Did somebody say lawsuits? They keep flying, from TV networks, creators of classic game franchises and people who don't even own the rights to the films they're suing over. Plus, Nintendo just says no to phones, and is Microsoft's next battlefield the tablet wars? Let's kick off the week in news!
More quake recovery news: Marilyn Manson, who would fit in very well to the Visual Kei scene himself, has pledged support to the earthquake relief fund started by X Japan's Yoshiki. Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi is among the artists creating works in support of the victims, and a group of seiyuu hosted a fundraising event in Akihabara for TM Revolution's Stand Up Japan charity (which also hosted a telethon over the video streaming service Nico Nico over the weekend).
Why Nintendo Isn't Making a Phone: It's the direction that a lot of people say they should be going in, but they say not only are they not making their own phone, they're not even going to license their software for third-party platforms. They're citing high carrier costs as the reason they don't want to get into the phone market. HUGE, HUGE mistake, and words that they will probably end up eating – especially since at least two smartphone makers are working on Android phones that would offer glasses-free 3-D gaming. Meanwhile, the Xperia Play, aka the PSP Phone, is already on sale in Europe, but North American release dates have yet to be set.
Original Madden Developer Sues for Millions in Royalties: Robin Antonick, a contracted developer who co-developed the game with Trip Hawkins for EA in 1986 (yes, kiddies, there were video games back then), claims that the current game still draws on work he performed and he hasn't been paid royalties since 1992. Given that the current Xbox and PS3 incarnations of Madden are a far, far cry from the original game (seriously, they look so much like a real football telecast that it's scary), EA is claiming Antonick doesn't have a leg to stand on – but the very fact he's filing this suit may bring more originators of long-standing franchises out of the woodwork. (It's a very good time to go into Geek Law, folks).
How a Zune Tablet Can Beat Apple and Android: This analyst thinks Microsoft's strategy in killing the Zune player and announcing a long delay in a Windows 7 tablet interface just may be that they're working on a tablet of their own – and that they still have a shot to be a major player in the Tablet Wars despite their late start. If they do get involved in the tablet sweeps, given their success in the gaming arena, I'd say they have a pretty good shot here – I'd definitely bet on developing software for a Zunepad (or, XPad) before the Playbook.
Music Industry Will Force Licenses on Amazon's Cloud Player, Or Else: Cloud Drive and Cloud Player were launched without securing additional music licenses. This is going to force the music industry to either take legal action against them or let other cloud music services get away with the same thing. Given that cloud music is the up-and-coming horizon of the Everything Wars, look for this to be a huge Geek Law battlefield – we know how the music industry reacted to .mp3s.
Fox Gearing Up With Fight With Time Warner Over iPad Streaming: Their free iPad app allows subscribers to stream more than 30 channels, and Fox is crying foul. (This is far from the first Fox vs. cable company battle, by the way – anyone remember the brouhaha that kept the baseball playoffs and the first couple of games of the World Series off Cablevision televisions?) Fox is also not the first network to complain – Time Warner has had to remove several cable channels from the service as well. But they are the first of the major networks to object. And here, folks, we have another fertile area of Geek Law, as the cable companies will keep putting out these streaming services in an effort to stave off Kill Your Cable, and the channels will keep fighting back.
Studio Suing BitTorrent Pirates Doesn't Own Rights to the Movie: We carried a link the other day about indie filmmakers who are filing class-action suits to stop people from BitTorrenting their films – many doing this not in the name of protecting their rights, but to finance their next movies. Well, it turns out that the studio most prominently featured in Wired's article – Camelot Distribution Group – no longer owns the rights to "Nude Nuns With Big Guns." (Yes, that's the title. I expect a Rifftrax of it any day.) They were taken over by a credit financing company, it seems, which now owns the rights. A big, fat "whoops" – and a lesson in making sure you know what you're doing before firing off a lawsuit.
Marvel Casts Heroes Actors As North American Iron Man, Wolverine Voices: In a case of knowing their audience, Marvel has cast two former cast members of the beloved-by-geeks (at least in its first season) series in the North American version of its Iron Man and Wolverine animes: Adrian Pasdar as Tony Stark and Milo Ventimiglia as Logan. This shows how seriously they're taking this new venture – and we're wondering if their celebrity casting will become a trend for other high, high-profile anime (like, for instance, if they were to do a new dub of Sailor Moon.)
New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Comic Coming: And it's said to be only "fire one" in an effort to restart the franchise for a new generation. Given how many geeks grew up on the Turtles, this relaunch will offer plenty of marketing and franchising opportunities, so this is good news for everyone.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Should Microsoft take the plunge into the tablet market with a ZunePad or XPad?