EA Claims First Amendment Protections For Battlefield 3 Helicopters

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EA Claims First Amendment Protections For Battlefield 3 Helicopters

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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.

Battlefield 3 is based on an entirely fictitious conflict but it does feature numerous real-world elements, including three aircraft that may be familiar to military aficionados: the Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter, the Bell UH-1Y Venom [Super Huey] helicopter and the V-22 Osprey 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 same First Amendment protections as movies, music and books, as well as a September ruling in a similar matter regarding the use of real-world player likenesses in its NCAA Football games.

Source: Kotaku

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A SOPA supporter trying to protect their freedom of speech. How ironic...

Know what bothers me the most in this article?

a first-person military combat simulation

Wolfram01:
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?

Harper0341:
A SOPA supporter trying to protect their freedom of speech. How ironic...

EA dropped its support for SOPA along with Nintendo and Sony.

vrbtny:

Wolfram01:
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

Mr. Cowboy:

Harper0341:
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.

Lost In The Void:

Mr. Cowboy:

Harper0341:
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.

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.

HavoK 09:

vrbtny:

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

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.

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.

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.

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

vrbtny:

HavoK 09:

vrbtny:

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.

Harper0341:
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.

Dr. McD:

vrbtny:

HavoK 09:

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. image

Terminate421:

Harper0341:
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.

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 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.

LorienvArden:
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.

This is just plain silly. Real-world arms, armor, vehicles have been in plenty of games, for a long, long time. Did all those developers reach some sort of agreement with the manufacturer of everything depicted in their games? I doubt it.

Harper0341:
A SOPA supporter trying to protect their freedom of speech. How ironic...

And specifically trying to protect fair use of material.

evilneko:
This is just plain silly. Real-world arms, armor, vehicles have been in plenty of games, for a long, long time. Did all those developers reach some sort of agreement with the manufacturer of everything depicted in their games? I doubt it.

You may note most racing games with real cars have a huge licensing list, same with military games.

I'm slightly disturbed that a military manufacturer feels it should be protected by commercial laws. Surely your priorities should lie with making your products as reliable and effective as possible, rather than worrying about your copyrights being infringed?

Well you can only pay engineers and drafts people so much and you can only have so many working on a particular project before they start getting in each others way and if your a corperation in this day and age and you don't employ so kind of legal team your just asking for trouble. In other words the guys doing the legal stuff are not the same ones doing all the designing of fiddly bits that go into the making of an aircraft and they were just hanging round the office cause we havn't been sued by any one whoes uncle died because our helicopters weren't designed to withstand a direct hit from a 100 kilotonne nuclear device so we let them loose with a nice easy copywrite case.

To take your worry to the next step. Should GM stop making all those cars and concentrate all there effort into making the engines that go into the tanks and military spec trucks that they also make? Boeing should stop making those silly comercial aeroplanes and stricktly focus on building and developing figher jets and military grade transporters. Neither of them should consern themselves over such trivial matters of copywrite or trademark infringments that they have spent countless years and dollars developing.

EA decision making makes no sense to me. Trying to restrict rights of others but using those same rights to protect themselves.

Part of me wants EA to win because the precedent it could set could bite EA in the ass. I look forward to when rival sports games are released with full licenses despite EA having sole rights because licensed rosters and kits add realism so we are protected by the first amendment.

EA your probably not going to win. Though if they lose will BF3 just get shut down or do they even have a backup plan? Knowing EA it'll probably be sell BF3.2 for sixty dollars without the helicopter.

Damn you Captcha at least be easy enough to read I don't need to spend longer time then took me to type post to get something readable.

Domehammer:
EA your probably not going to win. Though if they lose will BF3 just get shut down or do they even have a backup plan? Knowing EA it'll probably be sell BF3.2 for sixty dollars without the helicopter.

most likely they will have to pay some fine and then release an update that changes the name and possibly the appearance slightly so as to avoid infringements. so expect a "chime AH-1Z venomous snake attack helicopter" to suddenly appear.

evilneko:
This is just plain silly. Real-world arms, armor, vehicles have been in plenty of games, for a long, long time. Did all those developers reach some sort of agreement with the manufacturer of everything depicted in their games? I doubt it.

Considering how often I enjoy going kamikaze onto a group of enemy soldiers in said helicopters, they may be thinking it's saying that their helicopters are shoddy.

Which they're not. The make very good improvised aerial-to-ground explosives.

dancinginfernal:

evilneko:
This is just plain silly. Real-world arms, armor, vehicles have been in plenty of games, for a long, long time. Did all those developers reach some sort of agreement with the manufacturer of everything depicted in their games? I doubt it.

Considering how often I enjoy going kamikaze onto a group of enemy soldiers in said helicopters, they may be thinking it's saying that their helicopters are shoddy.

Which they're not. The make very good improvised aerial-to-ground explosives.

Considering my friend's general plans of attack in helicopters in BF:BC2 is made up of 'Cover Helicopter in C4 and crash into biggest threat' I'm inclined to agree.

OT: This...just seems silly, not in the 'Hurr, 'Mericans' way, but the 'This is petty' way. I get that it's their product and they need to protect it, but that line of defence just seems poor and half-hearted.

Harper0341:
A SOPA supporter trying to protect their freedom of speech. How ironic...

Couldn't have said better myself, my friend. EA, how is it possible for you to be this fucking hateful. I would really hope EA loses this one, but I'm afraid this might set a bad precedent when it comes to the depiction of real life elements in games.

What I don't understand is:
seriously, WHO CARES?
EA should shut up though because they support SOPA.

Harper0341:
A SOPA supporter trying to protect their freedom of speech. How ironic...

nsqared:

EA should shut up though because they support SOPA.

The Artificially Prolonged:
EA decision making makes no sense to me. Trying to restrict rights of others but using those same rights to protect themselves.

You all realise of course, the difference between copyright infringement and freedom of speech, don't you? There's no point being disingenuous here. And please note that EA has gone to a body which is perfectly capable of telling them to stop being so stupid and get back to work. Which they've done for SOPA as well. If SOPA passes, blame your lawmakers, not it's supporters. If they win the rights to use the helicopters in this trial, blame your lawmakers, not EA.

ResonanceSD:

Harper0341:
A SOPA supporter trying to protect their freedom of speech. How ironic...

nsqared:

EA should shut up though because they support SOPA.

The Artificially Prolonged:
EA decision making makes no sense to me. Trying to restrict rights of others but using those same rights to protect themselves.

You all realise of course, the difference between copyright infringement and freedom of speech, don't you? There's no point being disingenuous here. And please note that EA has gone to a body which is perfectly capable of telling them to stop being so stupid and get back to work. Which they've done for SOPA as well. If SOPA passes, blame your lawmakers, not it's supporters. If they win the rights to use the helicopters in this trial, blame your lawmakers, not EA.

I thought we were allowed to blame both if SOPA passes.

Double A:

ResonanceSD:

Harper0341:
A SOPA supporter trying to protect their freedom of speech. How ironic...

nsqared:

EA should shut up though because they support SOPA.

The Artificially Prolonged:
EA decision making makes no sense to me. Trying to restrict rights of others but using those same rights to protect themselves.

You all realise of course, the difference between copyright infringement and freedom of speech, don't you? There's no point being disingenuous here. And please note that EA has gone to a body which is perfectly capable of telling them to stop being so stupid and get back to work. Which they've done for SOPA as well. If SOPA passes, blame your lawmakers, not it's supporters. If they win the rights to use the helicopters in this trial, blame your lawmakers, not EA.

I thought we were allowed to blame both if SOPA passes.

If my team let the offence through, I'd blame the defence, rather than blame the attacking team for "being too good". Or the referee for "not being on our side".

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