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Transport Map Could Land Naughty Dog In Legal Trouble

Creator is "f***ing furious."

Survival action masterpiece, The Last Of Us, is a beauty of a game to behold. Behind its nail-baiting gameplay and compelling story is a level of detail that few games will ever match on current-gen hardware. However, Naughty Dog’s pursuit in sculpting this authentic, believable setting could lead to a potential copyright lawsuit.

Twitter user, Neo781, recently highlighted just how accurately the developer had recreated a transport map found during one of the game’s early stages.

The map in question looks strikingly similar, if not identical, to that of designer Cameron Booth, who posted the original on his blog back in 2012:

BostonT-v2

“Basically, I’m fucking furious,” tells Booth in a recent post. He claims that the map was used in The Last Of Us without notice or consent:

For a software developer — especially a big developer working on a blockbuster title like this — to casually appropriate someone else’s work and incorporate it into their game without any discussion with the owner of that work is completely unacceptable.

Unfortunately we don’t have an expert on American copyright law to hand but, in general terms, using someone else’s work in your own creation is deemed unlawful if the originator is not duly credited, especially in commercial products.

I am attempting to open communications with them now to ask where they came across the image, how it ended up in their game (with very pointed questions about their approvals and legal process), and what kind of compensation I can expect for the theft of my work.

If Naughty Dog are unable to prove that the map is its own original work, chances are, Mr. Booth can expect an apology a fair amount of compensation.

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60 Comments
  1. tonycawley
    Pint! Pint!
    Since: Feb 2009

    I’m not really sure I get thi. Is that actually the subway map of a real life place? Hardly amazing putting a subway map in your game. Does the designer work for the subway? Is he a game developer? Maybe they had permission from the transport office. Is it a made up subway map? I’m confused!

    Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:18.
    • Nate
      Member
      Since: Apr 2010

      I echo all your confusions! Looks like they have used a real subway map, surely this is akin to using real life building etc, which commonly appear in games?

      Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:24.
      • Mathematicool
        Member
        Since: Mar 2011

        A map as a concept isn’t copyrighted if you produce your own work. However, specific designs of a map fall under copyright and you shouldn’t rip off someone else’s work without permission. For instance, the London tube map falls under copyright and you shouldn’t use it in a commercial product without permission.

        Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 20:52.
    • Jakster123x
      Member
      Since: Aug 2011

      I don’t totally understand either. I think it’s a real map that this guy has made. However, why wouldn’t Naughty Dog be allowed to use a real map? I think it’s because the design of the map is so similar to Mr Booth’s. I’d probably be a little angry too, if I was him.

      Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:29.
  2. yd
    Member
    Since: Mar 2011

    This looks like some arty designer type being a bit over protective of his work. Because they’re always like that.

    It seems it’s not the official map, but a version he made himself. Which looks suspiciously like the official map, but with a bit of extra info on. And which he sells posters of.

    He might have wanted to change “fucking furious” to “keeping quiet about it before anyone notices”. Since he’s basically done exactly what he’s accusing Naughty Dog of doing.

    Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:24.
    • tactical20
      Member
      Since: May 2010

      So true. We put a mini map on our wedding invites that the venue owned and had on their website, and the artist/twat who drew it wanted us to credit him directly on our actual invites! What a prick!

      Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:42.
      • tactical20
        Member
        Since: May 2010

        (We obviously didn’t credit him and used it anyway).

        Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:44.
  3. ico
    Member
    Since: Aug 2010

    Personally I think First Great Western trains and, more importantly Harry Beck (I believe the man behind the tube map, sadly no longer with us) would have more of a cause to get miffy. Get this clown out of here! Its not like ND have used it for commercial gain. Goon.

    Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:33.
    • Loxstokk
      Member
      Since: Aug 2010

      Actually ND have used it for commercial gain as you have to pay to buy TLOU. The copyright law us a little bit grey as far as I’m aware as I think if the image has been changed/modified enough it can be deemed an original creation.

      I can sympathise with his point if view though – I have been through a similar thing when some of my CGi work was copied off of a website feature and then used by a prominent car manufacture in their advertising. Flattering but at the same time I hadn’t worked my arse off on something for someone else to get paid for it!!

      Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:46.
      • ico
        Member
        Since: Aug 2010

        Have to say I cant agree ND have used it for commercial gain. Surely that implies that ND at some point felt the game may do commercially better with the map included than without it and Im sure thats not the case.

        Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 23:16.
      • a inferior race
        I'm special
        Since: Jul 2009

        I can’t see ND choosing to put something in their game that would make the product worse on purpose.

        Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 23:34.
  4. Origami Killer
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    Bit of an overreaction in my opinion.

    Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:37.
  5. 2ofclubs
    Member
    Since: Sep 2008

    ‘Fucking furious’ seems like a massive overreaction. That sort of thing should be saved for when he contacts Naughty Dog and they flat out refuse to pay him any rights for it. I highly doubt they did it on purpose and they seem like the sort of guys that would correct any wrongs, they surely have plenty from the Uncharted series and now TLOU.

    Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:37.
    • KeRaSh
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      I agree. His public ramblings sounded like those of a child. Why not contact ND first and see what happens?
      Anyways, his map is in no way essential to the game. They can patch it out and nothing would change. It’s not like you are actually using the subway system to get around and use the map to do so. Can’t imagine he gets some money out of this but I’m not a legal expert…
      I could make a cheap joke about art students, working at Starbucks and the need for money but it’s way too early…

      Comment posted on 26/06/2013 at 07:24.
  6. JR.
    Member
    Since: Apr 2013

    I hope Naughty Dog burn in hell for this vile crime against humanity!

    Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:43.
  7. YOURMUMANDME
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    Thing is………. https://www.google.co.uk/search?um=1&safe=off&client=safari&hl=en&biw=768&bih=928&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=nOLJUYDrPI_40gXwwICADQ&q=massachusetts+bus+routes&oq=massachusetts+bus+ro&gs_l=img.1.0.0i24.10742.13686.0.15410.7.7.0.0.0.0.254.972.1j5j1.7.0…0.0…1c.1.17.img.E4C8Gry_BFU

    If I were searching for a public transport image from a copyright free, government piece of public information then I would think this was the real deal. You can’t blame ND for picking it out at all.

    Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:44.
    • Loxstokk
      Member
      Since: Aug 2010

      As a creative company it is their responsibility to ensure they source their texture assets from legitimate resources. If they have just pulled it from google then that was extremely stupid – a junior error.

      I love ND and I think their games are amazing – but if some cracked the TLOU disc and pinched their character walk cycles (for instance) and then incorporated it into a product they were selling? Naughty Dog would be calling the lawyers without hesitation.

      Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:54.
  8. Adiemus
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Nitpicky I know! http://www.cambooth.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/BostonT-Future_Bus_1200px.jpg is the one they used, no bus routes on it like the one in game! And the green line extends the same length! So definately identicle.

    Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:49.
  9. WalkerD
    Member
    Since: May 2009

    Pathetic in my opinion. It’s not as if they have stolen his work for financial gain, the game would have been just the same without it there. I would be pleased that a developer thought enough of my map to include it in their game anyway. Maybe he was bullied as a child and can’t let go…

    Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:51.
  10. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    Well, i wouldn’t put it past them – apparently they also tried to nick Ellen Paige’s face! :)

    I think it’s most likely that ND have a legal expert dedicated to ‘proofing’ all their content before it get’s published and i doubt very much that there was any intent to steal his property. It’s hardly a big deal in the context of the whole game but it’ll be interesting to hear how it’s resolved.

    Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 19:54.
    • Fartinabag
      Member
      Since: Feb 2013

      So out of the however many billion people on the planet, some jumped up wannabe assumes the hottest game at the moment has a likeness to her.

      Up herself much???

      Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 21:59.
      • Kennykazey
        Member
        Since: Mar 2010

        That stupid dog in CoD looks just like mine, I’m suing the pricks for stealing his likeness!

        (don’t actually have a dog, but somebody had to make the joke)

        Comment posted on 25/06/2013 at 22:50.
      • KillaScorp
        Member
        Since: Jan 2009

        Ahh, but I do have a dog, who is actually called Reilly – different spelling I know, but looking for IWs number now…….

        Comment posted on 26/06/2013 at 08:17.

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The Last Of Us
  • Developer:Naughty Dog
  • Publisher:Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Platforms:PS3
  • Release Date:14/06/2013

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