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
    Lone, 9 Nov 2009 @ 12:07pm

    Reality

    I'm sorry but how many people here have actually played BATracer?

    I think some people have just assumed this is a game on par with Gran Turismo or Forza and raking in big bucks from Ferrari branding and logos. The truth is the site has no stable source of income, and the owner barely manages to pay for the server costs (seriously).

    In anycase, a few BATracers on the forum have put together a Trixie/Greasemonkey script which converts the fake names back into their real names, so if you have that on your browser everything is back to how it was anyway, including all Ferrari names

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