Video Game Law Blog

May 28, 1997

(This is an archived case summary.)

Three individuals modelled for Midway, which designs, manufactures, and sells video games including “Mortal Kombat” and “Mortal Kombat II”. The individuals brought an action against Midway, Nintendo, Sega and others for using their names, images and likenesses in an unauthorized way. The individuals had all signed releases, but claimed that they signed because they were told they would receive great benefits. Also, they thought they were modelling only for the coin-operated video game, not the subsequent home video, home computer, and hand-held versions of the game.

The plaintiffs lost on all counts because they had all consented to the videotaping and because the choreography and choice of movements used in the game were not jointly “authored” by the individuals.

Ahn v. Midway Mfg Co., et al.
May 28, 1997
US Dist. Ct., ND Ill
965 F. Supp. 1134
Keywords: copyright – Mortal Kombat – modelling – joint authorship
Summary by: Chris Bennett