Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SimsSocial v. The Ville

Electronic Arts, Inc. recently sued Zynga for copyright infringement alleging that Zynga copied the design choices, animations, visual arrangements, and character actions/movement from Electronic Arts's Sims Social game.  Sims Social released about ten months before Zynga's The Ville.  Apparently, Zynga is not new to such lawsuits.  There have been others involving Mafia Wars, CityVille, and FrontierVille.  Zynga settled all of these lawsuits.

As more and more of these types of games become prevalent and more and more uses find themselves absorbed in these games or other virtual worlds, there will be bigger competition to keep a user's attention.  Based on Facebook friends alone, the life cycle for users to play these games is about a year or so.  Which means that it is important to grab new players and keep their interest by coming out with new games or features.  For the unscrupulous, this would mean copying another's work rather than creating it independently.  By the time that a company created the new feature or game, the game may be passe.

I am not familiar with either Sims Social or The Ville, but I am sure that there will be updates on this case.  Stay tuned. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Beastie Boys Rapper Says No to Turning His Music Into an Advertisement Jingle in His Will

I just read an article about the recently-deceased Adam Yauch's (of Beastie Boys fame) will which contains a provision prohibiting his songs from being used in an ad.  As I wrote earlier, branding is changing and companies are now trying to find new ways to get their brands before a consumer. So, it is no wonder that some artists are doing something similar with their art.  I have been guilty of looking up the name of a song I heard in a commercial, or recalling fondly a song from my youth playing in a commercial.  And, who could not appreciate this little gem from Honda, or this oneAnd another favorite for mixing two different genres in a commercial. 

Yet, in some artists' minds (like Mr. Yauch) the use of one's song in a commercial cheapens the song.  I guess this is the other side of the coin that we see with fan fiction where a fan creates fiction based on another author's characters.  As I wrote earlier here and here, some artists embrace these fans' work thinking that it enhances their work (and, presumably, creates additional interest in the original work).  Other artists try to shut down these fan sites seeing it as an infringement on their intellectual property and ripping them off.  Now, as we see from the Adam Yauch article and the commercials linked above, there are two schools of thought with regard to the use of music in an advertisement.  Some artists despise it and will not allow their work to be featured in an ad, while others appear to embrace it. 

In my personal experience, I have searched for and purchased songs that I have heard on a commercial on several occasions.  Or, I have dusted off my old albums and put them in my Playlist de Jour because I heard a snippet of a song in a commercial.  What do you think?