USA Today has a story on Marvel suing City of Heroes videogame publisher NCSoft.
The jist of this seems to be that Marvel claims injuries from the fact that City of Hero allows players to design, among 1000s of possibilities, heroes that look somewhat like Marvel, and to name, among all possible combinations of letters, the heroes with Marvel superhero names. It’s not clear from the USA Today story whether this suit is based on trademark or copyright or both, but on first glance, Marvel might as well sue Adobe for making Photoshop and Microsoft for making Word.
More in depth coverage from Wired.com: Marvel Battles Role Players. If Marvel wins the case, all game developers can expect to be held responsible for the behavior of their players. This case covers similar ground to the proposed Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act, which is before a Senate Judiciary Committee. Introduced to crack down on illegal file sharing on peer-to-peer networks, the bill would hold technology companies liable for manufacturing products that encourage people to infringe copyrights. The language of the bill caused an uproar among technology and consumer advocates who claimed it would kill innovation. If successful in their lawsuit, would Marvel be able to sue the makers of pens and pencils for producing products that allow people to create pictures of copyrighted characters?
Some people have already started an online boycott.
What has got me wondering the most is: when did Marvel actually get the feeling that this would be a good idea, given the nature of the average CoH player?
Damn. Marvel should be ADVERTISING there, not SUING. Dumbasses.
It’s not really the same as using Photoshop or Word at ALL.
The game designers probably did specifically add certain elements to the costume design options so that people could specifically recreate their favorite Marvel & DC characters.
I’d be positively shocked if they didn’t.
I still don’t think Marvel has a case and that the lawsuit is completely frivolous, of course.
I’m just sayin’.
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