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Singer sues 'Fallout 4' publisher over use of a classic song

Game developers may be more cautious the next time they choose a tune.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 8, 2017
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Bethesda/ZeniMax

The Fallout game series is legendary for its use of music to set the post-apocalyptic mood, but it might have been a little too eager when creating the tone for Fallout 4. Singer Dion DiMucci has sued Fallout's publisher, ZeniMax, for allegedly using his 1961 hit "The Wanderer" for ads without verifying that he approved of the content. The artist contends that ZeniMax didn't bother honoring contract terms that let him refuse the use of his song in the promos, which he finds "morally indefensible." He's not objecting to the game itself -- rather, it's that the ads glorify the protagonist's violence "as sport" instead of focusing on the "struggle for survival." Clearly, he's not a fan of seeing his cherished, upbeat pop song playing as someone guns down mutants.

The lawsuit calls on ZeniMax to both take the ads down and pay $1 million in damages. DiMucci says he was also denied a right to negotiate a licensing fee.

We've asked ZeniMax for its take on the lawsuit and will let you know if it can comment. Whatever happens, the lawsuit might have game publishers treading more carefully when they license music. The further video games venture into mainstream culture, the more likely it is that musicians will care about how their music is represented in games. And just as with movies and TV, they'll sometimes care more about preserving their public image than receiving a big royalty check.

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