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posted by martyb on Saturday May 23 2015, @03:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the meta-story dept.

A story from ArsTechnica:

It wouldn't be a Grand Theft Auto-related movie without some controversy, but the BBC's upcoming dramatic, 90-minute retelling of the series' genesis has come under fire not from Jack Thompson but from the game's parent company. A Thursday announcement confirmed that Take Two Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar Games, has filed a lawsuit against the BBC over its still-in-production TV movie Game Changer.

Rockstar representatives offered a statement to Ars Technica—the same one that was originally reported by IGN. It described Take Two's filing against the BBC as a "trademark infringement" lawsuit over the Grand Theft Auto franchise and insisted that neither Take Two nor Rockstar had anything to do with the film's creation. "Our goal is to ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC's pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games," the statement said. "We have attempted multiple times to resolve this matter with the BBC without any meaningful resolution. It is our obligation to protect our intellectual property, and unfortunately in this case litigation was necessary."

The statement did not clarify where the suit was filed, nor what specific trademarks may have been violated to make the British TV movie production worth filing suit against. A Rockstar representative confirmed that the suit had been filed this morning in London but declined to comment on our other questions.

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Embracer Group Lets Go of Borderlands Maker for $460M After Three Years 1 comment

Embracer Group has been backing away from its all-encompassing position in the games industry lately. The latest divestment is Gearbox Entertainment, the studio behind the Borderlands series it bought in early 2021 for a deal that could have been worth up to $1.37 billion to Gearbox had it stayed inside the Swedish conglomerate's grasp.

The buyer is Take-Two Interactive Software, which had previously partnered with Gearbox on publishing Borderlands and other titles. Take-Two will issue new shares of its common stock to pay $460 million for Gearbox, to be completed before the end of June this year. Embracer paid $363 million in cash and stock for Gearbox in 2021 but promised up to $1 billion more should the developer hit earnings goals over six years.

[...] Gearbox has studios in Texas, Montreal, and Quebec City, Canada. The firm had 550 employees at the time of its acquisition, but divisions of the company had seen layoffs in January.

[...] Embracer had been acquiring properties in 2021 and 2022 with an understanding that a planned $2 billion investment from the Saudi-government-backed Savvy Games Group would give the new mega-conglomerate some runway.

[...] Once the Saudi deal fell through in May 2023, however, the firm announced that it would undergo a major restructuring through March 2024. That included the shutdown of Volition in August 2023 and deep cuts at Eidos that took an unannounced Deus Ex title with them.

Gearbox and its Borderlands franchise were the biggest get, however. The looter-shooter series, struck through with (often exhausting) "edge-y" humor, has reportedly sold more than 77 million copies and earned more than $1 billion in revenue throughout its run, according to Bloomberg. Take-Two noted that a Borderlands game was "in active development" at Gearbox in its acquisition announcement.

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  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Saturday May 23 2015, @04:04PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <> on Saturday May 23 2015, @04:04PM (#186889) Homepage Journal

    this has to do with the legal principle of estoppel.

    You can't have a patent or copyright taken from you unless you agree to let someone else have it. But if you don't enforce your copyright, it can fall into the public domain through your own inaction. That led to "Sacks 41st Avenue" of Capitola California receiving a C&D letter from Saks 5th Avenue's attorneys.

    That said I don't have a clue about the merits of this particular case.

    Yes I Have No Bananas. []
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Saturday May 23 2015, @05:25PM

      by frojack (1554) on Saturday May 23 2015, @05:25PM (#186904) Journal

      But going after a documentary seems a bit over the top, wouldn't you thing?

      BBC is, best I can tell, not trying to market anything except the documentary. If estoppel were really the issue here, just about any un-solicited news coverage, reenactment, docu-drama would be similarly attacked.

      I rather suspect there is some dirty laundry in that wash basket that the plaintiffs are trying to keep under cover, rather than any real objections over free advertising.

      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday May 23 2015, @05:31PM

        by frojack (1554) on Saturday May 23 2015, @05:31PM (#186905) Journal

        Witness the prior story on this page. Google and Amazon "celebrating" Pacman.

        Cupping my ear, listening for lawsuits. Crickets.

        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday May 24 2015, @12:40AM

        by kaszz (4211) on Sunday May 24 2015, @12:40AM (#187023) Journal

        I rather suspect there is some dirty laundry in that wash basket that the plaintiffs are trying to keep under cover, rather than any real objections over free advertising.

        My suspicion too. The question is what....

        Is it one of those "I have nothing to hide!" ? ;-)

    • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Monday May 25 2015, @06:06PM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Monday May 25 2015, @06:06PM (#187670) Homepage

      I don't think that's how trademarks are meant to work though. You can't trademark yourself and sue newspapers writing stories about you, for example. Likewise, you can't use a trademark to stop someone working on a documentary (with the exception that if you are showing content FROM the games, then you have a copyright issue). If the BBC were advertising this as a GTA Approved Official From The Makers documentary, that would then be a trademark issue, but simply being about GTA does not violate trademark for fair use reasons.

      Write story about Apple (trademarked name) -> legal
      Start company named Apple that sells apples -> legal
      Start company named Apple Electronics -> trademark infringement

      Trademarks are intended to protect brand name use, not as a copyright or intellectual property hammer to wield indiscriminately.

      Disclaimer: not a lawyer.

      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
  • (Score: 2) by wantkitteh on Saturday May 23 2015, @08:53PM

    by wantkitteh (3362) on Saturday May 23 2015, @08:53PM (#186964) Homepage Journal

    Maybe Sam Houser doesn't want to be portrayed by Harry Potter.