Posts Tagged Sony

Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 103

Super Podcast Action CommitteeOn this week’s show host E. Zachary Knight is joined by guest host Jeremy Powers to talk about Ubisoft’s ongoing controversy about including female characters and its response to the Watch Dogs PC mod, Playstation Now pricing, and some stuff YouTubers. Download Episode 103 now: SuperPAC Episode 103 (1 hour, 12 minutes) 66.4 MB.

As always, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and use our RSS Feed to add the show to your favorite news reader. You can also find us on Facebook, on Twitter@SuperPACPodcast and Google +. You can send us feedback on the show by dropping a note to superpacpodcast@gmail.com.

Credits: The Super Podcast Action Committee is hosted by E. Zachary Knight and Andrew Eisen, and produced by James Fudge. The show is edited by Jose Betancourt. Music in the show includes “Albino” by Brian Boyko and “Barroom Ballet” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are in the public domain and free to use. ECA bumper created by Andrew Eisen.

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Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 102 (E3 Edition)

We held an impromptu live episode of Super Podcast Action Committee to sound off about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Electronic Entertainment Expo that ended on Friday. What better day than Friday the 13th is there to do a podcast? What could possibly go wrong? Find out by watching this video of the show featuring hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight.

James couldn’t make it because of technical difficulties or he would have blathered on about how Bloodborne should have been Demons Souls and how Hardline will be the poster boy (with no link to actual evidence that video games cause such things to happen) for how games teach children to kill police officers…

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Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 83

Super Podcast Action CommitteeOn this week’s show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about Sony’s PlayStation Now streaming service, Sony Online Entertainment’s all access MMO pass, Ultimate Gay Fighter, and South Australia’s government being pressured into getting rid of anti-game billboards. Download Episode 83 now: SuperPAC Episode 83 (1 hour, 8 minutes) 78.5 MB.

As always, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and use our RSS Feed to add the show to your favorite news reader. You can also find us on Facebook, on Twitter@SuperPACPodcast and Google +. You can send us feedback on the show by dropping a note to superpacpodcast@gmail.com.

Credits: The Super Podcast Action Committee is hosted by E. Zachary Knight and Andrew Eisen, and produced by James Fudge. The show is edited by Jose Betancourt. Music in the show includes “Albino” by Brian Boyko and “Barroom Ballet” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are in the public domain and free to use. ECA bumper created by Andrew Eisen.

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Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 77

Super Podcast Action CommitteeOn this week’s episode of the Super Podcast Action Committee, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the latest GamePolitics poll, the PlayStation 4 launch, SimCity, and Nintendo’s decision to shut down SwapNote. Download Episode 77 now: SuperPAC Episode 77 (1 hour, 6 minutes) 75.8 MB.

As always, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and use our RSS Feed to add the show to your favorite news reader. You can also find us on Facebook, on Twitter@SuperPACPodcast and Google +. You can send us feedback on the show by dropping a note to superpacpodcast@gmail.com.

Credits: The Super Podcast Action Committee is hosted by E. Zachary Knight and Andrew Eisen, and produced by James Fudge. The show is edited by Jose Betancourt. Music in the show includes “Albino” by Brian Boyko and “Barroom Ballet” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are in the public domain and free to use. ECA bumper created by Andrew Eisen.

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Sony Sues Actor For Trademark Infringement For Looking Too Much Like Himself In Another Commercial

Originally Published on Techdirt.

Just when you thought trademark law couldn’t get any stranger, we have a new story that takes it to a whole new level. Most often, trademark law is applied to logos and names of goods and services, yet there is still some untested ground. This is where Sony comes in. Several years ago, in an effort to rebrand its floundering Playstation 3 brand, Sony created a fictional Vice President of the Playstation brand named Kevin Butler. This character and the ads he starred in became a gaming sensation and brought the Playstation 3 back into the limelight. Here is a sample of these advertisements.

Such success never lasts, and earlier this year, the contract Sony had with Kevin Butler actor, Jerry Lambert, expired and he has moved on to other contracts. One of these new advertisement contracts is with Bridgestone Tires. Unfortunately, Lambert has starred in one ad that now has Sony up in arms. This ad features Jerry Lambert starring as an unnamed Bridgestone engineer along side two other actors portrayed playing a Nintendo Wii. This ad has resulted in Sony going over the edge, so to speak. The entertainment and electronic giant is now suing Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, the corporation set up to manage Lambert’s advertising career, for a variety of reasons, one of which is trademark infringement. You can view the original Bridgestone commercial at GoNintendo.

Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a law suit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. on September 11. The claims are based on violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship. We invested significant resources in bringing the Kevin Butler character to life and he’s become an iconic personality directly associated with PlayStation products over the years. Use of the Kevin Butler character to sell products other than those from PlayStation misappropriates Sony’s intellectual property, creates confusion in the market and causes damage to Sony.

This statement is a tad confusing on first blush. It reads as if Sony is claiming trademark on the Kevin Butler likeness rather than the character itself. As such, it would seem that Sony is making the claim that Lambert starring in any commercial could cause likely confusion among consumers, resulting in them thinking that Kevin Butler is endorsing another product. This is rather absurd though. Primarily because the character Labert portrays has no name and actors portray many different characters throughout their careers.

Thankfully, the Hollywood Reporter has provided some further clarifications on the matter. Here we learn a bit more about the exclusivity clause in Lambert’s contract.

According to a complaint filed in California federal court, the contract between Sony and Wild Creek was entered into on August 7, 2009 and contained an “exclusivity clause” that prevented Lambert from providing his services or his likeness to competing gaming system manufacturers like Nintendo.

This part at least makes some sense. A lot of contracts will contain language that prevents an employee or other contracted company or individual from working for a direct competitor for a specified time. However, to claim that the commercial with Bridgestone, a tire company, meets this definition is a stretch, even if the commercial features a Nintendo Wii. Sony then claims that Lambert’s work with Bridgestone is a breach of contract, unfair competition and tortuous interference. These are quite harsh accusations and Sony will have its work cut out for it.

Next is the claim of trademark infringement.

According to the lawsuit, “With the intent of unfairly capitalizing on the consumer goodwill generated by ‘Kevin Butler,’ Bridgestone has used and is using the same or confusingly similar character, played by the same actor, to advertise its products or services in the commercial.”

Having seen both a Kevin Butler commercial and the Bridgestone ad featuring Lambert, I find it hard to see the similarities beyond the superficial. The Kevin Butler character plays as an overly-serious and often hyperbolic character to its comedic levels. The Bridgestone ad features an excitable and fast talking character. Aside from that, Kevin Butler was built to be a VP while the Bridgestone guy is merely an engineer in an R&D department.

These differences are not going unnoticed by Bridgestone either. It has made the claim that not only are the characters different, but Sony has no actual claim on the Kevin Butler character at all.

“Mr. Lambert is one of the actors who appeared in the commercial as a Bridgestone engineer,” say the defendant. “Bridgestone denies that ‘Kevin Butler’ appears in the Bridgestone commercial discussed herein and thus denies that he speaks or does anything whatsoever in the commercial.”

Bridgestone indicates that it intends to fight the lawsuit by showing that Sony has failed to register any mark on “Kevin Butler,” that the character has not acquired secondary meaning and that there is no likelihood of confusion among consumers.

This is certainly not the first time something like this has happened. Many years ago, Wendy’s had a very successful advertising campaign starring Clara Peller as a little old lady asking a generic fast food chain the famous question, “Where’s the beef?” She lost her job with Wendy’s after she starred in a Prego commercial uttering the phrase: “I found it. I really found it.”

What these accounts show is that the ownership mentality of many corporations goes beyond logos and phrases, to specific actions, characters and the actors behind them. This is certainly a dangerous line of thought for anyone to take up. While Sony most likely has a vested interest in the Kevin Butler character, claiming that its interest in the character extends as far as the actor himself is certainly going to make Lambert’s career more difficult potentially to the point of halting it. If he cannot star in any commercial for fear of looking and acting too much like himself, then what point is there in continuing in an acting career?

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Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 23

Super Podcast Action CommitteeA “day late and 30 minutes short” would be the best way to describe Episode 23 of the Super Podcast Action Committee as host Andrew Eisen struggles with being sick and co-host E. Zachary Knight rails against the wickedness of the state of Oklahoma keeping his preferred candidate off the ballot. In between these trials and tribulations Andrew and EZK talk about Kevin Butler being sued by Sony, Nintendo’s non-gamer ad, the latest poll of GamePolitics, and troubles at the drive-in. Download it now: SuperPAC Episode 23 (44 minutes).

As always, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and use our RSS Feed to add the show to your favorite news reader. You can also find us onFacebook (where there’s an app that will let you listen to the show), and on Twitter @SuperPACPodcast. You can send us feedback on the show by dropping a note to superpacpodcast@gmail.com.

Credits: The Super Podcast Action Committee is hosted by E. Zachary Knight and Andrew Eisen, and produced by James Fudge. Music in the show includes “Albino” by Brian Boyko and “Barroom Ballet” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are in the public domain and free to

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Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 15

Super Podcast Action CommitteeIn episode 15 of the Super Podcast Action Committee Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about Harry Potter games, OUYA’s Kickstarter success and pre-order, a dehydrated teen, piracy, free-to-play spending, and Nintendo and Sony’s trouble getting third-party developers to love their hand-helds. Download Episode 15 here: SuperPAC Episode 15 (1 Hour, 5 Minutes).

As always, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and use our RSS Feed to add the show to your favorite news reader. You can also find us on Facebook (where there’s an app that will let you listen to the show), and on Twitter @SuperPACPodcast. You can send us feedback on the show by dropping a note to superpacpodcast@gmail.com.

Credits: The Super Podcast Action Committee is hosted by E. Zachary Knight and Andrew Eisen, and produced by James Fudge. Music in the show includes “Albino” by Brian Boyko and “Barroom Ballet” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are in the public domain and free to use.

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Did EA, Sony and Nintendo Pull Support For SOPA? Maybe Not

One of the worst pieces of legislation to hit the US this past year was the Stop Online Piracy Act. This bill, if passed into law, would allow for private companies and the US Attorney General to censor the internet, break its security and stop the growth of new internet technologies in their infancy. It does this all in the name of stopping piracy of US intellectual property online. I have been working on an article that discusses the games industry’s view of SOPA based on the information I have at hand, but I think I need to address one piece of that now.

Prior to the creation of SOPA, EA, Nintendo and Sony, along with a number of other businesses and organizations, signed a letter expressing interest in a law similar to SOPA.

We urge Congress to enact legislation which targets those who abuse the Internet ecosystem and reap illegal profits by stealing the intellectual property (IP) of America’s innovative and creative industries. These rogue sites—those websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy—put American jobs, consumers, and innovation at risk.

This is pretty much at the heart of SOPA. While this letter never named any specific bill, it would seem that these businesses would support SOPA as well as the general idea of it. However, this is the one and only instance we have of these three companies supporting anything SOPA like. They have yet to send a press release or make any public comments regarding SOPA itself.

What is really surprising to see over this weekend are a bunch of headlines around the internet stating that these three companies, EA, Nintendo and Sony, have dropped their support for SOPA. Some news outlets are coming to this conclusion based on the absence of these companies on the House Judiciary’s official list of SOPA supporters.  While it is true that these three companies’ names are not found, excluding the Sony Music division’s presence on the list, they have never actually claimed to be in support of this specific legislation.

If they never officially expressed support for SOPA, how can we honestly say they dropped their support? As far as I can tell, they are still very much in support of SOPA like legislation, but have yet to get more specific than that. Can we honestly say that if SOPA were to pass that these companies would be indifferent or even against that? There is not enough information to be entirely sure.

However, we do have one other issue to contend with here, the presence of the Entertainment Software Association on the Judiciary list. The ESA is a lobbying organization that works on behalf of many of the major game companies including Sony, EA and Nintendo. Are we to really believe that if the ESA is still actively supporting SOPA that its member companies are not behind that? The ESA is not an entirely autonomous organization. Its member companies have a tremendous voice in the direction it takes. I doubt the ESA would take up such a position without the knowledge let alone the blessing of its member companies.

So with all this out there, can we really say that EA, Sony and Nintendo have pulled support for SOPA? I don’t believe so. Not without an official response from these companies. Until then, the only thing we can say for sure is that these companies support SOPA like legislation and their lobbying group still strongly supports SOPA. So why are we jumping to conclusions based on such weak evidence?

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Vita Launches With Zero Day Firmware Update

One of the most annoying things about modern consoles is the firmware update. I know of no gamer that enjoys sitting down to play a game, turning it on and being told that he must immediately download and install a firmware update. Sony has even found a way to make this process more painful by making most updates mandatory, slow and the only thing the console can do. Even with that track record, Sony has managed to make firmware updates even more annoying.

This past week has seen the launch of Sony’s new portable gaming system, the Vita. We have already discussed one of the more bizarre “features” of the Vita. So it really comes as no surprise that the latest unannounced feature is a day one firmware update. That’s right folks. As soon as you open that brand new Vita, you won’t be presented with the ability to play games until you take time to download and install updates. Why? Why was this not taken care of prior to launch?

What makes this even worse is that you cannot do anything with the Vita until the firmware is updated. As CheapyD from Cheap Ass Gamers found out, you cannot even tie your Vita to your PSN account until you download the update.

I pine for the days when a console worked right out of the box. When the console did not require an internet connection to function. Those were great days. Now is the time of Beta releases of games and consoles as if they were the final products. We are no longer customers but paying beta testers preparing the game for its “Greatest Hits” release, if it ever gets one. You would think that with all the money that game companies pour into these games and consoles they could afford a better development pipeline that can catch these issues earlier so that they can be fixed prior to launch.

 

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Sony Believes Only One Person Should Play Vita

If you thought you might get Sony’s new Vita handheld and share it with your family or friends, you are out of luck. Sony has told Wired that the Vita is designed with only one player in mind.

[The] PSN account is tied to the hardware and the memory card, not just the card, which means that if a second person is using your Vita, it’s not just a case of switching out memory cards, it’s clearing out all of your saved data on the Vita itself when you do the factory reset.

In other words, PlayStation Vita is intended to be played by only one user.

What in the world is Sony thinking? Are they really that dense to think that a father or mother would not buy one of these and share it with their kids or each other? Why would they think it is a good idea to limit the number of profiles to one? The PS3 supports more than one profile. Computers support more than one profile. Why not a handheld device? What this will do is limit the market for the device. I really don’t see anyone that has plans to share a device to buy one of these.

 

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