Copyright question about using real world brands like Dell, Apple for set dressing in games.
If I am making a game and want to include a model of an iPhone, not even as an intregral part of the game, just laying on a table as set dressing, would I get an army of Apple lawyers on my case? I've seen other games where there were Dell computers and Samsung TVs being used as set dressing, do these companies mind when we do this?
ı think it is being good comercial strategy for them. maybe you ask them
Usually you can't use company brands in games, as far as I know. A good example would be GTA - all cars in that game have fake names and logos.
Companies don't want to damage their marketing strategies and public relations, even if, in this case, a game can get them free publicity etc. It's all about perception. So if I get in a Porsche in GTA, start driving like a maniac and see the car damaged, that's bad for the company. They don't want people to see their cars getting damaged, even if that's just a game.
Best scenario would be to base your smartphone models on iPhone, but make it slightly different and let it have a fake company name and logo. This will cause you less headaches in the long run. ;)
Usually, these "set dressings" are paid product placement: Sony, EA, and other game makers go to Dell, Apple, etc and make a deal to include their products in the game. In the case of racing games, the game maker licenses the car names (and likenesses) from the car makers since the car makers think this could be good publicity and using real cars makes the racing game more realistic.
If you're thinking about putting an Apple-branded item in your game, I'd check with Apple's usage rights first... or change your model's name to a similar name or similar logo. ;)
I understand that big game developers like EA or Sony have the clout to strike deals with other big corporations, but I am just a lowly independent game developer. Yet I have seen other games from indie devs like "escape the room" and they have Dell and other logos in their games. Maybe I should ask them.... hmm.
If you are a smal ldeveloper it is a bit of a grey-zone. For example in 3D vsualizations you see a lot of cars from common brands. In theory every artist would have to ask for permission or use fantasy cars. This would not be accepted by cliets. So everyone uses cars from those brands.
So I guess as long as noone can be killed with your virtual iphone as a melee attack weapon noone will sue you. ;-)
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