Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
PlayStation (Games) Government Sony Politics

Church Threatens Legal Action Over Sony Game 244

An anonymous reader writes "The Church of England is threatening legal action against Sony over the game Resistance: Fall of Man. The game features a shootout in Manchester Cathedral, and the Church claims that Sony did not ask permission to use the interior of the Cathedral in the game. The Bishop of Manchester called the game 'highly irresponsible' due to the history of gun crime in the city. Sony denies the charge — a spokesman said 'We believe we have sought and received all permissions necessary for the creation of the game.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Church Threatens Legal Action Over Sony Game

Comments Filter:
  • bang bang (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 09, 2007 @07:03PM (#19454053)
    First off, I am Christian and do not care for Sony.

    The game is art. There should be no legal repercussions for Sony choosing to tell a story a certain way. If you do not like it, do not buy it. Protest if you want, so others know you do not like it. But, every adult should be free to choose for themselves if shooting in a church is inappropriate in a game.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Teifion ( 1022083 )

      First off, I am Christian and do not care for Sony.

      The game is art. There should be no legal repercussions for Sony choosing to tell a story a certain way. If you do not like it, do not buy it. Protest if you want, so others know you do not like it. But, every adult should be free to choose for themselves if shooting in a church is inappropriate in a game.

      I also am a Christian but I'm pretty Neutral on the matter of Sony. I agree with the following comment

      The Bishop of Manchester called the game 'highly irresponsible' due to the history of gun crime in the city.

      But feel that there is no harm in using a Church building in a game, for a start, it is just a Building and secondly, if the game isn't saying that Christianity promotes gun crime then I fail to see how it's a problem for the Church.

      • Re:bang bang (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Saturday June 09, 2007 @09:01PM (#19454779) Journal
        The Bishop of Manchester called the game 'highly irresponsible' due to the history of gun crime in the city.

        I call the Church of England "highly irresponsible" due to the history of gun crime in the city. After all which entity has had a greater influence ove rthe citizens of Manchester, this video game which has been out of less than a year, or the Church of England which traces roots back to the 3rd century at least. Maybe the Bishop should tend to his violent flock instead of abdicating responsiblity to a video game.
        • by donaldm ( 919619 )
          The Church of England was actually started between 1330 and 1340 when Henry the VIII of England was excommunicated by the Pope. See the following URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VIII_of_Englan d #Major_Acts_in_the_Kingdom [wikipedia.org]. You are spot on when you state "Maybe the Bishop should tend to his violent flock instead of abdicating responsibility to a video game".

          It is very sad that after the game has been out over seven months that the Bishop of Manchester Cathedral is now upset using words such as "highly
    • Re:bang bang (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jarjarthejedi ( 996957 ) <christianpinch&gmail,com> on Saturday June 09, 2007 @07:15PM (#19454155) Journal
      You have a point however, unless I'm mistaken, a Church is private property and there are some laws having to deal with using private property items without the owners permission in a video/game.

      Either way Sony really should have asked for permission, if only to be kind. You can be sure that, if any game included a model of, say, the White House, without permission it would be attacked venomously. Why should a church be denied that? I'm not saying that Sony should pull the game back or that churches should have special rights in cases like this, only that, if you're going to use a famous religious site in your violent FPS, you should at least ask for permission.

      - Plays lots of FPSes and is religious, also doesn't care for Sony, has nothing against violent ones, recognizes that many people, and even more religious people, do have something against them.
      • Re:bang bang (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 09, 2007 @08:12PM (#19454515)
        How old is this church? Odds are it's imagery is public domain. Besides, it's the Lord's house, let him go down to the courthouse and file Himself if he cares so much.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The church is private property. That doesn't necessarily mean that every mention or depiction of the church follows it.

        And also, no, you don't need permission from anyone to use a model of the White House. The best imaginable argument against it would be security concerns (which wouldn't apply for the church), but that argument falls flat: the interior organization of the White House isn't a secret. Hell, the thing's been there for over two hundred years. I suppose that you could argue that it is in bad tas
        • I, for one, relish the thought of being a bad enough dude to save 3D Ronnie.

          But yeah, seriously. Ask permission to use the white house in a game? Who exactly would you ask? I'm pretty sure that an argument could be made that it belongs to all americans, as its continued upkeep is, as far as I know, taxpayer funded... (Much as that thought pains me, as of late...)
      • Re:bang bang (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Saturday June 09, 2007 @11:19PM (#19455389) Homepage Journal
        Either way Sony really should have asked for permission, if only to be kind. You can be sure that, if any game included a model of, say, the White House, without permission it would be attacked venomously.

        Let's explore that a bit. Is a video game different from a movie? Did 20th Century Fox get permission to simulate the destruction of the White House for Independence Day? I think the White House was "destroyed" in Amerika too, but I don't remember any legal wrangling. One key difference is that the White House is government property, and government property is often not given intellectual property rights in the same way private enterprise might. Intellectual property of a centuries-old building basically doesn't exist that I'm aware.

        I can see why people don't like it and might complain about it, but it sounds to me that the validity of a legal case is shaky. I think it's possible to derive the interior of a building from photographs without any sort of invasive acquisition methods, and as far as I know, in most cases, the photo belongs to the photographer.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tim C ( 15259 )
          Did 20th Century Fox get permission to simulate the destruction of the White House for Independence Day?

          I don't know. Did they? I actually wouldn't be at all surprised if they did run the idea past the White House press office.

          On the other hand though it doesn't really matter, as the White House is most definitely a public building. I suspect Manchester Cathedrel is actually owned by the church, and therefore private. (Remember that just because a building is open to the public, doesn't make it a public bui
      • Re:bang bang (Score:5, Insightful)

        by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Saturday June 09, 2007 @11:31PM (#19455453)
        "Either way Sony really should have asked for permission, if only to be kind. You can be sure that, if any game included a model of, say, the White House, without permission it would be attacked venomously."

        Wrong games *have modelled the whitehouse* and many other landmarks (or pieces of them) without reprocussions, even if only in parts or in 2D, take the old 2D game "Bad dudes" for instance, the whitehoue was featured there. I think people take the whole "private (and/or) intellectual property" law regarding monuments and such way too seriously.

        Are we goingto start to sue for road modelling textures, some random pictures of someones house or cities downtown skyscrapers and trees? At some point the whole property thing is out of control, private property is there for convenience of solving complex problems, it's not there to abuse the public with silly crap like this.
      • There was a Duke Nuk'em add-on pack called "Duke it out in DC" which took place among many DC landmarks, including a fully modeled White House.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Rasgueado ( 1027760 )
        From my understanding, Sony did not design this game. Everyone likes to blame Sony for all the problems in the world (including myself), but this game was made by Insomniac. Sony did approve of the game for distribution, but they certainly had nothing to do with the creative process. Comments such as "What were Sony thinking when they made this" are quite irresponsibe in my opinion...
    • But, every adult should be free to choose for themselves if shooting in a church is inappropriate in a game.

      You might usefully begin by asking why the Lancaster County Amish tore down the school where their children were murdered. If you want to use a church as a stage-set in your game then build a goddamn model.

      • A church in a video game is a model. In this case it's a 3D model of a real place, but it's not quite in the same league as, say, someone shooting a violent scene for a movie in the actual church.
    • by teridon ( 139550 )
      Why do you feel you have to state your religion? Do you think that somehow it makes your point more valid? Or is it to demonstrate how fearless you are to state an opinion that might appear to go against your chosen faith?

      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )
        Inronically, by delcaring his/herself a Christian I am assuming the have less synpathy to the Church.

        Most people I know that identify as "Cristian" are strongly against organzed religion. Of course the Church of England is probably higher on their list of acceptable than the Catholics though.
    • There should be no legal repercussions for Sony choosing to tell a story a certain way.

      This would be akin to Germany suing video game makers for showing the Brandenburg gates in a WWII game.

      Otherwise it appears that the Church has so little faith in their own message that they have to use a secular government to enforce their views.
      • by vux984 ( 928602 )
        Otherwise it appears that the Church has so little faith in their own message that they have to use a secular government to enforce their views.

        I'm sorry, which government would you have them use?

        And what's the issue here anyway? The desire not to have violent video games set inside their private property without their permission? Is that really unreasonable?

        Property owners have a long history of suing when pornographers and moviemakers in general set their unsavory 'stories' in their properties without per
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sesshomaru ( 173381 )

        Otherwise it appears that the Church has so little faith in their own message that they have to use a secular government to enforce their views.

        Ok, this is possibly a hard concept for an American to grasp, but the British government is not secular. The Church of England is essentially a branch of the British Government. Bishops of the Church get seats in the House of Lords (see Lords Spiritual [wikipedia.org]. Here's more information, take special note of their finances (Church of England [wikipedia.org] and this article on State [wikipedia.org]

  • We believe we have sought and received all permissions necessary for the creation of the game.
    That's where they got it wrong. I believe the game's development was the result of natural selection!
  • by Xest ( 935314 ) * on Saturday June 09, 2007 @07:26PM (#19454245)
    Seriously, asking slashdot users to make a choice between Sony or religion?

    It's just not a choice you can ask slashdot users to make, it's like one of those "If you had two kids and they were in a burning building and could only save one, which would you save?" kind of questions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      It should really be more like, "If you had two kids and you hate them both and want them to burn and they were in a burning building and you had to save one or else you would get arrested and tossed in with Bubba, which would you save?"
    • Seriously, asking slashdot users to make a choice between Sony or religion?

      Well, it isn't. It's about Sony showing pictures of the interior of a house, and the owner says Sony didn't have permission to do that.
      It just so happens that the house in question is a church.
    • Seriously, asking slashdot users to make a choice between Sony or religion?
      Tell me about it. Both demand a ton of money from you with promises of how what they're selling will change your life and make you a better person but, at the end of the day, you're still the same schlub and are left feeling like a tool.
    • by seebs ( 15766 ) on Saturday June 09, 2007 @10:27PM (#19455147) Homepage
      More like "if you had two kids you really hated, and a burning building, and could only push one in..."
  • by Gossi ( 731861 ) on Saturday June 09, 2007 @07:27PM (#19454251)
    I've no idea why, but this is the lead front page story on news.bbc.co.uk, and was the lead news story on the last summary I saw on TV! I can't even figure what what law the church could sue Sony with in the UK.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They could go for copyright infringement. They seem to be the norm these days.

      (Of course I'm joking, but something tells me that they might consider it seriously).
    • by Marcion ( 876801 )
      Well the C of E is still a massive shareholder, so it could start by dumping the Sony stock and encouraging members to do the same. The remaining few million active members of the national church are relatively wealthy, so consumer boycotts could be devastating if 3 million rich people avoided the PS3, Blue-ray, Vaio etc. However, I doubt the C of E would be that bothered, there will probably be a compromise by this time next week.
      • so consumer boycotts could be devastating if 3 million rich people avoided the PS3, Blue-ray, Vaio
        I thought people were already avoided those products. They don't need religion as a reason to avoid them.
      • Three million?!

        That sounds to me like the approximate number of people who self-identify as Anglican via the census. How many of those do you think actually go near a church more than twice a year? (Hint: in the same census, 390000 people self-identified as Jedi [bbc.co.uk]!)

        Actually likely impact of Anglican wrath on Sony sales: approximately zero.
    • If we assume that Sony went inside the church to film/photo it for the modellers to use, they could be charged with trespass on private property if they didn't have permission to film, or if they were misleading about what the footage would be used for. Most churches are private property open to the public - they generally allow photography freely by individuals for personal use (sans flash in some cases), but commercial photography is generally a no-no without explicit permission.

      If the filming took shots
      • by joe 155 ( 937621 )
        you are right about trespass because even if they were given permission to enter the church can still argue that the permission which was given did not extend to that activity (and most judges follow the C of E anyway, so there is probably a bias...). A guy was arrested for a "9(1)a" and "b" burglary when he went into his fathers house and nicked the TV - this rested on the idea that he was a trespasser because his father would not have wanted him to do that, and as such he didn't have real permission to en
  • by GammaKitsune ( 826576 ) on Saturday June 09, 2007 @07:29PM (#19454263)
    This is one article in which I'll be irritated if someone tries to make it a religious thing. IANAC (I am not a Christian), but this is really no different than any other, non-Christian group complaining about the use of their building for an ostensibly violent purpose. Whether or not it's right for this Church to go after Sony, it would be nice if this weren't turned into a religious issue.

    I'm not holding my breath, though.
    • by Marcion ( 876801 )
      Well don't forget that this is the Church of England, so it has a slightly different view of sacred space than an evangelical church or whatever.
      • To be fair now, there CoE is a pretty broad church, so you'd get a range of views on 'sacred space,' with quite a few vicars (including most of the ones I know) saying there's so no such thing as sacred space since we worship the person of Jesus, rather than having to to a temple to worship God.
    • IAAC, and I agree. This isn't about religion at all.
  • There are a number of problems here that Sony just haven't thought about:

    1. Why use a real church?
    2. Why use a real church in a city with a high gun crime problem?
    3 .Why use a real church in a city with a high gun crime problem, in a FPS?
    4. Why use a real church in a city with a high gun crime problem, in a FPS, without asking permission?

    Obviously they just aren't thinking straight. I'm quite amazed that a big company like Sony just didn't think things through. What did they expect to happen? The church t
    • Well damn I guess we should never use landmarks or other remarkable structures in alternate reality fiction ever again....

      You are kidding me right? Please tell me you are joking.
      • People like you are the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes.

        in the world beyond Slashdot a signature line like this doesn't inspire confidence in a post defending the first-person shooter.

        • Well it was a mild rewrite of how the complaints department of the Sirius robotics cybernetics division were a bunch of jerks who should be the first ones against the wall when the revolution comes and then a freak accident involving a encyclopedia galatica fell back in time proving the were... oh fuck it Im not in the mood to go look it all up again.
    • Have you ever just thought that maybe nobody thought twice about it? You make it sound like it was an intentional move to undermine the foundation of the church by placing a cathedral in a game.

      Using your logic, it would be wrong to put the GM building in a game. Detroit has the second worse crime rate in America. Does that mean the GM building is off limits to anyone to use in anything? (including movies, books, photos, etc.)
    • 4. Why use a real church in a city with a high gun crime problem, in a FPS, without asking permission?

      Gun problem? Did Manchester have over 300 murders last year like many of our cities have in the US?

      I seriously doubt that.

      Secondly, the FPS was about a war in which the battle was waged through the church and not a murder sim like GTA.

      I can't tell you how many Churches were used as key battle points in WWII on both West and Eastern fronts. Churches usually provided good places for covering fire and observat
  • Catholic Excommunication. ;)
  • Private property? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dekortage ( 697532 ) on Saturday June 09, 2007 @08:18PM (#19454549) Homepage

    FTA:

    David Wilson, a Sony spokesman, told The Times newspaper: "It is game-created footage, it is not video or photography. "It is entertainment, like Doctor Who or any other science fiction. It is not based on reality at all. Throughout the whole process we have sought permission where necessary."

    Manchester Cathedral is private property, correct? It belongs to the Church of England? If so, and if you were going to show the interior of Manchester Cathedral (or any private property) in Doctor Who (or any television show or movie) I believe you have to seek permission of the property owner. Of course, if Sony were publishing a novel about it, I doubt the Church of England would care much -- but Sony has specifically aligned the game with video-based works rather than written fiction.

    • Re:Private property? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sean D. Solle ( 723177 ) on Saturday June 09, 2007 @10:21PM (#19455131) Homepage
      > Denied the use of a real London Underground station and tunnels,
      > designer David Myerscough-Jones created his own highly convincing replica.
      > Indeed a letter of complaint was apparently later received from London Underground
      > alleging that filming had taken place on their property without permission
      > - a true testament to the merits of Myerscough-Jones's work ...

      ... on a 1968 Dr. Who episode [bbc.co.uk] ;-)
    • But it's not the interior of the Manchester Cathedral. It's a model of the cathedral. How is that different from a painting or some such? Is it really illegal?
    • Manchester Cathedral is private property, correct? It belongs to the Church of England? If so, and if you were going to show the interior of Manchester Cathedral (or any private property) in Doctor Who (or any television show or movie) I believe you have to seek permission of the property owner.

      IANAL but I'm pretty sure that requires a trademark or a copyright.

      And I seriously doubt the church has either of those.
  • I haven't played R:FoM, but it's a FPS game, yes? In which you run around a virtual world shooting various critters and such, yes? The key word here is "virtual" -- Unless Sony went through the Cathedral with a camcorder and actually used real footage of the real cathedral in the game, I don't see how they're "using" the cathedral for anything at all.

    Would it be illegal if I drew a picture of the inside of the cathedral and posted it online? How 'bout if I carefully modelled in in 3D? And did an animate
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hazee ( 728152 )
      You try using some imagery from the latest Spiderman film then, and see how far you get...

      I hope the church really sticks it to Sony on this one. Sony, along with all the other movie studios, has made such a huge fuss about "image rights" and the like, that they really deserve to have the book thrown at them when they decide they shouldn't be bound by the same rules.

      The hypocrisy stinks.
  • by Liquidrage ( 640463 ) on Saturday June 09, 2007 @11:48PM (#19455539)
    for I too am an asshole that believes freedom ends at the point where I don't like what someone does.
  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Sunday June 10, 2007 @01:53AM (#19456077) Journal
    This story becomes even more ridiculous once you've played Resistance. And I'm from Manchester, originally (although I moved out of the hell-hole to London as soon as I was old enough to get a job). I therefore feel I'm fairly well qualified to comment on this.

    From the article, you would guess that Resistance is some kind of GTA game. You know, one of those where you sleep with a hooker then run her over (yes, yes, I know that this isn't how most people play GTA). If this were the case, I could possibly, just about, see where the Church was coming from here, even if I wouldn't agree with them. After all, Manchester does have a fairly serious guns and gangs problem, particularly around the Moss Side area (arguably even worse than London's from the guns point of view, although I understand things have improved somewhat in the last few years). Hell, the school I went to was about a mile from Moss Side, and while the school itself was pretty civilised, being private, you saw some pretty shocking things in the streets around it.

    However, Resistance is nothing like GTA. The best description I could come up with would be a blend of a WW2 shooter and Halo. The setting is essentially alternate-world WW2, with many of the human weapons feeling relevant to the period, while the "alien" weapons are deeply Halo-inspired. Most of the game is spent playing through blasted and burned-out city-scapes. This includes the Manchester section, which pops up about 1/4 of the way through the game. For any Englishman with even an ounce of historical knowledge, the appropriate context for the game is obvious; the Blitz (yes, I know Manchester wasn't heavily hit, but I feel the point still stands). If the game is basing itself on any cultural reference points, they aren't the "cruisin' the hood, pimpin' my hoes, shootin' da pigs" cliches of modern gang life, but rather the fear of invasion and the shock of seeing familiar land-marks destroyed that characterised life in the UK's cities during WW2. So while there is still an outstanding question regarding taste, it is a question that could be levelled against every other WW2 shooter out there and a question which seems to have been conclusively answered by now with a resounding "meh".

    It's disapppointing that nobody talking about this in the issue appears to have actually played the bloody game. Personally, I loved the UK setting (and very much enjoyed the game itself), particularly as some of the final missions in London see the player passing not a million miles from where I live now.
  • by Mr_Blank ( 172031 ) on Sunday June 10, 2007 @08:31AM (#19457603) Journal
    Sony has been sued for similar things before, and won. Remember the Times Square was used in the first Spiderman flick? http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/04/14/203207 [slashdot.org]

    The verdict...

    From http://news.com.com/2100-1023-948441.html [com.com]

    "Spider-Man" can alter Times Square
    By Lisa M. Bowman
    Staff Writer, CNET News.com
    Published: August 5, 2002, 12:28 PM PDT

    Upholding the rights of filmmakers to superimpose digital images on real-life buildings in their movies, a federal judge in New York has thrown out a suit filed by billboard and building owners against the creators of the "Spider-Man" movie.

    In a three-page ruling issued last week, Judge Richard Owen questioned claims that altering the billboards in the movies violated trademarks and amounted to trespassing.

    Several billboard and building owners, including Sherwood 48 Associates and Super Sign, filed suit in April against Sony and other companies involved in making and distributing "Spider-Man," claiming their prime Times Square space becomes less valuable if they can't guarantee customers exclusive rights both on and off screen. In the "Spider-Man" movie and trailers, ads for companies such as Cingular Wireless and USA Today have been superimposed over those of Samsung and NBC.

    The judge disagreed with the billboard owners' claims, however, saying the digital alterations are protected free speech. "What exists here is for artistic purposes a mixture of a fictionally and actually depicted Times Square...this has First Amendment protection," Owen wrote.

         
  • Wrong POV (Score:2, Informative)

    Does anyone else realize the motives in game for "shooting in the church" in the Manchester level? You are wiping out the aliens that had taken the church and were using it as a stronghold to launch attacks against the human race. The player character is sent in to kill all of the alien troops so the surviving humans (esp. local English troops) could take cover there and set up a base of operations. Sony was using that particular church in that particular location as a bastion of safety for a mostly Engl
  • Compare... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MutantEnemy ( 545783 ) on Sunday June 10, 2007 @02:56PM (#19459825) Homepage
    Compare and contrast with this story. There are some conceptual similarities, at least: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/02/18 39251&from=rss [slashdot.org]

"Oh dear, I think you'll find reality's on the blink again." -- Marvin The Paranoid Android

Working...