Gabe and Tycho poke fun at the Little Big Planet controversy in their latest cartoon.
Catch all of the panels here...
Gabe and Tycho poke fun at the Little Big Planet controversy in their latest cartoon.
Catch all of the panels here...
The Islamic musician whose Qur'anic references in a Little Big Planet soundtrack tune caused a delay in the game's release has defended his lyrics to MTV Multiplayer. Singer Toumani Diabate (left) explains:
It is quite normal to play music and be inspired by the words of the Prophet Mohammed... in my country in Mali. You can see this on television all the time.
MTV Multiplayer also has a more in-depth explanantion of the "offending" lyrics, provided by Diabate's record label. In this context they sound entirely inoffensive:
Moussa Diabate, adapts a traditional Malian song about the death of a much-loved hippopotamus who has been shot by a white hunter. In the original song... the griots of the village sing about how difficult it is to be separated from your loved one in death.
The singer adapts this song... to lament the death of his brother Mustapha, who died very young as a child. Moussa draws on the excerpts from the Koran to console him & help him overcome his bereavement. In this way, his intention... is a good one. He is not blaspheming or taking the Koran out of context. He is trying to draw strength from the words of the Prophet.
...‘Every soul shall have the taste of death...
...All that is on earth will perish...
Meanwhile, Reuters wonders whether, in the wake of its second faith-based controversy in as many years, Sony needs to hire a religious advisor. Perhaps more to the point, Reuters asks:
Should companies simply avoid any reference to Islam at all?
GP: Is that really what the Islamic world wants, to become a zone of avoidance for pop culture?
In the wake of Friday's surprising news that the release of Little Big Planet would be delayed following the discovery of two verses from the Qur'an in one of the game's soundtrack songs, SCEE has issued a press release regarding the updated launch schedule for its terroritories:
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is pleased to confirm that LittleBigPlanet will start to appear in stores no later than the week commencing Monday 3rd November in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, on a country by country basis. We appreciate all the enthusiasm surrounding this much anticipated title and we would like to thank PlayStation fans for their support and understanding.
The Foo Fighters entertained the crowd at a private Fallout 3 launch party last night in L.A. and Entertainment Weekly reports that frontman Dave Grohl seemed close to dedicating Everlong to Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.
It was just 10 days ago that the band issued a statement protesting the use of their tune My Hero at McCain/Palin rallies.
Playing for several hundred videogame enthusiasts gathered to celebrate the much anticipated launch of the post-apocalyptic Fallout 3, the Foo frontman... [praised] the open bar at the downtown Los Angeles gig several times, and... toasted gamers everywhere.
"I'm proud of you guys," he said. "You're living the American dream. You get to drink free booze and play f----n' video games. Who knows, maybe someday you can be vice president!" While readying his guitar for the song "Everlong," Grohl segued from the V.P. reference into a near-dedication: "Speaking of that, I'm gonna dedicate this one to all the..." And then flinched. "Never mind." Whoa. To all the...Republicans? Several people in attendance certainly wondered if that was what the singer was thisclose to doing. Tongue-in-cheek perhaps?
The Little Big Planet launch won't go off next week as originally scheduled.
As reported by Joystiq, Sony is delaying LBP worldwide due to concerns about Qur'an references in a single song file. SCEE issued a statement on the situation:
During the review process prior to the release of LittleBigPlanet, it has been brought to our attention that one of the background music tracks licensed from a record label for use in the game contains two expressions that can be found in the Qur'an. We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologise for any offence that this may have caused. We will confirm the new launch date shortly.
Joystiq reports that the tune in question is Tapha Niang by Grammy winner Toumani Diabaté. From Joystiq's report:
From the brief research we've done (um ... Wikipedia), we have yet to find evidence to suggest "Tapha Niang" (or any Toumani Diabaté production for that matter) has been criticized for possible religious offenses prior to today's development. In fact, a profile published by Taipei Times describes Toumani Diabaté as "a devout Muslim, with his own prayer room next to his office."
GP: SCEE, still smarting from the Resistance / Manchester Cathedral controversy, is likely being extra-cautious here in an effort not to step on anyone's religious toes.
Thanks to: GP reader Josh Thompson for the tip!
UPDATE: Just got this e-mail with reviewer info from Sony:
Please be sure to check out the latest PlayStation blog post regarding LittleBigPlanet for the PS3. Feel free to move forward with publishing reviews and features, but note that SCEA will begin shipping LittleBigPlanet to retail in North America the week of October 27th.
UPDATE 2: Kotaku has a translation of the offending passages:
Every soul shall have the taste of death... All that is on earth will perish...
UPDATE 3: Here's the official PlayStation blog announcement. Doesn't add much, although some of the commenters are outraged.
Rapper T.I. (real name: Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.) urges the younger generation to pay attention to the presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain - even if it means putting video games aside for a while.
As reported by People, T.I. commented on the upcoming election:
When I'm speaking to young people and they say, 'Who you voting for?' I say, 'Well, what you think's wrong with the country? What problems do you need to be fixed? OK, then cut your PlayStation off and turn to CNN and listen to these people.
Listen to each of the candidates' platforms, and whoever you think is speaking passionately and intelligently and will do the things you think need changed, that's who you vote for.
In the last of this week's three-part series on video games, the CBS Evening News offers an interview with Aerosmith's Joe Perry, who talks about how Guitar Hero is changing the music business.
A Jamaican man who claims that he co-wrote a pair of reggae songs featured on one of Grand Theft Auto IV's radio stations filed suit over the issue against Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive in July.
The suit was dropped yesterday in federal court in Manhattan.
In his complaint, Linton White alleged that he co-wrote Last Night with David Brooks, aka Mavado. White also claims co-authorship of Bullet Proof Skin with Rodney Basil Price, who performs as Bounty Killer. Like the plaintiff, Brooks and Price are also from Jamaica.
Both songs named in the suit appear on the playlist of GTA IV's reggae-themed Massive B Sound System 96.9 station, which can be heard as players drive around the game's expansive setting in an assortment of virtual vehicles.
White is listed as a producer on Mavado's 2007 Gangsta for Life album, which contains the disputed Last Night track. According to the suit, White alleges that his co-authorship of the disputed songs was not added to the Liberty City Guidebook which was packaged with GTA IV:
In the... Liberty City Guidebook... [Take-Two and Rockstar] designate D. Brooks and B. Konders as the writers of "Last Night." ...[Take-Two and Rockstar] designate D. Brooks and R. Price as the writers of Bullet Proof Skin." No designation is made of plaintiff as a writer.
Neither Brooks, Price or Konders are named as defendants. In his complaint, White demanded $150,000 plus punitive damages and other fees. In court filings, attorneys for Rockstar and Two-Two argued that White's claims lacked merit. It is unknown what - if anything - White received.
For its part, Take-Two refused to comment on the matter. White's attorney, Anthony Motta of New York, declined to say whether or not there had been a settlement.
He may have lost out on the Republican party's vice presidential nod, but Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently had a memorable ride in an Xbox-equipped van inadvertently stolen from the band Everclear.
As GamePolitics has previously reported, Gov. Pawlenty signed Minnesota's 2006 "fine the buyer" video game law into effect. The measure was later deemed unconstitutional by a pair of federal courts.
As reported by TwinCities.com:
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty spent Sunday riding around Pennsylvania in a stolen van. The theft was inadvertent; his Keystone State driver was told to pick up the keys to the vehicle in which he was to shepherd the governor at the Holiday Inn in Allentown, Pa.
"He did exactly what he was told, except it was the wrong Holiday Inn and the wrong van," said Pawlenty... The van the driver picked up was a tricked-out touring vehicle, complete with an LCD video screen, an Xbox and video games and an iPod-ready, six-speaker stereo system.
The van retrieved by Pawlenty's driver was full of beer cans and had been used to to transport Everclear to their hotel. Ironically, the band was enroute to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
When the driver mistakenly showed up at Everclear's hotel, he was given the keys to the van by front desk personnel. Later, when the van turned up missing, owner Sharky Laguana reported it to local police as stolen. When the mystery was finally solved, Laguana said:
I've had a lot of crazy things happen in our vans. I don't know that this is even the craziest thing that's happened in our vans. ... This is the funnest thing...
GP: Actually, the funniest thing would have been for the police to spot the "stolen" van and perform a takedown on its occupants.
Recently, GamePolitics reported that Xbox and Rock the Vote would be teaming up on voter registration at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
Here's some brand-new video footage of Guitar Hero being played on a big screen at a Rock the Vote DNC booth. We presume the game is running on an Xbox 360.
If the heathen lyrics in Guitar Hero or Rock Band are starting to warp your mind, you may want to check out a new Christian-themed guitar game.
Grab the guitar and play along with top Christian bands! Shred those riffs or blast the bass…you add a unique sound to the solid Christian rock. But watch out: if you can't keep up, the artists will take a break and stop the music. Crank it up and try again - you'll soon be rockin' with the best while praising the Lord! Order the second guitar and jam with a friend!
Guitar Praise: Solid Rock sells for $99.95. An extra guitar for two-player games is $69.95.
South Africa's Independent Online reports on yet another attempt to link media violence to the real deal.
The IO reports that Cape Town-based watchdog group the Family Policy Institute has petitioned South Africa's government to recall all music containing violent lyrics and all video games with violent content.
FPI spokesman Errol Naidoo made the request, expressing the group's concerns over potential negative influences on young people. The move comes in the wake of the samurai sword killing of a 16-year-old by a schoolmate who allegedly dressed himself like Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison (left).
Prefering not to wait for any type of inquiry, Naidoo requested the recall of the games and CDs "pending the outcome of the investigation". From the Independent Online:
Naidoo cited the case of two US teens who were convicted of murder in 2003 after stabbing a friend 20 times and slitting his throat after listening to Slipknot's song Disasterpiece.
He also cited the case of Bangkok teenager Polwat Chinno who had killed a taxi driver by punching and stabbing him after playing the computer game Grand Theft Auto. "Police believe he was acting out a scene in the violent video game," Naidoo said.
He said there was no guarantee that removing violent music and games would prevent violent behaviour, but that it would "provide added peace of mind for families".
CNet's Declan McCullough reports that Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) has an anti-consumer track record when it comes to technology.
In the past the Democratic VP nominee-apparent has stood with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) on copyright issues.
From the Cnet report:
[Biden] has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders... ranks toward the bottom of CNET's Technology Voters' Guide, [his] anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP [encryption]...
Biden became a staunch ally of Hollywood and the recording industry in their efforts to expand copyright law. He sponsored a bill in 2002 that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs...
A few months later, Biden signed a letter that urged the Justice Department "to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks." Critics of this approach said that the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, and not taxpayers, should pay for their own lawsuits...
All of which meant that nobody in Washington was surprised when Biden was one of only four U.S. senators invited to a champagne reception in celebration of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hosted by the MPAA's Jack Valenti, the RIAA, and the Business Software Alliance. (Photos are here.)
McCullough reports that Biden has "steadfastly refused" to answer Cnet's questions on his tech voting record.
GP: It's ironic that Biden has chosen to portray himself as an intellectual property rights champion. He has twice been outed for plagiarizing.
As GamePolitics reported earlier this week, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the lobbying group which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, announced that it has hired Kenneth Doroshow to serve as the organization's General Counsel.
Doroshow was formerly employed as Senior Vice President, Litigation and Legal Affairs for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). During Doroshow's tenure the RIAA gained a reputation for employing heavy-handed legal tactics against individual file sharers.
I guess we may have to rename this blog "Gaming Industry vs. The People" some day, as we have just learned that Kenneth Doroshow -- the RIAA executive who was supposed to debate the statutory damages issue with me back in March, but who chose to avoid that subject and instead recounted his opinion of the facts in Capitol v. Thomas, and who later inserted some paper he'd written into the transcript of the conference instead of allowing his talk to be reported -- has left the RIAA and joined the ESA (the "Entertainment Software Association").
If he accomplishes for game manufacturers what he accomplished for the recording industry, I would say the industry's prospects are bleak.
Beckerman also reports that Doroshow defended the $222,000 verdict levied against single mother Jammie Thomas (seen at left) for file sharing mp3s:
At Fordham Law School's annual IP Law Conference this year, [Beckerman] had a chance to square off with Kenneth Doroshow, a Senior Vice President of the RIAA, over the subject of copyright statutory damages. Doroshow thought the Jammie Thomas verdict of $222,000 was okay, he said, since Ms. Thomas might have distributed 10 million unauthorized copies. [Beckerman], on the other hand, who has previously derided the $9,250-per-song file verdict as 'one of the most irrational things [he has] ever seen in [his] life in the law', stated at the Fordham conference that the verdict had made the United States 'a laughingstock throughout the world.'
GP: For more the Jammie Thomas case, click here.
There’s this broad consensus that the Virginia Tech murders had something to do with violent video games. When you actually read the coroner's inquest report, video games are mentioned twice. The first is his mother saying he never wanted to play those video games. The second is his roommate saying, "We always thought he was weird because he never wanted to play video games." Yet it’s still a [popularly held] truism that violent video games must be responsible for Virginia Tech.
GP: As GamePolitics has reported in the past, the official commission investigating the Virginia Tech rampage found only one game that the killer played - Sonic The Hedgehog.
It's a safe bet that Meredith Vieira wasn't hired to replace Katie Couric based on her singing ability.
On this morning's program, Vieira along with Today Show cohost Matt Lauer, weather guy Al Roker and correspondent Natalie Morales played Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer.
Living on a Prayer lost.
GP: Thanks to reader Adam Muller for the heads-up!
In a commentary for WorldNetDaily, singer Pat Boone frets that video games are part of a social upheaval which will cost America its very soul:
[While the presidential race takes place], there's another campaign in full swing, one perhaps even more crucial, one that will certainly determine the future of our country. One that will determine the direction and morality of our young. One that quite possibly will cost America its soul.
It's the campaign, in the world of entertainment to absolutely throw off every restraint, abandon every moral guideline, exploit every taboo and be free to portray and present anything human beings are capable of. In prime time and full color and without any regard for the sensibilities of parents or ministers or censors, or anybody else. On TV, in movies, in music even and especially in video games.
Target? Our young, virtually every age from grade school through college. The next generation – our future.
It seems that Boone serves on the board of watchdog group the Parents Television Council, a frequent critic of video game content. And while he singles out video games as especially worrisome, he mentions nary a one in his column, focusing instead on TV shows like Gossip Girl, Nip/Tuck and Sex and the City.
The good news is that Boone has a suggestion. If modern media content troubles you, just wind the clock back, oh, 70 years or so and listen to old radio shows:
Many adults, fed up completely... are doing the logical thing: tuning out and turning off. My friends Ed and Jean Lubin, whose three kids are mostly grown and on their own now, just told me they're spending their evenings out on their patio listening to old radio shows! Classic shows like "The Green Hornet," "The Lone Ranger," "Fibber McGee and Molly," "Abbot and Costello," "Jack Benny," dramatic and comedic and music shows from a time when entertainment was just that – entertainment...
GP: Gosh, he hardly sounds out of touch at all.
What's really ironic is that on the album pictured here, Boone sings lounge lizard arrangements of tunes like Alice Cooper's No More Mr. Nice Guy. Now, when Boone still actually had something of a career in the mid-70's, Alice Cooper was regarded by the mainstream much as Marilyn Manson is today.
According to the BBC, Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher (left) has suggested that violent video games may play a role in Britain's wave of knife crimes.
Speaking at awards ceremony in London, Gallagher said:
[It's a] pity scumbags are taking over our streets. In my day, status was trying to be somebody, do you know what I mean, not trying to kill somebody?
I was up in Liverpool for a week a couple of weeks ago and even on the news there [knife crime is] every single night. I don't even know what [Conservative Leader David] Cameron or [Prime Minister] Gordon Brown are going to do about it...
People say it's through violent video games and I guess that's got something to do with it. If kids are sitting up all night smoking super skunk [cannabis] and they come so desensitised to crime because they're playing these video games, it's really, really scary.
Electronic Arts has apologized for inserting the wrong song where Northern Ireland's national anthem should be played in soccer title UEFA Euro 2008.
While Northern Ireland's proper anthem is God Save the Queen, the game mistakenly plays The Soldier's Song.
As reported by MCVUK:
A regional newspaper in Northern Ireland reports that fans reacted with ‘surprise’ to hear the anthem represent their national team in the game... EA spokesperson Shaun White apologised for the error...
That apology has been welcomed by NI Sports Minister Gregory Campbell. He said: "Any apology on this matter is most welcome. Obviously there's has been a lack of knowledge on the makers' part and hopefully it will be changed as soon as possible."
A Los Angeles film production company sued Nintendo on June 12th, alleging that the console manufacturer used a tune from the movie True Romance in a commercial for the GameCube.
The suit, filed by Morgan Creek Productions in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff on June 18th.
The 1993 film was directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino.
The song in question is You're So Cool, composed by Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer. The suit claims:
Sometime within the past three years, [Nintendo] used the sound recording of "You're So Cool" without authorization in a television advertisement for the Nintendo "GameCube."
Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that [Nintendo] also used the sound recording at issue herein in other forum in order to generate sales for their product.
It is unknown why the suit was dismissed less than a week after being filed. GamePolitics is seeking comment from the plaintiff's attorney as well as Nintendo.
The complaint does not make reference to a specific use of the song by Nintendo. However, this 2004 post from the Toon Zone forums makes reference to You're So Cool being used in an ad for Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.
UPDATE: Also, courtesy of comments left by GP readers Orange Soda and Anonymous, we've added the video of the commercial which apparently sparked the copyright claim.
Read the lawsuit here.
If the background music for a recent McCain campaign commercial (see video) seems familiar, there may be a good reason.
The piece featured is, in fact, from EA's Medal of Honor: European Assault – undoubtedly the first time music from a videogame has been used in such a manner.
As it happens, though, this has caused the game's composer no little chagrin. Christopher Lennertz, an ardent supporter of Barack Obama received many calls and letters regarding the campaign ad.
So how did Lennertz's music find its way into McCain's commercial? The composer told GamePolitics:
It turns out that there was a mix-up as to which company controlled the rights to the music. The McCain campaign did nothing illegal. I do think however, that they should have checked to see if the creators of content that they are using to promote their views are in fact in sync with them…
Lennertz also released a statement on the McCain ad:
I have been receiving many emails and calls for the past week regarding the use of my music in a national television ad for John McCain's presidential campaign. The ad is called "Safe" and prominently features a track entitled "Casualties of War" that I wrote for Medal of Honor: European Assault. While I do not control the ownership of this piece, I am extremely disappointed its placement in this commercial. I did not authorize the use and was not made aware of the situation. Regardless of party affiliation of support, I would like to think that someone who believes in the American ideals of business and creativity like Sen. McCain supposedly does, would not want to disgrace or inflict any hardship or ill-will on the artists who create in this country by using their works to promote products and agendas which with they disagree.
As an American, I have the utmost respect and admiration for our troops and all of their sacrifices. In fact, much of the inspiration for my music in this piece came from having a grandfather who served this country honorably as an officer in World War II. I respect John McCain for his service to this country, both in the military and in Washington, but I do not and have never supported his candidacy nor his agenda for this country. I am dismayed that my music has been used to promote his platform and even more disappointed that a candidate who claims to be the best voice for American entrepreneurs and business owners in this troubled economy so flagrantly ignored the most basic values and tenents of copyright and intellectual property. What, I ask, does such an action or oversight say about Mr. McCain's regard for the intrinsic value of American products, services, or creations? Where does the line get drawn? Is it reasonable to use my music to sell tobacco, alcohol, or pornographic materials? Is it reasonable to use it to promote a religion in which I do not believe? Is it legal?...yes, perhaps, is it ethical?...I don’t believe so. Is it American?...definitely not by my standards.
As an artist, business owner, and patriot, I proudly support Senator Barack Obama for the Presidency of the United States of America...
GP: This special report provided to GamePolitics by: Alex Van Zelfden
After bowing out of the Republican presidential race, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee retired to Little Rock where he accepted condolences from President Bush and decompressed by playing Rock Band.
As reported by the National Journal's Hotline blog:
Huckabee spoke to President Bush and many of his supporters... before hosting his entire campaign staff at his home for lasagna and video games...
Huckabee said he originally intended to cook ribs for his staff, but that they would have required nine hours to cook. So several tins of lasagna ably substituted. Staffers gathered in the basement to play Rock Band and hold a final team meeting.
As GamePolitics reported last September, Huckabee has also been known to try his hand at Guitar Hero. He's actually a pretty darned good real-world guitarist as well and plays in a band called Capitol Offense.
GP: Yes, that's a Guitar Hero controller... No time to PhotoShop one from Rock Band...