Oct 27, 2009
Man, there sure has been a lot in the news and on the web lately about companies profiting off of dead people and what the ethical implications are. All these talking heads and blog commenters have had their say, so why shouldn't I cast a couple of pennies in?
To get an idea of what I'm talking about, here are a couple of recent articles on the subject, the first being about Kurt Cobain appearing in Guitar Hero 5 and another about a new DirecTV commercial utilizing footage of Chris Farley.
There's been a lot of chatter about this in the last few months, and I'm consistently amazed by how many people find this to be some sort of desecration of the dead.
Really. You think so?
Let's start with the ideas of the uses themselves. I assume there must be some kind of legal release that needs to be granted here, you can't usually just employ a likeness for commercial use without someone giving the ok and getting paid. That being the normal route these things take (and both articles indicate that some type of use was indeed granted), it seems if simply using the likeness of these people was so disturbingly morbid that those in charge of them would simply have said "No." But here they are, so clearly someone inked something ok'ing it, so there goes that first argument.
That out of the way, we get to the actual uses of the likenesses.
The main complaint against Cobain's appearance in GH5 was that he could sing along with any song, so inevitably videos were made showing the dead singer bouncing around ridiculously came out. Yes, it's silly looking. Does this now pass as desecration? It's not as if at the end of the song you could trigger a bonus move where he blows his own head off! Then, I could see people being irritated. On the other hand, what a way to finish the tune!
As for Farley, the grumbling seems more about the pure profit being targeted with his use. Once again, I fail to see the reason for the uproar. They left Farley unaltered, instead just having David Spade saying new lines about DirecTV. This is hardly Fred Astaire dancing with a vacuum, which I can somewhat see some people looking askew at. Even in that example, it's a stretch.
In either case, this is not desecration of the dead. Please people, get the hell over it already.