EA Claims First Amendment Protections For Battlefield 3 Helicopters

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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EA Claims First Amendment Protections For Battlefield 3 Helicopters


Electronic Arts is hoping to head off a lawsuit over Battlefield 3 by claiming a First Amendment right to use real-world military aircraft in the game.

V-22 Osprey [http://www.amazon.com/Battlefield-3-Pc/dp/B002I0HJZO/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1326145178&sr=8-4] transport aircraft. That's apparently a bit of a problem for Textron, the parent company of Bell Helicopter, which until recently was in discussions with EA over the unlicensed use of the aircraft in Battlefield 3. When those talks broke down, EA filed a motion in the federal court for the Northern District of California seeking a ruling that it has a First Amendment right to use real-life military helicopters in videogames without the manufacturer's permission.

The move is intended to head off the lawsuit that EA apparently sees as inevitable. "The parties have been unable to resolve their dispute," it said in its filing. "EA therefore has a reasonable and strong apprehension that it will soon face a trademark and/or trade dress action from Textron."

EA claims that the use of the aircraft is "protected by the First Amendment and the doctrine of nominative fair use" and points out that the packaging specifically states that the presence of real-world hardware does not constitute an official endorsement by the manufacturer.

"Bell manufactured helicopters are not highlighted or given greater prominence than any of the other vehicles within the game," the company said. "The Bell-manufactured helicopters depicted in Battlefield 3 are just a few of countless creative visual, audio, plot and programming elements that make up EA's expressive work, a first-person military combat simulation."

EA's case is bolstered by the recent Supreme Court ruling that videogames are entitled to the NCAA Football [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/111300-Supreme-Court-Rules-in-Favor-of-Videogames] games.

Source: Kotaku [http://kotaku.com/5874076/ea-invokes-first-amendment-protection-for-video-games-in-trademark-dispute-with-helicopter-maker]


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vrbtny

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Wolfram01 said:
Know what bothers me the most in this article?

a first-person military combat simulation
Well, isn't it? I mean, I'm not about to try it, but I'm pretty sure I could take a dozen 5.56mm bullets to the chest and still be alive. I mean, all I have to do is hide behind cover for a couple of seconds, right?
 

HavoK 09

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vrbtny said:
Wolfram01 said:
Know what bothers me the most in this article?

a first-person military combat simulation
Well, isn't it? I mean, I'm not about to try it, but I'm pretty sure I could take a dozen 5.56mm bullets to the chest and still be alive. I mean, all I have to do is hide behind cover for a couple of seconds, right?
nonsense *throws a medpack at your face* good as new

oh and the cure for a body full of holes is a defib
 

Lost In The Void

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Aug 27, 2008
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Mr. Cowboy said:
Harper0341 said:
A SOPA supporter trying to protect their freedom of speech. How ironic...
EA dropped its support for SOPA along with Nintendo and Sony.
They were never individually on the list, their support is thrown with the weight of the ESA dude.
 

Zer_

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Feb 7, 2008
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Lost In The Void said:
Mr. Cowboy said:
Harper0341 said:
A SOPA supporter trying to protect their freedom of speech. How ironic...
EA dropped its support for SOPA along with Nintendo and Sony.
They were never individually on the list, their support is thrown with the weight of the ESA dude.
This, so much this. No sane game dev would ever support such a bill.
 

Jabberwock xeno

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While EA is entirely correct in this matter, I have the feeling if, say, somone did the same thing with something EA owned, their opinion would be different.
 

vrbtny

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HavoK 09 said:
vrbtny said:
Wolfram01 said:
Know what bothers me the most in this article?

a first-person military combat simulation
Well, isn't it? I mean, I'm not about to try it, but I'm pretty sure I could take a dozen 5.56mm bullets to the chest and still be alive. I mean, all I have to do is hide behind cover for a couple of seconds, right?
nonsense *throws a medpack at your face* good as new

oh and the cure for a body full of holes is a defib
What?!! No, you need to give me CPR for a bullet wound to the head!

Cookies if you get the reference.
 

Baresark

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LoL, I hope they lose that fight, to be honest with you. They are just manipulating what their values to meet the situation. I mean, how hard can it be. They are infringing on the copyright of the company that owns those items. You can't put cars in a racing game without securing the right to do so, why are you just allowed to put military equipment in it. And it's a stupid fight. Call of Pripyat had all real guns in it, but they changed the names so they could use them without securing expensive copyrights. It's just common sense for business.

Edit: I would love to see these pigs suffer, but I can't actually bring myself to support IP laws as they stand. So it goes against my personal belief to actually hope EA gets hurt for this. As it turns out, unlike the members of the ESA, I can't be a hypocritical fucktard.
 

fix-the-spade

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Feb 25, 2008
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Wait, why are they discussing this now?

Since Cobras, Hueys and Ospreys (+variants) have appeared in hundreds, maybe thousands of games, why wait until now for the law suit? Surely they should go after Valve for having Ospreys Half Life and Activision for having (thosands) of Cobras, Hueys and Ospreys appear across several well known games.

Won't take long in court.
 

Absolutionis

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Sep 18, 2008
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EA will probably win this, but the time and money this quarrel will cost them is well-deserved.
 

Terminate421

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Harper0341 said:
A SOPA supporter trying to protect their freedom of speech. How ironic...
EA never supported SOPA. Also, even if they did, they dropped out. Along with Sony and Nintendo.
 

vrbtny

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Dr. McD said:
vrbtny said:
HavoK 09 said:
vrbtny said:
Wolfram01 said:
Know what bothers me the most in this article?

a first-person military combat simulation
Well, isn't it? I mean, I'm not about to try it, but I'm pretty sure I could take a dozen 5.56mm bullets to the chest and still be alive. I mean, all I have to do is hide behind cover for a couple of seconds, right?
nonsense *throws a medpack at your face* good as new

oh and the cure for a body full of holes is a defib
What?!! No, you need to give me CPR for a bullet wound to the head!

Cookies if you get the reference.
Red versus Blue.
You have earned a cookie sir.
 

Baresark

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Terminate421 said:
Harper0341 said:
A SOPA supporter trying to protect their freedom of speech. How ironic...
EA never supported SOPA. Also, even if they did, they dropped out. Along with Sony and Nintendo.
But they are still members of the ESA, which is the organization that represents their interest on a national and political level. If they truly didn't support SOPA, they would remove themselves from the ESA.
 

LorienvArden

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Feb 28, 2011
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Ok, so using a product protected by trademarks for comercial gains should be considered "Free speech" while creating an original video with copyrighted music under the fair use agreement is considered a violation...

Sense, this argument makes none.

And yes, the ESA is still supporting SOPA, so 'the industry' is still formally supporting the bill as a whole.
 

The Random One

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May 29, 2008
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The SOPA hypocrisy is well documented on this thread (as RPS and Joystik pointed out, if they are a member of ESA and aren't actively opposing the bill then they are supporting it by default), but beyond that they have no case. Pretty sure the appearance of an aircraft counts as its design and its design is part of its intellectual property and can't be used wily-nily. Try putting a Mustang in your GTA clone without Ford's blessing and see how quickly they sue you.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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LorienvArden said:
Ok, so using a product protected by trademarks for comercial gains should be considered "Free speech" while creating an original video with copyrighted music under the fair use agreement is considered a violation...

Sense, this argument makes none.

And yes, the ESA is still supporting SOPA, so 'the industry' is still formally supporting the bill as a whole.
Pretty much what I was going to say.

EA, the vehicles have been trademarked. You have not paid to use their likeness in the game. You are in the wrong you dumbasses.

If someone made a game and used something from one of yours without asking, we all know you'd sue them into next week in an instant.