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Pachter: IW Won't Get MW Rights, But Will Get Money

The Activision/Infinity Ward war is now in full swing, so it's time to see what the experts think.

Well, Wedbush Morgan industry analyst Michael Pachter thinks it would be "terrible" for Activision if Zampella and West won the rights to the franchise, but at the same time, he believes the two plaintiffs will indeed get some cash. In speaking to Critical Gamer, Pachter had this to say about the pending lawsuits:

...I think it is highly unlikely that Zampella/West will win the rights to the brand. I have not seen their contracts (I am a lawyer), but my understanding from the news commentary about the suit is that they had the rights to supervise and control modern warfare versions of the game under their old contract. What was not reported is whether these rights were granted to them as employees (likely). If so, when they are no longer employees, they presumably lose those rights.

The situation is analogous to firing the coach of a sports team, who continues to claim the right to set the the team’s line up. I don’t think that they will win any rights over the brand, but they may win some money. With 1.3 billion shares, the amount sought is only around $0.02/share, so it won’t cripple Activision."

We'll go with that, but what if it's true that Zampella and West were wrongfully terminated, as they are alleging? I think it's clear Activision fired those guys so they couldn't retain the rights to the franchise, because the publisher wants those rights back. But I'm no lawyer and I certainly don't have all the facts, so take what I say with a grain of salt. The bottom line is that we could be hearing about these lawsuits for quite some time, which will do little to help Activision's ailing public image.

3/5/2010 10:41:29 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (58 posts)

faraga
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:06:19 AM
Reply

Just make a new shooter IW. COD4 was great. Make something like that, give it a diffirent name. But DON'T overdo it. Keep it simple and basic, only custom classes and that's it.

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Alienange
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 6:20:40 PM

Um, Infinity Ward is going to do whatever Activision tells it to. As it stands, it's just two guys suing because they claim to be wrongfully terminated.

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rogers71
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:13:35 AM
Reply

Ben,
You said it was time to hear what the experts think. I am still waiting....Oh wait, Pachter is the expert. I get it. Not sure it is right but I get it.

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Bobby_Kotick
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:17:17 AM
Reply

First of all, they will not be recieving any money because they breached the contract. I don't appreciate all of this negative smearing going on. We will own the MW licsense and next year we are going to release a MW6 with a plastic gun for 150 US dollars. I think you guys will like it.

Agree with this comment 17 up, 7 down Disagree with this comment

Sir Shak
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:21:45 AM

Can I come work for you ?

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Bobby_Kotick
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:24:37 AM

What are your credentials? Email me at BobbyKotick21@gmail. I will look over them. We are always looking for fresh talent.

Last edited by Bobby_Kotick on 3/5/2010 11:25:09 AM

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maxpontiac
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:37:13 AM

It's bad enough you pretended in one post to be Activision CEO, but to continue it??

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 12:22:01 PM

No impersonating on this site. I get that it's a joke, but please stop.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/5/2010 12:22:31 PM

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kraygen
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 1:54:45 PM

@Ben

You mean he's not really Bobby Kotick? Say what?
;)

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Naztycuts
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 1:59:38 PM

You know if you werre impersonating Gabe Newell of Valve it wouldn't be a problem Mr. Kotex

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LimitedVertigo
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 3:17:01 PM

Thank you Ben. I see this on other sites and the joke gets old quickly. It just leads to off topic spamming (ya, I know I know). Glad to see you addressing it before others follow suit.

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Deleted User
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:21:26 AM
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I'd love to see Infinity Ward go independent. And retain the Modern Warfare brand. I really want to see Modern Warfare 3 by them. Was disappointed by reading it would be farmed out to another developer.

Well, I don't mind if they were to go to EA. They have actually been a good company in recent times. Activision are competently performing the task of EA 2.0.

Thing is, though, EA already have DICE. I wonder the possible ramifications on Infinity Ward (how much of the team would be retained were they to go with EA, et cetera).

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Bobby_Kotick
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:22:37 AM
Reply

Oh, and look out for GH-Simon and Garfunkel. It is our next installment in the acclaimed series of Guitar Hero. Is anybody going to Scarborough Fair?....I am.

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Sir Shak
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:23:44 AM
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Pachter is almost always right . Or is it the other way around ?

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ace_boon_coon
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:28:28 AM
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they won't let IW leave with the MW brand. they might as well work on another shooter. COD is gettin stale anyway. despite the huge sales. activision is B****es

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Bobby_Kotick
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:32:29 AM

I don't appreciate you. We are just trying to do business. We will retain the MW rights.

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Sir Shak
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:41:13 AM

Mr. Kotex , I appreciate the work you are doing for the gaming industry . It is no secret that you put the interests of gamers above profit and market share .

By the way , how's that pair of golden testacles working out for you ?

Agree with this comment 5 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 3:20:03 PM

Not sure what is worse. The guy impersonating Bobby or those continuing to go along with it.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Sir Shak
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 4:12:51 PM

Look who's complaining .

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LimitedVertigo
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 4:19:37 PM

EVERYONE!?

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Hexen
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 4:40:49 PM

I gotta go with LV on this one, *looks around* did I just say that?

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maxpontiac
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:40:20 AM
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Activision should be planting their lips on Infinity Ward for what they have created in Modern Warfare.

I mean seriously, Modern Warfare 2 has generated over 1 billion dollars in revenue. Does anyone in Activision actually believe they'll do that without the entire Infinity Ward team?

Agree with this comment 7 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Bobby_Kotick
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:45:06 AM
Reply

Does pontiac exist anymore? They should have sold a plastic guitar with every car. They would still be in business if that were the case.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 9 down Disagree with this comment

ace_boon_coon
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 12:24:54 PM

ok this was funny the first post now it's just annoying

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 12:34:22 PM

yeah the novelty has worn off.

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Silent_J
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 1:02:23 PM

you're just being really lame now with this Kotick BS.

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Hexen
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 3:13:16 PM

Lol,you must be from Joystiq.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

LimitedVertigo
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 3:18:43 PM

I think you're right Hexen. The Peter Moore/Bobby Kotick thing is getting out of hand over at Joystiq.

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Highlander
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 11:52:32 AM
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I am not a lawyer.

In my opinion....

I think patcher is making a huge mistake making any kind of statement based on news coverage alone. I've never seen a situation where the IP rights to anything depend on employment. Unless Zampella and West personally own (or have a stake in) the IP rights to the Modern Warfare games the rights will belong to either Activision or Infinity Ward. Infinity Ward may actually own the Modern Warfare game, but Activision may contractually own the publishing rights. It would mean that any game published by Activision under the contract is owned by Activision (with royalties going to Infinity Ward) but games published by another publisher outside the contract term are not owned by Activision. So it really depends how the ownership of the actual game is defined in the contracts. If the contracts are for publishing only, then Activision can't control the game once the contract is done.

As far as Zampella and West are concerened, they are probably owed money by Activision through the royalty payments that haven't been made. If they are officers of Infinity Ward and Infinity Ward is an independent company, then Activision can't fire them from Infinity Ward, although they surely can remove them from their own (Activision) premises. Again it all depends on the status of Infinity Ward, and the contracts. I've seen it reported as Infinity ward still being an independent company in which case I can't see how Activision can fire Zampella and West from Infinity Ward. They can remove them from Activision projects, and use security to prevent them from returning. But it kinda depends on what Infinity Ward's status is and what status Zampella and West have with Infinity Ward.

There are so many unknowns here that it's just not work making definitive statements of any kind. What I do know (and remember I am not a lawyer) is that the contracts will determine all of this. I hope - for the sake of Infinity Ward and Zampella and West, that the contracts are well written. If not, this will drag on for a long time and the only winners will be the lawyers.

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Jawknee
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 12:45:18 PM

Maybe hes read the suite that was filed?

IGN posted a page PDF of what they claim to be a copy of the Law Suite. Posting that seems wrong to me.

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Highlander
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 1:02:01 PM

Nah, once this stuff is filed it goes into the public record, anyone (any member of the public) can read a case once it's filed. The only elements that can't be read are those redacted by the court or the parties involved.

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Jawknee
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 1:29:05 PM

aaah, i see. So maybe he's read that then. I wasn't aware things like this were available for public viewing. Nice to know.

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Highlander
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 2:19:52 PM

His comments say that he's judging from the new coverage, so I don't know whether he'd read it, sounds like he hadn't, but he may have done so now, if they've already filed.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 12:33:32 PM
Reply

I think Pachy is right, and I hope these guys get every penny that is coming to them. Activision sucks chocolate donkey balls.

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Jawknee
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 12:46:02 PM
Reply

He also said Natal would sell 2:1 over Arc. hmmmmmmmmm...is this guy ever correct in his predictions?

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Highlander
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 1:02:20 PM

I thought he said 10:1 not 2:1?

Last edited by Highlander on 3/5/2010 1:02:26 PM

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Imagi
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 1:25:10 PM

I think Natal will sell more than Arc initially while the the M$ hypemobile is doing the rounds.

The Arc will then surpass it in sales since it is actually a usable, responsive, games control device. That will be of use after the first week when consumers have grown board of the few gimmicky games made available at launch.

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Jawknee
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 1:27:56 PM

Your probably right High. My brain started to swell 3 paragraphs into the article.

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kraygen
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 2:02:47 PM

I can understand his statement about natal selling better. At least at the beginning anyway. It'll be the same as the wii, lots of people looking to purchase "active" video games for their children will be brainwashed by the millions of dollars M$ will spend in advertising and will think natal is all the rage.

However just like the wii, sales will eventually dwindle and arc will overtake natal.

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Highlander
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 2:23:47 PM

Natal is most likely going to be sold with a 360, you may not be able to buy it as a separate add on. It may be that the natal capable 360 replaces the existing models, which will make direct comparisons very difficult.

Arc/Gem will be sold as an optional add-on by Sony, and optional accessories like this never sell well. If Sony comes up with a must-have game to sell it with,m they'll be fine.

The interesting thing is that the ambitions that MS has for Natal are going to cause them problems because their add-on has nearly zero computational capability, so the 360 has to do all the processing for speech and gesture recognition. That's a pretty hefty load and will limit what games that use the tech can do.

Last edited by Highlander on 3/5/2010 2:24:13 PM

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kraygen
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 2:29:58 PM

Another thought is I don't see how natal could ever be used for a shooter, while arc could easily be used for it.

Considering shooters are some of the best selling games out there, if properly implemented I could see arc causing ps3 sales to rise. Imagine the next big multipatform shooter being arc compatible. I might even start playing shooters. Duck hunt was fun after all. =)

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mexgeo86
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 1:14:37 PM
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Given his past and current predictions, he may give economists and weathermen a run for their money. /sarcasm

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Imagi
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 1:27:42 PM

He just like the attention, but 15 mins is up.

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www
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 1:41:14 PM
Reply

Wait. If IW become an independent studio after the contract expires. Why? I mean why do they still need the 'Modern Warfare' brand or rights.
They could easily make their own modernized war game with a new name. And as far as they can get the info out that, their the makers of COD4 and MW2, everybody would want that game and nobody is gonna buy MW3 made by some other dev.

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Dancemachine55
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 10:22:45 PM

You could be wrong there www

You have no idea how many people buy something for brand name alone. This is your average everyday consumer.

Modern Warfare 3 will sell incredibly well on name alone, even if the game itself is rubbish or a mere clone of the first two modern warfares.

It's just like the iPhone. Mostly everyone has one so everybody who doesn't have one will get one. It's all about hype and usability. If modern Warfare 3 was made by Activision and some other developer other than IW, it will still sell incredibly well and Activision will make sure that it gets perfect reviews by paying everyone off. And threatening to sue the pants off anyone who gives it a low review score.

Corporate bullying should be illegal. I'm all for capitalism and the best products selling well, but this kind of behaviour from companies like Activision is just unforgivable.

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kraygen
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 2:07:45 PM
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I sometimes like to look for the positive in situations like these and I think no one has mentioned one giant benefit from this.

With MW2 tied up in legal battles, we will not have to suffer another MW for possibly many years to come, maybe not any COD at all.

After that comment I'm sure several people will automatically start giving me a thumbsdown, but even if you are a fan of shooters, which is fine, you can't deny the benefits of this.

With several years to wait I believe it would be a better game than with the yearly releases we've been seeing.

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Dancemachine55
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 10:27:47 PM

Treyarch and this new developer are going to maintain the CoD franchise. It's just that Modern Warfare is the most successful and Activision is fighting tooth and nail to either hold onto it or own it.

I wonder if it ever came across Kotick's mind to treat partners and employees with kindness and respect in order to excel a business. Obviously he has never heard of positive business relations.

Sounds like Kotick is taking a page from M$'s book and ruling by attempting to buy everyone out and throw money and expensive lawyers at anything that might challenge them.

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Alistair
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 2:09:09 PM
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I love Activision games, and will probably still buy them, but the are a**holes they take away Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 DLC, and now this. This isn't looking to good for their publicity, and i IW should get the rights, activision is evil, all they care about is GUITAR HERO/HERO GAMES LIKE DJ HERO, that's practically all they fund into, MUA2 wasn't that good, activision didn't really care they just threw the game out, and said what we get is what we get.
Feel Free to critize give your opinions

-My opinion-

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kraygen
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 2:32:49 PM

I also enjoyed several activision games, Like ultimate alliance. (UA2 was gimped in my opinion)

But they have screwed ps3 owners way too many times, like when they didn't release dlc for UA1 on ps3, so now I'm boycotting them.

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Mouse_101
Saturday, March 06, 2010 @ 7:21:11 PM

i actually borrowed UA2 from my friend and enjoyed it. I got told that there was DLC but could not find it. Could you explain why it got taken off the store?

And me and my friends enjoyed the game. I do not like Activision but i do like games with offline co-op. It reminded me and my friends of champions of Norrath on ps2. Good times.

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StevieRV
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 4:31:03 PM
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those guys should start a sony studio and develop an exclusive for the ps3

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Darwin1967
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 4:50:00 PM
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I have no doubt these guys will rise and deliver another outstanding game...be it under the MW name or not, it will be good and Activision will kick themselves all the way for doing an incredibly STUPID business move based not on anything credible, but solely based on greed.

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Alienange
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 6:31:38 PM
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I don't know what's funnier. Pachter playing his lawyer card for credentials, or LV being sore about the Kotick comments.

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, March 06, 2010 @ 4:41:42 AM

Evidently you're in favor of posters that are the equivalent of a spam bot?

It's bad enough this crap floods Joystiq, I see no reason it has to start up here.

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NiteKrawler
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 8:39:16 PM
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I predict that they will get the rights, but no money. When in doubt, say the opposite of Pachter.

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BikerSaint
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 9:44:54 PM
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IW's owed their royalty money so they'll definitely wind up getting that money that.

As for either being able to keep the MW name or selling it for money, or losing the name rights because of the contract's wording, we'll all just have to do a wait-&-see until the the court exposes the full content in that contract, and who's wording has actually 1-upped the other company.

I hate to say it, but I have to think that the puppetmaster had his lawyer's word the contract in such a way, that kotex has already got much of it all finagled out to his advantage.

I can only hope that IW & their lawyers can prove some serious "wrongdoing" on the part of kotex & Anti-vision.

kotex needs to corralled & saddled, have his A$$ branded, have his testicles surgically removed by a vet, and then put out to pasture, as a harmless gelding.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 3/5/2010 9:51:50 PM

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Orvisman
Friday, March 05, 2010 @ 10:42:10 PM
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Gotta hate Darth Kotex.

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___________
Saturday, March 06, 2010 @ 1:22:55 AM
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from what ive read IW signed a contract in 2008 for the rights to the MW brand name, so if they wanted to they could go off and use a different publisher for the series.
i can not understand how activision has kept out of jail yet though i mean seriously how many law suits have been filled against them?
obviously there doing something wrong, you dont get a law suit filled against you for no reason.
not even in america, well ok maybe you can.
but still.

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