GTA: Episodes from Liberty City faces worldwide ban. Wait, what?

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

Source: Kotaku




  • Syncmaster - October 20, 2010 1:37 p.m.

    totally agree with you Caio. Brazil's laws are one of the best in the world, at least on paper. And yes, all these comments are pretty retarded, it just shows how the internet is full of ignorant people. I think the musician was probably screwed by the german company. And to end like this, I guess both the German company and Rockstar didnt give a crap to his complaints, forcing the judge to make such extreme measures. Those mega corporations wont move a finger until you have a freaking sue and bad press in their face.
  • JayBeat - October 20, 2010 9:01 a.m.

  • Spybreak8 - October 20, 2010 3:20 a.m.

    Just retarded, lawyers and "law" get such a bad rep because we don't hear about the cases that work or when the system does.
  • Genericpenisjoketista - October 20, 2010 2:41 a.m.

    That father is a whiny bitch and the judge is an idiot.
  • SAUGAPRIME - October 20, 2010 12:08 a.m.

    Everybody these days try's to make a quick buck!
  • Tsubaru - October 20, 2010 12:04 a.m.

    A judge making stupid decisions? Only in Brazil. Oh, wait. Shouldn't you guys being looking for jobs or something?
  • purple_omlet - October 19, 2010 11:22 p.m.

    Immediately my answer is fuck Brazil. Unless Rockstar operates from the South American country.
  • Caio - October 19, 2010 11:01 p.m.

    Like I said towards the end of my little comment there, I don't agree with this decision and I think I made it pretty clear that the judge shows herself to be quite ignorant about gaming and technology, however knowlegeable on Law she may be. Also judges here are anything but stupid, gigiosantos.
  • gigiosantos - October 19, 2010 10:56 p.m.

    Caio, it doesen't make the decision any less stupid.
  • gigiosantos - October 19, 2010 10:54 p.m.

    I'm brazillian, and I'm here to say that this judge does not represent the whole country. Judges here are pretty stupid.
  • Caio - October 19, 2010 10:18 p.m.

    It's not often that a comment section offends me to such an extent (I am brazilian, you see). I understand the judge's decision was lousy (considering I'm a law student), but that's no reason to get people saying (and I must quote here) that we are "lazy fuckers" who "just got ps2s", that "no one cares about Brazil" or that we would "chuck spears" at anyone. That's just hurtful, folks. Shame on you. Anyway, here we go into a legal analysis: first of all, the father sued two companies, Rockstar and the German ringtone company that Rockstar bought the song's rights from. Problem is, the contract presented by Rockstar and that company has signatures that don't match the father's. Now the father claims he never signed the song's rights over to the german company, which allegedly was in negotiations to buy them but decided not to do so after recording the boy's song. The father is now asking for a R$ 500,000 reparation for financial and moral damages. To complement this request, he asked for a preliminary decision suspending the game's sale in order to prevent further misuse of his copyrights, which the Judge granted. Now I need you guys to understand this decision was taken as an emergential measure, and may be revoked at any time if the judge decides so. Also, due to its emergential nature, it was pronounced "inaudita altera pars" (latin for without hearing the other part, literally), which means Rockstar had still not presented its defense (considering they're they're a multi-million dollar company, I'm sure it won't be long now). Brazilian courts, just like any court in the world, do have the power to command a company to cease the sale of a product that infringes copyrights. How Rockstar is gonna get its games back from its regional distributors all over the world is their problem (this decision also applies to the digital version of the game). Of course, it becomes evident from this decision that the judge in question probably doesn't understand the absolute commercial success of the company and the world-wide spread of its products. I mean, a R$ 5000,00 fine per day means nothing to a company like Rockstar. But don't tell me the guy has no right to demand that his song not be used in a game when he didn't allow it to. And don't tell me he's trying to cash in, because R$ 500,000.000 is also nothing to a company the size of Rockstar.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - October 19, 2010 9:17 p.m.

  • tiben36 - October 19, 2010 9:16 p.m.

    how did they got word of this? they just got ps2s in brazils lazy fuckers
  • Strangleme - October 19, 2010 8:50 p.m.

    @ slowdrum13 I think you have Brazilians confused with some other people.
  • Strangleme - October 19, 2010 8:49 p.m.

    WTF!?!? That's fuckin' bullshit!! If they pull this game, then I will destroy Brazil!!! Except the hot Brazilian women, and of cous=rse Blanka!!!
  • slowdrum13 - October 19, 2010 8:16 p.m.

    lol it's brazil, what are they are going to do about it? chuck some spears?
  • shadowreaper72 - October 19, 2010 8:16 p.m.

    Oh yes just because the All Powerful Judge of Brazil says that the world must ban this game, we're expected to bend over, kiss his ass and do his bidding. What the fuck ever. They just want some attention so they can feel they mean something.
  • CAPST3R - October 19, 2010 7:14 p.m.

    Next Rockstar game: Grand Theft Auto: Rio De Janeiro. Also, Rockstar won't care. After the number of times they've been sued, they'll probably have compiled the world's greatest team of lawyers. DOWN WITH RECAPTCHA!
  • Sy87 - October 19, 2010 6:59 p.m.

    Ya no one cares about brazil other than the beaches and the chicks.
  • TheSugarRay - October 19, 2010 6:35 p.m.

    I thought games (and all other imports) were taxed to hell there so everything was pirated. and a quick google search has confirmed my hazy memory. "Piracy is rampant, the industry is inexperienced, funding is almost nonexistent, distribution is next to impossible, and the government is either apathetic or hostile." looks like this is shit as usual for brazil.

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