• Church Mad About Virtual Church

    by  • June 10, 2007 • Uncategorized • 1 Comment

    According to BBC NEWS , the Church of England has taken exception to the use of the interior of one of its churches in the PlayStation 3 game, “Resistance: Fall of Man”.

    Fair enough, they don’t like the idea of space aliens getting their brains blown out in a church.

    To my mind, what bares further investigation is this quote in the  story:

    “Sony described the game as being set ‘in an alternate and mythical version of Europe in the 1950’s, in which the enemy are strange looking alien invaders seeking to destroy humanity’. Earlier, David Wilson, a Sony spokesman, told The Times newspaper: “It is game-created footage, it is not video or photograph’.”

    This raises all kinds of questions about the rights to material, organization, sense of place and imagination. Consider, would the Church have the same issue if they would have simply altered the geometry to make the game church different from the real church? What if they pained the stone to give it an “alternate reality” veneer? Or, what if the fighting occurred on the streets, but never entered the church?

    What kinds of rights can a person or entity hold with regards to images and represenations of a place? Does anyone know?

    UPDATE

    The Wardman Wire » Video Game Battle between Sony and Manchester Cathedral: The Legal Angle

    There
    have been some efforts to make copyright of “Building Designs” stick.
    Mainly to prevent iconic architects’ designs being copied. In practice,
    plans are copyright but external views can be photographed.

    This site has some good coverage of the issue.

    Again, the issue here that interests me is the legal protection of an image of a place. This is a two-part question–because the protection is not just of the image, in the way that I can certainly copyright a picture I take of the Eiffel Tower, but of the picture AND the place.

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    One Response to Church Mad About Virtual Church

    1. August 17, 2007 at 10:03 pm

      Scary, right? And you wonder where it stops too. I remember reading a story about using digitally rendered likenesses of people (sure, they are rendered, but not altered– very specific, and posted where they were likely to be recognized). A court ruled that it was ok if the images were taken in public places. So if you can use images of people and places without their permission… its a hard line to drawn whats right.

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