Monday, June 11, 2007

Murder in the Cathedral

I recall reading the United States Supreme court opinion in U.S v. Standard Oil when I was in law school. This was termed by my contract prof. as "a fair fight". Perhaps an even fairer fight is about to take place in the next few days. God v. Sony.

It seems that Sony has a new game out which features the usual killings of as many people as you can shoot at (just like all their games). This game , however, takes place, not in some abandoned warehouse,but in Manchester Cathedral. The Cathedral clergy are quite upset about an animated gun battle taking place in their sanctuary and the Anglican church is making threatening noises at Sony. Calling the game "sick and sacreligious" (nothing new there) the Dean of the Cathedral has given Sony just a few more days to get in touch with them in order to make amends (or do penance, I guess).

This is one of those fights that just should not have happened. Did it never cross the mind of anyone at Sony that the people of Manchester and Anglicans in general, might be miffed at this latest gun battle venue ? Manchester, which has been suffering for about 35 years anyway, is said to have a terrible gun problem. Now we have to place this in the proper scale. I'm sure that more people get shot in Texas in a week than get shot in Manchester in a year, still I sympathize.What's to stop Sony, in version II of the game, from sticking the Arch Bishop of Canterbury in the game as one of the "targets"? Maybe have him fend off shots with his crooked staff. There could be a bonus point for shooting him. Why not have the next gun battle take place in an actual church service ? During communion, or maybe a baptism ? That would be exciting.

If Sony had any sense of history, they could have set the game in Canterbury Cathedral and made it an army of knights come to slaughter Thomas a'Beckett. At least that would be historical, and we already know what Beckett looked like (Richard Burton). I'm sure that they could make it every bit as gruesome as the shootings are in the Manchester game.

What it will all come down to, as far as the law is concerned, is whether Sony needed permission from the "owners" of the Manchester Cathedral in order to put the likeness of the Cathedral in their game. I would think that the blueprint of the Cathedral must be in the public domain by now, but I know nothing of English Copyrite law.If litigation is not available, I imagine that the church could call for a boycot of the game by all Anglicans in England. That would short Sony on their sale of games by a few dozen I guess. No, what the Church needs to do is pull out the big guns, play the God card. The big "E". It needs to threaten to excommumicate and send to eternal damnation every Sony employee and family member, and every kid who buys and plays the game.Let the Japanese chew on that for awhile. How much are they going to enjoy their game royalties while they are chained for all eternity to a lake of everlasting fire ?

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