Interplay vs. Bethesda: Who Owns Fallout

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.

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