AM General, makers and owners of the Humvee vehicle, filed a lawsuit back in 2017 against Activision Blizzard for using their vehicles in their games without providing compensation for using it.
The original lawsuit filed by AM General claimed Activision Blizzard was profiting off of their property without providing compensation for such usage. The company was seeking millions in lost profit thanks to Activision’s usage of the vehicle. In 2019, Activision Blizzard responded to the lawsuit claiming that it was bogus and using military vehicles is protected under the First Amendment.
On Wednesday, April 1, a federal judge haas ruled in favor of Activision Blizzard in this case stating that the usage of humvee vehicles in Call of Duty is protected by an artists’ right to realistically depict warfare in their titles and is therefore protected by the First Amendment. Federal judge said Activision Blizzard cannot be sued for doing this.
“If realism is an artistic goal, then the presence in modern warfare games of vehicles employed by actual militaries undoubtedly furthers that goal,” U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels said in his motion to dismiss. “The inclusions of Humvees in the foreground or background of various scenes … are integral elements of a video game because they communicate ideas through features distinctive to the medium.”
Federal Judge Daniels said AM General’s lawsuit failed to meet the threshold of suing a company over artistic usage of their trademark in a video game
“Defendants’ uses of Humvees in ‘Call of Duty’ games have artistic relevance. Featuring actual vehicles used by military operations around the world in video games about simulated modern warfare surely evokes a sense of realism and lifelikeness. Proceeding to the second prong of the Rogers test, defendants’ uses of Humvees in the ‘Call of Duty’ games are not explicitly misleading,” the judge said.