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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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 8:10pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PyRosflam, 5 Feb 2015 @ 10:49pm

    No need to delay

    You must keep in mind that the game is a re-release of a much older game. Also, Judges really dislike people waiting to the last moment to bring a lawsuit unless there was something else going on ahead of time (say the Estate being forced to after years of negotiation breaking down etc.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 11:13pm

      Re: No need to delay

      "(say the Estate being forced to after years of negotiation breaking down etc.)"

      That still wouldn't address the ridiculousness of having to negotiate with the estate of a decades-dead historical figure in order to recreate historical events in the first place.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 11:15pm

    This case is why I feel that publicity rights should lapse no longer than twenty years after someone's death, and ideally, immediately upon death.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Easily Amused (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 9:14am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 9:36am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 1:17am

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DogBreath, 6 Feb 2015 @ 1:33am

    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".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 3:56am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 5:34am

    Rumors

    Rumors of the death of Chuck Berry are false.The dude is still alive and performing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 5:54am

    They are messing with dark powers there. The zombie apocalypse is right around the corner gentleman. Start stocking emergency rations.

    On a side note, unless General Patton himself is some sort of pharaoh or great necromancer it takes a whole new level of arcane to hear his skeleton talk after it was revived to endorse the thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 6:20am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 6:25am

    His post-war work would make a more intresting game than whatever generic crap that this game probably is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 6 Feb 2015 @ 8:11am

    Patton to CMG Worldwide, "Shut your mouths, you sons of bitches!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 9:12am

    CMG Worldwide must be a subsidiary of Wolfram and Hart.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 10:07am

    it is completely screwed up dead people can be owned by unscrupulous bastards that would probably have been beaten up if they ever met the person in question while they were alive

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 6 Feb 2015 @ 6:40pm

    General Patton is dead?

    Signed,
    Average American

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    James Dean, 28 Aug 2015 @ 10:06pm

    CMG is a disgraceful sue happy company full of sleazy lawyers

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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