Copyright about real weapons and buildings

Hi guys,

I wish to know if real weapons and buildings have any copyright involved…
For example, take the Museum of Louvre, can I use a 3D model of it and call it in-game “Museum of Louvre”?
Same thing about weapons, can I use a 3D model of a real gun and use the real name of it in-game?

I know Ironbelly studios makes 3D models of real weapons so you might want to send them a PM to see if they have any copyright issues. As for the buildings I think it would depend on the building since some might be open to use and some severely restricted. For example I think France lets you sell pictures of the Eiffel Tower in the day but not at night.

Thank you,
I’ll find more about it, anything I find out, I put here for any future references.

Sounds good, there are a lot of questions about copyrights so it would probably help a lot of people.

I heard about some shady company in us buying copyrights for all weapons used in games, then threatening indie game devs.
I just cannot remember its name, but i think i read this here in unreal forum. I also think that people wrote that is enough to not use real names for guns.
And you can always model AK-47 russians do not have idiotic copyright laws.

Gun copyright gets very complicated very quick, some guns designs are owned by governments and have no copyright issues for games, but some variations of those things do, a lot of historical guns are fine to use, but not all.

In most of the world architecture is not copyrightable.

Otherwise you would not even be able to film a movie without asking each landlord for copyright.

In france tho, every building that is no older than 150 years is subject to copyright. Althought never enforced, be aware of it.

I dont know about buildings but i’d give my weapons and vehicles some really abstract names. Stanley 9mm pistol for eg

Changing just the name isn’t enough, you can’t make a Ferrari and just put a sticker than says Larrari on it. GTA likes to combine elements of 3 cars into one, which is a better option.

As to weapons

The right to copy pertains to what would be considered intellectual that can not be applied to products that serve a practical function as applied to licensing of patented products.

The 1911 makes a good case in point as you can paint a picture, take a photo, or even make one using bits and bytes and be safe from any kind of copyright as your not making a copy of IP that can only be applied to the above noun.

Patent violation can not be applied as to licensing a weapon as a bit and byte device is not being duplicated as to practical function.

Calling the weapon a “1911” does not violate any kind of copyright as you can not copyright common letters or numbers, even though Apple would have you think otherwise by trying to copyright and trademark the letter “I”

A simple Google search will turn up case after case that proves the point.

Another consideration that makes the 1911 case a good example is the patent that was once applied as to manufacturing licensing has expired “yeas” ago as well as a lot or most other weapons so any weapons manufacture can duplicate the design with out having to play licensing fees.

A list of companies that manufacture the 1911 free and clear.

That being said historically there has been no cases made public, except for the AE case but that’s more about hyperbull, of a game developer being sued for using “branded” named weapons in a video game.

Where you might find yourself in a bit of trouble when it comes to naming weapons is the use of trademarked branding which can be protected by law depending what country you happen to live, or at least have you company registered, so if you avoid “branding” in your game altogether then you would be on safe “dependable” ground but as policy we have decided to avoided all branding as we feel product manufactures should be paying for product placement just like in the movies. :wink:

That being said I’m not a lawyer so if it matters talk to one but the odds of being sued is next to zero unless you become the next Battle Field in which case the odds of being sued becomes 100% as being 100% in the right is not a safe guard from being sued :wink:

Then again why sue you if you have no monies. :slight_smile:

Yeah i know that. You could slightly add different modifications to those weapons and vehicles so that they don’t really have anything in common with the things you are basing them on.

If that’s the case is there a point in modeling after the original in the first place? Movies use real guns all the time, does anyone know what they have to do to get permission to?

I think it also depends on the context to which the weapons are used. For example if your game is about blowing the heads of puppies in a school, they might be inclined to insist on not using their weapons to ‘adventise’ them. :wink:

It also depends on how truthfull you are to the original and in what “light” you portrait them in.
Just two examples:

  • In the first Gran Tourismo games, the cars didnt have a damage model, because the manufactures didnt want their cars look shabby. That was their requirement for the licenses.

  • Metal Gear Solid 5 uses fake names for the weapons. Not because the manufacturers dont want to associate themselves with killer games or whatever. They had to use fake names because you can customize the guns beyond what they could do in real life and Heckler&Koch simply didnt want a MP5 appearing in a game that didnt had the stats and characteristics of a MP5.

It is of course different if the manufacturer is out of business and the gun model is kind of “abandon ware”, like the Mateba guns (Unica 6).

So I would not use real names just because you can google their copyright. Just use alternative names for it like AK-47 >> KA-47 or something and you can be sure you have no problems.

Just changing a name doesn’t protect you from copyright infringement.

Then forget about real weapons and make something from your creative mind. Be like rockstar, don’t make a ferrari make a cheetah lol.