Author Topic: Bethesda sues Interplay  (Read 5980 times)

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Offline Topgun

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Bethesda sues Interplay
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Three years after licensing the Fallout intellectual property in 2004, Bethesda Softworks bought it outright for $5.75 million from Interplay, which created the franchise. Under the terms of the deal, Bethesda licensed the rights to make a Fallout massively multiplayer online role-playing game back to Interplay, with the caveat the fallen publisher had to start full-time development within two years. That deal imploded in April, when Bethesda, dissatisfied with Interplay's efforts, revoked the Fallout MMORPG rights.

Bethesda contends that Interplay's unsanctioned sales of games like Fallout 2...

This week, the Bethesda-Interplay disagreement was elevated to a legal level, when Bethesda filed suit in federal court in Maryland. The suit accuses Interplay of 10 counts of breach of contract and trademark infringement by not abiding by a trademark license agreement (TLA) it had with Bethesda. The first was in relation to the Fallout MMORPG, which stipulated that Interplay had to have raised at least $30 million in funding for the project by the end of March 2009. As evidence such fund-raising did not occur, Bethesda points to a June 30 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission which said Interplay had $2.54 million in debt and only $16,000 in cash assets.

Bethesda's complaint also claims that, 11 days after being informed the Fallout MMORPG license had been revoked and it could not enter into a deal with any third parties, Interplay formalized a deal with Bulgarian studio Masthead to develop the MMORPG Project V13.

The second part of the suit accuses Interplay of riding the coattails of Fallout 3 by re-releasing and repackaging older Fallout games without permission. Specifically, it says that the company was selling a compilation of Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics as boxed products called "Fallout Trilogy" and "Saga Fallout." The packaging of any such new boxed product needed to be approved by Bethesda, which claims it never did so. Bethesda also feels the name "Fallout Trilogy" was deliberately misleading consumers into thinking the compilation contained Fallout 3.

...diminished the Fallout 3 brand.

Finally, Bethesda accuses Interplay of entering into deals with several online game distributors without its consent, violating the licensing agreement yet again. GameTap, Good Old Games (aka GOG.com), and Valve Software's Steam service are all named as outlets which sold Fallout products without any permission from Bethesda, in violation of the licensing agreement.

Bethesda is demanding the court formally declare Interplay no longer has any rights to the Fallout name or trademark. It also wants the court to place a preliminary and permanent injunction on Interplay to stop it from selling any Fallout-branded products. It also wants Interplay to submit in writing a declaration that it no longer has any rights to the Fallout brand. No monetary damages are being sought.

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6217290.html?tag=latestheadlines;title;1

 

Offline Locutus of Borg

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
 :jaw:
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Offline Blue Lion

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
Who would give Interplay anything nowadays?

 

Offline Rhymes

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
Okay.

As of this moment, Interplay is dead.  Really.  Even if they're still around right now, they won't be for long.  If they lose the suit, they're toast, and if they get a lawyer good enough to win the suit, they'll be completely broke anyway. 

They are, in every way possible, ****ed.
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Offline Scotty

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
Does this mean the FS license is going to be up for grabs?

Just asking.

 

Offline Stormkeeper

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
Does this mean the FS license is going to be up for grabs?

Just asking.
You really should learn not to ask about stuff like that. It's good to hope, but I doubt that Interplay will let go of it so easily. Unless it's dissolved as a result of this.
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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
Quote
As of this moment, Interplay is dead.  Really.  Even if they're still around right now, they won't be for long.  If they lose the suit, they're toast...

Quote
No monetary damages are being sought.

Seems to me that Interplay will likely liquidate another IP, if they get terribly desperate for money again, while they work on pulling a game out of their collective ass.

Interplay is a beast that refuses to be buried.  Remember when the entire Black Isle staff got fired?  Didn't kill Interplay.  Remember when Interplay got bought out, and the parent company dissolved?  Didn't kill Interplay.  Remember when California chained the Interplay office doors closed, because the employees weren't being paid?  Didn't kill Interplay.  A lawsuit that doesn't seek monetary damages?  That's pretty small fry, compared to the other hurdles that have stood before the publisher.

I think that the company continues to exist to spite us, and they feed off the suffering of the fans of their catalogue.

 

Offline JGZinv

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
If I were them... I'd just give in the what Bethesda wants if they actually have solid footing.
It sounds pretty fair to be honest, not asking for financial damages and all.
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Offline Mongoose

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
Something rings strange about this whole suit.  I can't see Interplay putting the games up for sale/play on GameTap, GOG, etc. unless they were certain they had the rights to do so.  Interplay sold the series rights over to Bethesda before they made Fallout 3, but did that ever include the right to sell the games that Interplay themselves created?  And even if it did, why would Bethesda wait so long to file suit, considering just how long the titles have been up on these services?  (I know that GameTap, at least, has had Fallout 1 and 2 up for well over a year, and maybe over two.)  Something's just off...

 
Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
I can't see Interplay putting the games up for sale/play on GameTap, GOG, etc. unless they were certain they had the rights to do so.  

Interplay have a history of this. I remember when Interplay got into a hell of a lot of trouble for releasing Star Fleet Command: Neutral Zone,  a cut down version of the original Star Fleet Command that was created by Interplay by removing the models and certain other game assets from the files without the permission of the IP holder (viacom I think at the time) and then keeping the profits without giving the IP holder their cut. Also, as I recall Freespace 2: Colossus, a similarly cut down version of FS2 that ended when the Colossus defeated the Repulse was created without the permission or knowledge of Volition and resulted in a law-suit as once again Interplay didn't pass on the profits or seek the permission from V who owned parts of the IP. As If I remember correctly this was a contributing factor to the V/Interplay split.
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
Now I'd never heard that story about Colossus before.

But it wouldn't surprise me in the least.
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Offline Stormkeeper

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
I guess this confirms that Interplay is kinda desperate for money ... I mean, selling a cut-down FS2 under a different name? That's just wrong. Especially if they charged the same price as the full FS2.
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Offline Scotty

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
It came free with Logitech joysticks.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
I guess this confirms that Interplay is kinda desperate for money

This was over 8 years ago.
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Offline CP5670

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
I guess this confirms that Interplay is kinda desperate for money ... I mean, selling a cut-down FS2 under a different name? That's just wrong. Especially if they charged the same price as the full FS2.

Actually, that was pretty common practice back then. Many games had these OEM versions that were something between demos and full games, which were bundled with computers and various hardware. They weren't sold by themselves.

But yes, I have heard of Interplay doing this kind of thing more than once in the past.

 

Offline BloodEagle

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
I guess this confirms that Interplay is kinda desperate for money ... I mean, selling a cut-down FS2 under a different name? That's just wrong. Especially if they charged the same price as the full FS2.

Actually, that was pretty common practice back then. Many games had these OEM versions that were something between demos and full games, which were bundled with computers and various hardware. They weren't sold by themselves.

But yes, I have heard of Interplay doing this kind of thing more than once in the past.

A very annoying practice. I actually thought that I had the full version of Descent for ten years before I bothered to read the fine print at the end.  :ick:

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
A very annoying practice. I actually thought that I had the full version of Descent for ten years before I bothered to read the fine print at the end.  :ick:

Yeah, in some cases it was very difficult to tell the difference between the OEM and full versions if you hadn't played the latter. Incoming was a good example of this. All of the Descent games had OEM versions, but they at least had different names and branding than the retail ones.

 
Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
Star Fleet Command: Nuetral Zone wasn't OEM tho, u could actually by that one in the shops and they got into a LOT of trouble because of that.
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Offline Stormkeeper

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
Well, no monetary damages aside, this could really destroy Interplay. Bethesda taking it to task in such a public manner could further tarnish its name such that it won't be able to sell games anymore.
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Offline headdie

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Re: Bethesda sues Interplay
companies like interplay dont die they just get broken down and sold off only for the name holding chunk to buy itself out in 5 years time and start the cycle again, just look at Atari, they died, disappeared off the radar for 5 years then stormed back onto the scene
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