ZeniMax, the parent company of game publisher Bethesda, has been sued by singer Dion DiMucci for $1 million in damages.
DiMucci, known mononymously as Dion, is suing over the use of his trademark song "The Wanderer" which appeared as part of the in-game soundtrack to Fallout 4. The suit is not about the song's presence in the game, but rather the song being used for game ads that Bethesda created to promote the title back in 2015.
According to the lawsuit, DiMucci stated he never signed off on ZeniMax for using the song for the game trailers, which the lawsuit calls "repugnant." DiMucci made a deal with the UMG record company to license the song for the game, but maintains that he had the right to separately bargain with ZeniMax for a better rate and to prohibit the use of the song if his own terms were not met.
The suit states that ZeniMax failed to separately bargain with DiMucci, and did not obtain advance consent before the commercials ran online. The issue of consent is contested, as the suit maintains that the ads for Fallout 4 were objectionable due to their violence.
“Defendant’s Commercials were objectionable because they featured repeated homicides in a dark, dystopian landscape, where violence is glorified as sport. The killings and physical violence were not to protect innocent life, but instead were repugnant and morally indefensible images designed to appeal to young consumers,” the lawsuit reads.
The suit continues by stating DiMucci could have used his right to refuse consent to persuade ZeniMax to "change the scripts" so that the violence would have been toned down, or he could have safeguarded himself against "the potential loss of goodwill from being associated with the immoral images in Defendant's scripts."
Dion first released "The Wanderer" back in 1961, and it was a smash success. Written by Ernie Maresca, "The Wanderer" is considered a classic in Rock and Roll and Blues and is often named one of the best songs of all time by publications such as Rolling Stone.
Quick TakeThe Wanderer is arguably the best song on the game's soundtrack and easily fits the mood and style of Fallout 4. It would be a shame to lose it in the end over this lawsuit, but it does boil down to how much control and consent was given to ZeniMax for using the song through UMG Records. Hopefully, we don't lose the song from rotation either in-game, but in all likelihood, the ads for the game are going to be taken down in the future.
As for who wins, this will probably just settle out of court in the end.
What do you think though? Is DiMucci right to sue ZeniMax? Leave your comments below.