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


 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Which group is more ethically challenged?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Andrew EisenIf you do, I hope you can provide some examples of people (again, other than random no-name numbnuts on Twitter) who are genuinely trying to dictate what should and should not be allowed so far as themes, topics, language, plot devices, etc. go.07/01/2015 - 9:43am
MattsworknameI'd go into why I think it's a bigger problem then most realize, but nows not the time really. I'll catch up with everyone later07/01/2015 - 9:42am
Andrew EisenThat's the thing though, rarely is anyone (again, other than random numbnuts on Twitter) attempting to dictate what can and cannot be said or done.07/01/2015 - 9:39am
Andrew Eisen"Don't write rape scenes" is being offered as advice (along with reasons for that advice) not a mandate.07/01/2015 - 9:37am
MattsworknameOh, on that last one andrew I wasn't talking about the article, I was being more general, lately it seems like all the news and media is trying to decide what is and isn't proper to say. Thats what i was refering to.07/01/2015 - 9:37am
Andrew EisenPerhaps you should consider reading the entire article. Despite quotes you can pull from the intro and conclusion, the author isn't arguing that you can't or shouldn't be allowed to cover a certain topic.07/01/2015 - 9:35am
MattsworknameOne of the things I hate right now is that people are trying to be the deciders of what is and isn't proper to be said. It's political correctness to a level that makes me angry.07/01/2015 - 9:29am
Mattsworknamemake them, i just tell peopel that I think what they did sucked. Just cause I dont like what they did, doesn't mean I can tell them "You shouldn't wrtie that" cause thats just another step on the way to telling them "YOU CANT WRITE THAT".07/01/2015 - 9:24am
MattsworknameNo, but you or I aren't the one to tell someone else what they can or cannot do beyond EXTREMELY narrow limits. Telling a person then shouldn't write something or say something. I may hate certain movies or music, doesn't mean I dont' tell peopel not to07/01/2015 - 9:23am
E. Zachary KnightHasbro is taking steps to fix its Dinosaur gender issues. http://io9.com/the-jurassic-world-dinosaur-toys-are-clever-girls-again-171513589607/01/2015 - 9:20am
TechnogeekImagine that level of accuracy, only applied to something that has actually caused physiological and psychological trauma in more cases than just whatever the equivalent of the CD-i Zelda games would be.07/01/2015 - 8:40am
TechnogeekThat's the issue I see as well, E. To put it in terms anyone reading this site will likely understand: you know how any time video games show up on TV, they feature absurdly outdated 3D graphics and/or audio from the Intellivison era?07/01/2015 - 8:40am
InfophileWell, you CAN go to a crowded streetcorner and tell everyone who passes by your social security number and bank account PIN, but you shouldn't. Is that censorship?07/01/2015 - 8:36am
E. Zachary KnightSo if it is going to turn out to be a bad scene, why even bother writing it?07/01/2015 - 8:07am
E. Zachary KnightMatts, Goth, The article, and others I have read making the same conclusion, state that most people fail in their attempts to write rape scenes without being overly offensive or overly incompetent in their attempt.07/01/2015 - 8:07am
Adam802http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ex-Sen-Leland-Yee-may-be-headed-for-a-plea-deal-6358941.php07/01/2015 - 7:12am
Adam802Possible plea deal in Yee case: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_28408532/leland-yee-case-plea-deal-appears-likely07/01/2015 - 7:11am
MattsworknameInfo, Im with goth on this, the moment people start saying "You can but you shouldnt" thats a slow slide into censorship07/01/2015 - 6:05am
InfophileIn other words, you stopped when you found out it was arguing for a position you disagreed with, but before you found out why.07/01/2015 - 5:29am
Goth_Skunk"In short, anyone can write a rape scene—but should they? Chances are, the answer is no." And that's where I stopped reading.07/01/2015 - 5:11am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician