Are guns copyrighted?

Hi, I have a question: Are real-life gun names/models protected by copyrights? Could using them mean legal trouble? And if yes, how are popular games like Arsenal or Phantom Forces using them?

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Guns are not copyrighted, but trademarked. Games typically have to come up with their own names and/or designs to avoid legal issues.


Well, so why are Arsenal or PF able to use them without trouble?

I not very knowledgeable about copyright and such but I’m pretty sure you can’t really copyright things like guns, say one company creates some sort of pistol, another company can’t sue them saying “Well I invented the pistol, so no other company is able to sell something like it”. Although that doesn’t mean a company can just sell the exact same design of a gun just calling it something different. If your really worried about this you can just go and make your own renditions of gun models, and since you made it, you really can’t be DMCA’d for it since you made it. And you should be able to use gun names freely, the same sort of concept goes for that, no one can really copyright the name AK47, however can copyright their design of the AK47. However, like I said, I’m really no expert, so anyone that knows more about this kind of stuff can correct me.

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AKs are a special case. The AK47, AK74, AKM and (as far as I am aware) the AK100 family are all free to use. If you have the tools and license, you can just whip out some steel and wood/plastic and make your own. Most other weapons are a different story. Their names and designs are trademarked, which is why you have so many variants of the same weapon branded with a different name.

@Acu1000 they are infringing the rights of the trademarks’ owners. Most gun companies won’t make much fuss as long as you aren’t some AAA publisher. They consider it as free promotion, but can still take your game down at any point.


This. You have to have them come after you to get in trouble and they usually don’t.
EA had an interesting legal situation a bit back. They started using unlicensed weapons under the idea it falls under the 1st amendment/fair use for historical re-tellings/perspectives. (Games like Battlefield) Then a helicopter company came at them for the depiction of one of their helicopters. This is because in June of 2012 the Supreme Court ruled Video Games have the same protections for expressive works as Books, Films, and Music. (Another case like this got brought up in the NCAA Football series using Ryan Hartback’s likeness in which EA won, but later got overturned in a similar case in regards to Samuel Keller) The case between EA and Bell/Textron got a settlement but the conditions of it weren’t disclosed and EA stopped using the 1st amendment argument.


No, how does that even work?
You don’t get copyrighted; You won’t get in trouble for using them.

That’s like saying are trees copyrighted

Guns are not copyrighted, but gun names and/or designs are trademarked.

Other users have explained this well already, but I will reiterate that just because trademarked guns appear in games, it does not mean that their use is legal.

But countries ain’t gonna take legal action against a Roblox game, so its fine

It doesn’t matter how big or small the game is. Smaller games will fly under the radar, but that doesn’t make it legal.

If the owner of a weapon trademark believes your game violates their trademark, they have the right to take legal action.

“Other games do it, so it’s fine” is never a healthy assumption.

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uh ok. I guess he can just like make his own models

It’s not a matter of 3d models and countries aren’t involved in any way. Weapon designs and names are owned by the companies that designed them. If you want to use them without a single risk, you have to pay. For example, AK is owned by Kalashnikov Concern.

This is basically the same as car designs and names. You cannot copy the design of a Toyota Yaris and slap Twingo on it. You’d be violating 2 trademarks.

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