EA drops gun licensing deals – but keeps the guns

Wednesday, 8 May 2013 09:00 GMT By Alex Donaldson

Electronic Arts has revealed plans to ditch gun licensing deals from its games – but will continue to feature well-known weaponry in their titles without paying gun manufacturers.

EA will carry on using ‘brand name’ weapons such as Walther, Colt or Remington in their games, but will now no longer sign any licensing deals with gun makers. EA will instead use them under the fair-use principle, featuring the weapons themselves but not paying a dividend to the owner of the image and design of the weapon.

Yahoo reports that EA has said that politics and recent National Rifle Association comments pointing to video games as part of the gun control problem in the US aren’t to blame for the decision – but still reiterate their commitment to dropping such deals.

“We’re telling a story and we have a point of view,” EA’s Frank Gibeau said. “A book doesn’t pay for saying the word ‘Colt,’ for example.”

EA’s theory is about to be put to the test in a court of law, as the company is currently battling aircraft maker Bell Helicopter. Bell argue that EA’s use of their vehicles in Battlefield extends beyond fair use and has become a trademark infringement. The case goes to jury trial in June.

EA had a particularly high profile weapon licensing deal for last year’s ill-fated Medal of Honor: Warfighter, and even had to call off a campaign where the game was used in a promotion of the sale of Tomahawks for charity.

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