Sign in to follow this  
iamdain

Royalties to use racetrack?

Recommended Posts

iamdain    100
We are creating a 3D game for an auto manufacturer which we plan to contain a real world racetrack. The track is public property but the land and operations have been rented to a private company. There is currently legal action against the private company as to the legitimacy of the terms under which this was done so the story is they might be operating it illegally and be kicked out pending further action (according to my interpretation of news reports run through google translate). In short, it's a grey area who to talk to about this and whether we would get a straight and legitimate answer.

We are wondering if there is any law which would apply internationally which would require us to form a licensing agreement with any entity associated with the track. Our local solicitor says he can't understand how this could fall under copyright, patent or trademark law unless there is some local council regulation, but that we should consult a lawyer in the country in question (250 Euros an hour =( ).

The main questions we have are:
1) What laws if any might prevent us from using a hand modeled 3D representation of the road and its surroundings in our game without obtaining any sort of permission or license to do so?
2) Does anyone have experience in this sort of thing? What were your experiences?
3) What would be the closest representation we can use without breaking any rules? (Slightly altered track geometry, change the name a bit etc.)

This is our last hiccup before starting work! Thanks for any advice.

Cheers
D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Sloper    16062
1. Ask your lawyer. You can ask the client's legal counsel, too. It's their risk as well as yours.
2. Lawyers can advise you. I would think that your client's counsel would be even better able to discuss this than many game lawyers can.
3. That's up to your own tolerance for risk. Your lawyer can advise you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Obscure    175
[quote]1) What laws if any might prevent us from using a hand modeled 3D representation of the road and its surroundings in our game without obtaining any sort of permission or license to do so?[/quote]
Sods law

My G/F works for the government education bureau. In theory they can make "fair use" of copyright materials for educational purposes. The reality is they won't because people sue and the only way to prove fair use is to incur the cost of going to court.

Someone owns the racetrack. Even if it is public land someone is responsible for looking after it (maybe the local government). If you use it without permission there is a chance they will sue you, which will be the sort of PR the auto-manufacturer really wont want. Some elements of the track may be protected under copyright or design rights and names/logos protected by trademark - or these may have all lapsed. They may also make a claim of passing off - implying some link or support from the race track for your venture.

[quote]2) Does anyone have experience in this sort of thing? What were your experiences?[/quote]
Yes, I have worked on dozens of products that had some element of licensing and the one thing I learn is don't mess with other people's stuff without permission.

[quote]3) What would be the closest representation we can use without breaking any rules? (Slightly altered track geometry, change the name a bit etc.)[/quote]
One that is totally different. If it is recognisable then the owners may recognise and sue. If it isn't recognisable then you aren't actually using it so what is the point.

Conclusion
Find out who runs it and get permission, even if that means paying a license. Auto-manufacturers spend billions making cars and many millions advertising. A license fee is the cost of not incurring bad PR. Alternatively use a fictional track.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this