EA sued for Battlefield 3 helicopter use

EA is facing a suit against a military helicopter manufacturer over the use of the vehicles in Battlefield 3, and has submitted an argument that the use falls under the company's First Amendment rights.

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EA is facing a lawsuit from a military helicopter manufacturer over the inclusion of the vehicles in Battlefield 3. To avoid the suit, EA has asked a federal judge to rule that depicting the aircraft falls under the company's First Amendment rights.

Kotaku reports that EA's legal talks with Textron, the parent company of Bell Helicopter, broke down. In response, EA filed the action in a Northern California federal court on Friday. EA claims the helicopters are "protected by the First Amendment and the doctrine of nominative fair use." It also notes that the packaging includes a disclaimer that its use of weapons and vehicles is not an official endorsement of the manufacturers.

This argument is somewhat similar to the one used in the NCAA players suit. In that case, the judge ruled that thanks to the protection granted by the first amendment, the company was within its rights.

Shacknews has contacted EA, and will update as more information becomes available.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    January 9, 2012 9:15 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, EA sued for Battlefield 3 helicopter use.

    EA is facing a suit against a military helicopter manufacturer over the use of the vehicles in Battlefield 3, and has submitted an argument that the use falls under the company's First Amendment rights.

    • reply
      January 9, 2012 9:18 AM

      They shot him on the run. I've never seen anything like it.

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      January 9, 2012 9:19 AM

      As much as I hate EA, they are in the right here.

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      January 9, 2012 9:22 AM

      Is this similar to the "name weapons only by military designation" tactic used in FPS games for years? But then, wasn't Valve in talks with weapon manufacturers to have the old names back on CS:GO?

      I have to wonder if Textron looked at the way car manufacturers license their designs to be portrayed in racing games, and said, "Hey, we want a piece of the pie, too!"

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        January 9, 2012 9:29 AM

        Yup, that's most probably what happened. MONEY MONEY MONEY, WE NEED MORE MONEYYYY

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          January 9, 2012 9:43 AM

          It's their job to do this. Untapped revenue is the invisible ink that motivates everything i've learned about business.

    • reply
      January 9, 2012 9:26 AM

      Wh... what?

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      January 9, 2012 9:26 AM

      stupid.

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      January 9, 2012 9:51 AM

      well if they make 2143 they can just make shit up and save money

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        January 9, 2012 10:47 AM

        No, then the companies 131 years in the future will make whatever was depicted in the game and sue them anyway.

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        January 9, 2012 11:17 AM

        Making up fantasy vehicles and weapons is harder than just cloning modern-day military gear. It's part of why you see almost no futuristic shooters anymore.

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          January 9, 2012 2:02 PM

          No, it is that there is a bigger market, or believed to be a bigger market for realism. Everyone has tons of ideas for stuff, ideas are so cheap, they almost have no value. Having to come up with futuristic or fantasy ideas is not limiting the production of those types of games.

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      January 9, 2012 10:01 AM

      If racing games have to license the cars, should EA have to license these vehicles?

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        January 9, 2012 10:29 AM

        Racing games don't have to licence cars...Even if the cars do look very similar to real world vehicles. See "Split/Second" :http://gadgets.gunaxin.com/cars-of-split-second/58975

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        January 9, 2012 11:19 AM

        Are they calling the vehicles by their licensed name or are the models similar in appearance, they just don't use the official naming?

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        January 9, 2012 1:58 PM

        Race cars aren't public property like military vehicles are.

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          January 9, 2012 2:17 PM

          ^ If government funds are used for it, it is considered in the domain of the public; therefore, trademark protection for it is a bit... hazy.

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            January 9, 2012 2:44 PM

            Also, doesn't the government buy the rights to designs they adopt so that they can manufacture them at will with whatever contractor they want?

            I assume the original company gets to keep domestic production rights, but if you're referring to the military vehicle and not the domestic one, it seems that would be the government's issue.

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      January 9, 2012 10:02 AM

      Yeah I guess the billions in tax payer dollars wasnt enough to buy 16,000 mansions made of gold? I hope they not only lose the suit but millions more repaying EA's legal fees

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      January 9, 2012 10:05 AM

      So dumb. Nobody likes you anymore Textron.

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        January 9, 2012 10:51 AM

        I'm boycotting them. No longer will I buy your products, Textron!

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          January 9, 2012 6:07 PM

          Textron is about to find out how we do things here on the Shack. Things could get messy.

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      January 9, 2012 10:16 AM

      How is this any different than the way car licensing is done with racing games? Even if branding is removed, the vehicle will be readily identifiable and forseeably the company owns the copyright on the design of the aircraft so the same argument goes through with cars. Although recently it was found that the argument does not go through for clothing, so perhaps it's a genuine question.

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        January 9, 2012 11:12 AM

        Why ANYONE would get pissed off at free advertising and more brand recognition is beyond me.

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        January 9, 2012 11:13 AM

        I'm no lawyer or anything, but I've listened to one from Vivendi talk about this. And as he explained it a regular car has "design" (or "dress" or whatever) that is owned by someone and thus has to be licensed. But military vehicles and equipment are "purely functional" and is thus not designed (in the visually appealing sense) and would then be free to use without worry about licensing.

        This was several years ago so I may remember some details wrong, but that was the gist of the regular car vs military vehicle licensing thing, as I recall it.

        But I guess it will be tested in court now, maybe things have changed the last few years, or maybe this helicopter in question is special.

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      January 9, 2012 1:26 PM

      Well if Apple can sue Samsung because the Galaxy tab looks too much like the iPad, why shouldn't Textron sue EA? Perfectly logical, go get'em Textron!

    • reply
      January 9, 2012 1:27 PM

      oops

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      January 9, 2012 1:34 PM

      Seeing that BF3 screenshot made me wonder why can't someone patent simulated lenseflare and stop developers shitting all over our screens with something that is there just for the marketing people.

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        January 9, 2012 1:42 PM

        Why simulate camera effects in games to begin with? DoF, lens flares, vignetting, film grain, motion blur, they're all bullshit and make the games worse.

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          January 9, 2012 1:52 PM

          helps to cover up/ distract from the abysmally poor quality assets in modern games.

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      January 9, 2012 2:12 PM

      copyright lawyers should be set on fire and a maypole dance performed around their smoldering fetid corpses.

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      January 13, 2012 9:28 PM

      Looks like someone sees an opportunity to make some dollars... this is just lame, and greedy on Textron's behalf. Its a friggin game. So if someone does some artwork of these helicopters then its sue time? Video games are basically interactive artwork anyway.