In New Zealand: Investigation of GTA Mod's Depiction of Kiwi Police Uniforms and Cars

April 21, 2008 -
A 17-year-old New Zealander is working on a Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas mod which would recreate the US-based crime game in a New Zealand setting complete with recognizable Kiwi landmarks.

But, as Stuff.co.nz reports, local police are concerned that Stacy O'Callaghan's GTA mod may violate laws restricting the unauthorized use of police insignia. The mod depicts police cars (left) and substitutes authentic looking New Zealand police uniforms for GTA San Andreas' LAPD look-alike virtual cops.

However, according to O'Callaghan, no disrespect is intended, nor is he trying to profit from the New Zealand mod:
I am not doing this in any way to make money or sell this modification; it was originally for me because I got sick of all this American rubbish and wanted it to be more realistic.

[Actually,] I'd like to join the police. I don't really see myself as a game designer, I want to get into computer forensics... It's really just for fun and a chance to play it as if it was in New Zealand.



 Via: gtagaming

Comments

Re: In New Zealand: Investigation of GTA Mod's Depiction of

I like the GTA New Zealand, obviously with a little more graphical work it should be a sweet game to play.

I got sick of the american rubbish too, it was way too stupid in my opinion.

Regards,

Blur.

I fail to see the problem.

Al Wesker - Some good Conchords quoting there.

Anyway, most people are missing the point that this law is only in place to stop people from masquerading as police, either on websites or in uniform (it is hardly ideal for people to dress as police and cover their cars in police decals, as then there would be anarchy and abuse of the system) and pretty much any civilised country has laws like this.

I doubt anything will happen to the mod or the modder, although if the Kiwi government does act, it will set a dangerous precedent, and also just show they're a bunch of paranoid censorcrats.

People have added real life cars,landmarks and other such things to GTA before.

@ chuck

I've had a very hard time playing GTA with a keyboard.

Okay, what's really weird is that there are many other media formats in New Zealand where the police are depicted in a less than favourable light, or equivalently fictionalised, yet they don't seem to be under scrutiny. I don't actually know how the police are being portrayed in this mod at all, but it can't compare to the TV program 'Back of the Y' presenting the "Cuntstables" segment (portmanteau of constable and... *ahem*), or the fact that the police are being lampooned political cartoons in the local papers variously as rapists, idiots, or violent bullies. To start to criticise this modder for what is purely a re-skinning of a police image... it's ridiculous. I know it's illegal to pose as a police officer in NZ (as in most countries) and if he's commited libel then fair enough, but parody is covered as freedom of expression in New Zealand Human Rights law, and I don't see how computerised images of police could constitue any form of illegal activity. To be honest, the police in NZ have been exposed as doing some pretty weird stuff in the last couple of years, so I doubt this mod could make them look worse.

If all TV and games sold in America featured New Zealand culture I'm sure there'd be many who would loudly say they were sick of all the "New Zealand rubbish". What he said is nothing to get excited over. The reaction is amusing though.

"I got sick of all this American rubbish and wanted it to be more realistic."

I'm offended. :(

"local police are concerned that Stacy O’Callaghan’s GTA mod may violate laws restricting the unauthorized use of police insignia."

At least they're not arresting him for some ridiculous charge. Their legal concerns are actually pretty plausible.

My hats off to the O’Callaghan - you gotta love modders who compliment their locale by modding a game to look lke it!

Doesn't seem like that serious a thing. At least it isn't like the usual stories of the game being blamed for real life crime, and there are legitimate concerns when official or government insignias are being used in non-official capacity.

I imagine there will be a quiet investigation, with no fallout other than the police just asking the modder to remove the logo, or at least alter it so that it is not the official logo he is using.

Heh heh..."American Rubbish"? "Realistic"? I guess Rockstar just couldn't capture the gritty thug life on the streets of Wellington. What do cops do all day in New Zealand? Chase away the hobbit fetishists from national parks?

Crime in America is so unrealistic. Guns, WTF? Let's use knives...

I know apologize to anyone from New Zealand reading this comment.

Actually, this doesn't surprise me. From what I can tell, it's roughly the equivalent of using a trademark without paying royalties. Besides, if he uses actual police insignia, people may think it's official.

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptA 17-year-old New Zealander is working on a Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas mod which would recreate the US-based crime game in a New Zealand setting complete with recognizable Kiwi landmarks. But, as Stuff.co.nz reports, local police are concerned that Stacy O’Callaghan’s GTA mod may violate laws restricting the unauthorized use of police insignia. The mod depicts police cars (left) and substitutes authentic looking New Zealand police uniforms for GTA San Andreas’ LAPD look-alike virtual cops. However, according to O’Callaghan, no disrespect is intended, nor is he trying to profit from the New Zealand mod: I am not doing this in any way to make money or sell this modification; it was originally for me because I got sick of all this American rubbish and wanted it to be more realistic. [...]

The "Amerian rubbish" comment is not a value judgement, it's symptomatic of the incessant exporting of American-bred culture - be it in the form of music, clothing, fast food and soft drinks, chain stores etc etc.

It has nothing to do with the game's level of realism - just how that reality is presented. It's not as if he removed the guns or anything.

I think localised versions of GTA would be an awesome idea.

Monkeythumbs:

"I think localised versions of GTA would be an awesome idea."

Given Rockstar North are 20 mins walk away. it would be fantastic to have an Edinburgh version. Also it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to have a red light district in Leith and a bunch of violent Neds outside the nightclubs :)

@ chuma

Rockstar North = DMA

I

Well, I can see wanting something more personal, but "rubbish?" "Realistic?" That hurts, mate!

Luckily, this controversy doesn't have to do with GTA's violence...yet.

I find it sad that some are offended by the modders comment about America. Worse was said by all the anti-game people on GamePolitics in the past 3 years.

I'd think Burger King would have a bigger issue with the fact that he renamed Burger Shot to Burger King.

It's not unheard of, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's "distinctive" look was protected by government copyright long before Disney licenced the right to use it.

On the other hand, it's a free mod, so I think they're overreacting here. Most government copyrights are designed to allow non-commercial use...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Yeah "American Rubbish" you just pulled up to a Burger King, enjoy your globalization with cheese, Brett and Jermaine.

Yeah, the "American rubbish" comment was a tad bit hurtfull...

"I’d like to join the police." He means no disrespect eh? I find that rather hard to belive, when at around 2:42 the "trailer" shows the main character repeatedly curbstomping a police officer... just saying.

@DarknessDeku
So because worse has been said, it makes his 'rubbish' statement suddenly less derriding of American culture and that nobody, even US citizens, should be offended? You're joking, yes?

Oh, come on now! That "American rubbish" comment clearly meant, "yo yo, i'm a do a drive-by-shooting and listen to some nu metal and smoke pot". It meant the style of the game. I mean, does someone really think NY is like what it is on GTA? It's over-exaggerated and has that "cool and hip" flavor. That's what he meant with "American rubbish". It's just bad wording. You see "American 'rubbish'" everyday on TV and in most popular videogames not made in Japan. It's nice to see some other rubbish too sometimes ;D

@ Artifex

Much has been said about the UK, Australia, the Middle East, etc. Yet everybody offended because he said America was rubbish? I find it as offending as the black people getting killed in Resident Evil 5.

@ Artifez

Yeesh, he's not criticising American culture as rubbish per se... just that he's a bit sick of seeing only American stuff in the games he plays when he's based in New Zealand!

American culture works just fine in America, but when transposed to other places in the world it can feel a bit "rubbish" - what's so hard to grasp about that?

Nobody is deriding American culture - wow, could you take yourselves any more seriously? Lighten up a little!

i presume vegimite will be involved?

Well, I'd take "American Rubbish" the same way I use "Japanese Crap". I'm never trying to say anything about Janese in general, just that their games all seems to have some cultural elements that don't translate well and get worn out because they are common to most Japanese games. Just for a quick example, the sword being larger than the person holding it.

Not being Japanese, some of the common elements of their games can confuse me (why are the swords so big? Why do I keep thinking the male lead character is a hot chic? What's the hangup with hairdos not really possible?) and grow pretty repetative. That doesn't mean I hate the Japanese, or even all the games in question. I'm sure someone outside the US will see our games in a similar light. I don't fault them for it.

From what I've seen Australia has a pretty active gaming community. It's good they're getting something a bit more tailored to their culture.

Hey now, there's lots of positive things 'bout New Zealand.

"New Zealand... it's not part of Australia"
"New Zealand... Don't expect too much--you will love it"
"New Zealand... Cool!"
"New Zealand... Just like 'Lord of the Rings!'"
"New Zealand... Rocks!"
"New Zealand... Why not?"

Also, there's vikings there.

"I am not doing this in any way to make money or sell this modification; it was originally for me because I got sick of all this American rubbish and wanted it to be more realistic."

I believe that there is supposed to be a comma between the words "rubbish" and "and."

E.g., "I am not doing this in any way to make money or sell this modification; it was originally for me because I got sick of all this American rubbish[,] and wanted it [(the game)] to be more realistic." Ergo, the "American rubbish" isn't unrealistic.

"American rubbish" isn't offensive either, because it's a fairly common idiom in many societies to refer to the general common of any single nation as garbage.

@Al Wesker

You're just making that viking comment up. If there are vikings in New Zealand though I would totally go!

I'm an American. I find the "American rubbish" line about as offensive as the whole racist issue in Resident Evil 5 (pointed out by someone else a few posts back). Quite the contrary actually, I find it pretty humorous and can understand the sentiment. To understand American nuances and culture, and to appreciate it at that, it helps to be an American.

I certainly don't want to be exposed to nothing but Japanese culture in my video games. It'd get boring way too fast.

my friends we now have the gaming police....*HEAD + DESK*

love the socialistic mentality anything that questions authority is bad.... would rather have them be anal retentive over nudity like in the US >>

"American Rubbish" ?!?!?!

Oh, WTF, it's not like we don't have tons of rubbish. Mod the rubbish out, edit the rubbish out, get rid of the rubbish.

Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish.

Who cares? Go, Stacy!

Rubbish - just wanted to say it again.

Rubbish.

I like that word.

Rubbish.

Rubbish in, rubbish out ;)

Honestly this is a logo rights issue. If the New Zeland police don't want the logo there then the modder should comply and remove it. Doesn't mean you have to change the coloring on the cars or anything, just the logo.

I'm glad to see they're taking this from the stance that it's not just the fact the mod is for GTA. If someone found this in say... Forza Motorsport it seems you'd get the same response.

I love this man.

Stick it to the man. Its high time NZ got some modder love.

Props to the mad anti-American slurs, he's obviously a true kiwi.

Why not just set it in a New Zealand-like area, with similar police cars and similar uniforms, but different logos, maybe may the cars a slightly different color... but not fucia, or T-Mobile will go after you for using their trade mark.

I want to trade mark a color, then I can sell licenses to use said color.

Changing the skins doesn't exactly localize it. Or did Wellington get itself a Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Station, and Central park when I wasn't looking? To say nothing of the local accents.

Now that said ... it's moddable! I was afraid they were going to lock it down the way they did post-hotcoffee SA, but it looks like they've opened it back up. Looks like I'll be getting the PC version after all -- for that reason and the fact that GTA typically has many parts that are nearly unplayable with a console controller.

There's a lot of rubbish in these comments.

@chuck

I'm not sure what you've been doing to your controllers, but I found the GTA 3 trilogy very playable on the PS2 with PS2 controllers.

I think what the guy was trying to say is that almost all of the GTA games seem to take place in the USA... except GTA London... and if that's NOT what he meant, then he should know it's Scotsmen that have been making the GTA games. ;)

As a kiwi I fully stand behind the "American Rubbish" comment.

Our TV stations over here pretty much play every crappy reality tv show you muppets ever made (Rock of Love; WTF, seriously?), so I feel the comment is justified.

Also its nice to see that there are none of the new, butt ugly, Holdens that they've got now.

If he ends up putting in some NZ landmarks I would seriously consider trying to find a PC copy of this game.

@Darkness

Insulted is probably a more accurate word than offended unless you mean in a very mild way. His comments warrant counter insults towards New Zealand if we were so inclined but very little else. Stop acting like we are crying bloody murder (also if you bring up the insane resident evil 5 scandal bad things will happen).

Anyway all the modder has to do is parody the symbol and it should be fine (or maybe not I'm not sure about New Zealand Laws). Anyway the most I see coming out of this is either
a. nothing or
b. a warning and/or a cease and desist letter
No big deal.

Anyway I wonder if he'll mod soccer riots, it sure looks that way.

@ Father Time

Why soccer riots?

@ConstantNeophyte

Protip: most Americans don't watch shitty reality shows, except for 14 yr olds.

@Anon

Wow. I'm surprised anybody watches that shit at all.

@ Anon

So we're all agreed it's rubbish, then? Wicked.

@Monkeythumbs

Yes it is quite "rubbish". Most of our television shows are, because they mostly appeal to teenagers. The only shows I religiously watch nowadays are Conan O'Brien and The Soup.

This all reminds me that I'm going to NZ this summer. I hope they're not as anti-american as some people say they are. But don't worry, I didn't vote Bush.

@ Anon

Its not so much to do with you guys really, its more that the Network Execs think that everyone wants to watch that shit, so they pile it on tv, then all the sheeple watch it cause theres nothing else on... Its a viscious cycle.

As for coming to NZ, most people think American tourists are loud and rude. So if you stay quiet and find a tshirt that says "Fuck the French", you'll be sweet.

@ConstantNeophyte :

> Our TV stations over here pretty much play every crappy reality tv show you muppets ever made

Yeah, and we also made the Muppets.

@ chuck

Thats like saying you managed to set fire to a city, but you also put out one of the buildings on fire. Or maybe the other way around, considering the timeline... nevermind.

@ConstantNeophyte

I believe a more fitting analogy would be that it's like building a lovely townhouse, tearing it down when it was time for it to go, and then building a Trump condominium building over where it once stood.
 
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