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Qinetix

Forbidden mod by manufacturer of a vehicle

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Hello dear modding community!

 

Since December 2017 I try to solve a problem regarding to release of my mod for Arma 3. I work on MRAP vehicle Titus made by Nexter systems in cooperation with Tatra. I began working on this project in April 2017. In December I was ready to release this addon, but my topic on the forums was removed and I got this message:

"The company who owns the intellectual property rights complained through their legal department. They claimed that this content infringed the intellectual property rights of their client."

 

I'm in contact with one employee of Tatra and he told me that Nexter claims the right to design. Unfortunaly I'm not able to get any details from Nexter, though I tried to contact them in several ways. They were informed about purpose of this project, that it is used as unofficial addon for Arma 3 and it will never be monetized. But as the employee of Tatra informed me, their answer is NO.

 

Everything on this mod is my own work - model, textures, configs, scripts. For modelling I used photos available on the internet or my own photos taken on expos of this vehicle.

 

In this way I just want to ask you, if you have ever met with this issue and if you could share your experience how to solve it.

 

Titus for Arma 3 contains three versions: unarmed, armed and police version

Features:

- accessories in virtual garage: working slat cage, camo net, windows grilles

- five colours

- simulation of Tatra suspension (“backbone“ tube and independently swinging half-axles)

- mirros and cameras

- working GPS on more than 40 maps

- animated doors, hatches

- UAV terminal available for commander

- working lightbar and sirens on police version

 

HERE you can check a gallery of my work in progress

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So as far as I know you can just publish it under a different Name. That's how BI did it in this Game as well, they don't have a license for all those models, instead they just chose different Names. 
The Katiba is called KH2002 in RL, the Nyx Tank is called "Wiesel", the Mohawk is called "Merlin", the Hunter is called "Oshkosh MATV" and the list goes on....

(this is just speculation!)

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14 minutes ago, KokaKolaA3 said:

So as far as I know you can just publish it under a different Name. That's how BI did it in this Game as well, they don't have a license for all those models, instead they just chose different Names. 
The Katiba is called KH2002 in RL, the Nyx Tank is called "Wiesel", the Mohawk is called "Merlin", the Hunter is called "Oshkosh MATV" and the list goes on....

(this is just speculation!)

 

I have thought about it, but I'm not sure if it is connected with design rights.

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Most importantly, make sure to remove ANY logos or brand names in text or image form that exist in the real world (Titus, Nexter, Tatra etc) from your mod. 

I cannot provide any legal advice and copyright in general is heavily dependent on the individual cases but 3D models are subject to copyright laws, even when there is no monetization involved. It is possible that this company copyrighted their orthographic designs as a three dimensional design.

I recommend you to be prepared to substantially change the 3D model itself so it can be considered a derivative or fair use (education, research). 

To be safe, consult with an IP lawyer, many offer free initial assessments and don't release any files before this is fully worked out.

 

I have to say it's quite sad this company decided to take this route...

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relevand discussion and articles

 

https://support.turbosquid.com/hc/en-us/articles/230097027-Copyright-Basics

https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/3d-digitisation-and-intellectual-property-rights

https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/15/evaluating-ip-infringement-risks-for-designers-and-consumers-of-3d-printing-services/?guccounter=1

 

 

EDIT:

What i would do if i were you:
a. consult with a relevant knowledgeable IP lawyer 

b. considering a 3d model is a representation of a product, and it isn't the product (just like a photo of that product is not owned by either the subject's manufacturer, or the camera manufacturer the photo was taken with) i doubt they can legally do much about it. 

c. i would remove all the brands/trademarks just in case, unless you did the model based on their inhouse CAD data, your own version is an artistic interpretation, not even a reproduction, much less a 1:1 copy

d. i would contact them saying that you will release it and i would release it, as there is no money involved either way, there is afaik, from a legal pov, nothing they can do about it

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I'm in contact with Nexter's lawyer who reported breach of IP rights to BI. I've explained him purpose of this project and wrote him all details how my work was made. But it's more than two months I'm still waiting for Nexter's expression within this comunication.

Yesterday I wrote him again and explained him my work regarding to information I got from you guys. Eventauly I asked him if I could release this project with changed name and removed brands/trademarks. The lawyer answered me that he's still waiting for IP owner's decision as every time I ask him for status.

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sounds like you've covered your bases pretty well.

and it sounds like they are actually speaking to you reasonably about it, which is good.

Once the trademarks are removed, and so long as the model is very slightly different fro mthe real thing, you have nothing to worry about, except that they may complain, and submit a DMCA complaint.

You can the ncontest that complaint using pufus and others' points above.

I think if the complaint is reviewed by a lawyer, for example at Valve, then it would be rejected, as you have a solid case.

However if it is only a call centre minion at Valve they might uphold the complaint, as they don't wish to incur a damages claim from the company.

So the best bet is to make your case really clearly, and hope they recognise its validity.

 

So:

1. remove all trademarks from the model textures

2. remove any trademarks from the model mesh (a Mercedes ring on the hood, or a Goodyear embossed tire for example)

3. remove any mention of the company names or trademarked names from the descriptive text accompanying the model, in the configs, displaynames, steam page, etc

4. Use only military designations like M1151 instead of HMWWV.
5. Apply a license to the work that is clearly non-commercial - you are free to adapt my model license here.

This is more to demonstrate your intention for its use, although you could arguably put it on Turbosquid and sell it freely .

6. Write to the company, to confirm these steps have been taken and point out that representing real military equipment minus the brandnames or trademarks is acceptable fair use under rights of free speech in a published work (such as TV, movie, videogame or book) and ask the company to confirm if it has any further concerns.

 

If they object without giving a good reason I would write back saying you intend to publish anyway as you don't believe they have valid reasons to complain. If they cannot rationally state their case, then you can show this to Valve, or BIF moderators as proof that you are not breaking any rules.

 

p.s. the ymay be one of the weird oddities like HMWWV who have patented their shape in every industry classification including videogames, in which case adjusting a few parts of the model (10%) would suffice to make it different, and remove grounds for a complaint.

 

good luck!

 

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7 hours ago, Qinetix said:

I'm in contact with Nexter's lawyer who reported breach of IP rights to BI. I've explained him purpose of this project and wrote him all details how my work was made. But it's more than two months I'm still waiting for Nexter's expression within this comunication.

Yesterday I wrote him again and explained him my work regarding to information I got from you guys. Eventauly I asked him if I could release this project with changed name and removed brands/trademarks. The lawyer answered me that he's still waiting for IP owner's decision as every time I ask him for status.

 

By no means i think that copyright is something that should be infringed on, but in your case i find it completly stupid on their part, so here's my other 2 cents besides what rob posted above and what i wrote before

a. BI has nothing to do with 3rd party content licensing or IP infringements. They can report that IP breach to BI as long as they want to, BI is NOT responsible in any way for 3rd party content that is being made. 

 

b. The stance you should took is not one of asking them for permission - can you pretty please let me release it, look what i have done in order not to breach your IP rights, bur rather one of informing them that you took certain steps (trademarks, brands etc removal), and you will move forward with your release. It is up to them to reply to these emails to begin with, you have no obligation to change your schedule based on their lack of replies.

 

c. They have to build a "case" that would show that your 3d mesh is a reproduction. It isn't, it is an artistic interpretation (the 10-15% remix thing is something that does indeed apply, but for most 3d meshes, i think that it is already obvious that your parts are not 1:1 replicas of the real thing, especially since you modeled that MRAP based on photos and not on diagrams and other CAD data).

 

Do understand that, like it is with lawyers they are playing a preemptive strong hand just because. There is no legal grounds, whatsoever, to have the content you are making (again, very important that it is non-commercial here, as rob said, attach a license to it to state just that) removed from anywhere. I would also add a disclaimer along these lines "I am not associated with Nexter and/or Tatra companies. Any resemblance to any real product is circumstantial"

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On 24.07.2018 at 10:48 AM, PuFu said:

a. BI has nothing to do with 3rd party content licensing or IP infringements. They can report that IP breach to BI as long as they want to, BI is NOT responsible in any way for 3rd party content that is being made. 

 

I believe it has something to do with IP infringements that happend on their, BI, site (here). OP said at the beginning that BI blocked his topic due to IP owner's complaint.
Other than that, I'd like to thank you guys for your replies. IP things have always been quite a mystery to me and your pov clarified that a bit, especially the part regarding copyrighted 3d design.
Qinetix - fantastic job you've done on the vehicle,  mate. Congratulations!

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1 hour ago, NightIntruder said:

I believe it has something to do with IP infringements that happend on their, BI, site (here). OP said at the beginning that BI blocked his topic due to IP owner's complaint.

still nothing to do with BI - BI does not host, advertise nor develops addon/mods for its own game. All 3rd party IP rights (and everything else that comes from that) is the sole responsibility of the author. 

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Depending on my free time I'm going to release this addon without brands on the model soon. But first I want to tweak some features.

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Hi guys, check release of Titus HERE!!!

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