Electronic Arts Claims First Amendment Rights to use Weapons, Aircraft Images in Video Games
Stripes.com reports that Electronic Arts, whose portfolio of action games includes Battlefield 3, has filed suit in California against Textron Inc. and its Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter subsidiary over Electronic Arts’ use of images of aircraft including the V-22 and AH-1Z Viper helicopter.
In what amounts to a pre-emptive lawsuit, Electronic Arts said Textron and Bell demanded that it stop using images of the V-22 and the AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters in Battlefield 3 after negotiations between the companies broke down.
Textron and Bell say the aircraft, developed and purchased by the Defense Department with taxpayer dollars, are the corporations’ private trademark property.
But Electronic Arts says that its video games are protected by the First Amendment as a form of free and expressive speech and that images of the aircraft are widely seen in the public domain and therefore not subject to trademark or copyright protections.