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Jsonedecker

EA no longer licensing weapon names

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This is a pretty big deal. firstly, I didn't know that NO developer has ever been sued for using weapon names and likenesses in games. But more so that if EA is blazing the trail then small guys like us can follow without fear of litigation. They will set the precedence and deal with the headache/cost if someone decides to put up a fight.

 

http://www.gamasutra...ir_branding.php

 

In case you can't get to the link:

 

Electronic Arts is distancing itself from the gun industry, by cutting ties with gun manufacturers over licensed weaponry in its games -- although the publisher says it will continue to feature branded guns without a license.

 

EA has previously licensed weapons from gun manufacturers like McMillan Group International in past first-person shooter titles, including Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

 

However, speaking to Reuters, EA president Frank Gibeau says that his company will no longer give money to gun companies in exchange for a license to use branded weapons in its games.

 

Yet EA will continue to show branded weapons in its games regardless. "We're telling a story and we have a point of view," Gibeau explained. "A book doesn't pay for saying the word 'Colt,' for example."

 

The company says it is asserting a constitutional free speech right to use these weapon-based trademarks without permission in its upcoming shooter games.

 

This move follows recent comments from the National Rifle Association, blaming the video game industry for elevated acts of gun violence in the U.S. -- although EA says that this latest decision has nothing to do with the NRA comments.

 

The question of whether EA will get away with it is up in the air thus far. Reuters was told by legal experts that there hasn't been a single case where a gun company has sued a video game studio for using branded guns without a license.

 

However, there is currently a lawsuit in progress in which an aircraft maker says that EA depicted its helicopters in the Battlefield series without permission. This particular case will go to trial in June.

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I wonder how this will translate to everything else in games: vehicles, clothes, tactical gear, locations.

Do movie producers have to pay the company if a character wears a Nike t-shirt with a visible logo, or someone says: "that guy with the Nike t-shirt" ?

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I wonder how this will translate to everything else in games: vehicles, clothes, tactical gear, locations.

Do movie producers have to pay the company if a character wears a Nike t-shirt with a visible logo, or someone says: "that guy with the Nike t-shirt" ?

 

Typically Nike would be paying the movie studio to have it in the movie. That "space" is too valuable to be giving free advertising to someone. As long as a product is shown in a positive light or is advantageous to the product maker, they won't complain.

 

As for guns in video games, EA has a good point in that they are telling a story and that you don't need a licensing agreement to mention a product by name in a book.

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I dunno how I feel about this...

 

at one point you have developers bitching about their Intellectual Property being stolen and in some cases running better than their original product.

 

Now you have publishers stealing Intellectual property for their game, It would be like saying you can make a Honda Civic and having the ability to make the car perform like a 1899 Horsey Horseless and potentially harming the parent companies profits by misrepresenting their product's quality with zero recourse or zero accountability of the publisher or developer.

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But IP laws doesn't apply to the military nomenclature no? For example, the M11 is a SIG P228 and so on. If I'm right, it shouldn't be a big deal for the industry.

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Not sure how much will change now that most of the models are being reworked but on the models I shipped all logo's have been replaced with the BFS logo, from memory the M4 even had the regular "COLT Hartford" whatever text replaced with something BFS related.

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Doesn't change much for us really. We still won't put full company logos on the textures or use the company names in the weapon names, but we will use the model numbers. So it won't be an H&K MP5 but just an MP5. My biggest gain will be that I will now do those things without looking over my shoulder to much. :)

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I am sure you need a license for using weapons and designs in a computer game. GTA is a good example, all the cars, guns, music they use require a license and any logos they use as well. Maybe you can get away with some of the stuff as it is free advertising for some companies..

 

It's all trademark / copyright.. :)

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I'll let EA fight that battle, as they look to do, and follow what they do. If EA sets legal precedence then so be it.

 

Regardless, I did not plan to use company names or logos... just model numbers.

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Shouldnt even be a point of contention. Taxpayers fund the development of most of these weapons so copyright should be null and void!

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