Full Version: Trademarks on cars...
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Eventually we're going to run into problems with trademarks. If not from the manufacturers themselves, we'll probably have trouble getting the game shipped with Linux distributions, in Debian repositories, that kinda thing. should we do it? Rename the cars and mess with the models a bit?
I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have to change any of the cars' shapes or performance characteristics, just the names:
Grand theft auto just changes the names to ridiculous names. Maybe you can do the same? The cars are already initials that dont always make sense imo. Plus youll run into snags if you sell the product. If its freeware, I dont think you will run into any problems.

Btw can anyone tell im attempting to have the newest post in every forum?
Yeah, I noticed when I first starting playing that car names don't really make sense. In fact, I was going to suggest putting more meaningful ones in, but the trademark issue seems to pour water on it.

Having trademarks (like sponsor logos) stamped on the cars themselves might be a bit of an issue, though. But logos are something I personally could do without.

Then there's the issue of logos placed around the track. It can be considered free advertising and provides "realism", but would anyone be concerned? Perhaps we could provide fake logos. Hmm, that could be funny.

@protomor, I noticed you are posting away a lot in many threads.
Wow I totally predicted this way back in 2005!

As soon as my computer is connected again I'll sort out the licensing of the models I've made.
Thanks again kcid Smile
Maybe you could email the car manufacturers and ask if it's ok to use their car names in the game, being careful to place emphasis on the fact that VDrift is free and open source.
charlieg Wrote:Maybe you could email the car manufacturers and ask if it's ok to use their car names in the game, being careful to place emphasis on the fact that VDrift is free and open source.

No manufacturer will let you use their car's name for free. I would be surprised if any of them responded.
Hello. I think I know a way to keep everybody happy. Since trademarks are such a big issue but some gamers really insist on having real car names, I 'developed' a way to circumvent this issue. In the configuration file for each car make a field for the car name that the game code uses for example: M7, so there won't be any issues with the network multiplayer recognizing the car and another field with the name to be displayed in-game. By default this would be also M7 but if a user wants he can just edit this field to the desired name. Manual labor but worth it. This should be categorized as a community/fanmade mod so there should be no legal problems. Also about the logos: Make them as very simple gibberish 3d meshes that a user can replace with own content. So in the end the game ships as an open source trademark free game but thanks to it's open architecture it can be moded to a users own liking.
If there is still a problem with this forgive me for wasting bandwidth.
first off I AM NOT A LAWYER

but i've been doing lots of research on this type of thing lately. i think maybe have an alias.ini file in your home/.vdrift directory. something that could be used to rename every vehicle on the client side. and rename them to whatever one wants. something set up with fields like:

vehicle_folder year make model

on legality my research has uncovered a few interesting things in u.s. law. the car bodies are considered "useful articles" and thus cannot be protected by copyright.

they could be protected by design patents, but patents are not automatic, they have to be applied for. i don't know if car makers get design patents on each of their body styles, but if they do, they can only protect for 20 years which means 1992 year model or less should be fair game.

there are also some lawsuits going on that could have leave a solid precedent i a few years. the most controversial will probable be the one ea is in with textron:
which could test the boundaries of games as free speech. if it is upheld that a video game receives the same protections that are given to books and films we should be able to even use trademarked branding.

another one saw on slashdot recently has dc comics filing suit against a guy who makes custom trim panels so people can dress up their cars like batman's car. as far as i recall that suit did not get thrown out by the judge on the useful article basis, so we may see where it goes eventually. a commenter on that linked to some shelby cobra replica company that shelby had tried to sue twice, iirc the second lawsuit was thrown out with prejudice. it still cost them 1 million dollars in legal defenses.

at some point i may speak to an ip lawyer about all this and i'll be certain to pass on my findings here. for now lets all cross our fingers and hope video games become fully protected free speech.
That is quite interesting indeed.
That would be amazing.