Report: EA Will No Longer License Brands From Gun Manufacturers

Electronic Arts had decided that it will no longer "officially" license specific models of guns from gun manufacturers, according to this Reuters report. EA will continue to use various gun designs from manufacturers, but it won't pay any money for them. The company claims that it has a constitutional right to free speech in using the various gun-related trademarks. In a recent interview with Reuters, EA Labels President Frank Gibeau told the publication that "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 also told the publication that "the action games we will release this year will not include licensed images of weapons."

This also means we will probably not see any future tie-in marketing like what the publisher did with Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

This is not the first time that EA has cited free speech as a reason for not needing to license a particular brand. In January of this year Bell Helicopter sent EA a cease and desist because of its unlicensed use of the AH-1Z Viper, the UH-1Y, and the V-22 Osprey helicopters in its popular game Battlefield 3. EA in turn sued Bell's parent company Textron citing the first amendment. That case is ongoing.

Source: Reuters by way of GameSpot


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  1. 0
    Prof_Sarcastic says:

    The article doesn't mention copyright, but trademarks.  What can be copyrighted varies slightly from one country to the next, and industrial designs are one type of work where patents are likely much more relevant than copyright.  The image and name of weapons are definitely trademarked however – but you don't necessarily need a license in order to use a trademarked image or name.  My guess is that's what the court case is trying to establish.

  2. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    What is really interesting is that in movies and tv shows, when you see a real life product prominently placed in a scene, it is usually the creator of the product paying the movie/tv studio to put it there. Very rarely in movies and tv is it the other way around.

    I think EA is just pushing back on what it possibly sees as unfair treatment of video games. Why should EA have to pay for the privilege of advertising for these gun companies?

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  3. 0
    Mr.Tastix says:

    Mentioning something and reproducing it (in any form) are far different things altogether.

    Simply mentioning in a novel that a character is using a Colt, owns a Colt or has seen a Colt shouldn't require licensing, but if you're creating a game or a movie and plan to use real-life counterparts then I'd be surprised if not paying for licensing would really go down well.

    A copyrights a copyright. Why should EA get to skirt copyrights but I can't? I'd still have to license a ton of shit that EA apparently don't have to because it's their "privilege as a free American"? Fuck that.

  4. 0
    Cormic says:

    If EA can avoid, or win, a court battle about this then expect to see/hear about movie studios using the EXACT same excuse to get around having to pay license fees for any named products in their movies.

  5. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    This isn't a new move for EA. They have already ended a licensing agreement with Textron over its helicopters. After Textron sent some legal letters to EA, EA sought declaratory judgment that its use of Textron helicopters is not infringement but protected by the 1st amendment.

    The case is not yet settled or ruled on so it will be interesting to see where it goes. If EA wins, it solidifies this latest move. If they lose, the EA will either have to ditch the real life guns or pay the licensing fees.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  6. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I am actually rather pleased with this move, though I think it gets in to rather sticky territory.

    I think there are legitimate situations where brands should be license, but I think brands have gone WAY overboard on control of their image over the last few decades.  One should not need to seek permission, much less pay for the privilege of including real world elements in their content.

    Sadly, since it has become a major source of revenue, the laws have slowly been sliding to support this kind of control.  Blek.

  7. 0
    MaskedPixelante says:

    They save money AND they can add gun control to the list of social issues they support when they handwave away criticism of their products. Genius!

  8. 0
    Infophile says:

    "Oh wow, EA is actually taking a stand against the gun lobby. Maybe they aren't completely evi- Oh. They're just gonna stop paying for it. Yay…"

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