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Activision suing TikTok user over Crash Bandicoot and pizza content

UPDATE: Legal action dropped.

Here's a slice of the action
Image credit: Adobe Stock

UPDATE 15/8/23: Activision has dropped its lawsuit against TikTok star Anthony Fantano, after the two became embroiled in a legal back-and-forth over a widely-shared Crash Bandicoot audio clip.

News agency Reuters reported Activision has now dismissed its case against Fantano, which it brought to try and block Fantano from attempting to claim Activision owed him money for its use.

Fantano had previously said he had received six-figure sums from other companies which had used his clip without his permission.

Neither party has commented on this latest development.

ORIGINAL STORY 27/7/23: Activision is suing music critic and TikToker Anthony Fantano (aka NeedleTok), following an ongoing back and forth regarding pizza slices and Crash Bandicoot trainers.

As laid out in the case's legal documents, this dispute all comes from a 19-second audio clip that originated from a video Fantano uploaded about those aforementioned pizza slices.

In this TikTok clip from 2021, Fantano reacts to a video of someone else cutting a pizza up into smaller and smaller pieces. "It's enough slices!", the exasperated Fantano shouts.

Some time after this TikTok was uploaded and made popular, Activision used the audio clip to promote a pair of Crash Bandicoot-themed trainers in its own TikTok video. Fantano's clip was reportedly made available for commercial use, and the company did not see any issue using its audio.

It was this that started off a back and forth between the two parties.

On hearing of Activision's promo for the trainers, Fantano contacted the publisher, and asked it to remove the video. The Tiktoker then demanded Activision pay a settlement for its actions.

Following this request, Activision responded and denied it had done anything wrong. It noted the audio had been used before by other content creators, and that Fantano had celebrated these inclusions.

"Notwithstanding that thousands of TikTok videos containing the Slices Audio have been available on TikTok for years without complaint, Fantano suddenly decided that Activision's video infringed his publicity rights and constituted a false endorsement," the lawsuit reads.

Regardless of this, the company agreed to remove the video "to avoid litigation, and without any admission of liability".

However, this seemingly wasn't enough for Fantano, who reportedly got back in touch with the Crash Bandicoot publisher to say he was prepared to file a lawsuit in New York. This was "even though neither defendant nor Activision are New York residents".

Activision reportedly spoke to Fantano's lawyer after this, only to be told the TikToker wanted "a six-figure sum" as a settlement. The lawyer allegedly claimed other companies had previously reached similar settlements "to avoid the expense of litigation" with Fantano.

Now, Activision is suing Fantano in a bid to prevent the TikToker's own lawsuit from going through. It has requested a court issue a "declaratory judgement in its favour" which will award the company its "fees and costs in bringing and pursuing this action".

You just can't make this stuff up.

Platform game mascot Crash Bandicoot holds both thumbs up and winks at the camera.
Image credit: Activision Blizzard

Elsewhere in Activision lawsuit related news, earlier this month Microsoft won its crucial court case against the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), clearing its way to acquire Call of Duty maker for $68.7bn.

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