Are Videogame Rights Included in a Motion Picture License?

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Martin Hash
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Are Videogame Rights Included in a Motion Picture License?

Post by Martin Hash » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:14 pm

1. Introduction
The repurposing of the intellectual property (IP) from existing movies to the new technology of interactive videogames (and "multimedia" in general) provides a legal challenge to owners of the movies. Who owns the IP contained within those movies when the result is repurposed? There seems to be a clear dividing line between the original creator's IP and the movie owner's IP. The fundamental question is: does the movie owner own the IP when it obtains a motion picture license?
Videogames approach movies in their storytelling familiarity: they include fast action, adventure, mystery, and even love. Their presentation and ergonomics are also interchangeable: for example, players of videogames can easily usurp their home theater technology, (video projection, flat screen monitors, surround sound, and comfortable seating). The differences between the two mediums are more subtle: you can interact with a videogame; and in some cases, their "stories" are never-ending.
Videogames also generate huge revenues - an obvious magnet of litigation and opportunity for legal professionals. "Domestically, videogames generated between $5 billion and $7 billion, while total U.S. box office for features was closer to $5 billion." John Bodie & Andy Marx, Two Can Play This Game; Agents and Studios Face Off in New Contest for Videogame Profits, Variety, Dec. 27, 1993, at 1.
2. Copyright Issues of Motion Pictures
Licensing paper.doc
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