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dgreen02

Vehicle liknesses?

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So I'm having a full set of 16 cars made to populate the cities in my game "Gang War"...I'm wondering how closely the vehicle models can resemble any real-life cars without having any problems? I figured as long as I don't use their logos (the only thing they can copyright, right?) and I change the names of the cars, it shouldn't matter what the vehicles look like. Also it doesn't seem like there's any way to regulate when a 3d car models is the "same" as a real life car. Also, if there are any problems with this sort of thing...I don't understand how 3D modelers can sell actual models of cars, including logos, on sites like turbosquid.com for $100s of dollars a piece and not have a problem. If anybody can shed some light on this situation I'd appreciate it. - Dan

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Cant shed some light on the situation but those models are really cool!

Also by coincidence I just downloaded you car physics video about 2 hours ago, also very cool:)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Wow, I was lookin at your screens, did you do all that yourself, and how long did it take you, that game looks awesome.

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Thanks guys :-D

Yup I wrote the whole thing from scratch over the last 1.5 years, and funded it myself.

I'm hoping to enter it into the 2006 Independent Games Festival, plus I've got a worldwide publishing contract signed :-D

- Dan

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Hi Dan,

A few years ago I worked on a game based on the 'World's Scariest Police Chases' TV series, that was to be published by Vivendi and Fox Interactive. They (Fox) made it very clear to us that we weren't allowed to make any of our vehicles look like any real cars as to do so would require the car manufacturers permission. I believe this applied to either the shape or the logos.

I strongly advise that you seek proper legal advice on the matter, as you really don't want to leave yourself open to attack from angry car manufacturers who don't want their cars associated with gang warfare :)

BTW. Your game looks very nice. Good work!

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Yea my publisher has expressed some concerns about this on my previous set of car models, but those were created from phototextures so I could see the problems with that...they havn't said anything about the current set though.

So I'm wondering where they draw the line on how closely a car can resemble it's real life counterpart, who should I talk to about this kind of thing?

Thanks for the info Will.

- Dan

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What WillC mentioned is the concern I was having too. A lot of companies don't like their names or likenesses used. If you pay attention to games like GTA you'll notice that the cars may LOOK like a certain car, but don't have all the defining characteristics of them. It takes a knowledge of cars to spot them, as you'll need to know what to look for.

For instance, in one of the games I played I noticed there was a "Chemaro" ... it was a cross between a Chevelle and a Camaro. While it looked an aweful lot like a camaro, you could see that the tail lights and rear end stuff were taken off of a Chevelle (or some similar car). Cross-breeding cars is a good way to get the look you want while not using an actual representation of the car in question.

Like I said in your journal, I don't know much about the legal side of things, I just know what i've read in various places and thught I would voice my concern, for your benefit. I, for one, hope you CAN use the cars.

As for how people can make replicas with names/logos and everything, that is a good question. The site selling them may have a contract with those companies, or could sell them out to publishers who have permission from the manufacturers, or something of that nature. But it could be anything, really.

But yes, seek professional legal advice on the matter.

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Well for sites like turbosquid.com the modeler can upload anything they want, and charge whatever they want with no problems. It doesn't seem practical that turbosquid would have licensed every car manufacturer on earth.

If you search for Ferrari on turbosquid you'll see what I mean, it seems like that would be more of a problem than what I'm doing?

I really appreciate all of your input guys, does anybody have a good reference for a lawyer I should talk to? Somebody who specifically deals with game related things?

Also, what should I tell my modeler to do? Should I tell him to just change the headlights, grill, and minor features around for each car? Only about half of them are done at this point in time, so maybe if he just does it for the remaining cars it shouldn't be a problem...or are the cars I already have too close to the real things?

- Dan

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You really need to talk to a lawyer; and preferably one with experience in the game dev field.

One of the Mods on this board, Dan (Who's nickname is 'Obscure'), may be able to point you in the right direction, or offer some better advice. He is very knowledgable on subjects like this and even has some links on his site to game dev lawyers (http://www.obscure.co.uk/directory_legal.shtml). His profile is here (http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/profile.asp?mode=display&id=2069) if you want to PM him.

I'm just a programmer, so I wouldn't want to pretend I know anything about legal stuff.

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Quote:
Original post by dgreen02
Well for sites like turbosquid.com the modeler can upload anything they want, and charge whatever they want with no problems. It doesn't seem practical that turbosquid would have licensed every car manufacturer on earth.

If you search for Ferrari on turbosquid you'll see what I mean, it seems like that would be more of a problem than what I'm doing?
The fact that someone else is breaching the car companies' copyright and hasn't been caught yet doesn't necessarily mean that you won't get caught. A person who uploads and sells a few models to indie developers is very unlikely to appear on Ford's radar. A gang warfare game with a world-wide publishing deal will benefit from a world-wide marketing campaign - screen shots in the press, downloadable videos and playable demo - and is much more likely to be spotted.

Quote:
Yea my publisher has expressed some concerns about this on my previous set of car models, but those were created from phototextures so I could see the problems with that...they havn't said anything about the current set though.
That may be because the development guys at the publisher are ignorant of copyright law or it may be because they know that your publishing agreement makes you liable for any loss or damages they suffer as a result of you breaching someone else's copyright. (Your contract almost certainly has warranty and indemnity clauses that make it clear that you are responsible and which allow them to sue you to recover any money they lose).

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