Electronic Arts is severing its licensing relationships with firearms manufacturers. Reuters reports that EA will no longer seek licensing permission from gun makers to use the names and likenesses of their firearms in their games. EA says it will still use those real-world weapons in their games, by asserting fair use and a constitutional right to free speech.
“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.”
Publishers initially approached gun companies for licenses to safeguard themselves from potential lawsuits when using real-world weapons in their games during the late 1990’s. These licenses were usually traded for little to no financial compensation because gun manufacturers knew that having their weapon appear in a game was good advertising.