Sony and Kevin Butler Actor Settle Lawsuit Over Wii Appearance
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
No more Mario Kart Wii for Jerry Lambert
Last year we reported the peculiar news that Sony was taking 'Kevin Butler' actor Jerry Lambert to court over an appearance in a Bridgestone advert in which he was part of a Wii promotion. The Kevin Butler character was, for a significant period, the figurehead of Sony's advertising for PlayStation 3 and eventually Vita, before the ads stopped in favour of a different approach. Jerry Lambert is a comedic television actor who does his share of advertisements to pay the bills, yet this was a case of two separate jobs colliding.
Although Jerry Lambert wasn't 'playing' Kevin Butler in the advertisement with a promotion for Mario Kart Wii, his appearance prompted claims that gamers would associate him with the character and, therefore, cause consumer confusion damaging to Sony. While it was tempting to poke fun at the idea that the actor couldn't be anyone other than a fictional character in the presence of a gaming console — not without a face transplant, but that seems over the top — it seems that Sony has won its battle.
Jerry Lambert has settled the case with Sony and agreed that he won't appear in any promotions for "any other video game or computer entertainment system or video game company" for a period of two years. Once that period passes, there's a further two year period in which Lambert must give Sony notice of any potential appearances of that nature so Sony "can assess whether or not Lambert's intended performance violates [Sony's] rights in the Kevin Butler character".
It's worth noting that Bridgestone's dispute with Sony on this issue is ongoing. For Jerry Lambert, meanwhile, it seems he's destined to be 'Kevin Butler' in the video game world for a good while yet, even if he's not being paid for the privilege.