Video Game Maker Sued By Lawyer/Necromancer For Featuring General Patton In-Game

from the in-case-of-doubt,-attack dept

We live in a strange world, folks. How else can one describe an era in which intellectual property has morphed into a form of publicity rights necromancy, in which dead celebrities haunt the living to the tune of lots of dollars? First it was the CMG Worldwide’s quest against Twitter on behalf of James Dean. Now CMG has shaken its summoner’s staff in the direction of Maximum Games, siccing none other than General George S. Patton (zombie) on them.

An upcoming strategy game, called Legends of War: Patton, has been sued by a firm representing estate of the deceased General, a company that as Gamasutra reports also polices the use of other historical figures such as James Dean, Marilyn Monroe; Marlon Brando, Chuck Berry and Amelia Earhart.

You’d think that long-dead figures from popular history would be fair game, but it turns out there are limits that vary from state-to-state. Maximum Games, who are releasing (or trying to release) LoW: Patton, are based in California, where the law says such figures are fair game if they’ve been dead for 70 years.

Whereas General Patton has been dead a mere 69 years, which makes all the difference in this stupid, idiotic world. And if you somehow think that I’m being unfair in calling this world a stupid place, please understand that the estate of George Patton, who has been dead for just shy of seven decades, is suing the video game maker claiming false endorsement. Yes, the use in a game of a historical figure who died roughly just as the computer was being invented, has been construed to potentially confuse people into thinking that Patton was endorsing the product personally, from the grave.

Which brings us directly back to how the CMG Worldwide lawyers are necromancers. After all, the lawsuit only makes a general kind of sense assuming that George Patton could somehow come back from the dead and endorse a product for real, thus this use breeding the confusion. CMG obviously vetted the suit, which means they too believe that zombies are real. The only logical reason for them to think so would be if they could animate zombies themselves. And that’s necromancy, case freaking closed.

Or else publicity rights are stupid. It’s definitely one of the two…

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Companies: cmg worldwide

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Comments on “Video Game Maker Sued By Lawyer/Necromancer For Featuring General Patton In-Game”

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20 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

For once, a delay could be a good thing

I think the game maker should make the threat public, and explain that due to it, the game will be pushed back until the day after the publicity rights lapse, at which point it will be put up for sale, say with some extras due to the delay.

Maybe slap a sticker or advertisement on it, ‘Endorsed by General Patton himself!’ just to rub it in.

Easily Amused (profile) says:

Re: Re:

i think it would be fair to say 5 years or so, at the lowest, 20 years at the most. Otherwise you would get creepy assholes trying to capitalize on the surge of recognition for the dead person when the death is publicized.

Imagine if right now people were able to use Robin Williams to advertise something he wasn’t involved in.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Imagine if right now people were able to use Robin Williams to advertise something he wasn’t involved in.”

But that’s just a matter of taste. Such advertisements would be offensive and/or annoying to lots of people, but would they cause any harm to Mr. Williams?

I also think there’s a big difference between using someone in an advertisement and using someone as a character in a game or other work of art. In an advertisement, the implication is that the person would have actively supported the product/service/whatever.

Anonymous Coward says:

Elvis Presley: the next Mickey Mouse?

There is much gold to be mined from graveyards. Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. makes $32 million per year licensing the dead pop star’s name, image, and likeness. Those rights were recently sold (for an undisclosed sum) to a rights-licensing firm and are no longer owned by the Presley family. Under this new corporate ownership, it’s quite possible that the licensing of Elvis’s image can earn much more money in the future.

One big obstacle, though — that 70 year limit. Does this mean that after the year 2047, the Elvis Presley estate will finally lose its cash cow (and be forced to stop suing people) … or is it more likely that the 70 year limit on dead people IP will likely get extended, copyright style, as 2047 approaches?

I think we all know the answer to that question.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2510602/Elvis-Presleys-intellectual-property-rights-sold-undisclosed-sum.html

DogBreath says:

CMG Worldwide must have found their incontrovertible proof ...

Which brings us directly back to how the CMG Worldwide lawyers are necromancers. After all, the lawsuit only makes a general kind of sense assuming that George Patton could somehow come back from the dead and endorse a product for real, thus this use breeding the confusion. CMG obviously vetted the suit, which means they too believe that zombies are real. The only logical reason for them to think so would be if they could animate zombies themselves. And that’s necromancy, case freaking closed.

CMG Lawyer: Gentlemen, I give you “Zombie Patton“.

tqk (profile) says:

Historian of the future.

“And thus, once the weight of lawyers and litigious apparatus enabling them in existence reached the critical mass outweighing that of a small neutron star and the citizenry were convinced there was nothing particularly wrong with it, the Empire of the USA finally collapsed in on itself taking the balance of the human race and the planet Earth with it (as well as most of the Solar system). Of course, this is all conjecture, as we of course have no hardcopy proof left to us to say what really happened, but this is the most likely hypothesis. Thus has it come to be understood that the most powerfully destructive force in the Universe is the combination of a credulous public, politicians up for re-election, plus unrestrained tort law.”

Lawyers, as we write, are preparing suits against historians of the future for merely mentioning the existence of Earth and its long dead inhabitants.

Anonymous Coward says:

Public figures?

It would seem to me that since Patton is a public figure, and was a relatively important element in WWII, that pretty much anything dealing with WWII and Patton should be permissible.

C’mon, I used to live a 5-minute walk from where he had his fatal car accident. You’re telling me that his estate could actually prevent some WWII game starring him? Insane.

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