We get some crazy lawsuits hitting the courts over video games, and some occasionally have merit. Then we get ones where a party isn't happy with the way his intellectual property is being used. Such is the case with singer Dion and the use of his song "The Wanderer" in a Fallout 4 TV ad.
Dion, whose real name is Dion DiMucci, found the Fallout 4 ad "repugnant," and full of gratuitous violence. His suit claims that he was not given any say over the final ad, and that publisher ZeniMax ran the ad without passing it by him as the contract stipulates, according to The Wrap. DiMucci entered into an agreement with UMG Recordings for "The Wanderer" to be used in the Fallout 4 ads, but the suit alleges that he had the right to renegotiate a better deal with ZeniMax and to keep the song from being used if his demands weren't met. He alleges that ZeniMax never negotiated with him, or to get his consent for the use of the commercials.
The violence in the ads, which aired back in late 2015, is what really set DiMucci off. “Defendant’s Commercials were objectionable because they featured repeated homicides in a dark, dystopian landscape, where violence is glorified as sport," according to the suit, which was filed in California federal court. "The killings and physical violence were not to protect innocent life, but instead were repugnant and morally indefensible images designed to appeal to young consumers.”
The suit also alleges that DiMucci, if given the opportunity, would have changed the scripts "so that, for instance, they instead told the story of a post-apocalyptic struggle for survival without craven violence." He is seeking in excess of $1 million because of the "loss of goodwill" from his song being associated with "immoral images."
ZeniMax has not commented on the suits, but the commercials, have been pulled from Bethesda's official YouTube channels.
Looking closely at the live-action ads, it is hard to see what DiMucci is upset about. He was aware that the game was set in a post-apocalyptic future, which by its very nature isn't going to be all wine and roses. The only violence we see is a nuclear blast wiping out a neighborhood - yes, violent, but not totally unexpected - and a scene where our Vault protagonist fires his gun at a few incoming enemies. There is no blood. There is no graphic depictions of death. There is nothing that appears "craven" at all. Even a cursory look by DiMucci at the Fallout series would have offered a hint at what the story would likely be about. And as for the "struggle for survival" that DiMucci would have wanted to see, anyone who has played any of the games know that that is the core premise of the game - to survive.
Granted, if the contract did indeed give DiMucci the right to seek a better deal and offer the right of refusal and he didn't get it, then yes, that is an issue that the court must settle on. But the window dressing of offenses that DiMucci lists as objectionable just seem empty fodder to bolster his attempt for a million-dollar payday at ZeniMax's expense.
No court date has been set on when the case will be heard, but will be following this one as it progresses.
John Keefer posted a new article, Singer Dion: 'The Wanderer' Fallout 4 TV Ads Are 'Repugnant'
The storm had now definitely abated, and what thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying 'And another thing...' twenty minutes after admitting he's lost the argument.