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Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit

GamePolitics reports that Mortal Kombat film producer Lawrence Kasanoff is suing Midway over the intellectual property rights to the fighting game. According to Kasanoff's legal filing, he was instrumental in development of the franchise over the past 16 years. Here's a bit:

The Mortal Kombat series, as it stands today, is far more a creation of Threshold and Kasanoff than of Midway. Midway's creative input was almost entirely limited to the videogames. On their own, the videogames provided only minimal back-story and mythology, and only flat, "stock" characters... Kasanoff and Threshold were responsible for virtually all of the creative input that went into turning the videogame concept into a multimedia enterprise.

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16. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 27, 2009, 04:32 Shadowcat
 
Surely all they could feasibly claim any rights to are derivative works of the characters and stories from the films which were not already present in the video games?

And if any such works subsequently appeared in later games, and were not contested, then I suspect they might even lose the ability to complain about that either? But IANAL, so damned if I know, really.

The quote is simply ludicrous when taken at face value, at any rate.
 
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15. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 26, 2009, 20:08 Kxmode
 
Mortal Kombat is derivative work of Street Fighter 2  
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14. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 26, 2009, 19:10 shponglefan
 
These two took a famous video games franchise and made some movies based upon it - one good, if somewhat cheesy; the other appalling - and yet that somehow entitles them to the IP? It's not like they took the franchise in a radically new direction or re-envisaged it - the films were no Battlestar Galactica jobby. By that logic Batman would be owned by Christopher Nolan and Frodo by Peter Jackson. It's utterly retarded.

They're not claiming they own the original IP. They're claiming they own the derivative works and have exclusive license to produce derivative works based on the original Midway IP.
 
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13. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 26, 2009, 16:17 Lit_Reflex001
 
Right. But is his name really in the credits for the original Mortal Kombat?

Let's see. [url=]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1041828308478121580[/url]

Well, his name is nowhere in the credits. However, one of the mo-cap actors (scorpion I think) was mentioned twice (under the special thanks section).

It says specifically that all the design was done by Ed Boon and John Tobias.

Nowhere at all does it mention this Kasanoff character, or anyone other than those two in any way related to the development or design of any characters.

And those MK movies sucked.

This comment was edited on Jun 26, 2009, 16:20.
 
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12. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 26, 2009, 12:10 Kxmode
 
I think some of you fail to understate the weight of this situation. If Lawrence Kasanoff did indeed add depth to the characters for the film treatment, as well as creating Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and Scorpion, then I think they should pay him.  
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11. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 26, 2009, 08:17 Lit_Reflex001
 
Those two were part of nothing more than another butchery of an extremely popular and profitable VIDEO GAME EXPERIENCE.

Their movies were horrible. Yeah, let's make a Mortal Kombat movie without any blood or gore at all and aim it towards 13 year olds!

They deserve nothing.

This comment was edited on Jun 26, 2009, 08:19.
 
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10. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 25, 2009, 22:46 theyarecomingforyou
 
Anyway, I don't know enough about IP law to judge whether they would have a case, but some of the complaint seems reasonable assuming the original agreement is as they claim.
These two took a famous video games franchise and made some movies based upon it - one good, if somewhat cheesy; the other appalling - and yet that somehow entitles them to the IP? It's not like they took the franchise in a radically new direction or re-envisaged it - the films were no Battlestar Galactica jobby. By that logic Batman would be owned by Christopher Nolan and Frodo by Peter Jackson. It's utterly retarded.

Seriously, though. If you look at the music industry then you'll see that you can completely change the style, feel and arrangement of a song and it still entitles you to diddly squat - it's the same song. Adding a few tired cliches to some computer game characters for their transition to film certainly does not merit the ownership of them. This guy needs a good beating.
 
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9. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 25, 2009, 22:44 Longswd
 
Oh man, talk about a bloated sense of entitlement...what a complete douche nozzle.
 
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8. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 25, 2009, 22:44 Masa
 
Don't forget Mortal Kombat: Conquest...

Wasn't there a particularly bloody MK anime released around that time? I might be thinking Street Fighter (which, IIRC, wasn't that bloody or even violent as far as anime can go...) or something along those lines.

This comment was edited on Jun 25, 2009, 22:44.
 
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7. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 25, 2009, 21:26 PHJF
 
Don't forget Mortal Kombat: Conquest which had a one-season run.  
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6. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 25, 2009, 21:19 Caveman
 
Aren't like half the cast from the films dead or something?  
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5. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 25, 2009, 20:45 .Drifter
 
The dude worked on two movies, one a moderate hit the other a flop, both based on mythology created by the game designers, and now that both movies are pretty much forgotten but games are still being made, he claims to be the reason for the success?
If he actually WINS this case, then I'll have to create a fan made story about Star Wars that is better than the actual story line of the last three movies (shouldn't be that hard to do) and then claim I own the rights to Star Wars because I fleshed out the mythology and helped make it a multimedia success!
Wait a second though, couldn't any of the authors of any Star Wars novels claim the same thing though? Especially Timothy Zahn? Lucas better watch out . . .
 
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4. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 25, 2009, 20:43 shponglefan
 
Leaving aside the egotisical grandstanding of that quote, the actual legal complaint is simply case of Midway trying to sell the MK IP and Threshold feeling this somehow violates their exclusive rights by way of existing agreement to that IP for the purposes of derivative works. They are also claiming that they own copyright to the derivative works and everything contained therein. For example, by developing backstory and giving more personality to the "stock" MK characters, they have created independently copyrightable characters of their own.

Anyway, I don't know enough about IP law to judge whether they would have a case, but some of the complaint seems reasonable assuming the original agreement is as they claim.
 
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3. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 25, 2009, 20:20 Masa
 
Kasanoff and Threshold were responsible for virtually all of the creative input that went into turning the videogame concept into a multimedia enterprise.

Back in the day, when I was whooping on some 14 year-old-kids' asses with MK, a movie was an afterthought. And certainly this douche's name wasn't attached to it.
 
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2. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 25, 2009, 20:14 Aero
 
Wow. Just, wow. I'm speechless.
 
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1. Re: Mortal Kombat Film Lawsuit Jun 25, 2009, 19:57 theyarecomingforyou
 
Ha. Ha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ha. Ha. HAHAHAHAHA!!! Ha. Ha. HAHAHA! Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. HAHAHAHAHA! Ha. Fucking hell, that's hilarious!  
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