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Epic Games Avoids Review of Win in Wrestler’s Gears of War Suit

June 21, 2021, 2:43 PM

Epic Games and Microsoft Corp. won’t have to defend a ruling that they violated publicity rights of a former pro wrestler in their video game Gears of War before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The game creators sufficiently transformed Lenwood “Hard Rock” Hamilton’s persona when they created the Augustus “Cole Train” Cole character that First Amendment rights overrode Hamilton’s publicity rights, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit had ruled while affirming a Pennsylvania federal court. The justices declined to review the decision.

Hamilton’s petition argued the court’s application of the transformative use test would let game companies precisely ...

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