Did Activision Violate Arnold Schwarzenegger's Publicity Rights With Austrian Accented Thor?
from the i'll-be-baaaaack dept
Ah, the fun never stops with the still ambiguous world of publicity rights, a relatively recent, but growing field of "intellectual property" that has all sorts of problems. THREsq points us to a legal analysis of whether or not California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would have a publicity rights claim over the character "Thor," found in Starcraft II. It's hard to argue that the character isn't based on Ahhh-nold, as it has his accent and repeats (sometimes paraphrased) famous Arnold lines from various movies:
In some ways, this is not all that different than the recent complaint from Michael Jackson's estate over the "zombie" Michael Jackson found in the game Plants vs. Zombies. Of course, to make this even more interesting, Schwarzenegger is still leading the legal fight against violent video games in California, so it seems even more amusing that his "voice" appears in a new video game.
That said, there's no indication that Schwarzenegger is actually upset by this -- and he apparently has not complained about other attempts to mimic his voice, such as with the Simpson's character McBane. So, at this point, the post above appears to be idle speculation on how a publicity rights claim might play out. However, it seems like a sad commentary on the state of publicity rights law that it's even worth considering whether such a creative choice by the gamemakers might break the law.