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Peeved with Biebs: Justin Bieber Sued over Joustin?ÇÖ Beaver Game App

Last Friday, app developer RC3, Inc. sued Biebs, aka pop star Justin Bieber, seeking the court?ÇÖs declaration that RC3?ÇÖs game ?Ç£Joustin?ÇÖ Beaver,?Ç¥ available for Android?ádevices and the iPhone/iPad, is protected under the First Amendment.?á In a February 13, 2012 demand letter to RC3, Bieber?ÇÖs counsel asserted that the app is a blatant infringement of Bieber?ÇÖs right of publicity and constitutes trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and other violations. The game features a beaver sporting Bieber?ÇÖs (in)famous hairstyle.?á The beaver also wears a purple sweater which, as every Bieber fan knows, is his favorite color.?á (Important! ?áWe don?ÇÖt admit to being Bieber fans.)?á Joustin?ÇÖ Beaver must float down the river while signing ?Ç£Otter-graphs?Ç¥ and knocking evil ?Ç£Phot-Hogs?Ç¥ into the river with his jousting lance. A press release for the game noted, ?Ç£We wanted to create a game that appeals to Justin Bieber?ÇÖs fans.?á He?ÇÖs a hero and adored by millions.?á It?ÇÖs important… Continue Reading

>NFL Retirees Suing EA Over Madden

>Electronic Arts, Inc. is again feeling the pressure regarding its sports-based video games, this time thanks to a class action centered around its ?Ç£Madden NFL?Ç¥ video game franchise. The complaint was filed in the District Court for the Northern District of California on Thursday, July 29, 2010, by former Cincinnati Bengal and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Michael ?Ç£Tony?Ç¥ Davis, on behalf of himself and about 6,000 former NFL players. It claims that EA is intentionally pilfering the players?ÇÖ publicity rights under California law, through the unauthorized use of the players?ÇÖ likenesses to recreate over 140 NFL teams of the past. Specifically, the complaint states that older versions of Madden NFL included player profiles for each ?Ç£player?Ç¥ on a ?Ç£vintage?Ç¥ team featured in the game, such profiles including descriptions of the players?ÇÖ positions, number of years of NFL experience, physical characteristics, and relative skill level in different facets of the game. These… Continue Reading

>Activision Sued by Rock Band No Doubt Over In-Game Avatars

>Having only recently rid itself of Gibson Guitar Corp.’s Guitar Hero-based patent infringement lawsuit, Activision probably expected to be able to put away the aspirin for a while. Instead, the game development and distribution giant is facing another headache-inducing suit, this one filed by established pop/rock band No Doubt, which was none-too-pleased to discover that their likenesses are available for use as playable character avatars throughout Activision’s new release, Band Hero. The band’s complaint, filed November 4, claims damages for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement and infringement of right of publicity, as well as violations of California’s Business and Professions Code, in connection with No Doubt’s license agreement with Activision. (Case No. BC425268, in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.) According to the band, No Doubt entered into a limited license agreement with Activision in May 2009 with the understanding that the… Continue Reading

>Rights of Publicity: Its in the game

>The law surrounding an athlete?ÇÖs right of publicity is fluctuating faster than Brett Favre?ÇÖs retirement plans, and game companies ought to be paying attention. This week, Sam Keller, a former college quarterback, filed a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Electronic Arts and the NCAA for using college athletes?ÇÖ images and attributes in EA?ÇÖs line of NCAA video game titles. The right of publicity is the right of a person to control commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness, or some other identifying aspect of identity. According to the lawsuit, there are close similarities between real-life college athletes and the virtual athletes in EA’s games. ?Ç£Electronic Arts matches the player?ÇÖs skin tone, hair color and often even a player?ÇÖs hair style?Ǫ?Ç¥ The complaint also alledges that EA?ÇÖs virtual athletes are depicted with unique accessories, such as wristbands, glasses, visors and… Continue Reading

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