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AUSTIN, Texas, December 12, 2005 Â Marvel Entertainment, Inc., NCsoftÂ® Corporation, NC Interactive, Inc. and Cryptic StudiosÂ, Inc. are pleased to announce today that they have amicably settled all claims brought by Marvel and all claims brought by NCsoft, NC Interactive, Inc. and Cryptic Studios, Inc.
The parties' settlement allows them all to continue to develop and sell exciting and innovative products, but does not reduce the players' ability to express their creativity in making and playing original and exciting characters. Therefore, no changes to City of HeroesÂ® or City of Villains'Â character creation engine are part of the settlement. The parties have agreed that protecting intellectual property rights is critically important and each will continue aggressively to protect such rights in accordance with all applicable laws. While the terms of the settlement were not disclosed, all parties agree that this case was never about monetary issues and that the fans of their respective products and characters are the winners in this settlement.
Damn non-disclosure clauses in settlements! Given how the general legal opinion seemed to be that Marvel didn't have a leg to stand on in their suit, I'm quite curious to know which side prompted the settlement, and on what terms. It's telling, I suspect, that it is specifically pointed out that Cryptic's character creation engine will not be changed, since one of Marvel's specific complaints was that the engine allowed the creation of player avatars that resemble copyrighted characters.
On the other hand, the limits of fair use, homage and parody in electronic media really do need to be pinned down, and if suits like this keep getting settled we're never going to get a specific answer.