While at E3 this year, I dove into an impressive undersea world using the new Oculus Rift headset. Simultaneously, I thought about the gallons of hot water that Palmer Luckey, the company’s founder, must be swimming in now that ZeniMax Media has filed a lawsuit against him, alleging, among other claims, copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. 
It also occurred to me that anyone working in a creative or technical field could easily find themselves in a similar situation.
Right of Publicity in Video games
Earlier this year I discussed Keller v. EA, a right of publicity case  that was appealed by EA to the Ninth Circuit Court, primarily on the basis of a First Amendment Right to use NCAA player likenesses in their college football games. The Ninth Circuit issued its opinion yesterday, holding against EA, in what may prove to be a fatal and perhaps final blow in EA's self-proclaimed right to use sports figure likenesses in a game without express permission.
The First Amendment states, in part, that Congress shall make no law…. abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.
Silicon Knights v. Epic Games
Earlier we posted West and Zampella v. Activision and Gate Five LLC v. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, the first two of what we consider the 5 Most Influential Video Game Lawsuits of 2012.
The discussion continues here with Silicon Knights v. Epic Games, which, so far, has ended badly for Silicon Knights.
Countdown: The 5 Most Influential Video Game Lawsuits of 2012, Gate Five LLC v. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
Gate Five LLC v. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
Continuing our discussion of influential video game lawsuits (see part one here), we consider Gate Five LLC v. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, which pits a small video game developer against superstar power.
Used with permission. Shutterstock.
West and Zampella v. Activision
The video game industry isn’t a cult fad anymore. It’s a multi-billion worldwide enterprise, and along with its success comes legal risk to those who create and deliver the games that feed this ever-growing, ever-changing industry. As we enter a New Year, it’s important to learn whatever lessons we can from the noteworthy video game conflicts of 2012.
So here's number 5: West and Zampella v. Activision, which began in 2010 and finally settled this year.