And the papers say

I’ve gotten my hands on the complaint in the White Wolf vs. Sony case. (Link to complaint back, since they redirected it to another server.) Be warned that there are big fat spoilers for Underworld in the complaint. Some notes, thusly.

The key White Wolf titles are Vampire: the Masquerade, Werewolf: the Apocalypse, Guide to the Camarilla, Guide to the Sabbat, The Book of Nod, Caine’s Chosen: The Black Hand, Under A Blood Red Moon, Children of the Night, Time of Thin Blood, and Transylvania Chronicles One: Dark Tides Rising. And, of course, Nancy Collins’ The Love of Monsters, which is apparently set in the World of Darkness.

There’s an extensive list of similarities between Underworld and various White Wolf titles. I have no doubt the similarities exist, but I think they’re on the same level as the similarities between L.A. Story and When Sally Met Harry. “Hey, the protagonists fell in love! And they live in major American cities!”

Some examples:

56. In the World of Darkness, some vampires are capable of amazing speed. In Underworld, some vampires move with amazing speed.

57. In the World of Darkness, vampires “have the strength of ten men.” In Underworld, vampires “have the strength of ten men.”

71. In the World of Darkness, the history of the vampires is written in an ancient text. In Underworld, the history of the vampires is written in ancient texts.

Cause, you know, histories of ancient secretive races are usually written in modern texts.

There are more specific correspondences, but nothing that doesn’t exist in prior art. White Wolf just doesn’t have the copyright on “tall and lithe” vampire assassins. Even female ones with “a dusky, classical tone to her skin and black hair.”

6 Comments

  1. Do I get a point for the fact that the phrase “star-crossed lovers” appears in the complaint?

    There are some meaty similarities in there. I can’t believe they left in some of the truly absurd ones, though. Seems kind of pointless.

  2. The official complaint is available on the Internet (what a surprise :-). Warining: it contains movie spoilers. Bryant writes: There’s…

  3. The official complaint is available on the Internet (what a surprise :-). Warining: it contains movie spoilers. Bryant writes: There’s…

  4. While some of the complaints seem general, one must remeber if the basics are not the same (i.e. silver kills werewolves, etc.) it is harder to prove infringement just because a few specifics match up. It is the combination of similarities between vague details and specifics that is need to prove White Wolf’s case.

    White Wolf’s case would be much weaker if the movie was set in a future with hover cars and laser weapons and werewolves could only change during the full moon.

  5. While some of the complaints seem general, one must remeber if the basics are not the same (i.e. silver kills werewolves, etc.) it is harder to prove infringement just because a few specifics match up. It is the combination of similarities between vague details and specifics that is need to prove White Wolf’s case.

    White Wolf’s case would be much weaker if the movie was set in a future with hover cars and laser weapons and werewolves could only change during the full moon.

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