http://www.gamesetwatch.com/oscar.jpg Here's a fun bit of Gamasutra-related hilarity - a little earlier this week, our UK news editor David Jenkins posted a [since edited] news story about a new Japanese game award show, and compared it to the Academy Awards in the news title - or rather, cited a GameSpot article which translated a Japanese media report which quotes someone as comparing it to the Academy Awards.

Anyhow, we got a very polite email this afternoon from a legal-type person: "I am writing on behalf of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As you will no doubt be aware, the Academy annually presents an Award of Merit statuette, commonly known as the OSCAR, to people who make outstanding contributions to the motion picture industry... As a result of the long and continuous use of the Academy Marks in conjunction with the granting of awards, the Academy has gained valuable goodwill and strong recognition in these trademark in the U.S. and worldwide."

So what was wrong? "A Gamasutra article... has recently come to our attention. The headline reads [well, it did before we edited it!] "Japan Plans 'Game Academy Awards'." It refers to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to create an award for the country’s video games industry. Regardless of whether or not this ACADEMY AWARDS reference was derived from an outside news source, it is nonetheless concerning to the Academy. We consider the use of the ACADEMY AWARDS name in Gamasutra's headline as damaging to our rights by tending to dilute the ACADEMY AWARDS mark's unique identification with the Academy or incorrectly implying these awards are in some way connected with or endorsed by the Academy."

So yes, they asked us to change the headline. It's an old story, the change doesn't break the meaning in any way, and we didn't really feel like arguing with Uncle Oscar, so we did. Here's our reply: "Well, I find this one a bit of a puzzler, because as you rightly note, the original comparison was made not by us, but by the Japanese newspaper the Yomiuri Shinbun, whom we are merely citing. Nonetheless, we're tickled that you noticed, somewhat understand your point, and we're happy to amend the article, which we have already done." Has this post made you see the Oscars differently? If so, the Academy's lawyers have done their job!