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car licensing for free game

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I had a quick question. For instance if you have a free online racing game with real cars including their real names. You also have an item mall where people can buy parts that you made up. You can put these parts on the real cars. Would this be legal? Would I need real licensing like the Gran Turismo series?

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No that almost certainly wouldn't be legal. The respective car companies own those trademarks/copyrights etc. I worked on Outrun2006: Coast2Coast with Ferrari cars and the licensing was a big issue with Ferrari being involved heavily in the use of their cars and usage of logos having to pass their approval process.

They were pretty good to work with actually and had loads of documentation available to help define how logos and colours could be used in certain situations etc.

Anyway that's all beside the point which is that you'd have to negotiate licences with every individual car manufacturer for each of their models and makes of car.

A better idea is to do what the GTA series has done with its cars. They model vehicles which are _like_, not identical but _like_, real world cars and then give them funny names which remind you of the real world basis for the vehicle :) Its a nice idea because it become more homage than license avoidance ;)

Anyway that's the route I'd take. If later on you felt that you wanted to approach real manufacturers and negotiate licensed vehicles you might be able too. Though you'll probably never get them to agree to using them for free and inflicting damage on them is almost certainly going to be out of the question.

Andy

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I agree with everything you say, but I think my case is a little different from working on a retail game.

Alot of mods for games come out all the time with real cars, guns and other things. These mods are 100% free, and they dont ever deal with licensing.

Now if a game was 100% free, but someone only buys made up parts for a car if they choose. Is that something you can get away with? Its not like I would sell the actual game with the cars. I would only sell made up parts of my own creation.

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Quote:
Original post by NegativeGeForce
I agree with everything you say, but I think my case is a little different from working on a retail game. ... Alot of mods for games come out all the time ... and they dont ever deal with licensing.

... Is that something you can get away with?

Translation into a different legal issue:

"I agree with people telling me to stay within the law. But people embezzle money every day, and they don't ever get punished. Is it okay if I embezzle money too?"


Seeing other people violating the law without getting caught doesn't make it legal. ("Everybody else was also speeding" argument.)

If you don't like the law, it doesn't make it legal. ("But piracy isn't REALLY theft because I wouldn't have paid anyway" argument, or the "It's a stupid law so it doesn't apply to me" argument.)

Just because your violation is small doesn't make it legal. ("It's just one candy from the bin, it doesn't hurt too much, so it isn't really shoplifting" argument, or "The company makes millions every year, a few dollars isn't a big deal, and I really want the money" argument.)


It doesn't matter how hard you try to justify it, the simple fact is that when you violate the law, you're going to lose big when you are eventually sitting before the judge.

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"Neg" wrote:
>I agree with everything you say, but I think my case is a little different from working on a retail game.

See, I knew I should have stated the point more strongly. I say again: NO. Do NOT use anyone else's trademarks without permission, EVER. PERIOD. You didn't read that article I pointed you to, did you.

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Quote:
Original post by NegativeGeForce
I agree with everything you say, but I think my case is a little different from working on a retail game.

That's because you don't know what your talking about, which is why you asked in the first place. It doesn't matter if your game is free, or if the stuff you sell is made up. Use of real cars, their logos and likeness would be a breach of the car makers intellectual property rights.

None of the other stuff you mention makes any difference at all.

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I did read the article you posted tsloper. I wrote my last post not knowing you made a reply.

So basically every mod and free game using ripped content or other peoples ip can be subject to legal action.

So my next question is: Why aren't there people getting sued? I mean there are hundreds of mods out there with zero licensing. For instance the game "rfactor" has 100's of car mods for the game that use real cars. There are huge communities trading these mods with real car names and logos.

I never thought it wasn't against the law, but it seems no one is doing anything about it.

I personally wouldn't screw with other peoples ip without permission, but I guess my problem is that ALOT of people seem to be getting away with this.


Thanks for the input guys.

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Quote:
Original post by NegativeGeForce
So my next question is: Why aren't there people getting sued?

It's too obscure to be noticed or cause any significant damage, the copyright/trademark holder doesn't think it worth the hassle, they actually see it as an opportunity to expand their brand or fan base, etc.

Just because some get away with it, doesn't mean anything, and it certainly doesn't make it legal. They have 'the rights', but they also have the right to make their own decision whether to take legal action or not.

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Quote:
So my next question is: Why aren't there people getting sued? I mean there are hundreds of mods out there with zero licensing. For instance the game "rfactor" has 100's of car mods for the game that use real cars. There are huge communities trading these mods with real car names and logos.


"Cease and desist" letters are sent pointing out the breach of IP long before anyone gets sued. Whatever caused the breach often then silently dissapears from the web.

Some links:
http://www.happypenguin.org/newsitem?id=3801
http://halogen.slipstreamproductions.net/
http://kotaku.com/gaming/piano-hero/piano-hero-gets-cease-and-desist-249940.php
http://forum.freeadvice.com/showthread.php?t=386711
http://www.autounleashed.com/toyota-sues-porn-producers-over-the-lexus-name
http://adirlevy.com/?p=8
http://www.legogroupsucks.com/

I'm sure you get the idea.

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NegativeGeForce, if you aren't willing to accept the correct answer to your question, the only answers available to you will be incorrect answers. So here is an incorrect answer for you: ya, sure, go ahead, its fare use if u dont make any money from it and u can say its a parady. Do what you will with that incorrect answer.

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I wouldn't be that sure about mod's not being notice, in fact, quake 3 had a dragonballz mod named Bid For Power. They were forced to change all the models and characters names or else they'd be sued. This could also happen to you ;)! The chance is small but trust me, you don't want to be in your shoes when it happens :P

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Once apon a time in a land far far away there was a UT mod called Jeep Rampage(or something along those lines) that used models of real Jeep Products.

Never heard of it? Never seen it? thats because it was release in ONE very obscure location was downloaded about 15 times and within two hours the person the posted it got a cease and desist order from the Jeep legal department.

The point is DO NOT USE THINGS THAT DON'T BELONG TO YOU. If you don't like the answer then do what you want.

Oh, and one more thing mods don't normally make money. Once you start selling your fictitious parts for real money you will most likely be getting something in the mail about your game.

~Feral

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I agree with the others. There are various reasons why the various mods don't get into trouble but the main one is that the IP owner hasn't found out about them yet (because they aren't well known outside their own small set of fans). Some companies do allow non-commercial use of their IP but you need to ask first or you risk a legal letter and possibly legal action. As you say there are lots of mods that haven't been caught but also lots that have.

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