Former Employee’s Copyright/ Right Of Publicity Lawsuit Against Blizzard Dismissed.

WOWA California federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard/ Blizzard Entertainment Inc. for copyright infringement by its former employee, finding that the employee-Plaintiff’s artistic contributions to the MMOG “World of Warcraft” were “works made for hire” and that Blizzard (not the employee-Plaintiff) therefore holds the copyrights.

The Plaintiff alleged that she auditioned for and was cast to voice a character in the game (a “baby murloc”), and that Blizzard violated Plaintiff’s copyrights when it used the sound recordings of Plaintiff’s voice in the game “without her consent.”  The Court disagreed.  Adopting an expansive view of Plaintiff’s employment agreement, the Court determined that (1) the recordings were within the express scope of Plaintiff’s employment, and (2) Plaintiff’s artistic contribution was undeniably for the purpose of serving her employer.   Upon these findings, the Court ruled that Blizzard is therefore the “author” of the recordings under law.