Ari Emanuel Ushers in 2010 by Killing Identity-Stealing iPhone App
It's a new decade and a new era for Ari Emanuel: His brother's in the White House, his agency swallowed William Morris in one gulp, and the sky is the limit for the '10s. As such, he's wasted no time in cutting his first throat of the year -- yet it doesn't belong to who you might think.
After several weeks of litigious saber-rattling and appeals to Apple, Emanuel successfully lobbied to have the iPhone app/game SuperAgent yanked from the iTunes store. And in perhaps the most surprising twist of the WME kingpin's new leaf, nobody can really blame him. After all, the app's makers -- the Irish mobile software manufacturer FactorySix -- used his name in its tagline ("Think you're SuperAgent Ari? Then prove it.") and borrowed the conceit of Ari and his A-list client Vince from Entourage without receiving permission from either Emanuel or HBO. Which might not have been a huge problem, except for the part where FactorySix offered the game's top scorer a $25,000 prize for decisions and maneuvers that best answered SuperAgent's overriding question: What would Ari do?
With that objective in mind, it probably should have been obvious that his first move would be to smite these guys where they stand. At least HBO sought and received his blessing for Jeremy Piven's Emmy-winning tribute before Entourage splashed down; FactorySix reportedly consulted neither Emanuel nor the network, if only because they intended the names as an homage to the show, not the agent. Which probably means HBO will have their own legal hounds on the blood trail by the time you finish reading this, if they don't already.
The makers' defense? "The name has come to represent Hollywood, and the whole idea of Hollywood, rather than a particular person," the company's founder plainly admitted in to The Independent. "We're a very small firm, of just three people, and since Apple pulled it we have had no income." Income? Oh, really? Apparently none of those three people are a publicist, but hopefully one is a lawyer.
· SuperAgent [FactorySix]
· Hollywood vs the iPhone [The Independent]
[SuperAgent screengrab via Factory Six]