Interplay vs. Bethesda: Who Owns Fallout

January 21, 2011 -

The battle in the court of public opinion continues between Bethesda and Interplay concerning who actually owns the rights to Fallout. Bethesda's Peter Hines claims they own it outright, while Interplay president Eric Caen claims that the rights will revert to them if Bethesda fights them on its MMO project.

It's a battle of he said he said on two different news outlets. On Eurogamer Caen says that if Bethesda doesn't allow them to make a Fallout MMO the rights to the franchise revert back to them after one more game. Meanwhile on VG247 Bethesda VP of PR Pete Hines states rather emphatically that his company owns Fallout:

"We own the rights to everything Fallout. The licence is ours. Fallout belongs to us. That’s what I’ll clarify," he told the outlet during a phone conversation yesterday.

Caen claims that it's bad news for Bethesda if Interplay doesn't get to make its MMO:

"We sold the Fallout IP to Bethesda in exchange for a certain amount of cash and the right to do the Fallout MMO," he said. "If they refuse to let us do the game, then the sale of the IP is terminated, and they will be allowed to do only one more Fallout, 5. But in that case, the IP will come back to us, and of course, we will complete our work and release Fallout MMO."

According to a GI.biz report, part of Interplay's agreement with Bethesda stated that it had to "commence development and secure adequate funding by April 2009." Bethesda sued the troubled firm for trademark infringement and breach of agreement in September 2009.

The agreement sounds like it's very murky and will have to be sorted out . Both Hines and Caen admit that the matter will end up being decided by a court.


Comments

Re: Interplay vs. Bethesda: Who Owns Fallout

I did some digging on the selling of the Fallout IP. Interplay has been pretty scummy already on their deal. So far they have broken many of the agreements as it is. I am hoping the courts punish Interplay hard :(

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James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

Re: Interplay vs. Bethesda: Who Owns Fallout

If you go and read the history of Interplay and Titus Software which is the other company the Caen brothers owned, it's pretty clear that these guys are scumbags who led their companies into death spirals, left all the employees high and dry and are trying their best to keep Interplay on life support so they can keep drawing paycheques. I've no doubt it was their intention to sell Fallout and after it succeeded, launch this stupid stunt to try to steal it back from Bethesda. The Caen brothers are scam artists who should frankly be in jail (or at the very least broke) for what they did to those companies and their employees. I hope (and expect) they get crushed in court and lose their shirts as they deserve to.

Parallax Abstraction
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
www.digital-lifeline.ca

Parallax Abstraction
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Re: Interplay vs. Bethesda: Who Owns Fallout

They were licensed back the rights to do an MMO but there were certain conditions they had to meet to retain those rights. That's what this whole legal battle is over - whether those conditions were met.  If Interplay loses this legal battle it'll be because in the judgement of the court, they didn't meet those conditions, in which case it's been some time since I read the agreement but I don't remember reading anything about the rights to Fallout reverting back to Interplay if they weren't able to meet those conditions.

The agreement granting them the MMO license is a separate agreement from the purchasing agreement so it's not even a case of "part of the purchasing agreement wasn't met so the whole thing is invalid." That just seems like a bizarre assertion to make.
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I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.
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