Electronics Arts, the maker of the Battlefield series of video games, has announced they will not pay to license gun designs in the future. They believe they are legally entitled to depict trademarked designs because video games are artistic expression. Kotaku.com reports …
Just like it did when Bell launched legal action in 2012 over Battlefield’s use of helicopter designs, EA tells Reuters that, despite an intent to copy the designs and even name of famous firearms, it will no longer be paying for that privilege, believing it has a constitutional right under the tenets of free speech to use trademarks without permission.
It will be very interesting to see if they get away with this. It could be argued that you cannot easily create a video game about the military without depicting the military’s equipment, such as the Bell helicopters, but including popular non-military guns like the Desert Eagle in a video game is not so much about exercising artistic expression, but rather about increasing the games appeal to young men in order to increase sales.
On a side note, EA is nothing is not hypocritical. The company has an exclusive licensing agreement with Porsche to prevent Porsche cars appearing in competing video games.
Many thanks to Jay and XX for the tip.