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The re-performance of a song for use in a video game pursuant to a non-exclusive synchronization license does not, without more, violate the original artists' right of publicity, even if the artists are referenced, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan held Jan. 22 (Romantics v. Activision Publishing Inc., E.D. Mich., No. 07-14969, 1/22/08).

Activision recorded a new version of the song for use within Guitar Hero. When players encountered the song, it came with the subtitle "as made famous by the Romantics." The Romantics said that this was a violated their right of publicity, was unfair competition under the Lanham Act, and constituted unfair competition. The court disagreed.

Read more here.

Ever wonder what the basic principles are for protecting your video game based on intellectual property law? Steve and I wrote this article, recently published on Gamasutra, that provides a brief introduction to what you need to know to help protect your game and your brand.

Download PDF version.
From IP Law360:

MGA Entertainment, makers of the popular Bratz dolls, will hand over $13.2 million to video game company Ubisoft Entertainment, after an arbitrator ruled that Ubisoft had not violated the

Bratz trademark but MGA had violated a contract between the two companies.
Ubisoft had obtained a license from MGA for the right to make video games based on the Bratz franchise in the spring of 2002.

But in 2003, MGA purported to terminate the license under the claim that Ubisoft had failed to release a “substantial number” of the games in Europe, which was one of the provisions in the licensing agreement.

Ubisoft argued that it had not breached the license and continued to make Bratz video games. MGA promptly sued, alleging copyright infringement for producing the Bratz games without a license and breach of contract.

Ubisoft counter-sued for invalid termination of the licensing agreement. The case then went to arbitration.

Last year, the arbitrator decided that Ubisoft had been correct and the termination was wrongful. It awarded Ubisoft the $13.2 million in lost profits, attorneys' fees and interest.

Unsatisfied with the verdict, MGA then challenged the award in a Los Angeles county court. However, that motion was later denied. MGA agreed to pay the award in late-December 2007. The judgment order was entered on Feb. 8.

More more information, read the full article here.
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