Sony Sues Actor over Kevin Butler Character

October 8, 2012 -

Kevin Butler may once have been the face of Sony's PlayStation 3, PlayStation Network and the PSP platform as the fictitious Vice President of various made-up departments within the company division. But apparently Sony has decided to sue the man (actor Jerry Lamber) that plays Kevin Butler and his company - advertising firm Wildcat Creek - over the Kevin Butler IP. Sony claims that Wildcat used the character in an advertising campaign for Bridgestone Tires, with a "Butler-type character" wearing a lab coat testing out Mario Kart Wii.

"Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc on September 11th," SCEA’s senior director of corporate communications Dan Race told VentureBeat. "The claims are based on violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship."

"We invested significant resources in bringing the Kevin Butler character to life and he’s become an iconic personality directly associated with PlayStation products over the years," he continued. "Use of the Kevin Butler character to sell products other than those from PlayStation misappropriates Sony’s intellectual property, creates confusion in the market, and causes damage to Sony."

It will be interesting to see how this case goes, but it seems unlikely that a court would agree that Jerry Lamber is not allowed to make a living as an actor if the ad in question might have game-related elements as part of it.

We'll continue to follow this story as it develops...

Source: MCV


Comments

Re: Sony Sues Actor over Kevin Butler Character

Found a site that has the add in question, in case anyone wants to see it.

http://www.gonintendo.com/?mode=viewstory&id=184686

Re: Sony Sues Actor over Kevin Butler Character

I could only see Sony winning if there's some manner of non-compete clause in effect, and even then they might not be in the right there, either.

Re: Sony Sues Actor over Kevin Butler Character

"....make a living as an actor if the add in question might have....."

Advertisement has only one 'd'   ad

Re: Sony Sues Actor over Kevin Butler Character

Fixed.  Thanks.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Sony Sues Actor over Kevin Butler Character

So he can not do anything that resembles anything like Kevin Butler.....even if he is Kevin Butler........


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Sony Sues Actor over Kevin Butler Character

He's not Kevin Butler, though. He's Jerry Lambert. This would be like Taco Bell's advertising firm reusing the Chihuahua to sell hamburgers.

Which actually brings me to why I still think they still might lose. Advertisers like to keep rights to their characters as sort of job security. Getting rid of the advertiser then means losing or paying through the nose to keep the characters that have become associated with your brand.


Also, I feel it's really necessary to point out they're not suing the guy as an actor. They're not even suing him at all, if their statement is accurate, they're suing a company of which he is the president. He doesn't make his living as an actor, he makes his living as the president of a marketing firm.

Re: Sony Sues Actor over Kevin Butler Character

The basis of the suit is that, by the actor being in the Bridgestone commercial, Bridgestone was actually using Kevin Butler, solely because they used the same actor.  Lambert's character in the Bridgestone commercial had no name, didn't say much of anything, and I don't recall any Kevin Butler commercials featuring him with a labcoat.  As such, they really have nothing to claim they used the character on other than the actor himself.

Sony may own Kevin Butler, but it doesn't own the looks of the actor who portrayed him.  If that were true, any ad featuring a live person would mean the entity that owned that ad owned the look of the actors in them.  Imagine Blizzard being sued by CBS and Paramount Pictures over Blizzard's use of William Shatner in a commercial, just because CBS and Paramount own Captain Kirk.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Sony Sues Actor over Kevin Butler Character

Or imagine every studio that ever made a movie with Samuel L Jackson in it suing every other studio that made a movie with Samuel L Jackson in it.  They would at least have a better case for it being the same character.

Re: Sony Sues Actor over Kevin Butler Character

George Lucas suing Apple, claiming that they used Mace Windu to sell iPhones?

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.
 
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