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Piter3

Guns in games - copywright issues

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Could I implement real guns in game?

 

Simply exact design and other stuff like handling a gun and firing like that real world gun with exact name?

 

Or I can't do so?

 

In another way - Could I take design, modify it and give it another name? Something like parody of that real world gun but it would be still recognizable in some way.

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Nitpick correction: it's copyright not copywright.  I'll move you to our "business and law" forum for this question. smile.png

 

The names of specific weapons are often covered by trademark, and the specific designs may also be legally protected.  Unless you have explicit written permission you would be best not to use them as you could potentially land yourself in legal trouble.

 

 

It's pretty common for developers to use un-protected variations on protected items in order to avoid legal trouble.  The more similar your fictional variation is to the real thing the more likely it is to still land you in some trouble, so you'll have to decide how much risk you're willing to take.

 

 

I am not a lawyer, and the above is not proper legal advice. smile.png

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It's a bit of a grey area.

  • If a character in a book uses a real-world product, that's just the author trying to make his world seem real, and to relate to the reader.
  • If a person on TV uses a product, the TV station will usually blur out the branding, so that they're not accused of trying to create a false association.
  • If a person in a film uses a real product, you can be sure that a lot of money changed hands in an advertising deal biggrin.png

These are all basically the same situation, but the precedents set in each medium are different...

 

In shooter games, many companies in the past have been threatened with IP infringement lawsuits for including real guns, tanks, helicopters (names and forms that are trademarked and under copyright), which has caused many games to use fake names for their guns.

However, recently EA notoriously decided to stop bowing to these threats, and they have started using real names and looks in their shooter games again (without paying the licensing fees). This is a dangerous game -- the product owners may sue them at any time. They might win the lawsuit, because they're just "depicting real products in real settings", or they might lose, and be forced to pay licensing fees to acquire the rights to use this IP...

 

If I was making an indie shooter game set in the real world, I'd probably just shoulder that risk and use real products for the sake of authenticity... and because I think the lawsuits are BS... but it is a risk.

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I have a question in similiar nature but in something other.

 

Can I title game with title of the song - song's name isn't a name of something it's made of normal days. And in the game nothing related to song

 

well, im not EA and it would ruin me eventually. But thanks, I'll be carefull and probably create own guns only related to real guns design

Edited by Piter3

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Could I implement real guns in game?

I have a question in similiar nature but in something other.

Can I title game with title of the song

 

Piter, you should read the FAQ on copyright and trademark. 

http://sloperama.com/advice/faq61.htm

The look of a gun is copyrighted.  Its name is trademarked.

The composition of a song is copyrighted. Its name is in the realm of trademark.

You want to stay away from using other people's copyrights and trademarks.  If you're going into business (releasing a game is going into business), you should consult a lawyer at least once.

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But well, in GTA the cars are their own creation, their design is only slightly made on real cars (I saw some posts like "GTA cars in real life" on some websites) so it should be okay to make own guns making them only a bit similiar to a real ones and with different name, shouldn't it?

 

And about a song - it isn't related to some popular song title like creating game and naming it "hit me baby one more time". I just made a title and googled it - and I've found a song with exact title. So nothing related to lyrics and performers. Should it be okay?

 

And another example that it worked - there's a game Heaven and Hell realesed in 2003 and there's a song Heaven and Hell by C.C Catch made in '80s. There's also Black Sabbath album with such a name and one band uses that name. So should it be okay?

Edited by Piter3

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Song titles are a unique case. There are songs with the same title, but are different songs.  For the most part, nobody would be confused if a game and a song had the same title (nobody would think the game was made by the composer of the song, or vice versa).  But if you made a game and titled it the same as a hit song by One Dimension (for example) during the time that the song is causing a splash in the pop culture world, it's possible that One Dimension's attorneys could initiate some kind of action against you.  Possible, I say.  I don't say it's likely.  A lawyer could give you better advice. 

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The song I'm thinking to use isn't popular and is a bit old (90s)

So I probably will that title.

 

And what's One Dimension by the way?

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And what's One Dimension by the way?

 
It's an imaginary boy band, a play on the name One Direction (didn't want to use their trademarked name in my example).


jk Edited by Tom Sloper
oops

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