Monday, January 09, 2012

EA Claims Using Brand Names In Games Is Protected Under First Amendement


From the company that is very sue-happy when it comes to using their name/image/likeness in any context, they are claiming that in their release of Battlefield 3, it is artistic freedom to use some names/objects/content.

You hear that noise? That's not an angel getting it's wings.

Textron Inc. makes a few helicopters in the real world, and they also appear in Battlefield 3 without their permission. They stated they would be taking legal action if it wasn't resolved, so EA beat them to the punch and is suing Textron for freedom of speech rights.

Why are they doing this? Well apparently they won a case over the Godfather video game when an Indiana based company attempted to sue them for using the word "Derringer" in the game to describe Tommy Guns. Derringer, which is misspelled and is actually Deringer, was a pistol maker and his name lives on through a company that produces hand guns. It's a silly thing to sue over, but hey. That's what people like to do sometimes.

EA is hoping that case will help them win the Battlefield 3 issue. Their claim is that a company such as Textron would still be making helicopters in 2014. Therefore, their trademark name and image would be on those products. It was their attempt to make the game more "real" and to skirt around not paying Textron a cent in licensing. I'd be interested in seeing what the result of this one is. It's pretty clear to me that EA is using the name and likeness without permission. This isn't at all like the Godfather game issue. You're taking a product that already exists in today's world and implementing it into a game without the knowledge of the owner. They're trying to hide behind "art" as an excuse. Very lame EA. Then again, should I expect anything else?


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