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Iconic singer sues Bethesda over 'repulsive' Fallout 4 ads

Commentary: Dion DiMucci of Dion and the Belmonts believes the game maker's ads for Fallout 4, which use his music, are "morally indefensible."

 Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


It's not a heartwarming ad. 

Bethesda/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

They call him the wanderer. He's now also the suer. 

Dion DiMucci, lead singer of '60s group Dion and the Belmonts, isn't a fan of Fallout 4. Or more precisely, Fallout 4's ads. 

In a lawsuit filed this week in California, DiMucci objects to the use of his iconic "Wanderer" song in the ads. The suit, filed against Fallout 4 maker Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax, describes the 2015 ads as "repugnant and morally indefensible."

Oh, you could use that description about quite a few games. In this case, the ads, rated 18 for (im)mature, showed the gratuitous murder of, wait, is that a wild turkey? 

In any case, you'll mutter, surely Dion gave his permission for the music to be used. This is where matters become a little more complex. 

The lawsuit says that DiMucci had an agreement with Universal Music. It says this agreement contained a specific clause that "affords recording artists the right to separately bargain with the advertiser and prohibit the use of a recording in commercials unless his or her terms are first met."

This would have required a separate negotiation between Bethesda and DiMucci. This, the suit says, never happened.

DiMucci's lawyers say he suffered damages. 

"Defendant's Commercials were objectionable because they featured repeated homicides in a dark, dystopian landscape, where violence is glorified as sport. The killings and physical violence were not to protect innocent life, but instead were repugnant and morally indefensible images designed to appeal to young consumers," the suit insists.

We could discuss for some time why young consumers might especially favor repugnant and morally indefensible images.

Here, though, DiMucci and his lawyers insist that his song was about a young man desperate to have an enduring relationship, rather than one desperate to kill as many animate beings as he can.

Oddly, DiMucci says he could have persuaded Bethesda to change the script. To feature innocent wild turkeys shooting unpleasant humans, perhaps? That would at least have had a morally upstanding flavor.

Bethesda didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. DiMucci is seeking damages "in excess of $1 million."

I fear the lawyers may roam around and around and around for some time before a morally defensible agreement is reached here.

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