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Weapon names in games


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#1 3DModelerMan   Members   -  Reputation: 939

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 09:51 AM

I'm making a game that has guns in it and I need to name the guns. I know that I should be fine calling a weapon an AK-47 or an M16 or M4 carbine because those pretty much became names for a kind of gun and not any specific company's product. But if I want to use something like an MP7 or an ACR or 338 Lapua or something, am I allowed to? I'm not planning on putting company names like Remmington on the sides of the guns.

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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18879

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 09:58 AM

No
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#3 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17247

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 04:17 PM

You would need permission, and commercial games that include those weapons spend quite a bit on licensing - the same applies to many vehicles.

#4 3DModelerMan   Members   -  Reputation: 939

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 07:05 PM

Hm. What about the M4 the AK-47 and the M16? Aren't those types of guns that are made by multiple manufacturers?

#5 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17247

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 07:29 PM

I'm not sure about those specific examples personally, but consider that those manufacturers may well have a licence from the original owner themselves allowing them to create and distribute the weapons with that branding as long as they meet certain quality requirements and possibly pay appropriate fees or royalties. If you want to use them safely you'll need to research each weapon carefully to be sure, or if you just want to play it safe make up your own (similar if you like) guns, as you have undoubtedly seen in other games.

You could just run the risk, but personally I always recommend playing it safe -- not to mention doing the right thing -- and either thinking up your own idea or finding out who you need to approach to seek permission.

#6 hupsilardee   Members   -  Reputation: 486

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:02 PM

Now actually, this makes me think. A lot of guns with M in the name are not product names, but actually military designations, ie the US government takes a look at a gun manufactured by Colt, Bushmaster etc, decides it wants to buy some for the army, and renames it. Perhaps it's different if you're only using the army names [citation needed]

M16, M4, both refer to variants of the AR15
M82 / M107 you may be familiar with the Barrett 50 Cal from Modern Warfare 2?
M9 - adopted name of the Beretta M92F(s)

Then you get the 'X' variety, as in XM8, XM29.

RPG of course should be fine - its just an acronym of Rocket Propelled Grenade (Surely you can't be sued for this?)

I remember playing a football (soccer for you silly 'murricans) game an old mobile phone once, and you could choose the 'real world' player to take freekicks with. I always wondered why Backhim, Owan and Zidann's names were all misspelled

Disclaimer: I don't know much about law, but I think the point about military designations should perhaps be considered by those in this thread who do

#7 proanim   Members   -  Reputation: 437

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 06:45 AM

In sloperama faq there is something like 'they can sue me for doing this kind of thing', but i still think that you can put real AK-47 or M4 in your game with its real name and not get sued. There are tons of games out that have real guns in them (AAA games not included). My idea is you can put real M4 or whatever as long as it is not fully authentic. You can have cutting edge graphics in your game, but you should forget to put some minor detail on your weapons like names on textures, or such. So if anyone has something against your game media you can always say it is not authentic. Also, i seriously doubt that someone from goverment or weapon factories will look at every or majority of games (even AAA) just to check if you have permission to use their weapons in video game. There are games that have M4 rifle but it is called 'Assault Rifle', and berreta is called 'pistol', so this probably means they want to protect themselves from any kind of problems, just in case.

#8 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17247

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 06:13 PM

i still think that you can put real AK-47 or M4 in your game with its real name and not get sued.

My idea is you can put real M4 or whatever as long as it is not fully authentic.
[...]
There are games that have M4 rifle but it is called 'Assault Rifle', and berreta is called 'pistol'

Your follow-ups contradict your initial statement, but this is exactly the kind of creative solution we were suggesting to avoid any potential complications. It's just so easy to make some slight alterations and either use your own names or stick to general terms rather than being specific. You could just hope you don't run into problems -- and honestly, unless your game becomes a huge hit and gets lots of attention you probably won't even be noticed -- but why take the risk when there's such an easy solution?

Perhaps it's different if you're only using the army names

That's something you'd have to ask a lawyer -- those designations may or may not still be protected, just as the names given by the original manufacturer may or may not be protected. As such all of the same advice still applies. Posted Image

#9 lTyl   Members   -  Reputation: 135

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:35 AM

In sloperama faq there is something like 'they can sue me for doing this kind of thing', but i still think that you can put real AK-47 or M4 in your game with its real name and not get sued.


There is a trademark filed with the United States Trademark and Patent office for the phrase "AK47", which covers video games and firearms, among others. So if you have a gun called "AK47" in your game without a license, you could violate this trademark and open yourself up to legal problems. I'm not a lawyer, but if you insist on calling equipment in your game with that name, it is best to consult a lawyer and see what he has to say.

Edited by lTyl, 04 November 2012 - 08:38 AM.





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