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.

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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.

Discussion

225 comments
kyle756
kyle756

So by EA's logic, every game manufacture should be able to depict Porsches in their games despite EA's license of such. The logic is sound...

I hate EA

MaskRisen
MaskRisen

I would care, but this is EA. I hope every arms company sues them and win for the wrong they have done to gamers world wide.

Ryuuken27
Ryuuken27

They're right on the ball. Why would you pay to represent an object in real life, it has no real meaning inside a computer, reality defines its purpose, and to kill people is its purpose, inside a game, not so much, it's only a drawing of the real thing with no potential. It's like me drawing a knife and not be allowed to carry that drawing because it's a drawing of a knife that can hurt people, the logic isn't there, alright.

Merseyak
Merseyak

Actually since you suddenly jumped off topic i do happen to know a little about physics.

aeterna789
aeterna789

Next, EA will be shouting they should be exempt from paying Taxes.

They started with their consumers, now they moved on to their business partners. How far will EA push its money gaining greed?

bomber1992
bomber1992

UM, the first ammendment says the goverment cant censore your speach. what es is doing sounds like copyright infrindgment. The first ammendment has nothing to do with it.

farcorners
farcorners

would it be the constitutional right of a modder to change the enemy soldier images into representations of E.A. executives, in all the E.A shooter games? (Of course, I'm not condoning actual violence here, I'm talking about in a FPS!)

Shrabsters
Shrabsters

My gun won't have the words Colt and a horse on the side? No buy.

drago17
drago17

curious to see where this goes.  If EA wins it would make a precedent not just in FPSs but the entire industry.  Lets say Forza for example  who couldn't make Porsche in there games because Ironically EA holds the exclusive license to the brand would be able to make whatever car they want in the game.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

didnt know this was a big deal. does activision pay for liscensing fees?

deth420
deth420

so when i down load your game from tpb, dont get mad. you see i am telling a story,(or acting it out) about how i downloaded your crappy game for free then played it...

hadlee73
hadlee73

Constitutional rights or not, there's nothing stopping EA from doing this. There are so many clones of popular weapons around the world right now that if the arms manufacturers complained to EA about using their weapon models in games, EA can just claim its a clone of a popular weapon based in a fictional world. As long as EA drop the branding off the weapons in-game, there isn't much anyone can actually do about it.

Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

You know, if this was anyone else, I highly doubt everyone here would be crying so much. EA is about money? You think those weapons' manufactures are not? You think they have anything to gain or lose? No, because its about money. In a situation where its about weapons that are used to kill, they play only that role and nothing more in games.

Aggie1295
Aggie1295

Seriously? Did EA's attorneys get their law degrees from online or mail order law schools? Commercial speech isn't covered by the First Amendment, and either is using a trademark for commercial purposes.

Cowboy-Bebop
Cowboy-Bebop

Man, EA is just pathetic. How would they like it if the tables were turned on them? Oh wait. They whine about it. I hope they lose their a$$. No wonder they are the worst company in America 2 years running.

Apastron
Apastron

So, is this about not glamourising the weapons industry, or about keeping as much money as possible?

blackothh
blackothh

if they dont need the license, then why did they have it in the first place?

CDWJUSTIN
CDWJUSTIN

so it applies to guns but nothing else?

thermalmotion
thermalmotion

Huh,  EA's been supporting Weapons Manufacturers??

grauberger
grauberger

Idiots... you would think,.. Bell would be happy with the free advertising...

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

I'm not sure about this.

While I agree that infringing on copyright is cheap and wrong - the idea that weapons manufactorers copyright their "products" in the first place is just ridiculous.

People can argue all they want about EA not liking it if their products were ripped-off, but there is a big difference between an entertainment product and a "product" that's sole purpose is to kill someone. As the second largest industy on the planet, I don't think they need money from the weapons likeness being used in an entertainment product.

I highly doubt BP get money every time oil is mentioned/seen/used in a game.

JKjr86
JKjr86

lol, trying to save up every penny for the Star Wars games in 2014.

CnConrad
CnConrad

So,

Will I be able to make and sell the flash game "the battlefield"? Or "FIF A soccer"

They are using licensened and trademarked items. Do they really think this will fly? They are using a trademarked name and a visual representation that is nearly identical to the trademarked item. You can not sell someone else's idea as your own.

And finally, EA do you really want to tangle with the firearms industry's lawyers? The same guys who school the supreme court on constitutional rights.

ziproy
ziproy

People, they're not going to just rename the guns. They are going to keep using the guns real name, just not pay royalties for it.

That is ILLEGAL. It's called COPY-RIGHT INFRINGEMENT. I don't understand how piracy is despised and hated, despite being completely legal (secondary sharing is not illegal and the Supreme Court supports this verdict). Meanwhile we have EA deliberately ignoring the law and STEALING a guns name and image. F*cking hypocrites, never had a problem "sharing" your games and now I have even less of a problem

Hamshaft
Hamshaft

I, frankly, do not care if they have to use their own names for guns. I can kill you with Bob's gun or the llamadonkey knife of boners.

Edit: Nevermind the rest, this is not something to get into here.

s0l1dsnake
s0l1dsnake

EA is effin retarded, this case should be dismissed as baseless. EA is not telling a story, they are visually representing a story and by eliminating human imagination and replacing it with the pseudo-reality of a trademarked weapon and in turn making money off said story, then you are infringing. The fact that the lawyers would even use such a weak argument is unreal.

Mercgamer74
Mercgamer74

I wonder if Lockheed Martin (F-35B), Kamov (Ka-60), General Dynamics (M1128 Stryker Mobile Gun Sytem and LAV-25), Boeing Defence (F/A-18F and F/A-18E Super Hornets), Kurganmashzavod (BMP-2), Volgograd Tractor Factory (Sprut SD), GAZ ( GAZ 3937 Vodnik and BTR-90), Sukhoi (Su-35) and other manufacturers will follow suit? 

Shielder7
Shielder7

If this was reversed EA would be crying murder.

richten71
richten71

And EA would be correct in saying that you don't have to pay the owner if you say the word "Colt" in your storytelling. But using an image or replica of that "Colt" in your media in which you are making money off of becomes a different story. Also, what about the multiplayer part of their game? The multiplayer part is not telling a story because the end result is continuously changing due to different winners and losers and different players involved each time. There is a reason why on television shows, they may say the word "Coca Cola", but when shown they either block out the product name or use a generic product. I usually agree with EA on a lot of things, but I do disagree with their idea in this instance.

shadow_Dragon06
shadow_Dragon06

So EA won't license guns because freedom of speech allows them to use these guns as long as they tell a story.  Then why is EA licensing Star Wars then?  According to EA they shouldn't have to license Star Wars as long as they're telling a story.

Rattlesnake_8
Rattlesnake_8

Funny how EA comes out with online passes because used games hurts their profits, yet they won't pay people to use their ideas/products in their games.

GAMERALL
GAMERALL

Typical EA: always about licences, never about the games.

kyle756
kyle756

@Ryuuken27 Copyright dictates you control all representations of your property, if it didn't, EA wouldn't be the exlusive rights holder for depicting porsches in their race games from their deal with Porsche, this is just EA trying to cut costs and its going to end up smacking them in the face.

apollo333
apollo333

@drago17 I typed nearly the same thing and then saw your comment. It makes no sense that they pay for exclusivity to Porsche's manufactured items but they're arguing that everyone has a right to Colt's manufactured items.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@Cowboy-Bebop  

The only way it would be remotely similar is if another games was to copy the art style of Battlefield. Not only is it already being copied (aiming for realisim), but it also wouldn't really matter because what is important in a game is the gameplay, not the artistic choice.

Just like the only thing that matters about weapons is how they perform - and their performance certainly is NOT being represented in game. It never has.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@Apastron  

Probably both. After their fiasco advertising weapons on their website, they will be looking to make good PR.

Cowboy-Bebop
Cowboy-Bebop

@grauberger Really!?! Ask every company in the world how they feel about their images being copied and not credited. Try that with Mickey and see if Disney feels like your just advertising their product.

Aggie1295
Aggie1295

@Scorpion1813 A commercial product is still a commercial product regardless of the purpose of the product.  Weapons are no different from anything else. I imagine Apple would have a few things to say if you started portraying Iphones or Ipads in games. Oil is a commodity and not a product that can be trademarked.

Meta_Dragon
Meta_Dragon

@JKjr86 Lol! Not like they need to. EA knows millions of fans will come for a Star Wars game. They are just getting their accountants ready for the big rush. :P

Meta_Dragon
Meta_Dragon

@ziproyPiracy is not file sharing. You aren't getting the developers okay to take software they made to use for free. The game, software, music, movie, ect was uploaded onto site illegally, downloaded and no money is given back. Ergo, stealing.

pmamba45
pmamba45

@GAMERALL

Your right, Some licenced content have been anything but a poor excuse to exemplify AAA expectations. 

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@Cowboy-Bebop

Guns are designed the way they are for practical applications. Having their appearance copied in a virtual world is not going to effect their sales. People aren't going to purchase a copy of Battlefield instead of an actual gun, when they are looking to buy something to kill people with.

Your comparrison is invalid, because copying Mickey Mouse, will actually effect Disney sales. Mickey and the knock-off are both made to entertain people, they both look similar, but maybe one is cheaper to buy (DVDs of the knock-off). So people would rather buy the knock-off.

Again, virtual guns are not going to effect the sales of real guns. The guns in game don't even act like real guns. The in-game statistics of each gun is artificially created for balancing within the game. So the guns may look like the real-life counter-parts, but they certainly don't represent the performance of them. And that's what actually matters when people look at buying a weapon - how it performs.

grauberger
grauberger

@Cowboy-Bebop @grauberger you are somewhat right... now if they would have copied the helicopters, called/named them something different and took the credit for the design (which they didnt..), then you would be completly right....:-)

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@Aggie1295 @Cowboy-Bebop

You can argue all you want that "That's what they are so put up with it!". But with an attitude like that, you're only allowing the world to screw you over - along with everyone else.

Society and laws are fucked up. We shouldn't just accept them the way there are, especially when they are so flawed and broken. Yes, I agree that copyright laws should be upheld. BUT, weapons should not be protected by copyright laws.

As I mentioned, they are the second biggest industry in the world. They don't need more funding from licences like this. The money would be much better spent on healthcare, welfare, education, and other things that actually benifit the world - not weapons that are designed with the single purpose of killing people. 

Being content with that means you are a part of the problem, and another hurdle in the way of making a better world.

grauberger
grauberger

@Meta_Dragon I personally dont "share", but...i wouldnt exactly call it stealing... if I buy a potato in the store, but instead of eating it, I just put it in the ground and wait a couple of months and at the end have 10 potatoes... would that be stealing??? That whole copyright stuff is more complicated than we think....

grauberger
grauberger

@Meta_Dragon @grauberger oh well... let those big companies worry about it... the only things thats too bad though,... the consumers are paying for it.. 

Meta_Dragon
Meta_Dragon

@grauberger @Meta_Dragon Thats a valid point. It is a very complicated issue. I mean, where do you draw the line? And i can't answer the potato question, but i get waht you are saying.