An Amsterdam hotel is upset over its ersatz inclusion in the new Call of Duty, and Dutch media say it’s considering legal action against developer and publisher Activision Blizzard. Although the Conservatorium Hotel appears under the name “Breenbergh” in the game, the building is the same.
“We have envisioned the Conservatorium Hotel as the setting for the new Call of Duty,” hotel manager Roy Tomassen told de Volksrant. (opens in a new tab). “In general, we do not support games that appear to encourage violence. The game does not reflect our core values, and we regret our unnecessary involvement. “
de Volksrant says the hotel is still considering what steps to take next. It appears from the news, however, that the hotel has not ruled out legal action.
The stand-in Conservatorium in Breenbergh appears in single-player mode and maps in multiplayer. A quick look at the interior photos of the luxury hotel and the Call of Duty map confirm that the Breenbergh-in-game hotel is based on the real-life Conservatorium, a redesigned 1800s bank building in a special glass and steel style for use as a five-star hotel by an Italian designer.
The lawsuit may seem offensive to many, but architecture is copyrighted under European and American law. As a five-star luxury hotel, the owners and management of the Conservatorium may want to exercise control over their business.
US law has sided with Activision in the past for real-world depictions — including the HMMV used by the US military. (opens in a new tab)—but the laws in Europe are not very clear on such matters. Depicting a hotel as the setting for a shooting match is more legally debatable, under various legal doctrines, than the appearance of a famous military vehicle in a military game.
The closest I can remember is the depiction of Manchester Cathedral in Resistance: Fall of Man (opens in a new tab) in 2006—but it was a very famous building, marked for historical reasons, in another country. That process ended with Sony officially apologizing to the Church of England, which was pretty funny.
We’ll see if the hotel doesn’t sue Activision. It’s not like their lawyers aren’t very busy these days.
Thanks for posting, NL Times (opens in a new tab).