EA using First Ammendment for Battlefield 3 defense

The Ah-1Z Viper is one of the helicopters in question in EA's suit.

Electronic Arts will be defending its use of certain real-world helicopter models in Battlefield 3 by claiming it falls under protection from the First Amendment.

The action comes as a preemptive lawsuit against Textron, a parent company of Bell helicopter, which makes three of the aircraft depicted in the game. The two sides were attempting to reach an agreement outside of courts, but the discussions had broken down and lead EA to file the suit in federal court on Friday for the Northern District of California.

“The parties have been unable to resolve their dispute,” EA’s complaint, acquired by Kotaku, read. “EA therefore has a reasonable and strong apprehension that it will soon face a trademark and/or trade dress action from Textron.”

Helping EA’s case is a disclaimer on the front of the box that states the game does not officially endorse the makers of any weapons or vehicles featured. The complaint also states that “”the Bell-manufactured helicopters are not highlighted or given greater prominence than any of the other vehicles within the game.”

Thanks to the recent Supreme Court ruling back in June that declared video games have the same free speech protections as books, film, and television, the claim is very much valid. EA also faced a similar situation in September, where the company came out on top of a federal judge’s ruling when EA had an unnamed likeness of former Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart featured in the NCAA Football series.

As for the helicopters themselves, the ones in question are the AH-1Z Viper, UH-1Y, and V-22 Osprey. The Viper is an attack helicopter, the Osprey features distinct tilt-rotors for short-distance or verticle takeoff and landing, and the UH-1Y acts as a multipurpose/transport helicopter.

As of the time of publishing, neither EA nor Textron have commented on the issue.



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

2 Comments on "EA using First Ammendment for Battlefield 3 defense"

  1. T4nkcommander January 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm -

    What is interesting is how EA put a disclaimer everywhere regarding vehicles, etc. Bell is retarded. They should have used the Apache instead.

  2. Anonymous January 11, 2012 at 1:31 am -

    One thing that has long bothered me about video games is that guns are never represented by their manufacturer names and model numbers. This feels similar (although I care less).

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.