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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Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
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MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/18/playstation-99-cent-sale-discounts-tokyo-jungle-super-stardust/ Weekend long PSN flash sale. So much stuff is 99 cents for the rest of the weekend.04/18/2014 - 5:59pm
Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
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Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
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Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
 

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