Electronics Arts has decided to go all first amendment on the second amendment crowd, saying it's their constitutional right of free speech to use trademarks without permission in games. Up until now, EA, along with most other major game studios, have paid to license the name and likeness of the weapons featured in their modern-day first person shooters like Medal of Honor. You can easily see details on the weapons in game as well as weapon lists where the make and model of a gun is used.
"We're telling a story and we have a point of view," EA's President of Labels Frank Gibeau, who leads product development of EA's biggest franchises, said in an interview. "A book doesn't pay for saying the word 'Colt,' for example."
EA was in hot water for its ties to gun makers before 'video game violence' was being used by lawmakers to deflect from the real issues after the shooting in Connecticut. They had included links on their Medal of Honor website to some gun manufacturers where gamers could see the actual versions of the guns featured in-game. EA removed the links and marketing after the negative response, pointing out that it was a charity project for veterans and they received no money from gun-makers. If they have their way, gun-makers will no longer receive money from them either, only free advertising by featuring their products in games.
Whether their plans will work in court or not will soon be known, but with a different piece of military equipment. EA and Bell Helicopter are about to go at it in court this June over the use of a helicopter in Battlefield. Reuters points out that "Legal experts say there isn't a single case so far where gun companies have sued video game companies for using branded guns without a license."