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Question regarding (intellectual) copyright


StoneDwarf
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Hiya folks,

My question is; would I be in troubles if I re-created a weapon such as an ak47 etc and uploaded it into S?. At first thought I'd say no, just because I'm not the person who came up with the idea! :D

But, and this is what made me asking for your advice, as far as I am aware, I can freely 'draw' an ak47 in any conceptart I make, or model one for a game mod, without having to worry about having the right copyrights. So based on that, one would assume there would be no harm in re-creating one and uploading - and selling - it into games such as SL, right?

But in the other hand, I would say it is just like cars. For example, racing videogames must have the right rights before they can use real life brands into their game.And LL made this pretty clear with the IP tutorial question about mercedes. So I get the part about not re-creating real life stuff (and brands) but, with what I described above, same goes for weapons aswell?

Yout thoughts on this would be appreciated because I am not sure what to think of it, or if it would be allowed.



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I'm pretty sure that the name of this particular weapon is not trademarked in the USA or internationally, and I also don't think that Michail Kalaschnikow holds any copyrights or design patents that would have any validity in the Western World. Back in the 1940s, USSR citizens probably didn't bother with this kind of thing. It might be a different  issue with other types of weapons.

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The gun itself, should be a problem, its how you name it, it you use ak47,or reference to it being like a ak47 then your useing that name to sell your creation,

There isnt anything new under the sun anymore, and impossible to create anything ,that might not look like somehtinnng in the real world, this is a big gray area, rule of thumb, dont use any part or hole parts of any well known names,or logo's, and if you do follow a style of a certain product for example sake's, just add a little somehting to make a little different and personalized.

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I didn't looked at it from that perspective - good point Ish! :)

But what about US army weapons such as the M16? They are for sale on 3d model websites, which makes me believe I can sell them as well. But again, to take the mercedes example, there are many mecedes cars for sale as well, sold by people without having the *proper* rights. So the IP tutorial question about the mercedes car (basically the question was whether or not it was allowed to say your modelled car looks like a mercedes, which is not allowed because its a real life brand) suggests you cannot upload any material related to real ife brands without being the respective owner and/or person with appropiate rights.

I would guess the same rule applies to weapons? If this would be the case, I am somewhat amused to see all the *real life* weapons that are currently for sale on the market, which would be - granted I am actually right - a violation against LL policy, which would result in 100+ people being naughty at the moment because they are selling real life weapons.

Am I missing something here, or? :P

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I guess you are right, but it is still a strange and complicated matter to me. I agree with you though, about creating something without creating something that doesn't look like something in real life.

So if I modelled a weapon that is heavily *inspired* by a real life weapon, re-named it and put it for sale, I should be safe. Sounds odd, but I can see your point and I'm afraid it works like that.

Which brings me to another question, this would also mean that if I created something from scratch (lets use the weapon example again) and upload it into SL, other people can do exactly the same as what I described above - re-creating it, re-naming it, add a few modifications and sell it, without having to worry about intellectual property rights, just like how I don't have to worry when creating weapons that are inspired by real life weapons. 

Right?

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StoneDwarf wrote:

But what about US army weapons such as the M16? They are for sale on 3d model websites, which makes me believe I can sell them as well. But again, to take the mercedes example, there are many mecedes cars for sale as well, sold by people without having the *proper* rights.

Am I missing something here, or?
:P

The M16 is the military designation for the Colt AR-15 rifle.  Colt bought the manufacturing rights from the original designer, ArmaLite.  Colt has a trademark on the name "AR-15" for their version, which is different from the version sold to the US Military.  There are many versions and accessories for this rifle, which has been in use since 1959.  I don't think the US military has intellectual property rights on the name "M16", it's just an identifier for the hardware.  If you wanted to be sure, you could ask Colt about 3D models of their design, or see what game companies have done about using it or similar designs in combat games.

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Older weapons, especially pre-WW2 and especially non-US manufactured, you won't have a problem anyway. Ishtara's point applies to most older firearms.

Newer weapons, you might have an issue. But that depends on how you do it.

Firearms, particularly those contracted for the military, work a little different than standard copyrights. For example, the Marines have the M40, which is actually just a Remington 700, modded with parts from other suppliers.

Which is what you could do. Take an existing firearm and modify something about it (even if it's simply in the description- polymer stock instead of wooden, or chambered for a larger caliber), rename it, and say so. I see that a LOT by small dealers and enthusiasts.

ETA: Daniel was a bit faster than me, but we're both essentially saying the same thing.

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Hey guys, thank you all, this cleared things up for me. :)

If I am planning to re-create something, I will make sure to modify it somehow with different parts/guns/brands to create something unique. And I'll use my own creativity on the name.

Thanks again!

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People get rights to trademarks and copyright confused.  To have any protection in the US, a trademark must be registered with the Patent and Trademark Office. Registering one gives you the exclusive right to use it for a particular use for which it is registered.  At http://www.uspto.gov/, you can search the database of registered trademarks and find out if one you are interested in using has been registered.  You can also find out for what purpose it is registered.  If, for example, AK-47 is registered as the name of a brand of smokeless tobacco, you could still use it as the name of a rifle without infringing.  If you want to, for example, keep others from using the same name for the same kind of product in SL, you can register it as a trademark.  Logos and symbols can be registered.

Copyright, in this context, reserves to the owner and others granted rights by the owner the right to make and sell something that looks the same as a product.  I am not sure if the appearance of RL mechanical devices are subject to copyright, or not, but something the primary use of which is ornamental certainly is.   However, single words and short phrases are not.

One important difference is that the DMCA covers copyright infringement, and does not cover trademark infringement.  LL may not honor this distinction.  I am aware of an instance when the RL owner of a trademark filed a DMCA takedown notice alleging that a SL business was infringing its rights, and LL removed the allegedly infringing content.  What LL should have done was refuse to act because copyright infringement was not occurring, and, therefore, the DMCA notice was invalid.  I do not know if the notice alleged trademark or copyright infringement.  Either way, it was obviously invalid, either because it alleged trademark infringement, or because it alleged that the use of a single word was copyright infringement.  I looked up the use for which the trademark was registered, and I didn't think that the use in SL was similar enough to be infringing.

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If it is recognizable by the creator you have a problem. There is such a thing as International Copyright Law. You cannot know where a copyright might still be in force. No, you cannot assume a product goes into the public domain in the same way a novel does, objects from outside the US are certainly protected, and the AK is definitely still protected.

Make an original weapon, or rely on LL's complete lack of action on actual copyrighted items (picked up your new, LL-provided Ferrari avatar yet?).

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Rusalka Writer wrote:

There is such a thing as International Copyright Law.

Yes and no. There are some international treaties (such as the Berne Convention, or the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty), but not all countries have signed those.

Which means that there is no truly world-wide and internationally enforcable copyright, and some countries get away with ripping software and digital media to their heart's content. I think the only rule that applies in case of the AK-47 is the old adage "turnabout is fair play". 

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