Infamous Berghain doorman Sven Marquardt has successfully sued Beware of Ninja, the company behind a Berghain-themed card game known as Bergnein, for use of his likeness in their game without his consent.
Berghain is a notorious techno club located in Berlin, which infamously operates a very strict door policy enforced by its bouncers, the most famous of these being head doorman Sven Marquardt.
Bergnein, a card game which recreates the theme of the club, was released in Sweden in 2016 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. It was originally called Berghain Ze Game, but the club itself had threatened legal action over this, claiming the name and its depiction had been trademarked worldwide. The creators changed the name as a concession.
The game in particularallows players to enact the role of the doorman, granting or refusing entrance of stereotypical nightclub attendees into the club, with the objective being to let in the ‘right’ mix of clubbers.
The creators have experienced additional legal difficulties as a result of the presence of a card within the game depicting Marquardt’s image, to which they did not obtain permission to use. Marquardt therefore proceeded with a lawsuit against the creators.
Alexander Kandiloros, a lead developer of the game, claimed that the game is a piece of satire on club culture. In combatting the suit, it was argued that since the game was satirical it should fall within Sweden’s freedom of the press laws. He appeared adamant that the actions of the company were on the right side of the law and were therefore not willing to back down.
However, Sweden’s Gothernburg District Court refuted this argument, contending that since the game was created for commercial purposes it was not covered by press freedom laws.
Following a year of proceedings, the District Court ruled in favour of Marquardt, ordering damages in addition to court costs totalling close to €50,000 to be paid by this month, as well as an order ensuring the company destroys all copies of the game it has in its possession and to cease production of the game. Beware of Ninja have appealed the decision.