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Monday, June 11, 2007

The Church Against Sony

Entertainment company Sony may be the target of a legal action by the Church of England, for featuring Manchester Cathedral in a computer war game.

The controversial game is Sony Playstation’s ‘Resistance: Fall of Man’, which features gun battles inside the cathedral without permission from the Church.

The game has been highly popular, with more than a million copies being sold, however, the featured shoot-out in the cathedral shockingly kills hundreds of soldiers in a virtual version of the holy building.

The Church of England has called for an apology from the game makers, and has called for the game to be removed from shops, saying that if this is not done it would consider legal action.
-- Church of England to Sue Sony for Illegal Gun Fight in Cathedral

OK, for one thing I am so tired of everyone's solution to a beef they have with games being to remove them completely. It's idiotic and honestly a huge sign of the fact that games are still considered the second class media of culture. I mean this isn't even calling for a boycott, as most organizations would do against say, a film - but rather the insistence that whatever problem said group has with said game is valid enough that nobody on the planet should be allowed access to it.

Which of course - is never true. Here we once again have a group capitalizing on a game for self-promotion. Does anyone actually, honestly believe that a shootout in a game depicting a futuristic alternate reality will lead or hinder gun control here in the real world? That's like saying Children of Men will lead to less birth control because hey - it's not like the world is having babies anyway.

This constant myth that gamers are unable to discern fiction from reality is insulting at best.

I'm not entirely sure what legal ground the Church has here - this is definately a dark little corner of copyright/trademark law. I would think that Manchester Cathedral being something of a public space would mean that in some sense the likeness is in the public domain - but I'm not sure. So the flip side here is that if they have any kind of legal traction when it somes to trademark protection, I suppose I can understand in some small sense the stance.

But it is still a lousy and irrational way to take the stance.

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