World War 2 Guns - Copyright infringement Questions

Would it be copyright infringement to sell these older weapons? Or is it okay to sell things like a 1911 from World War 2 on the Marketplace? Any advice?

Hey man! I contacted our legal department about this to get clarity. If it’s an old, out-of-production weapon, that’ll probably be just fine. Copyright infringement is generally pursued by the copyright holder, and the older something is, the less likely they are to try to enforce it. Ultimately it’s your responsibility to make sure you’ve attempted to find the rights holder or the rules governing this sort of thing, however.

As a side note, WW2 weapons are a really cool idea. I’m always looking for more weapon packs!

If in doubt, you could do what people do with cars: change them up a little too make them close, but off slightly to the original.

Yep, basically! I’ll repost what I said in another thread:

"The specific changes we’d need are modifying the base colors and typeface. I’ve spent years working with trademark holders to avoid infringement when producing art, and they’re extremely picky about similar layouts, typefaces, product silhouettes, and color schemes. This is especially true if they’re brands that are still actively advertised and sold, and if they’re global.

It may seem like I’m being a bit of a killjoy, but brands like this actually have a legal obligation to enforce their trademark and combat infringement or near-infringement, otherwise they’ll lose legal control over the trademark. That’s why you hear stories about really silly lawsuits corporations bring against very minor issues. Entire departments of multinational corporations exist to hunt down things like this, no matter how small or silly, and it’s a huge pain to deal with for everyone. In this case, making those modifications is the safest course of action to take. Hopefully this will save you some time when you get to the point of submission."

Thanks for looking into this Jon.

I saw that Turbosquid has all kinds of World War 2 weapons and I was thinking it might be okay here as well. Still I wanted to double-check with you guys before I throw too many man-hours into it.

You’re smart to do so. :slight_smile: I always feel bad when people spend a lot of time on something I simply can’t publish for copyright rademark reasons.

In the marketplace are real weapons like the M4A1 and from what i know the game companies pay for that in their games (modern and world war 2).
You can do a weapon 95% equal to the real but with another name.

We have been using branded weapons in our Q3 mod for close to 15 years now and have not heard a peep but manufactures are going after trademark infringement more than they are the make and model of what would be considered an ambiguous design.

On your side is you can’t trademark numbers or letters, even though Apple would have you believe other wise, so the fact that the M4A1 in the marketplace is identical to the design of the weapon it would be considered copyright as well as trademark safe as it is not “branded” as “the” COLT M4A1.

Since you mentioned the 1911 this weapon in particular by it’s self would establish an argument as to prior art as to copyrights as the issue as to the use of branding and trademark infringement due to the fact that the patent has expired long ago and compare it to the number of manufactures who are manufacturing this weapon with out paying licensing fees to the Browning estate and continue to call it the model 1911.

In general since Browning was responsible for most if not all automatic weapon designed during WW2 it can be assumed that the designs are no longer covered by patents and any manufacture who wishes can make use of the designs that would also included virtual weapons so by becoming you own manufacturer (granted in digital form) and not calling the 1911 a Colt 1911 there is no much anyone can do about it.

Not being a lawyer though it’s something you need to research and not take as being legally correct as some companies will sue you for no other reason than they can in hopes of getting a few go away bucks and generally wait until you become big as say EA.

Interesting topic because I’m working on pretty much all the WW2 weapons also! Also done with the M1911A1( )
@FrankieV, World of Guns seem to be getting away with calling the 1911, the Colt M1911: I wonder why they haven’t ran into any legal issue yet?

Well the only “legal” reason, issue, I can see is because Electronic Arts made it an issue by refusing to pay for “brand” licensing in their games. Once again and as always controversy sells.

A good start

Until EA made it an issue it really was not a problem as to using branding as in most cases it was an issue limited to the development of the game that could easily be solved by paying for the licensing and if reasonable is just another cost as to games development in general.


Until the issue is resolved in the courts one is safe, getting away with it…for now.

Sorry for resurrection an old thread but I’d want to ask : What about modern military vehicles likes, humwee jeep or F16 fighter plane? Are we clear to release such vehicles in marketplace? Or we have to release them under different names?