CNN: Church Officials Want $$$ From Sony Over Resistance Flap

June 11, 2007 -
CNN is now reporting that Church of England officials want Sony to pay up for its unauthorized use of Manchester Cathedral in PS3 shoot 'em up Resistance: Fall of Man.

Church official met today to discuss the controversy, which The Very Reverend Rogers Govender (left), Dean of Manchester Cathedral, described as "beyond belief." Official also drew up a list of demands. According to CNN these include:
1.) Church leaders want the game removed from shop shelves or modification of the section of the game to remove the Cathedral interior.

2.)They also want an apology from the company for using "realistic photo quality" images of its building without permission.

3.) Govender said the church would also seek a donation to be used in its work with young people. He did not specify how much the company would be asked to pay.

Govender urged Sony to get in touch with the church within the next few days to discussed the points raised by church leaders, and hoped the two parties would be able to find a "mutually satisfactory conclusion."

The Times has more.

GamePolitics is running a poll on the Cathedral controversy, located on the right sidebar. Be sure to vote!


Huh. Not only does he look like Jesse Jackson, he acts like him too.

Yeah. I scent a rat here.


Oh you know how it is these days. Churches need the money for sexual misconduct settlements.

So he's black and a reverend, and thus looks like Jesse Jackson?

Just checking . . .

I'm usually pro video game, but sony screwed the pooch with this one. It IS a violent game, it WILL attract attention, and they should have covered their bases. The pulling from the shelves is a bit much, but they will pay up if they want this to go away.

My .02, the ones Jack wants taken away


So this is just a corporate shakedown?

This is interesting. Sony said they got permission from the church "where appropriate," or something like that, didn't they? I wonder where and when exactly they did so.

I thought he looked like George Clooney in Syriana. Jesse Jacksons eyes look like they are going to pop out of his skull.... he scares me.

Sueing Sony over this is quite stupid. This is a public building. Since when do public buildings have copyright ?

Even so, RTOFM is not the first game where you can shoot people in a church.


It is amazing how a 'for the public' institution becomes 'private property' when the money looks good.

Heh, misspelled R: FOM

I question is the Church has any authority here. It's a publically owned building and there is no slight on the religion here directly so legally Sony have nothing to worry about.

However, it was stupid to think they could do this in the current climate without at least a little controversy. Infact I would suggest they did this SPECIFICALLY to cause a fuss. I mean imagine for a moment it was a Mosque and not a cathedral; they are both religious buildings, and the fact this is Church of England shouldn't mean they are fair game.

I don't think they should be paying up or removing the game for this to go away, but I do think they need to show some common sense and at least make an apology.

(NB. I would describe myself as Agnostic, definitely not religious)

The churches are no better than greedy politicians and "big business". Always have their hands out for money and never seem to get enough despite the huge tax break that they got. Well, I suppose they always need more to help support their "little boy habit" they got, you know those can be pretty expensive.

" 1.) Church leaders want the game removed from shop shelves or modification of the section of the game to remove the Cathedral interior.

2.)They also want an apology from the company for using “realistic photo quality” images of its building without permission.

3.) Govender said the church would also seek a donation to be used in its work with young people. He did not specify how much the company would be asked to pay."

The responses should be:

1. Sony asks the Church officials to not overreact in such a manner. The game has been on sale for several months, there have been no shootings (alien invader or otherwise) in the cathedral since then and it is stupid to believe that this game would cause any. When they bring up Manchester's gun problem in relation to this story, it implies that Sony has a hand in the problem! Still, Sony are a lot easier to find and blame than the drug dealers and thieves who are actually responsible for the gun crime.

2. Sony (as thy have already) points out that the game is pure fantasy and escapism, and is not photography or video. While impressive, the graphics are not photo realistic, and therefore there are no "realistic photo quality" images to apologise for.

3. Sony should explain that they are in no way at fault and should not have to pay money to an organisation, simply because the sensibilities of some of it's older and more out of touch members were offended. Can I request a donation from Stephen King because I was shocked that he would describe someone being killed in a church as part of a horror novel? If I am offended by the shootout in the church at the end of Face Off, can I now demand that John Woo give me money?

To me, a "mutually satisfactory conclusion" would be the church realising their requests are ridiculous and based on ignorance and overreaction, retracting their statements and demands, and Sony agreeing to accept their apology.

I don't think you can patent several hundred-year old building layout. The CoE doesn't really have much of a case here. Especially since it's in a game about a fictional resistance to alien invasion...

Did they object to the sniper using the church tower in Saving Private Ryan? Or is the use of churches ok as long as it's "quasi-historical"?
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...


Let's see... I may not have played every FPS in existance but here's what I can remember.

Games involving either of the World Wars
Hitman 2
Half-Life 2
Resident Evil 4


Are you talking about father Gregory's monastery in Ravenholm?

The "The Very Reverend Rogers Govender" (very huh?) wants Song to apologize for having nice graphics, haha. But seriously, an iconic church in a violent game is nothing new. Not to mention fighting in churches in works of science fiction is also nothing new.

What the hell, man????

Yea, more like Organized Christian Occupational Government.

Sony owes them nothing and should pay them nothing. This is nothing more than extortion and/or blackmail. Then again, that's really nothing new to the church now, is it? They've been at this since the Middle Ages after all.

None of you nmph better look at me funny
Nmph you know my name now give me my money!

I agree that, given today's political climate surrounding games, it's perhaps not surprising that this happened. That doesn't mean I think Sony is in the wrong - I think Sony is entirely in the right and that what needs changing is not Sony's game but the political climate that gives rise to these complaints.

This is rather stupid. Im guessing no one on the church's side has even played the game, or they'd realize it involved fighting ALIEN INVADERS, not shooting kids, or whatever it is they are worried about. Load of crap, if you ask me.

I hope Sony fights this. If they don't they will only encourage the Anti-game zealots to try more such stunts. Also, no matter how hard you try, you will never tie video games to violence. A murderer played this game? So did 2 million others who didn't kill anyone! People are more violent? Not according to the FBI!

Trying to state that a game would worsen any Gun violence in a particular region is ludicrous, at best. First, you had a problem there before the game emerged, right? Then, the violence is your own region's fault. Trying to blame something else is true escapism. Second, with or without the ability to buy guns legally, people who want them will get them. Taking guns from law abiding citizens only guarantees that the criminals are the only people with them, which may or may not make the crimes worse. Third, violence has existed all over the world before video games existed. Violence is by no means a new phenomenon. History is actually the history of violence.

It may cost more to fight this, but it's far better than allowing others to follow suit. The church is a cultural landmark. Would there be a problem with using the Lincoln Memorial? The Statue of Liberty? The White House? Big Ben? The Eiffel Tower? This is frivolous, and I for one condemn the Church of England leadership. This brings Massacre Chasing to a new low.

What if your ancestors were tortured or persecuted by the Church of England if your entitled to reparations money and a public apology.

Haha, sorry let me rephrase that.

What if your ancestors were tortured and/or persecuted by the Church of England? Are you entitled to reparations money and/or a public apology?

I wouldn't be applicable but maybe some of you might have an arguement.

if this is the case and the church wins this is what you will see next.

makers of guns ak47 and the 9mm will sue game designers and sony and microsoft for allowing likeness of guns used in games.

Question: Are the designs of the architecture (in particular stained glass or anything else created specifically for the building) owned by the church they're in? Could reproducing a stained glass window from the building be considered unlawful use of an image? Or to put it another way: The Eiffel Tower may be open for use in a game, but a reproduction of an information point from the site may not. Just a thought.

The church has no case. If they do then I can sue over the persecution of Jews against the country of Spain for that little tift they had there. Or the vatican for their support of . The claim is bogus and unless SONY is run by complete cowards then there is no way this will make it past the opening arguements.

The church is not public domain. It is owned by the Church of England and as such is private property. If they were not asked for the proper permission, then they have a case. If Sony has documented proof that they got the permission to use the likeness, then the CoE has no case.

@ shoehorn
I have appropriate responses for Sony:
1) Sony should tell the church to screw off
2) Sony should tell the church to screw off
3) Sony should tell the church to screw off
Honestly I don't know the exact law but we're talking about something that was built in the 1200's sure the CoE owns the building but use of its likeness has entered into the spectrum of cultural references. If someone was to use the White House's likeness or the Great Wall of China, could those governments sue? It's a landmark, and that's that.

E. Zachary Knight Says: The church is not public domain. It is owned by the Church of England and as such is private property.

The church is also six hundred or so years old. Any copyright to reproduction of its likeness has surely run out by now..

Haha. his is proof that even the church will attempt to screw money out of the game industry through some flimsy pretext. Ah. now this is funny.

A church trying to shakedown someone for $$? Its been happening for 100s of years.


Those buildings were in Hitman: Blood Money and Battlefield 2: Euro Forces respectively. I heard no attention from either owners.

Oh...well at least they admit they want money...lmao.

Makes me wonder if the holy water was tainted ......

Just tought I'd had that a reverend (such as in this story) does not own the religious establishement he represents/preaches in. No reverend, priest, bishop, or even the pope owns the building. In Christianity (even Catholicism) the church/cathedral is owned by the community. Even historical churches.

This won't even make it to court.

Unless the writers of an article have seen or read A Clockwork Orange, nobody should use the term "ultra-violent" in their work.

Wanting $$$? Are you sure you don't mean £££?

Man, just look at that greedy smile :-p

He needs money for milk and cookies for the little boys in Manchester. That and a new camera.

While I do believe its not something tasteful that Sony did by putting the Cathedral of a high gun violence city into the game, the Church can't get money off of it. Its a scam and worst of all its by the Church.

Did Bruce Lee & Chuck Norris have to pay $$ to Rome for fighting in the Colliseum?

Can't say I agree with the CoE. Whether using an active religious space is in poor taste is up for debate, but whether use of a public landmark is kosher really isn't.

Flat-out DEMANDING money kind of defeats the purpose and spirit of the concept of donating.

I hope that if Sony actually pays these people money (which I hope they don't), that its taxed as income. Oh wait it's a church, of course it won't. This is greed, plain and simple.

Clearly they don't know how to bargain

1.) Church leaders want the game removed from shop shelves or modification of the section of the game to remove the Cathedral interior.

Unless they lose a court case or it becomes obvious they will lose a court case IT WON'T HAPPEN. Pulling it from the shelves is one of the worst possible outcomes of this fiasco, obviously Sony won't settle for it if they don't have to. Resistance is one of the best PS3 exclusives out right now (although that's not saying a whole lot), so if they pull it from store shelves they stand to lose a lot, both on the short and long term impacts. Ignoring the game itself every gamer would be understandibly angered at Sony if they did that, think about it if this was grand thefy auto would be they do it? Of course not! Gamers are going to be upset and Sony isn't exactly number 1 with gamers like they used to be. Also removing the levle would be stupid, it's there it's done it's a really good level (believe me I've played it), recalling it would be a problem, granted it would be no hot coffee but sitll a huge nuisance. Also if sony loses (doubt they will) they can do the smart thing and make the church a parody of the manchester cathedral, just call it something else, tweak the colors or the building itself a little and walaa, lawsuit proof, also maybe even add some more things like a tombstone for someone with almost the same name as the reverend and insult him in its epitaph.

2.)They also want an apology from the company for using “realistic photo quality” images of its building without permission.

Sony might, but insomniac? Remember the things Ted price said about game censorship? I doubt he'll apologize unless Sony makes hin do so reluctantly.

3.) Govender said the church would also seek a donation to be used in its work with young people. He did not specify how much the company would be asked to pay.

Depends on the amount of money, if it's less then what they would pay for court costs then maybe.

Also odds are that if they did go to court Sony will win. Let's look at the facts.

A. It's a public building
B. It's very very old
C. On the one hand we have Sony which is a very large corporation with a lot to lose versus a church. Sony might send a highly paid lawyer but what would the church use? There is no way they will be able to afford a lawyer that can match what Sony has. The stakes really aren't high enough for them to try to get a really good lawyer, Sony on the other hand has a lot to use.

To everyone,

I highly doubt Sony put in the cathedral to stir controversy, it's a closed space with a lot of room to run in and there are big ceilings with chimera coming out of them, in that level you are mostly too busy trying to save yourself from being killed by the huge swarms to worry about the fact that it's a church. It's already mostly destroyed when you get there and it's a short section. They could've done the level in something that wasn't the church but with the same layout and no one would care.

Chuma says:
[...]I would suggest they did this SPECIFICALLY to cause a fuss.

I don't think that most developers sit down and actually try and think up ways to invoke litigation upon themselves. More likely one of the developers is from the area or visited the area and in brainstorming for settings they decided it was a good setting and a visually neat environment to play in. Video games often involve all sorts of settings that exist in real life and it would be unrealistic to think they can go around and ask for an OK from any business or property owner that might be in the game. Imagine all of these games that recreate cities like New York, would you just leave out buildings that you didn't get permission to use?

I love how they make a big deal out of the fact that it is "realistic photo quality", perhaps if it was crappy graphics it wouldn't be a big deal? I don't think the church has a case, you can get blueprints for pretty much any building from town hall. They probably used blueprints, pictures, and maybe visted the place. All of this is entirely availible to the public. It would be one thing if they went on the premise and took video and pictures without permission.

You know it's kinda funny, the churches insistence that the game recreates the church in photo realistic qualitty is actually good advertisement for the game. Think about it, Sony can say that it's photo realistic quality but when someone who is trying to sue Sony claims it's photo realistic it gives more weight to the claim.
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