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Military Jet Copyrights


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#1 Shade.   Members   -  Reputation: 199

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 09:44 PM

Hello everyone. I was wondering about using military jets in a game. I read a similar thread about gun copyrights and it seemed that as long as you change the name of the gun, you're OK. So, I am wondering if I create a 3D model of a F22-Raptor and call it like "M33-Vega" and give it a different color scheme, etc. Is that still against the law? 

 

Thank you for your time!



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#2 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 30882

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 09:57 PM

In the past, big games companies were bullied by weapon manufacturers (which includes large scale weapons like jets and helicopters) into paying licensing fees, because they were reproducing the distinctive look of these products, which are covered by copyright.

 

Recently, EA basically told them all to shove off, and declared that depicting real products being used in a realistic way, when making a game with a realistic setting, is "fair use", and they stopped paying the licensing fees.

 

In books this is how it usually works -- authors mention real products so that as a reader you can relate to the world of the book, you can imagine the product that the character is using, because you've seen it yourself. That's standard "fair use", and now EA has declared that they're following the same doctrine.

 

I'm not aware if anyone as sued EA yet in order to test whether a court agrees with them or not...

 

Copyright infringement like this isn't against the law such that the police will knock on your door. It's against the law in that someone can take you to court because you've somehow harmed them, and the court might agree and take measures to right things. Until you're in the courtroom hearing the decision, there's often a lot of grey between legal/illegal.

 

Personally, I would go ahead and do what you're doing... but the manufacturer of an F22 could still possibly decide that you're ripping off their look and sue you.

In any case, no matter what you do, a completely different manufacturer might sue you because your plane kinda-sorta looks like one of theirs (and if it went to court, they would probably lose, but it's still possible). All you can do really is adjust your level of risk, but never eliminate it (people sue for all sorts of crazy stuff!).



#3 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22205

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:05 PM

This is covered in the forum FAQ and in the little "Getting Started" box for the business forum. Clicky

Talk to your lawyer for a definitive answer. EA is in a financial position where they can choose to fight things out in the court. You probably are not.

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#4 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3651

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:09 PM

Even EA had to settle, according to this article (regarding helicopters): http://kotaku.com/ea-ends-first-amendment-claim-to-use-real-world-helicop-1159651214


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#5 Shade.   Members   -  Reputation: 199

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:46 PM

This is covered in the forum FAQ and in the little "Getting Started" box for the business forum. Clicky

Talk to your lawyer for a definitive answer. EA is in a financial position where they can choose to fight things out in the court. You probably are not.

My bad Frob. I did try to look for this thread in older sections of the forum, but I couldn't find one that was directly relatable to my topic. 

And thank you for the responses. It seems like I'd probably get away with what I'm doing, But I should really try my best to make up my own jets at this rate. Maybe combining two real ones into one made up one I guess. 

All the advice was really helpful guys, thank you!



#6 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 971

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 10:55 PM

If I am not mistaken TT (Transport Tycoon) had published with original names and accurate graphics (2D isometric in that case) then they changed names to fictional ones in Deluxe edition saying that "If a Boeing crashes in game, Boeing might sue us" . Not sure if it was ever true or still applicable though.

 

I think it is obvious not to take unnecessary risk of making F-22 exact copy but what is the line between ripoff and original work?



#7 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 20245

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 11:35 PM

And thank you for the responses. It seems like I'd probably get away with what I'm doing, But I should really try my best to make up my own jets at this rate. Maybe combining two real ones into one made up one I guess. 

 

Ya know, it'd be great if a group of developers, artists, and enthusiasts got together and created an open database of public domain fictional jets, guns, cars, and so on for use in videogames. The developers would specify what kind of details are needed for games, enthusiasts would create the specifications and details in a wiki-like way, and the artists would do some basic freehand sketches of the different fictional equipment based on those specs, so the developers' contracted or in-house artists can later create their own detailed artwork or 3D models using the sketches as a rough guideline to stay as roughly consistent (or not, as desired) across games.


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#8 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10060

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 11:37 PM

I think it is obvious not to take unnecessary risk of making F-22 exact copy but what is the line between ripoff and original work?


YOU have to draw YOUR OWN line. How much risk are you willing to take? If you are very risk-averse, then don't use anybody else's IP (draw the line away from it). If you are willing to risk it, then you are moving the line closer. If you don't know what you're risking, then ask your attorney.
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#9 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 971

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 06:26 AM

 

I think it is obvious not to take unnecessary risk of making F-22 exact copy but what is the line between ripoff and original work?


YOU have to draw YOUR OWN line. How much risk are you willing to take? If you are very risk-averse, then don't use anybody else's IP (draw the line away from it). If you are willing to risk it, then you are moving the line closer. If you don't know what you're risking, then ask your attorney.

 

 

I am perfectly ok with drawing own line, I am not asking if I can come up with F-22b :) , what I wonder is how significantly different it should be to lower risk? Should I make triangular helicopters? :)



#10 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10060

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 07:50 AM

how significantly different it should be to lower risk?


You're still asking us to draw your line for you. Have you read this yet? --> http://sloperama.com/advice/faq61.htm
-- Tom Sloper
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Making games fun and getting them done.
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Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#11 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 971

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:13 AM

 

how significantly different it should be to lower risk?


You're still asking us to draw your line for you. Have you read this yet? --> http://sloperama.com/advice/faq61.htm

 

 

"Good" part of being non-native English speaker is understanding line as "shortest path between two points" rather than what you actually meant :)






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