Godfather author's estate wins game suit

Paramount ordered to pay family of Mario Puzo share of earnings from Electronic Arts games based on novel-inspired crime films.

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According to the NPD Group, Electronic Arts' multiplatform Godfather game has sold about 1.28 million copies in the US since its release in 2006, generating nearly $50 million. Now, one week after The Godfather II was postponed to later in the year, a sizable chunk of the original game's gross was awarded to the family of Mario Puzo, author of the Godfather novels.

EA artist's rendition of Paramount being told to pay up.

According to the AFP news service, a $1 million lawsuit filed last summer by Anthony Puzo on behalf of the estate of his father, who died in 1999, ended with the plaintiffs receiving an undisclosed sum. The defendant was not EA, but rather film studio Paramount Pictures, which distributed the 1972 film adaptation of Puzo's 1969 novel. Puzo the elder cowrote the screenplay of the first Godfather film, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as its two sequels, the first of which also won the top Oscar.

In his suit, the younger Puzo claimed Paramount violated a 1992 agreement to share revenues from audiovisual products based on the Godfather films with the author and his estate. Paramount had licensed the Godfather brand to EA in 2005, which developed the decently reviewed game in-house.

"We think it's a terrific settlement," Puzo estate attorney Bert Fields told the AFP. "This involved one of the most admired films of all time."

The Puzo estate wasn't the only party angered by the Godfather game. The film trilogy's director, filmmaker-turned-vintner Francis Ford Coppola, loudly voiced his disapproval after the game's announcement in 2005. However, EA had no problem hiring several of the film's stars, including Robert Duvall and James Caan, to lend their voices to the game. EA also made recordings of the late Marlon Brando before his death, but noise from a breathing tube forced EA to redo the audio with a voice actor.

Discussion

47 comments
tevic
tevic

the godfather is a great game.

-HaloHitman-
-HaloHitman-

Mario Puzo Should get some of the credit, after all it is his story, if it wasn't for him we would not have the movies or the games to act like real mobsters.

ihatespam04
ihatespam04

Fellpenet7 is right, that's pretty low of EA.

felipenet7
felipenet7

EA is so cruel didn't even let Marlon Brando die in peace they wouldn't let him die before making more money for EA! That's Evil!

Speedsta69
Speedsta69

What I want to know is what offer did Puzo make that Paramount could not refuse.

Amir29
Amir29

Hmmm... I'm not sure I understand this one. If EA got the license from Paramount, then they did the right thing, no? Isn't Paramount the sole entity responsible here?

endocrine
endocrine

Maybe if the Godfather movies did not put me to sleep so fast I might have actually cared about the opinions of ther writer and director.

WardCleaver02
WardCleaver02

"Paramount agreed to the setlement after a horse's head was found in the bed of the CEO" LOL

WardCleaver02
WardCleaver02

Good for the Puzo family. Someone needs to tell Francis Ford Coppola that no one cares what he thinks of the Godfather video game. He did not create the Godfather!

xbox4life76
xbox4life76

It's unfortunate that this type of stuff happens all the time and it makes me feel good that the Puzo family were rewarded/awarded with what Mario did, cause without the book, there would have been no game. I did play the first game and i thought it was great and of course there was room for improvement but i enjoyed it. Looking forward to the second one.

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

@eagles_band: I guess you don't understand the meaning of "estate" or "inheritance". A dictionary would work wonders.

DaMiGi22863
DaMiGi22863

To Paladin King; It wasn't EA's fault for what Paramount did, if Paramount had shared equally, then it wouldn't have been a problem. As the article indicates, "The defendant was not EA, but rather film studio Paramount Pictures"

Land-0-Funk
Land-0-Funk

awww..poor poor Paramount..they'll go under for sure now.

Paladin_King
Paladin_King

lol at EA thinking they could get away with this.

FallenAngel
FallenAngel

Greedy my ass. This was absolutely the right thing for the Puzo estate to do. The Corleone family was Mario Puzo's creation. And he had a hand in the movies' screenplays either. Of course his estate deserved a share of the cut.

TheDanwich
TheDanwich

They would have got away with it to, if it wasn't for those darn kids and their intellectual properties...

hashmanalum
hashmanalum

They used a dead man's intellectual property without the family's consent AND recorded Marlon Brando at his death bed... creepy...

jmartinez1983
jmartinez1983

Funny when people call stuff like this greedy. Like any one of you wouldn't go after money that was due to you under an agreement. Yeah, you'd just be like "Yeah, its okay, you can keep that million dollars you legally owe me, I don't mind at all." BS. You'd do whatever you had to do to get that money back.

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

@ eagles band, Dude, you do understand that just because his son "didn't write the book" that it doesn't mean that a studio (Parmount, people, not EA) has a right to go against a written agreement to use that person's intellectual property (whether they're dead or live) without permission, right? Oh wait...judging by your asinine comment, I guess not...:|. Look, just because Puzo has been dead for some time does not negate the fact that all of his intellectual properties still belong to his family--hence they have control over it. When companies or studios go against that and use the properties without the consent of the ones who have control over it it is infringement....Paramount did that by licensing the brand out to EA without informing or PAYING the family and now they have to backpay.

Cabal23
Cabal23

His family owns the rights to his book, regardless of whether they wrote it or not, they are the protectors of his estate, which includes book rights. I would protect the creative rights of my families work as well. Who wouldn't?

eagles_band
eagles_band

Puzo's son didn't write the book, he shouldn't get any of the money.

sourcerah
sourcerah

ummm it was Paramount Pictures not EA... I hope you all know that reading is fundamental

Kenji_Masamune
Kenji_Masamune

EA has not only killed gaming, they also killed Marlon Brando. Whereas he should have been home resting comfortably, EA forced him to do dialog. EA should go DIAF.

Dagamemonkey
Dagamemonkey

The movie is one of the best of all time. The game not so much.

the_requiem
the_requiem

I dunno what is sadder about that final line in article... the fact that EA recorded Marlon Brando's voice on his death-bed, or that he agreed to record his voice. Two words: Advertising Space.

JackBurton
JackBurton

Illusion Softworks' Mafia > EA's The Godfather

tidyspidey
tidyspidey

Good for the Puzo family - too many corporations get away with copyright infirngement.

Ciphas
Ciphas

They recorded Marlon Brando while he was on a breathing tube? That doesn't really keep EA under my good graces...

73X
73X

Good.

XeonForce
XeonForce

This should have minimal affect on the game. Hopefully they won't half-ass the game-play and it and let it be swept under the rug, there's some real celebrity talent with those (voice) actors. EA has shown they're perfectly capable of making games with heart.

Azwethinkweiz89
Azwethinkweiz89

Can't believe how many people here don't read the story, it's Paramount not EA!

CorruptGamerGX
CorruptGamerGX

Uh.... it was Paramount Pictures that had to pay, not EA.

Maxor127
Maxor127

Paramount deserves it. Funny how big companies worry about piracy and copyright infringement when they're the worst offenders of all.

mike828
mike828

Very few of you bothered to read the story. EA did not have to pay anything. They were not the defendants in the lawsuit.

DonTonyDeluca
DonTonyDeluca

EA will barly get affected by this it sounds like Paramounts cut will be payed as they were the defendant to this case, but i dont know if i totally agree with anthony puzo, i guess it is the familys right to the licenses of the contracts but you sound kind of greedy

glez13
glez13

Awesome, good news. I just hope the game ends up being good, so far it looks like more of the same.

Verno77
Verno77

This is definitely not going to be good for EA, especially since they are suffering from economic problems.

SoNin360
SoNin360

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Pete5506
Pete5506

Is this why the game was pushed back?

pure_impact
pure_impact

I'm glad EA had to pay up! They are so f--kin greedy! Pay what you owe EA! A deal is a deal, right?

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

"'m glad to hear this. It's nice to see someone get what they deserve based on their creation." Mario Puzo is dead. The people getting the money didn't create jack squat.

maverick_76
maverick_76

Yeah that is good news, a deal is a deal.

Mercenary848
Mercenary848

I wonder if this had something to do with it being delayed.

JunoFallon
JunoFallon

I'm glad to hear this. It's nice to see someone get what they deserve based on their creation.

gerudoman320
gerudoman320

All i now is that the GODFATHER PwnS and also Mario Puzo