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Sony sues Kevin Butler actor (update: Sony comments)

GamesBeat writes: "The PlayStation spokesperson and faux-executive Kevin Butler is in trouble with Sony. On September 11, Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a lawsuit against the Bridgestone Tires company and Wildcat Creek, Inc advertising firm. Actor Jerry Lambert, who plays the hilarious and arrogant Kevin Butler character in PlayStation commercials, is the president of Wildcat Creek according to Corporationwiki.com. SCEA claims that Bridgestone and Lambert violated one of Sony’s intellectual properties. Which one? Well, Kevin Butler."

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black9111387d ago

"For the love of money People will rob their own brother"

http://www.youtube.com/watc...

knowyourstuff1387d ago

I wonder if the guy who sold those orange Shamwow towels has legal disputes between that Shamwow company and the new ads he does for some other vegetable chopping product. Really, it's the same idea, unless of course his contract ended and there was no non-compete clause.

KrimsonKody1387d ago

It all comes down to what's within the contract.
It's possible that Kevin Butler's contract had specifics which prevents him from advertising or being in other commercials.

knowyourstuff1387d ago TrollingShow
PurpHerbison1387d ago

He is doing the "Schticky" product now.

3-4-51387d ago

He owns the shamwow stuff. That vince guy. He is the owner AND spokesperson for it.

Gaming1011387d ago

LMAO Chimpanzees ^

No, that Vince guy worked for a flea market who then decided to create a commercial marketing that product. You really think that guy is the business owner type? He punched a prostitute in the face because she bit his toungue and wouldn't let go LOLOL

alien6261386d ago

omg people! they not suing kevin they suing bridgestone for miss using KB

Thatguyinthesuit1386d ago

@alien626

They're suing Bridgestone AND Wildcat Creek and guess where Lambert works and is conveniently the head off? Wildcat Creek.

sikbeta1386d ago

-__-

Is it Sony suing Sony for using Lambert in the movie Bad Teacher as well? XP

darthv721386d ago

The woman that does the voice of bart simpson got sued by the simpsons creator for her using the bart voice in something unrelated to the simpsons without authorization.

I think it was, she was doing a promo for something else (which did not go against her contract) but as she was reading, the bart voice slipped out and was caught in the promo.

That was the violation right there. not just the fact she was doing work for something else. All actors have that right to work but their persona's (or characters) can be contractually obligated to not be used outside of whatever they are contracted for.

Lambert was doing a commercial for a tire company that happened to have the wii in it. Had he been in butler character then he would be in violation but simply being in the commercial is not enough for sony to go on.

i have seen enough commercials in my time to have seen the same person advertise for more than one unrelated product as many different characters.

This is stupid sony.

knowyourstuff1386d ago

For those of you who want to see the actual lawsuit, the file that Sony is suing on is detailed here:
http://dockets.justia.com/d...

Kevin Butler the character didn't need to be in the commercial. This Jerry Lambert is the biggest attention whore on the planet if he can't just keep himself out of the commercial and keep two campaigns separate, he should've had some inkling that Sony wouldn't be happy with him using his face to promote a competitor. Dumba$$.

+ Show (9) more repliesLast reply 1386d ago
Freak of Nature1387d ago (Edited 1387d ago )

That depends on the Brother, and the Brothers Brother... Money is not the root of all evil, just a portion of it...

Perhaps if they showed a pixel-ed out Mario, speaking with his familiar voice saying here Mr.Kevin Butler *Screwa Sony, *taka thisa* cash as Mario hands a overflowing briefcase of cash to Kevin Butler...

Bring in "Sack-boy" and he will show you how to be a proper mascot...

SixZeroFour1386d ago

ppl often misuse the quote "money is the root of all evil" because the actual quotation is "the love of money is the root of all evil" which gives a different meaning altogether from the former quotation

geddesmond1387d ago

I don't see the problem. Sony made this dude famous

insomnium21386d ago

True pekolie and then he went on and advertized the competing GAMING platform.

darthv721386d ago

we wasnt playing the game at all. If you watch the commercial, it is the woman playing. plus its a tire company commercial not specifically a wii commercial.

Basically sony are suing for association. He was doing his job as an actor and because it just so happened to be a wii in the commercial they think he stepped out of contract.

seriously, im sure his contract is for butler. Not tire guy #2.

StraightPath1387d ago (Edited 1387d ago )

nintendo should capitilise this and get him and make adverts of him making fun of jealous sony sueing out of envy. in that advert he was even the supporting role.

hope they lose the case and nintendo pick him of official and promote the wii u. this will be big slap to sony for betraying him.

sikbeta1386d ago

That's dumb, Nintendo would win nothing more than an overused character that lost its funny aspect long ago.

ajax171387d ago (Edited 1387d ago )

I love Sony, and all(scratch that), most of their products, but seriously? This makes it sound like they own the man! It reminds of the cartoon Rocko's Modern Life, and the company CONGLOM-O, with it's slogan: "We Own You".

black9111387d ago

SPUNKY!!! SPUNKY!!! I miss the 90's What happend to TV?

Ult iMate1387d ago (Edited 1387d ago )

I don't like that sueing stuff and all, but Sony invested in Kevin Butler for 3 years. And now Lambert is participating in an ad, where they play Wii. That's not very ethical from Lambert.

nerdkiller1387d ago

omg! im sorry but thats bull crap, how can sony keep a man from making a living just because he took a role and sounded the same in it.if thats the case then universal, paramount and who ever should sue jack nickelson and christopher walken for acting the same in all there movies.

BISHOP-BRASIL1387d ago

That's not the case. Jerry Lambert is the owner of the marketing firm responsible for the ad, so it's not like he innocently ended up sounding like Butler again... Also, they are not sueing Lambert personally, but his company.

By the looks of it, it's not simply non-comepetitive clause, as A: Bridgestone is not in the same market so it's not competition; and B: they aren't suing Lambert, but his firm, which makes no sense for ex-employee agreement breaking.

My guess here is Sony is claiming some kind of usurpation (plagiarism, patent infringment, copyright infringement, etc), that they own the character "Kevin Butler" and as so suing whoever uses the same idea.

Also, companies don't like suing who they can't win or who won't benefit 'em if wasting time/money on courts... Considering that slowing down Lambert gives Sony nothing, chances are they have a little more than an ex-employe agreement. I'm thinking of copyrights over Kevin Butler's persona, speech, gestures, clothes, etc...

Legion1386d ago (Edited 1386d ago )

"SCEA claims that Bridgestone and Lambert violated one of Sony’s intellectual properties. Which one? Well, Kevin Butler."

How did they violate the Kevin Butler property? They didn't use his name or even the attitude of Kevin Butler in that Ad. The character he played in the Ad was much too passive and dorky compared to Kevin Butler and his take charge attitude.

They are basically saying because his likeness (does he have to wear a disguise from now on when working on film?) and that he talked about a video game... makes it the Kevin Butler character?

Give me a break... if the courts up hold this then they are really allowing anyone to be sued for looking like ANY other character.

Here is a link to the original video: http://www.gonintendo.com/?...

fatstarr1387d ago

I mean sonys only real mascot is playing wii.
lol Id sue too.
it limits this guy in what he can do in his career.

badz1491387d ago

but not a generation has passed and the ad was like saying he's already jumping ship! for those who are aware that this guy is "Keving Butler" - VP of anything PS, this is kinda send a message that Sony has fired him or something!

andibandit1386d ago

Okay!!!!!! let me get this straight,

Sony wont spend money on marketing, but they WILL spend money on this!?!?!?

GTFO!.

Haha1231386d ago

This is up there as one of the stupidest lawsuits...

Godchild10201386d ago

I just saw Kevin Butler (Jerry Lambert) in a new bridgestone commercial. He appeared towards the end. The commercial was promoting tires; They made a football out of BridgeStone tire.

Funny Commercial, Kevin (Jerry Lambert) at the end made it worth watching.

+ Show (8) more repliesLast reply 1386d ago
yesmynameissumo1387d ago

When I first heard of Sony's lawsuit, I had hoped there was something legit about Sony moving forward with the case, not this nonsense. While I don't think anyone could dispute Jerry Lambert IS Kevin Butler, it's an ad with him playing a second if not third character. He's not the focus. A little common sense should've prevailed with Sony's legal team, but alas, the company hasn't really built a reputation on that.

ChronoJoe1387d ago

Contract probably stipulates some control over both the Kevin Butler, intellectual property, and Jerry Lambert the actor.

Typically the contract would dictate that he, the actor, couldn't promote competing products, either in, or out of the Kevin Butler character. This is very common and done to ensure specific brands can be consistently associated with specific faces. Many people who have seen Jerry in Sony's adds are going to simply assume he's Kevin Butler in the Wii add.

Sony have every right to pursue this.

Reibooi1387d ago

I mentioned this in another story but it's similar to the WWF suing WCW back in the 90's when Razor Ramon(Scott Hall) left WWF to go to WCW. He didn't say his name but he acted as if he was the same character and WCW did this on purpose to try to profit on making it look like some outside guy was invading. WWF was within their right to sue in that case.

However if my memory serves WWF lost that cast and it was MUCH more clear cut then this one is so who knows how it will end up.

Either way it's sad because the end result will mean no more Kevin Butler. He was a awesome character and the best Sony marketing campaign ever.

thorstein1387d ago TrollingShow
BrunoM1387d ago

I been around here sense 2007 and I don't Coment on story's for the simple reason is stupid people with stupid logic ..

But will do it now wow there still are some people with a brain and some sense wow ...

And ya both of you are right I agree is due to the likeness and its use with out te word of sony

dennett3161387d ago

@Reibooi, I don't think the WWF lost that case as in WCW they had to acknowledge on the air that Scott Hall was no longer part of the WWF and he had to drop the accent of the Razor Ramon character.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1387d ago
fatstarr1387d ago

consumers are so stupid now a days.
some would have thought that the wii is apart of the playstation brand and that you could play ps3 move games on it.

its best to nip it in the butt before it gets bad.

jc485731387d ago (Edited 1387d ago )

the thing is, character had no name. He's just some actor in the commercial with no name. I really want to see where this case goes.

rezzah1387d ago

I was thinking that too, but it seems that Sony might use the idea that the actor is the face of the name.

So regardless of what commercial he acts in, his face is like one in the same with the name of the character.

Think of it as Mickey Mouse being shown by some other company, but is not referred to as MM within the commercial. I think they could be sued.

It's only a guess.

--Onilink--1387d ago

so what now? he has to wear a diferent face if he is going to be on any other commercial?

This lawsuit is stupid, unless he said in the commercial his name was Kevin Butler, he is just an actor, acting in a commercial

rezzah1386d ago

Like I said it was a guess, don't take it personally.

Their reasoning if based on name alone is weak because he doesn't have to reveal himself as KB on another company's commercial.

PirateThom1387d ago

I think it's entirely down to the fact it's a competitor's console, not the fact the character is similar. If he's been just advertising tyres, it would have been fine, but to use a very similar persona with a rival console is not going to sit well. It's an intentional reference to the character, at the very least but considering Lambert owns the advertising company in question, I'd say it's foolish to think he wasn't using the "Kevin Butler" character intentionally.

Blankman851387d ago (Edited 1387d ago )

But why sue bridgestone though? They didn't have any contract to breach with SONY.
It's not my fault if you sell me stolen goods without my knowledge

legionsoup1387d ago

If you bought it from the shady van at the gas station for 50% off retail, you knew it was stolen. ;)

Imalwaysright1387d ago

Exactly. If Sony is suing because Jerry Lambert made a commercial advertisement to a direct competitor they should sue the man himself. It makes no sense for Sony to sue Bridgestone.

"I'd say it's foolish to think he wasn't using the "Kevin Butler" character intentionally." That is pure speculation, one that Sony will have to prove in court to win the lawsuit because it wasnt given an identity to the character Jerry played in the Bridgestone commercial. I dont think Sony will go far with this lawsuit but then again i didnt think that Apple would go far with that "shapes" lawsuit either.

MikeMyers1387d ago

When Phil Harrison joined Microsoft was he told to put on a wig whenever he's out in public? I'm not sure how Sony can own the copyright of an actor unless that character, Kevin Butler, was co-created with Sony.

There are lots of actors that have their own style attached to them that they carry into other roles. The only legal backing I see is if Kevin Butler was owned by Sony and Jerry Lambert was not allowed to mention that name on another product. I don't know if they can trademark a comedic style.

Darrius Cole1387d ago

They don't own the man.

To me it sounds like Sony needs to keep this guy on the payroll and make VP of "something" for real.

If they don't want him making commercials for other companies then they should give him a steady paycheck so that he won't.

Carl_Shocker1387d ago (Edited 1387d ago )

Surley though in the fine print of his contract there would of been something like

"You cannot participate in advertising or promoting rival brands for 3-6 months after this contract ends"

or something like that....

Logicaly wouldn't it of been wise to make him look a little differnt in the advert so people don't assume it's Kevin Butler even though he's just playing a no name character. Give him black hair, thick glasses, a goatee or maybe a crazy "Back to the Future Doc Wig" to go along with that scientist costume...it wouldn't of killed them to do that.

Hopefully they will work this out and maybe make another advert where the take the mick out of the situation to laugh it off....maybe Kevin being sued by Jack trenton stalking him, then saves his life so Jack drops it blah blah blah you get the point.

Blankman851387d ago

Carl, meet Have, Have, say hi to Carl.
Have isn't happy that you keep on replacing him with Of, Have would like you to know that he belongs with words like could, would, should, ect.
You two make nice now and forget this whole mess happened.

Carl_Shocker1387d ago (Edited 1387d ago )

...oh sorry am I supposed to be laughing right now....nice try though I'll give you that

Ever thought that it's how we say/write things round here where I come from...it's old geordie slang. Sorry if you don't approve...

Seriously why waste your last bubble on that...<sigh>

Getowned1387d ago

How you write and how you talk are two different things, you shouldn't write how you talk. I know my English teacher gives me trouble for doing that.

OT:

I agree with you Carl_Shocker, When I saw the ad I thought it was for playstation at first, and then I realized it was for Nintendo. I can see why they would sue, not that I 100% agree with it but I understand it. I don't think they should of used PS KB's likeness for a nintendo ad. I'm sure Nintendo would hate it if they dressed someone up like mario to sell PS3s.

Carl_Shocker1387d ago

Honestly whats with the disagrees, I'm not saying Sonys in the right am just saying maybe when they hired Lambert to do the advert maybe they should of gotten him to look differnt so people don't get the wrong idea.

Oh and are people really disagreeing that there probably wasn't ANYTHING in a contract Lambert did with Sony...I find that hard to believe, I'm not saying he wasn't allowed to do it at all, just for a certain amount of time.

amaguli1387d ago

You do know that it would still be breach of contract if he dressed up, right? Just because he has a wig and a fake beard, he will still be Jerry Lambart and he will still be promoting a rival console.

dennett3161387d ago (Edited 1387d ago )

It really depends how much of the character is like the real Lambert. If parts of it mirror how he looks or acts, then he's within his rights to carry on using that.

He could also argue fair use, but I'm unsure just how much that would apply in this case depending on the contract he signed with Sony...a judge may rule that the contract is unfair or unreasonable and rule against Sony.

But none of us know the particulars of the contract, if there were any restrictions, how much of the character came from Sony and how much from Lambert etc. So it's all speculation at this point.

@amaguli, they can't restrict a man's right to work in that complete a fashion...you can't ban an actor from representing a competing company. Jerry Lambert is allowed to take employment from whoever he wants...the issue is if he used Sony's intellectual property to do so, ie, the character of Butler. If he had any input into that character at all, he could even argue a right to fair use of said character depending on the level of involvement. That all has to be determined by the court.

amaguli1386d ago (Edited 1386d ago )

@dennett316

I know that they can't restrict his right to work, but I'm sure in his contract they stated he could not endorse a competing console for an x amount of time.

If Sony can show that, then Lambert is guilt of breaching his contract.

Bimkoblerutso1387d ago

Shouldn't have to do any of that. Sony does not own actors. If they had, for instance, called the character in the commercial "Kevin Butler," then sure, that's obviously a breech of contract, but I'm relatively sure there is no legal grounds for owning someone's face.

The movie industry would be a WAR ZONE if that was the legal precedent.

MikeMyers1387d ago

http://www.youtube.com/watc...

Sony didn't seem to have a problem then. I think this has more to do with this ad:

http://www.youtube.com/watc...

I think he was removed from that ad. Perhaps he had a contract (with Sony) that didn't allow him to advertise competitive brands. You would think Jerry Lambert would have known this, so maybe there wasn't anything in writing.