Murphy's Law: More Greedy Bastards


January 17, 2012: Last month, the manufacturer of the AH-1Z helicopter gunship, the UH-1Y transport helicopter, and the V-22 tilt rotor transport demanded that a video game publisher stop depicting their aircraft in a video game (Battlefield 3). The publisher tried to negotiate a resolution to this complaint but was unable to. So the publisher sued the manufacturer for violation of the First Amendment (free speech).

Increasingly, lawyers for manufacturers try to control the depiction of their products in the media. In this case, the three helicopters were just a few of dozens of different weapons and vehicle models used in the game. The manufacturer would not respond to press requests for why they are doing this. Meanwhile, the publisher is suing because the courts have consistently sided with the publishers in cases like this.

Part of this is the growing practice of maximizing revenue from intellectual property. The manufacturer may simply be trying to push this sort of thing until they find a judge who sides with them. Ultimately, the manufacturers want entertainment depictions of their products to be controlled by the manufacturer, with the addition of fees. This would be a hard slog, because there are a lot of previous court decisions favoring the publishers.


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