed that they control the right of publicity in connection with their infamous relative, who was killed by FBI agents in 1934 after 14-month crime spree. His most infamous crimes included a bank robbery in East Chicago, which left one police officer dead, and Dillinger's escape from the Lake County Jail in Crown Point where he was awaiting trial for the killing.

Lawyers for the family cited the 2006 case of Scalf v. Lake County Convention and Visitor's Bureau, where a Lake County judge ruled that the state's 1996 right-to-publicity statute should be applied retroactively to Dillinger's family for the county's use of the name to promote a museum dedicated to Dillinger.

EA argued using a 2007 case out of New York in which a judge ruled that the descendants of actress Marilyn Monroe could not be granted similar publicity rights to her name because Monroe died before the law was enacted. After reviewing both decisions, Magnus-Stinson agreed with the New York court ruling, saying that the state's right-of-publicity statute doesn't apply to personalities who died before it became law.

EA was granted a motion of summary judgment and the judge further ruled that depictions of Dillinger in popular culture have shown a deep association with the Thompson submachine gun. Because of that association, the judge said that EA was exercising its right to free speech in using the name, which is protected by the First Amendment.

Source: NWI Times


 
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Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-07-31/khan-academy-s-sal-khan-studio-1-0-full-show-7-30- not game related, but this is a good interview.07/30/2015 - 8:52pm
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
 

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