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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Sleakerthe fault of the journalist? If a large number of people read these articles and all came to the same conclusion that Gamers were being attacked by journalists as a whole, then it seems the burden of journalists to do a better job of explaining...10/02/2014 - 9:29am
Sleaker@EZK - It's not a surprise that articles came out. The surprise is when journalists fail to disclose relationships as they write about the trends, and the content by which the articles contain. Perhaps a large portion was misinterpreted, but isn't that10/02/2014 - 9:28am
prh99It definitely prolonged it, we wouldn't be hearing about Intel if not for Gamers are over/dead. Just additional wood for the fire.10/02/2014 - 9:23am
E. Zachary KnightConster, which sites associated "ALL" gamers with the harassment?10/02/2014 - 9:22am
E. Zachary KnightIs it really a surprise that 15 news sites responed to a very loud and very public shaming campaign against a woman critic of sexism and a woman being attacked unjustly because of the words of an ex-boyfriend.10/02/2014 - 9:19am
ConsterSo a bunch of assholes decided to harass people, sites wrote negative articles associating all gamers with said assholes, and people got so angry about the articles they decided to associate themselves with said assholes?10/02/2014 - 9:18am
Sleaker@EZK - I think you're attributing too much there. I think the reality is actually, if 15 news sites didn't alll write coincidentally 'gamers are dead' articles, in response to a very small number of harassment cases, we wouldn't be here.10/02/2014 - 9:10am
E. Zachary KnightSo what you are saying is that gamergate is a reflexive and defensive reaction to jerks and douchebags being told off?10/02/2014 - 9:06am
Sleaker@prh99 - the ZQ stuff was a catalyst, but GG didn't explode until the Gamers are dead articles popped up everywhere, see article 3 in the link I posted.10/02/2014 - 9:04am
prh99The articles by Leigh Alexander and others were in response to what happened to Anita and Quinn and this toxic subset of gamers. 10/02/2014 - 9:02am
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, My timeline puts events in the order that prh99 just laid out. Had Quinn's ex-boyfriend not been an incredible douchebag, we might not be where we are.10/02/2014 - 9:00am
prh99The blog post by Quinn's exboyfriend suggesting she slept with journalists to get favorable reviews was the impetus for #gamergate.10/02/2014 - 8:54am
SleakerTechRaptor seems to do a decent job of breaking down things in it's currently 6-part series: http://techraptor.net/2014/09/23/good-morning-orthodoxy-1/ - and why atleast for him, the whole Media-thing is offensive.10/02/2014 - 8:53am
SleakerSo from all of the articles I've read that give timelines and show tag trends, there's nothing to support GG being about AS or Quinn. These were a minority of people harassing.. The large portion of GG started when the 'Gamers are dead' articles started.10/02/2014 - 8:45am
prh99Btw apparently they've gone as far as creating a GitHub for this Operation Disrespectful Nod. http://bit.ly/1qsbWcq10/02/2014 - 8:44am
Sleakerthey don't consider the issue. This is the consumeristic nature of a market.10/02/2014 - 8:41am
prh99Attacking their integrity and now getting advertisers to pull their ads from those sites.10/02/2014 - 8:40am
Sleaker@EZK - Telling a company you disagree with the nature of a news sites methodology and feel it negatively impacts the ad-running company as a supporter of said articles is not censorship. It's voicing your opinion that you will vote with your wallet if10/02/2014 - 8:38am
prh99I don't think they have any interested in debate. They scared Anita and Quinn with threats of violence, now they are going to try and damage organizations who called them their behavior.10/02/2014 - 8:36am
E. Zachary KnightWhat I can't understand is why gamergate supporters feel the need to silence their critics. Why can't they simply fight free speech with free speech.10/02/2014 - 8:23am
 

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