There's a simple rule to observe when you're about to sue someone. Sue the party that holds the most money. That certainly seems to be the case here. A Brazilian musician is suing Rockstar because a song that appears in GTA: Episodes from Liberty City contains an unauthorised sample of his music. Fair enough, open/shut case, right? Not quite. The track in question features the man's own kid son, and has been on sale on iTunes for ages. Go figure.
The song is called 'Daniel Haaksman - Kid Conga feat. MC Miltinho', which can be heard in a nightclub in the rather excellent GTA IV expansion The Ballad of Gay Tony. Miltinho's father, Hamilton Lourenço da Silva, claims that his song 'Bota o Dedinho pro Alto' has been sampled in it without permission. Now... let's get this straight. His child is in the video for the song and it's been released commercially. Surely the content of the song must have been known to him before Rockstar even got involved?
Above: "That bit. Yeah? Hear it? No, wait... That bit. That's the one that's costing us thousands as we speak"
The situation would be mildly amusing, but the Brazilian court has ruled that all copies worldwide should be pulled from sale. Yup, sobriety check. The game exists on the disc release of Episodes from Liberty City on PS3 and Xbox 360 and as a downloadable expansion to GTA IV on XBLA, so that's a lot of copies. We're not sure how much sway one country's court can have on the rest of the world, but they're threatening a fine of R$5,000 (around £1900) for every day the game remains on sale. Rockstar could probably afford to just pay that indefinitely, but that's not the point.
The song can easily be removed with a patch, but they're bound to be questioning whoever signed not only copyright papers to allow the song to be used in the game, but also to allow its sale on the iTunes store, which would also have required a copyright agreement. Who is responsible?
Surely not Rockstar, who hold what they thought was a signed copyright license. But, like I say, if you're going to sue someone, go with the multi-million dollar corporation...
19 Oct, 2010