August 19, 2009 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili
Likely yelling out the studio's name from a rocky cavern, actor and novelist William Shatner is confronting Shatter developer Sidhe for allegedly using his name and likeness in a game without his permission.
The Priceline Negotiator's attorneys sent a cease and desist notice to Sidhe yesterday:
"We represent William Shatner and it has come to our attention that you are planning to develop or have already developed and will soon place on the market for commercial sale a digital game utilizing our client's name and likeness as well as infringing on both Paramount's rights to the character 'Captain Kirk' and Bob Dylan's rights to the song 'Mr. Tambourine Man'. ...
Please be advised that you are to immediately cease and desist the further development, production, and or distribution of the game SHATNER or any other product that uses William Shatner’s name or likeness without first obtaining his approval."
Surely these lawyers misheard someone mentioning Sidhe's Arkanoid-esque PSN game Shatter, and confused the title with their client's name? As it turns out, they didn't completely fabricate this Shatner video game; someone else did.
Two weeks ago, New Zealand site Game Console posted a tongue-in-cheek news article claiming the Wellington-based developer was working on a skin for Shatter that would replace the game's blocks with disembodied heads resembling the actor's Capt. Kirk character from Star Trek. The site also reported that the mod would remix Shatner's cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr Tambourine Man" for the soundtrack.
And if the situation wasn't ridiculous enough, Shatner's attorneys mentioned in their message that they also notified Paramount Studios (which owns the Star Trek license) and Bob Dylan of the alleged game.
Not wishing to go to court over such a frivolous misunderstanding, Sidhe's managing director Mario Wynands sent the following response and posted the text online:
"Thank you for your email.
The GameConsole 'report' you reference is what is commonly referred to on the internet as a 'joke'. The article is a parody of our game, and has no basis in reality in that it does not in any way reflect our intentions for further development of the Shatter IP or relate to any official statement we have made relating to the game.
We have the upmost respect for Mr William Shatner and the licensing process, and if we had any intent of using rights related to either Mr Shatner, Star Trek, or Tambourine Man (which we do not) we would do so using the appropriate channels.
Please respond acknowledging your receipt and understanding of this message, and confirming you have notified both Paramount and Bob Dylan's representatives of your misunderstanding."
Hilarious. How long before actor Richard Roundtree sics his lawyers on the developer for its upcoming but unannounced GripShaft mod?
[Thanks, Matt Matthews]