As we reported yesterday, the trailer for Forza Motorsport 4 contains video taken from another filmmaker without his permission. The cause? A well-meaning but short-sighted director with a first language that isn't English.
The trailer for the new Forza 4 game is mostly made of live action shots from Top Gear USA and two other sources: Clash Productions of France (which Microsoft licensed the video from) and the trailer for the web-series Turn9 by Tim Whitcome (whom Microsoft didn't license the video from).
Microsoft was adamant today indicating they did license those four short snippets of video while the director of Turn9 insisted the video was never licensed to anyone. What happened in between is an international game of telephone gone wrong.
According to Whitcome, Stephane Benini, who runs Clash Productions, said he'd like to help promote the Turn9 trailer, but instead of linking to Whitcome's trailer or website, Benini uploaded it to his YouTube page.
Fast forward a few weeks, and It turns out the people who created the trailer for Microsoft are a fan of Benini's work and asked if they could license some of his video. According to sources involved, he agreed and told them to just have anything they wanted on his YouTube page.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, the person who cut the Forza 4 trailer liked the Turn9 trailer and either didn't notice or didn't understand Benini's note on the video stating: "Clashproduction support TURN9, you'll see, this is amazing."
"I guess everyone's just kind of screwed," Whitcome said. "Stephane didn't do anything on purpose, Microsoft thought their bases were covered, and I wake up one morning and my footage is in a trailer."
Microsoft and the production team behind Turn9 are now trying to sort out the matter, which will no doubt be complicated by the appearance of two actors who, as members of the Screen Actors Guild, now may have to be compensated.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Jalopnik had an editorial tie-up with Turn 10 Studios on Forza Motorsport 3, this game's predecessor, on two DLC packs for the game. We are working on a similar tie-up on Forza Motorsport 4. Although no money has exchanged hands in this relationship, because it might be something you feel could affect our judgment and clarity in covering this game, we felt the transparency was important.