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Category — Character License Cases

Forbes: Why Gears of War Costs $60

Categories: Character License CasesFeatured ArticlesPersonality Rights CasesStartup Game Developer IssuesTrademark Cases

Forbes provides this article and interactive pie chart explaining/breaking down the cost structure of modern video games such as the blockbuster Gears of War:

Read Forbes Article

View Interactive Pie Chart

Here’s a Summary of the Interactive Pie Chart:

  • 25%/$15 – Art Design
  • 20%/$12 – Programming and Engineering
  • 20%/$12 – Retailer’s Cut
  • 11.5%/$7 – Console Owner Fees (to Microsoft/Nintendo/Sony)
  • 7%/$4 – Marketing Costs
  • 5%/$3 – Marketing Development Fund (print circulars/banner ads, etc.)
  • 5%/$3 – Manufacturing Costs, Packaging
  • 5%/$3 – Licensing Fees (personality rights, character and story licenses, copyrights, trademarks, etc.)
  • 1.5%/$1 – Publisher Profit
  • 1.5%/$1 – Distributor Fees
  • 0.3%/20¢ – Corporate costs (management, overhead, legal fees Wink)
  • 0.05%/3¢ – Hardware Development Costs (Developer kits, demo units etc.)

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Jack Thompson Misfires with Mortal Kombat Cease & Desist Letter

Categories: Cease & DesistCharacter License CasesCopyright CasesHumourJack ThompsonTrademark Cases

The new Mortal Kombat Armageddon game has a built-in character editor. Gamers can mix and match clothing, body types, hairstyles and facial characteristics to create original characters to be played/fought in the game. The enterprising e-zeen Gaming Target posted this story providing character editor formulas for gamers to use to create famous, and infamous, characters including a formula for creating anti-game-violence crusader Jack Thompson.

Jack Thompson, apparently not quite understanding the character editor distinction, sent off a cease and desist letter to Midway, the game’s publisher, with the following contained therein:

“It has today come to my attention that the newly recently Mortal Kombat: Armageddon contains an unauthorized commercial exploitation of my name, photograph, image, and likeness within the game.”

“You are commanded to cease and desist immediately from the distribution of this game because of this unauthorized, illegal content…”

“It would appear that your company has done this at least in part because I sued you all in the Paducah school massacre case and further because I appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 when your company came out with your profane, violent, and idiotic Blitz: The League.”

To be clear, there is no crusading Florida lawyer character that is shipped with the game. On the presumption that Jack Thompson is aware of the Marvel v. NCSoft decision (see linked posts below) which is on point, this demand will likely just fade away once Mr. Thompson realizes what has happened here. The mere inclusion of a character editor does not, in itself, infringe anyone’s IP or personality rights any more than the manufacture and sale of Etch-a-Sketches does.

Sources: GamePolitics.com| Gaming Target | Gamasutra | joystiq | The Inquirer | GameSpot | EuroGamer | GWN | Pro-G | igniq.com

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Eidos Mulls Over Possible “Lava Croft” Lawsuit

Categories: Character License CasesTrademark Cases

Eidos, the publisher of the famous Laura Croft/Tomb Raider video games, is contemplating bringing a copyright infringement suit against Singapore publisher Ozura Mobile over its new game “Lava Croft“. The game is an action adventure game featuring an Asian femme-fatal lead that seems quite similar to the famous Eidos character.
Sources: GameIndustry.biz  |  EuroGamer  |  Kotaku  |  Ferrago  |  Club Skill
Note: See related stories posted on Feb 15, 2006. Well, in truth, they are not related, but you can see stories about the new, err, face of Laura Croft there.
Dale’s Comment: While the press accounts mention Eidos’ considering copyright breach litigation, the use of the name Lava Croft for a game and character title also raises the spectre of trademark infringement.

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Marvel and NCSoft Settle Character License Dispute

Categories: Character License CasesCopyright CasesSettlementsTrademark Cases

Marvel and NCsoft did not disclose terms of the settlement, but the result appears to allow NCsoft’s games to continue to allow players to create characters without restriction.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameSpot NextGen.biz | 1Up.com | GameDaily | IGN | Houston Chronicle

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Character Licenses

Categories: Character License CasesCopyrightsFeatured ArticlesIndustry ContractsPersonality Rights CasesTrademarks

Marc Mayer, of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP describes how to avoid the pitfalls of using likenesses of individuals in video games.

Source: NextGen.biz

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Marvel v. NCSoft: Judge Dismisses Trademark Case

Categories: Character License CasesDecisionsPolice ActionsTrademark Cases

U.S. District court Judge dismisses claims that NC Soft’s character creation tool infringes Marvel’s trademarks. Finds that allegedly infringing works submitted as evidence was “false and sham” as they were created by Marvel itself, not NCSoft users.

Sources: GameLaw.org | GameIndustry.biz | Prodigious Gaming

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City of Copies: Marvel vs. NC Soft

Categories: Character License CasesCopyright CasesPolice ActionsTrademark Cases

In this GirlAdvance article, Steve Bowler includes photos of the characters in question and the discusses Marvel’s character copyright infringement case against NC Soft.

Source: GameGirlAdvance.com

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3D Realms Shuts Down Duke Nukem Based Mod Project

Categories: Cease & DesistCharacter License CasesCopyright CasesDMCA-TPM CasesModding CasesPolice ActionsTrademark Cases

Those working on the mod were informed by 3D Realms that it does not allow any of its intellectual property to be used in conversions or mods for other game engines, forcing the project to be shut down.

Source: GameIndustry.biz

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Marvel sues NCSoft over City of Heroes Player Characters

Categories: Character License CasesCopyright CasesPolice ActionsTrademark Cases

Comic book giant Marvel has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Korean publisher NCsoft, alleging that players in the firm’s MMORPG City of Heroes are creating characters in the likeness of Marvel heroes.

Sources: gameindustry.biz | Wired | EFF’s Marvel v. NCSoft Page | City of Hero’s Developer, Cryptic Studios, Responds

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