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Licensing Questions

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Hi there!

As of now, I'm working on an FPS in XNA for the XBOX 360, which will of course, features guns and weapons.

Here's what I DO know:
-If I want to use actual weapons, such as Colt weapons, I need to get permission

Yes, that's it.

I have many questions on this topic though.

If I create fictional (my own creations) weapons, such as made-up guns, grenades, etc, am I legally allowed to use them? Many people have told me that using weapons in a game requires licensing from the government.

Also, if I use technology already in use, such as flash bangs, or smoke grenades, will that be against the law?

Is "Humvee" or "Jeep" registered IP? In other words, can I name an ingame vehicle a Humvee or a Jeep?

Also, can I write a fictional storyline that puts two countries at war? Would that be counted as treason? (Examples include all the big titles; MW2: USA vs Russia, BC2: USA vs Russia, etc etc) I'm pretty sure that this would not be feasible for an indie game, but I'm still curious.

I know that I have many questions, but I would appreciate it if some of them have some light shed on them.

-Tony

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If I create fictional (my own creations) weapons, such as made-up guns, grenades, etc, am I legally allowed to use them? Many people have told me that using weapons in a game requires licensing from the government.


What? No. Certainly not in the US. You are fine

Quote:

Also, if I use technology already in use, such as flash bangs, or smoke grenades, will that be against the law?


What? No. Certainly not in the US. You are fine

Quote:

Is "Humvee" or "Jeep" registered IP? In other words, can I name an ingame vehicle a Humvee or a Jeep?


Probably not. I imagine both of those terms are trademarked by their respective corporations.


Quote:

Also, can I write a fictional storyline that puts two countries at war? Would that be counted as treason?


What? Treason? Absolutely not.

Assuming you are from the US, It sounds like you should immediately brush up on the First Amendment to the constitution and the rights that it grants you. That is very important information to understand for ALL citizens, not just prospective game developers.

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Original post by IcisGames
1. If I create fictional (my own creations) weapons, such as made-up guns, grenades, etc, am I legally allowed to use them? Many people have told me that using weapons in a game requires licensing from the government.
2. Is "Humvee" or "Jeep" registered IP? In other words, can I name an ingame vehicle a Humvee or a Jeep?
3. Also, can I write a fictional storyline that puts two countries at war? Would that be counted as treason?

1. You should stop listening to those people! That's just wacky.
2. Why don't you research? Just google "Humvee trademark" and "Jeep trademark," see what turns up.
3. That's totally farfetched. Where do you get these crazy ideas -- from those same people who told you you can't use made-up weapon names?

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About the humvee, I've never heard of an actual company selling one, rather it is like a generic name for said type of vehicle. On the other hand, Jeep, is a vehicle that is currently being sold, and though it is so commonly known for the body style and off-road capability, it technically is a name that is in use. But...if you are using it as a generic name for a vehicle, that isn't exactly the model of a specific jeep brand vehicle, then you may be fine there. Someone more knowledgable could likely confirm. One thing that I CAN confirm is that you can't copyright gameplay. You couldn't put a Jeep Logo on your vehicle and get away with it, but you can easily use similar styled vehicles with no issues. See how many small/tall SUV's exist, with good 4x4 specs. Jeep can't stop them, as long as they don't call themselves "Jeeps."

On the other hand, it may be a risk in a game calling a vehicle a jeep, because I don't know how common the word jeep is when refering to the type of vehicle, rather than the specific make of vehicle. I'm not sure how a court would rule it, but my opinion(I'm not a lawyer of course) is that you would likely be OK, of course assuming you weren't using the Jeep trademarks. Another possibility is that it may be better to completely avoid the issue on your part, by not having anything to do with "Jeep" and just coming up with another name, like the generic "4x4 SUV." You may be more likely to get away with using jeep if you always have it as "military jeep" which emphasizes that it isn't the Jeep vehicle itself.

Once again, I don't know the law to the letter, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

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Thanks for the great support, guys!

Now I have kind of a stupid question. =/

I am currently a citizen of the US, but if I say write a storyline that puts the US and "Country X," will any issues ever arise if i travel to Country X?

Thanks...

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...forget about that.

I now have a new question.

Can I use a model that resembles a real world gun such as http://www.turbosquid.com/FullPreview/Index.cfm/ID/297391, which is obviously the Skorpion, but call it something else? For example, could I use that model and call it a submachine gun? Or a fictional name, such as "ZX-3" or something?

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Original post by IcisGames
Can I use a model that resembles a real world gun... For example, could I use that model and call it a submachine gun? Or a fictional name, such as "ZX-3" or something?

You should read FAQ 61: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/faq61.htm

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Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Original post by IcisGames
Can I use a model that resembles a real world gun... For example, could I use that model and call it a submachine gun? Or a fictional name, such as "ZX-3" or something?

You should read FAQ 61: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/faq61.htm


Thanks, Tom!
Apparently, I missed the modelling after handguns section.

I guess I'll just use some of the fictional guns in that section.

-Tony

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