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Bethesda's preliminary injunction: Interplay is breaking Fallout canon

Ausir June 8, 2011 User blog:Ausir
Bethesda vs Interplay

Bethesda's previous motion for preliminary injunction against Interplay, in their ongoing litigation over Fallout Online rights failed, but it looks like they are not ready to give up on that front. They have just filed yet another motion asking for preliminary injunction that would prevent Interplay from continuing the development of the Fallout MMO.

Despite Bethesda's motion to dismiss Interplay's counterclaims on the basis of Interplay supposedly being only allowed to use the name "Fallout" and nothing else being denied, Bethesda has not abandoned this claim, and still repeats all of its arguments in support of such ruling in the new documents. However, despite Interplay allegedly not being able to use any elements of the Fallout setting, at the same time Bethesda complains that Interplay's game is not consistent enough with Bethesda's Fallout canon and thus is undermining Bethesda's work.

Here's a quote from the heavily redacted court filing:

Although it is unnecessary for establishing the requirements for preliminary injunctive relief, Interplay intends to use Bethesda’s copyrighted materials with the intent to undermine Bethesda’s reputation and the reputation of Bethesda’s award-winning Fallout 3 game. The original Fallout game takes place circa 2161, on the west coast of the United States, in a postapocalyptic world destroyed eighty-five years earlier by nuclear war. Fallout 2 also is set on the west coast of the United States and takes place approximately 80 years after Fallout (c. 2241). When Bethesda created Fallout 3, Bethesda continued the post-apocalyptic tradition of Fallout and Fallout 2. However, Bethesda set the game on the east coast of the United States approximately 35 years after Fallout 2 and 200 years after the nuclear war (c. 2277). Documents recently produced by Interplay reveal that Interplay intends to REDACTED . This places the Fallout MMOG story line REDACTED . Interplay’s documents show that, in its Fallout MMOG, Interplay intends to REDACTED . Specifically, Interplay’s documents state: REDACTED

(...)

In other words, Interplay intends to use the copyrighted Fallout artwork and backstory, which is undisputedly owned by Bethesda, to undermine the plot-line of Bethesda’s awardwinning Fallout 3 game. Obviously, this is intended to harm Bethesda’s reputation and that of the Fallout 3 game. Game players who follow the Fallout history will be confused and confounded by the sequence of events created by Interplay in its MMOG. For the Court’s convenience, the pertinent sections of the Interplay documents quoted above are reproduced in the images below.

Bethesda also has issue with Interplay's Fallout Online website, which was not around yet when the first preliminary injunction was filed:

Interplay also has reproduced and distributed, and continues to reproduce and distribute, Bethesda’s copyrighted works (and/or their derivatives) to the public at large through the web site www.fallout-on-line.com. The flash animation and content of this website include infringing copies of Bethesda’s copyrighted works, including copyrighted character art such as “Vault Boy” and weapons art such as “Brother of Steel Power armor.” The animation’s opening sequence with the “Please Stand By” test pattern is copied from the opening scene of Bethesda’s Fallout 3 game. The carvings on the desk of “The Master Lives” and “♥Harold” depicted in the animation are plain and clear references to “The Master” and “Harold,” characters from the backstory of the previous Fallout games.

The post will be updated with more details in a matter of minutes, so stay tuned.

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