Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of
WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps.
Back at the beginning of the year, I wrote a piece for The Lawbringer called The power of licensing
, including a brief account of what licensing is and what effects and benefits licensing your product has on brand recognition and where you make money on your product. Licensing is essentially granting someone the right to make and sell stuff with your intellectual property on it. Usually, you're not allowed to sell "stuff," in the loosest sense of the word, with images, artwork, characters, and so on that are not yours. Ownership rights are a little weird to grasp.
Back in November, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick made some comments before the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic
concerning whether the game would be profitable
at all, given the amount BioWare is paying to Lucas for the rights to even make a Star Wars
game. Kotick's comments rang a very special bell in my brain, prompting me to think about the licensing contract that BioWare and Lucasfilm have over the Star Wars
franchise, as well as the reverse Blizzard model in which the entire franchise is owned in-house.
George Lucas was a pioneer in the realm of movie merchandising, keeping the rights to all of the Star Wars
characters and creating one of the most profitable toy and promotional brands in the history of entertainment. The Star Wars
franchise is so incredibly far-reaching and part of our society that my younger brother knew that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father years before he ever saw the movies. He was, however, very surprised at the whole Luke and Leia sibling deal. The reach, power, and control that Lucas exerts over his licensee partners is second to none.
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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer