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MechWarrior 5 Legal Troubles Brewing

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 63 comments
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Harmony Gold is causing a fuss over the upcoming MechWarrior game.

IGN is raising questions about the future of the MechWarrior franchise, or in this case, the planned development of MechWarrior 5. IGN claims that--along with its parent company--it received a cease and desist order from Harmony Gold, the co-copyright owner of the Robotech television series. According to the order, the use of certain trademarked figures from the Robotech/Macross universe is prohibited as a result of a 1996 settlement.

As IGN points out, the MechWarrior franchise isn't part of the Robotech/Macross universe, however the similarities between the two intellectual properties have triggered legal issues and have raised questions. "Apparently, some of those trademarked figures appear in the trailer used by Pirahna Games in its announcement of the MechWarrior reboot earlier this year, and a request has been made for that trailer to be pulled from IGN," said IGN's Erik Brudvig.

With that said, it's believed that the development of MechWarrior 5 (working title) could be in jeopardy. On the negative side, a trademark dispute could postpone or even terminate the game's development. On a positive note, the legal troubles could only force the designers to remove certain assets from the game such as specific vehicles, logos, characters and more.

IGN said that it contacted Smith and Tinker, however the company only responded with a "we have no comment on the situation at the time" comment. On an additional note, videos relating to the upcoming MechWarrior 5 games have been removed from YouTube at the request of Harmony Gold.

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Top Comments
  • 34 Hide
    theholylancer , September 4, 2009 7:41 PM
    I believe I say it for all gamers to these cash whores: fuck them
  • 29 Hide
    fitzergerald , September 4, 2009 7:42 PM
    Another copywrite law kicking the consumer in the ass…
  • 27 Hide
    jellico , September 4, 2009 7:42 PM
    Damn! I was really looking forward to a new MechWarrior game. It's been WAY too long! I hope they can work this out. It's really irritating when legal crap gets in the way of a really anticipated title.
Other Comments
  • 34 Hide
    theholylancer , September 4, 2009 7:41 PM
    I believe I say it for all gamers to these cash whores: fuck them
  • 29 Hide
    fitzergerald , September 4, 2009 7:42 PM
    Another copywrite law kicking the consumer in the ass…
  • 27 Hide
    jellico , September 4, 2009 7:42 PM
    Damn! I was really looking forward to a new MechWarrior game. It's been WAY too long! I hope they can work this out. It's really irritating when legal crap gets in the way of a really anticipated title.
  • 3 Hide
    NocturnalOne , September 4, 2009 7:51 PM
    Yeah yeah copyright laws are annoying until *you* come up with content you want to protect. I bet you'll sing a different tune then. Sure you can release everything you do into the public domain but just like most people don't walk around handing out money to everyone they meet, most people want to get paid for their work.

    So someone needs to figure out if MW5 uses protected content. That should be easy to figure out. Then decide to either license the content or INVENT YOUR OWN.

    If you really truly believe that copyright has no place in game development why not help out the MW5 guys and offer to develop alternate content and do it for free. No royalties, no rights, no nothing. Just give it to them to use as they see fit.
  • 9 Hide
    igot1forya , September 4, 2009 7:54 PM
    I don't see the problem... just rename the Mechs make cosmetic changes, the auto and airline industry has been doing it sense the beginning of time!
  • 0 Hide
    thearm , September 4, 2009 8:01 PM
    Lawyers. I do not feel bad about downloading media. Because, it's not about the art to a fat fingered fat cat, and it should be. They should work something out.
  • 3 Hide
    tenor77 , September 4, 2009 8:01 PM
    This is an old story really. I believe it was the Phoenix Hawk that got them in arms. That mech was pulled long ago.

    "Harmony" Gold? Try Passive agressive we can't make a good mech game Gold
  • 2 Hide
    hellwig , September 4, 2009 8:08 PM
    Quote:
    Apparently, some of those trademarked figures appear in the trailer used by Pirahna Games in its announcement of the MechWarrior reboot earlier this year

    If you know you aren't allowed to use trademarked figures from someone else's works, why would you include them at all? Mech Warrior has been around for ages, but you couldn't find a way to reboot the game without using copyrighted works created after the original game? How stupid do you have to be?

    Hopefully they remember to remove the Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Harry Potter, and Ronald McDonald mechs before they really have some lawsuits on their hands.
  • 3 Hide
    hunter315 , September 4, 2009 8:20 PM
    I thought they had settled this issue years ago, thats why the mechs always looked different from the macross stuff. They will probably just get some royalties off the sales and be happy with that, if not they are just being asses.
  • 8 Hide
    khaydin , September 4, 2009 8:20 PM
    Wow... you must have to be pretty drunk to think anything from Macross/robotech looks like a mech from mechwarrior. I don't believe any mechs from mechwarrior turn into planes/spaceships. I hate people who look for any reason to take people to court. If I knew people IRL who did something like this I'd punch them in the face and sue them for breaking my knuckles.
  • 2 Hide
    shadowryche , September 4, 2009 8:28 PM
    Igot1foryaI don't see the problem... just rename the Mechs make cosmetic changes, the auto and airline industry has been doing it sense the beginning of time!


    None of them retained the names from the Macross Series, and FASA did cosmetic changes from the very beginning. From what I remembered FASA at one point had permission to use the likeness of certain designs, but the original holder got butt hurt when FASA started to make some money.
  • 4 Hide
    Major7up , September 4, 2009 8:32 PM
    Welcome to the real America...
  • 2 Hide
    tenor77 , September 4, 2009 8:42 PM
    khaydinWow... you must have to be pretty drunk to think anything from Macross/robotech looks like a mech from mechwarrior. I don't believe any mechs from mechwarrior turn into planes/spaceships. I hate people who look for any reason to take people to court. If I knew people IRL who did something like this I'd punch them in the face and sue them for breaking my knuckles.


    The Phoenix Hawk actually did just that. They killed that long before the original suit and then completely pulled it later on.
  • 2 Hide
    erloas , September 4, 2009 9:09 PM
    This is kind of stupid. The whole "unseen" 'Mech thing was settled 13 years ago. Of the 3 'Mechs in the video there is no question on the Atlas and the Jenner. The original Warhammer was part of that settlement 13 years ago, but since then they redesigned all those "unseen" 'Mechs and re-released them without issue. It wasn't the name, it was the look that was in conflict, and the look of the new Warhammer is not the same as the look of the copyrighted one Harmony Gold has.

    The only issue there could be is if they think the Warhammer in the trailer was more like the original "unseen" Warhammer and less like the redesigned "haven't had an issue with in 13 years" Warhammer. They didn't have any good screen shots of the Warhammer from the trailer to say for sure, but the quick shots in the video look like the redesigned Warhammer to me.
  • 3 Hide
    Supertrek32 , September 4, 2009 9:23 PM
    Bungie has a giant soccer ball in Halo 2 and Halo 3. EA Sports should sue!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2009 10:42 PM
    I'm a little fuzzy on Macross/Robotech mechs, but I think the player-controlled mech (That we see from the player's point of view) looks similar to the defense automated mechs on the SDF-1 when fighting Zentraedi ships. Anyone have an idea on what I'm talking about?
  • 0 Hide
    nhat11 , September 4, 2009 10:42 PM
    http://www.mektek.net/index.php?ind=news&op=news_show_single&ide=1093
  • 9 Hide
    noob2222 , September 4, 2009 11:44 PM
    I am going to draw and patent as many possible mech designs as I can so I can sue anyone who makes an awesome game using anything even close to what I drew.

    Its stupid petty crap like this that keeps the good things from happening.
  • 2 Hide
    Honis , September 5, 2009 2:58 AM
    First the Starsiege reboot dies and now maybe Mechwarrior!!! NOOO!!!!!
  • 4 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , September 5, 2009 3:43 AM
    Can somebody show those of us who have no idea what this conflict is see pictures of the problem?
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