Naughty Dog apologizes for using artist's Boston rail map in The Last of Us

Artist Cameron Booth says studio has apologized for using his work in recent action game, believes issue will be resolved "to everyone's satisfaction."

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Artist Cameron Booth and developer Naughty Dog are close to resolving an issue related to the developer using Booth's redesigned MBTA rail map in The Last of Us.

"I've just spoken with Naughty Dog over the phone in a very constructive conversation. Can't say more at the moment, but it seems as if matters will be resolved to everyone's satisfaction shortly," Booth wrote on his website.

"I can say that they do acknowledge their error in using my map and were very apologetic for it. I likewise apologized for my initial vitriolic post. A lot of mutual respect for each other’s creative work," he added.

Booth recently lashed out at Naughty Dog for using his redesigned MBTA map in The Last of Us, saying the developer used his map for the game without his knowledge and never compensated him for his work.

"I'm f***ing furious," Booth wrote in a heavily updated post.

Inception and Juno star Ellen Page also recently took Naughty Dog to task over allegedly "ripping off" her likeness for The Last of Us character Ellie.

Discussion

736 comments
STX81
STX81

This is a case of intellectual property not art. Booth owns the copyright to the image and Naughty Dog is used it without permission. It's pretty simple. I live in  Boston and the maps clearly have the copyright symbol displayed in the lower right corner of the image.

The legal and financial damage has already been done. I know is hard for some to understand but the map was included in the game to add to it's realism and so indirectly Booth's efforts (no matter at how trivially you rate it) was used without proper financial compensation. If Naughty Dog didn't value the map's addition they could of easily made one up instead of faithfully recreating Booth's map.

In Naughty Dog's defense I think they might have thought the T held the rights to the map since I am assuming they got permission to use the T's logo, station names, and actual trains (oddly enough the buses are the wrong color.)

Cryptic_Shadow
Cryptic_Shadow

This seems to be happening quite often; publishers giving the go-ahead to plagiarize other artists works and deal with the consequences when the conflict presents itself, if it presents itself...

The same could be said for Movies, Music...

patriautism
patriautism

I lived in Boston for years and this map looks almost exactly like the regular T map. Is copying an existing subway map and making very slight  changes considered art these days? really?

LE5LO
LE5LO

Anyone else keep seeing the "4 Things You'll Feel Right Before a Heart Attack" link below every article on the site these days? I guess they figure we're all a bunch of unhealthy pricks. lol

GONtheSKYLORD
GONtheSKYLORD

I swear so many of you people are stupid. How do you think artist's make a living? People pay them for their work. If you start just allowing people to use your work completely free of charge, how do you make a living?

JohnMark320
JohnMark320

Just goes to show, ALWAYS get licenses and signed contracts in the creative industry! 

sr_arthur3
sr_arthur3

I understand the artist's point of view.  And obviously so did naughty dog.  Both parties consolidated and made arrangements to compensate the artist.  I just hope people don't start turning to the videogame market for an easy buck.

sa2bmaster
sa2bmaster

I don't understand why Naugty Dog is doing this, aren't they getting paid enough to research the area and get permission to use someone's map as a reference for them to create their own? It seems like they have some dodgy business tactics to me, I wonder what else they put in the game that they didn't make.

Born_Lucky
Born_Lucky

So  . . . when Feedbackula uses people's comments on a page that gamespot receives ad dollars on, should those people be compensated for their  original ideas? 

How about when a movie company films a neighborhood where I painted the houses. Do they owe me money?. Those houses wouldn't look like that if I hadn't painted them.

Ridiculous your say? **** right it's ridiculous . . .  and so is this.

Armoured_Mage
Armoured_Mage

i could spit on a piece of paper and wipe my ass with it and own that image.

sadscooterpipe
sadscooterpipe

This is obviously way over my head.  I fail to see how a map (an absolutely static civic reference) can be represented *without* being copied?  I'm all for artists rights but I just don't understand this one? 

r_ruiz6047
r_ruiz6047

Come on Gamespot, report game reviews, previews and news worthy articles. This is a waste of space.

bakwidzman
bakwidzman

so did he find this out while playing the game and seeing the map himself or what? surely nobody else in the world would have realised its his piece of 'art' and called him up like "hey man, they've ripped you off..."

zombiecraze158
zombiecraze158

A map? Really? *goes back to playing the last of us*

DrKill09
DrKill09

A map is not art.  It is a freaking map. 

chris120379
chris120379

i´m gonna sue naughty dog for creating Joel. he looks exactly like my grandpa, lol, i mean c´mon people anybody´s gotta look like somebody else. we´re 7 billion motherfu.... in this planet.

Joedgabe
Joedgabe

It's kinda odd.. i mean i haven't played the Last of Us yet however isn't it based on some states from the United States ? wouldn't it be normal for them to take actual structures and make it into the game? while i do feel for the artist and not getting credit he's going a bit over board with this.. next thing we know with all these laws and shit humans would be copyrighted which i wouldn't be surprised at this point.

Kandykane30188
Kandykane30188

i loved the game, but it isn't right to take someones idea and put it in your game without asking for permission... that was a bad move made by Naughty Dog.... As far as Ellen Page goes, she can go sc*** herself... 20 something years old and doesn't look a day over 12 lol...

Sturmfuehrer_
Sturmfuehrer_

Seems like someone needs to whip "Naughty" Dog with a rolled up newspaper...

REDDSouljah420
REDDSouljah420

To be fair... that most everything "new" is a rip-off in some form of something that has previously been done. Even in music -- Especially in movies, but games have always done that too. We wouldn't have some of the best games if the ideas were never repeated, refined and remastered. Just as with new technology doesn't mean new stories, or ideas. And let's face it. There isn't a whole lot of new ideas out there.

teamrefugee
teamrefugee

are they just ripping everybody off now or what? 1st, trying to make the same AI as bioshock but failed, 2nd chick looks like ellen page, 3rd ripping someone else work. Tune in next week for more 

El_Galant
El_Galant

I side with the intellectual property on this issue. He drew a comprehensive map of a confusing subway system for a city to use. He should be proud about that and not for being plagiarized in a videogame. No matter how great the game is, his work in the REAL world used by millions of people every year is far greater than any one game 2 years from now will be eclipsed by the next great game. If you've ever created anything than it is clear to understand. - Architect -

snugglebear
snugglebear

So what parts of this game didn't they "borrow without permission?"

STX81
STX81

@patriautism This is the map. The MBTA commissioned Cameron Booth to create an updated map. This map is Cameron Booth's creation and he (or she) should have been asked for permission before it was used.

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

@LE5LO I even clicked on it and watched the videos... total waste of time! Took 15 minutes to explain a few things that could have been bullet points!

MidnightMeteor
MidnightMeteor

@GONtheSKYLORD Simple, you make actual art, not slight changes.

jeffrobin
jeffrobin

@sa2bmaster It's a good question, either they are ignorant, lazy or dodgy. I actual hope it's ignorant (I'm often ignorant of that type of thing myself) because that's the lesser of the evils but I'm surprised that a company of that size doesn't have some type of legal department even if it isn't just one person. Anyway looks like it was sorted amicably.

jeffrobin
jeffrobin

@Armoured_Mage Absolutely and if you took out a copyright on that shit covered piece of paper and Naughty Dog copied it exactly they would owe you recompense.

DeanTaker
DeanTaker

@sadscooterpipe 

naughty dog googles maps.
picks this randomly.
guys notices and be like "HEY I WANT SOME FREAKING MONEY"

seriously... its something anyone can do really thats why naughty dog didnt even care to make one themselves, its a subway map for God sakes and they are calling this guy an artist?
i know art is in an all time low, i remember a guy bashing a toilet with a hammer and selling it for 8k because it was "art", so i guess they're right after all, this is proper art.

all the renascence painters must be throwing up up in heaven.

STX81
STX81

@bakwidzman Actually, that's how most cases like this are discovered.

jeffrobin
jeffrobin

@bakwidzman You never know, that is probably exactly what happened, there are enough people on these boards who recognize the map.

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

@Joedgabe Well there's plenty of footballers who have their images trademarked... you can't use them without paying them for it. 

Gneva
Gneva

@REDDSouljah420 I think you need to rethink about your "fairness" principles. The usage of the map is not a "remastering" or "refining" it's just straight up creative plagiarism. You can't honestly say that Naughty Dog has created anything new by taking someone else's hard work and reusing it for profit. 

What you're thinking about is how artists take ideas from things that have been created and using it as a starting point for more innovation. There's a big difference; it requires you to actually think about what you're creating which is something Naughty Dog didn't do.

STX81
STX81

@patriautism Correction: that isn't the official MBTA map used in the game. Booth is just a graphic designer who made is own take on the Map. However, it is till his intellectual property.

AlphaLackey
AlphaLackey

@DeanTaker @sadscooterpipe If there's no inherent dollar value in the work of art, then why didn't Naughty Dog simply make their own?  Oh yeah, because the time to design the map represented real time and real money saved.

Saying that this map was "only art" is like saying The Last of Us is "only a number", because that's all it is -- one very large number.  So why should it be illegal to copy a number, screw how many millions of dollars put into figuring out exactly what that number is.

hXcShock
hXcShock

@jakesnakeel @chris120379 Probably referring to the part at the end when they mention Ellen Page whining about how a character looks similar to her.

STX81
STX81

@patriautism @STX81 Ok. I won't argue the artistic merit because legally it doesn't matter in this case. This is matter of not getting properly compensated for work done. Booth spent time creating the map and Naughty Dog didn't properly get permission to use the map.

jeffrobin
jeffrobin

@STX81 @DeanTaker You summed it up perfectly. It cracks me up how people who don't value something think it's totally acceptable to copy or steal it. That's the type of thinking I'm sure the little f*ckers who broke into my house recently thought.

STX81
STX81

@DeanTaker 

This is a case of intellectual property not art. Booth owns the copyright to the image and Naughty Dog is used it without permission. It's pretty simple. I live in  Boston and the map is clearly not public domain b/c the copyright symbol is displayed in the lower right corner of the image.

Removing the image with a patch won't end this case. The legal and financial damage has already been done. I know is hard for some to understand but the Map was included in the game to add to it's realism and so directly Booth's efforts (no matter at how trivially you rate it) was used without proper financial compensation.


AlphaLackey
AlphaLackey

@DeanTaker Now that you've evaded the question and ranted tangentially in every possible fashion conceivable, how about you try answering the question directly?

If the graphic of that map has absolutely no dollar value whatsoever in terms of money and time to develop it, then why didn't Naughty Dog make their own instead of using someone else's work?

Hint: it has to do with the fact that even if the game would have the same actual GROSS value, it wouldn't have the same NET value, due to not having to spend money and time to commission an artist to do one.

DeanTaker
DeanTaker

Your comparison and analogies make no sense what so ever, in fact, any attempt to make any clever remark pro Booth in this matter will only come across as idiotic.

I'm in no way shape or form skilled in any or all traits that are required to make a map, and I know for certain I can do it in one days work.
Its not even remotely complicated, this isn't the 17th century, we're in 2013, Booth most likely never got up from his chair to do this.

Google "Boston subway map" and there's loads and loads of sources, the one Booth made ended up in the game by luck.

But, it comes down to money as always, as like Booth himself said "They are making money off my work"... Seriously? I've beat the game and I didn't saw it, I have no idea where it is in the game.
So how much is this actually worth? 5? 10? 50? 100USD? And that's really pushing the value of something that in court can fairly easy be passed as public domain.
Its value is residual and minimal at best, making a fuzz and claiming its an important part of the game is ridiculous, Naughty Dog could easily remove it with a  patch and no one would notice or miss it even the slightest and the game value would remain absolutely the same.