If you're not up to par with your American criminal history, John Dillinger was an infamous bank robber who was shot dead by the FBI in 1934. His legacy is also jealously guarded by the grandson of his half sister, who owns Dillinger LLC and will throw down the banhammer on anybody who dares to use the name. EA is one such company that dared, and is now suing Dillinger LLC for the right to name a machine gun after the robber in its Godfather games.
Electronic Arts alleges that Dillinger LLC threatened the publisher for putting "The Dillinger Tommy Gun" and "The Modern Dillinger" in Godfather and Godfather II, respectively. Dillinger LLC is said to have threatened litigation worth millions if the guns weren't removed, and EA has bitten back.
On July 22, 2009 Dillinger LLC, through its litigation counsel, contacted EA to accuse it of violating Dillinger's right of publicity and infringing upon its trademarks. Dillinger threatened EA with litigation unless it agreed to pay Dillinger millions of dollars for the game elements ...
Following Dillinger's recent conduct, EA is faced with the choice of either abandoning its rights to develop, publish and sell the works at issue or risk liability for damages.
Apparently, Dillinger LLC has a habit of pulling these sorts of shenanigans, and I hope it gets smacked down for it. Owning the rights to a real person is ludicrous, and an example of just how screwed up our legal system has gotten. Something this nonsensical shouldn't even be happening.
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