EA Halts Gun Brand Licensing

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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EA Halts Gun Brand Licensing


Electronic Arts says it will no longer license gun brands for its games, but it will continue to use them.

Remember how Electronic Arts hooked up with gun manufacturers McMillan Group and Magpul last year for some cross-promotional action that used a "virtual showroom" of real-life firearms to tout the realism of Medal of Honor: Warfighter? This year it's trying the opposite approach, distancing itself from weapons makers by saying that it will no longer pay for gun brand licenses in any of its games.

Rather surprisingly, however, EA said it wasn't the dicey politics of gun control or the virulent anti-game rhetoric of the NRA that led to the decision, but simply that it doesn't believe the licenses are necessary in the first place. That distinction makes the move something of a split hair, because while it looks like a good PR maneuver at a cursory glance (at least from the anti-gun perspective), the bottom line is that real-world guns, admittedly an important element in any "realistic" shooter, will be as prevalent as ever.

"We're telling a story and we have a point of view," EA Labels President Frank Gibeau said. "A book doesn't pay for saying the word 'Colt,' for example."

EA actually made a similar argument [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115134-EA-Claims-First-Amendment-Protections-For-Battlefield-3-Helicopters] about a different kind of weapon system in early 2012, when it claimed a First Amendment right to use Bell Helicopter aircraft in Battlefield 3 without paying to license them. That case, which could go a long way toward determining whether gun makers pursue legal action against EA for unlicensed use of their products, is scheduled to go before a jury in June.

Source: Reuters [http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/07/videogames-guns-idUSL2N0CS2A220130507]


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Kargathia

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Jul 16, 2009
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So, to sum this up: EA thinks they can now get away with not spending money on licensing fees.

They really might've upped the creativity of their explanatory bullshit though, this explanation is actually accurate. Can't have that, now can we?
 

zidine100

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Mar 19, 2009
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sound rather 'edgy' to me.

i suppose this would work the other way round now would it ea? Im looking at you porsche or all your licensed sports teams hmmm. Can of worms ea can of worms.
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Battlefield 4? They can't have my brand. I have a special scope
Look, look through your special scope
MY BRAND!
 

neppakyo

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Apr 3, 2011
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Heh, I hope EA gets sued.

Bad enough they're doing star wars games.. another thing for them to ruin.
 

Zombie_Moogle

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Dec 25, 2008
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I'm all for fair use, & there are legitimate arguments to be made on the side of EA's stance here, but I can't help but feel like EA would sue the pants off of anyone that tried this with one of their licenses or products
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

I never asked for this
Sep 8, 2011
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I actually agree with EA on this. There's no reason to pay for these licenses. Not to mention that gun manufacturers should jump at the opportunity to have their guns portrayed in a AAA shooter. It's basically free advertisement.
 

BrotherRool

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I have a quote of the week
Professor at Ohio in the Reuters article said:
"It gives publicity to the particular brand of gun being used in the video game,"..."On the other hand, it's linking that gun with violent and aggressive behavior."
Linking a gun with violent behaviour.
 

flarty

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Apr 26, 2012
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I haven't got sympathy for either here. I don't think people should profit from weapons manufacturing. Yet if EA expects copyright laws to be respected when they are on the receiving end of such litigation then they should spend the licensing money on creating fictional weapons.
 

Something Amyss

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Dec 3, 2008
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Kargathia said:
So, to sum this up: EA thinks they can now get away with not spending money on licensing fees.

They really might've upped the creativity of their explanatory bullshit though, this explanation is actually accurate. Can't have that, now can we?
A broken clock is right twice a day, eh?
 

Soviet Heavy

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Jan 22, 2010
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As much as I dislike firearms manufacturers and the NRA, I still hope that they bite back at EA for doing this.
 

DTWolfwood

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Oct 20, 2009
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Change the name and make small modifications to the models. Boom lawsuits averted <.<

FPS games don't give a damn about weapons authenticity when you only get to play with 2 guns at a time anyway and they do pretty much the same dmg. If they don't everyone will use the best one.

Its silly to license guns when the average FPS gamer doesn't know the difference between a Galil to an FN-Fal or an M4A1 to a HK416.
 

The White Hunter

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Oct 19, 2011
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Kargathia said:
So, to sum this up: EA thinks they can now get away with not spending money on licensing fees.

They really might've upped the creativity of their explanatory bullshit though, this explanation is actually accurate. Can't have that, now can we?
Well not quite. It isn't that at all, if you look at how the licencing works they're right with this one; other media formats don't pay licences to guns because it's essentially advertising for the gun manufcaturer. Movies don't pay, books don't pay, etc, so why should games? It'll definately be interesting to see how this pans out, if it results in legal conflict with the manufacturers then I'd like to see how the defence of "why should we pay if you don't charge warner bros" holds up.
 

Ulquiorra4sama

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Feb 2, 2010
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BrotherRool said:
I have a quote of the week
Professor at Ohio in the Reuters article said:
"It gives publicity to the particular brand of gun being used in the video game,"..."On the other hand, it's linking that gun with violent and aggressive behavior."
Linking a gun with violent behaviour.

OT: Well if games are supposed to be art... I'm not sure about this, but doesn't western movies pay licensing fees for some of the revolver brands?
 

The White Hunter

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Oct 19, 2011
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Adam Jensen said:
I actually agree with EA on this. There's no reason to pay for these licenses. Not to mention that gun manufacturers should jump at the opportunity to have their guns portrayed in a AAA shooter. It's basically free advertisement.
Bingo, and as a I mentioned immediately above, movies don't pay squat to use guns (actual products, not digital models of them) in their productions, so why the hell should devs. It's free advertisement for the gun company.

I sense a flamewar so I'm off to dig up that article about the licencing issues with it (I believe it was on arstechnica...).
 

Kargathia

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Jul 16, 2009
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SkarKrow said:
Kargathia said:
So, to sum this up: EA thinks they can now get away with not spending money on licensing fees.

They really might've upped the creativity of their explanatory bullshit though, this explanation is actually accurate. Can't have that, now can we?
Well not quite. It isn't that at all, if you look at how the licencing works they're right with this one; other media formats don't pay licences to guns because it's essentially advertising for the gun manufcaturer. Movies don't pay, books don't pay, etc, so why should games? It'll definately be interesting to see how this pans out, if it results in legal conflict with the manufacturers then I'd like to see how the defence of "why should we pay if you don't charge warner bros" holds up.
I'm not saying they don't have a case, I'm saying the reason for them doing this is that they figured they can get away with it. They'd happily ignore any comparison to movies/books if it was beneficial to their bottom line.

This being a large corporation, they generally prefer to mask their money-grubbing with a fancy explanation. Much like they're not hogging your contact info in order to force-feed you targeted advertising, it is to "deliver the best experience".

In this case, however, there is not a single underfed developer orphan twin in sight, merely the bare-faced admittance they'd much rather not fork over huge sums of money. Rather boring, really.
 

The White Hunter

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Oct 19, 2011
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Kargathia said:
SkarKrow said:
Kargathia said:
So, to sum this up: EA thinks they can now get away with not spending money on licensing fees.

They really might've upped the creativity of their explanatory bullshit though, this explanation is actually accurate. Can't have that, now can we?
Well not quite. It isn't that at all, if you look at how the licencing works they're right with this one; other media formats don't pay licences to guns because it's essentially advertising for the gun manufcaturer. Movies don't pay, books don't pay, etc, so why should games? It'll definately be interesting to see how this pans out, if it results in legal conflict with the manufacturers then I'd like to see how the defence of "why should we pay if you don't charge warner bros" holds up.
I'm not saying they don't have a case, I'm saying the reason for them doing this is that they figured they can get away with it. They'd happily ignore any comparison to movies/books if it was beneficial to their bottom line.

This being a large corporation, they generally prefer to mask their money-grubbing with a fancy explanation. Much like they're not hogging your contact info in order to force-feed you targeted advertising, it is to "deliver the best experience".

In this case, however, there is not a single underfed developer orphan twin in sight, merely the bare-faced admittance they'd much rather not fork over huge sums of money. Rather boring, really.
Fair enough, really this is rather a non-case and not newsworthy in my opinion. Since EA has every right to not pay the gun manufacturers for their licences for these since parallels can be drawn with other entertainment companies not paying (movie studios mostly but likely TV too), and since EA is a large corporation I doubt they'll be sued over it. If an indie dev or a less gigantic publisher did this there'd be lawyers though.

They are money grubbing about but they're quite justified in doing so, since it's basically fucking off the money grubbing of another giant evil corporation.

Well... several giant evil corporations.