EA pulls out of licensing deals with arms manufacturers

EA says it has a constitutional right to free speech in using the trademarks of weapons manufacturers.

Battlefield 4

EA has turned its back on officially licensing the rights to firearms and and other weaponry in its action games, starting with this year's Battlefield 4.

The publisher intends to continue using branded and licensed guns without permission from arms manufacturers, arguing it has a constitutional right to free speech in using the trademarks. In an interview with Reuters, EA executive Frank Gibeau said "we're telling a story and we have a point of view," and that "a book doesn't pay for saying the word 'Colt,' for example."

EA spokesperson Jeff Brown added that "the action games we will release this year will not include licensed images of weapons."

In August 2012, EA was criticised for offering links to real-world weapons in association with its then-upcoming shooter Medal of Honor: Warfighter, citing that it was the "most authentic shooter" on the market. The publisher responded by removing all links to external arms vendors and a series of blog posts endorsing the products penned by producer Greg Goodrich.

The publisher's claim that it has the constitutional right to free speech is already being tested in the US court. In January 2013, Bell Helicopter issued EA a cease and desist for its unlicensed usage of helicopters--the AH-1Z Viper, the UH-1Y, and the V-22 Osprey--in Battlefield 3, which prompted EA to sue the helicopter manufacturer's parent company Textron citing the first amendment.

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