Ferrari Doesn't Want Web Racing Simulation To Use Ferraris

from the fair-use? dept

Lincoln Braun writes "I play an online web game. BATracer which is designed to simulate a number of racing series including Formula 1, LeMans, A1 Grand Prix, Ferrari Challenge, and more. This week, however, the owner of the site received a legal notice from Ferrari, ordering a cease & desist from using Ferrari cars. BATracer has somewhere between 2000 and 3000 active users, most of whom arrived at the site because of Formula 1. The letter by Ferrari has really annoyed many of the most passionate fans and they have lost a lot of goodwill."

It looks like BATracer shut down for a bit before opening up again without Ferraris. Now, Ferrari has a big licensing business, but at some point you have to wonder if legal actions like this make any sense or if there's a reasonable fair use claim. In the case of team sports simulations, courts have ruled that name and stats are facts -- and not covered by intellectual property, so couldn't you say the same thing for car names and specifications? And while I could potentially see a trademark issue, it's not as if BATracer is actually "competing" in the same space as Ferrari. I can already hear the excuses about how Ferrari needs to keep its brand special and being seen in such a game might cheapen it -- but that's not the purpose of intellectual property law. Either way, it seems pretty dumb to piss off so many people even if many of them probably can't afford a Ferrari in real life (probably what the company is betting on). There may be some who can (or who will be able to someday), and pushing them away for no good reason can't help matters.

Filed Under: batracer, ferrari, game, trademark
Companies: ferrari

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  1. identicon
    Jambug, 6 Nov 2009 @ 6:12am

    Re: Ferrari is right...not

    If the game is free there's no "trademark" issue. Nothing is being "marketed" with which a "trademark" issue would be warranted. Nor is anything being "sold". Nor is anything being "intellectually compromised" because, intellectually, the whole issue from the standpoint of the "Ferrari Brand Name" is completely, absolutely, unflinchingly ignorant.

    Case in point: two kids go outside to play "racecars" by running around the house. Kid 1 is a "Honda" and Kid 2 a "Ferrari". Should a Ferrari Representative who lives nextdoor stop them from playing simply because they haven't paid for the privilage? No. Der.

    Case in point 2: Someone at a local art college draws a Ferrari Formula I race car running down the pope. It wins a prestigious prize. Should Ferrrari claim part of the prize as their own? Perhaps the Pope might want to get in on that action? No. Der.

    Corporations need to BACK THE F*** OFF. Now. Not later, not once they've realized how detrimental it is to their "continuing profit growth potentials". Not after it's legislated that way, but NOW. If they don't, what they're going to find is that people are not willing to give them license any longer as "entities" (ie, being treated by the law as a "person" with rights). Personally, I think the soon that happens, the sooner I can start charging them for all the commercials I have to endure in every facet of my daily life.

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