Ubisoft: Take Out The Comic Or We'll Sue
The SomethingAwful website was hit by a Cease & Desist letter signed by Ubisoft. The French publisher apparently had a big problem with one of the comics posted on the site's forums. The comic had Jade Raymond (the producer of Assassin's Creed) as main character and was anything but a pleasant surprise for her.
November 19, 2007
Ubisoft has recently learned that the extremely offensive pornographic image (the “Image”) accessible at [...], a copy of which is attached hereto, is being used on your website[...]. Such Image and misuse of the ASSASSIN’S CREED mark constitute trademark infringement, dilution, and unfair competition in violation of common law trademark rights, the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§1125(a) and 1125(c), and state law.
Furthermore, the Image’s blatant, vile, and unauthorized misappropriation of Ms. Raymond’s name and likeness, and your conduct in using the Image on your Site, have caused immeasurable harm to Ms. Raymond’s reputation and career, and constitute an egregious infringement of Ms. Raymond’s personal rights and privacy rights. The Image and your conduct also constitute an egregious unauthorized commercial exploitation of Ms. Raymond’s rights of publicity in violation of, without limitation, her common law rights of publicity and California Civil Code §3344..”
In return, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka, the webmaster at SomethingAwful replied:
“Basically Ubisoft is threatening to sue me because somebody here posted an offsite link to a comic somebody else drew,[...] I don't know where this image is located, I do not know who drew it, and the only vague connection to this site is because somebody posted a link to it on these forums.”
The image has been removed since then, thus pleasing Ubisoft. However, the company's legal threat did more harm than fixed things. The news is now wide-spread all over the web and and the comic has since then been posted at numerous locations, far beyond Ubisoft's legal reach. On short, the only thing Ubi managed to do is to make it famous.