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Are Grand Prix circuits copyrighted?

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:47 pm
by mistamerlin
I have been looking everywhere and I can't seem to find out if Grand Prix circuits and their names are copyrighted in any way. I know that F1 is a brand and everything F1 is copyrighted but the circuits themselves are not part of the F1 brand. I would like to use the circuit layouts and names for a game I am developing. Anyone have any idea if this is ok?

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:08 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Mistamerlin,
Generally, copyright is there to protect artistic, literary and musical works of a creative nature, not practical utilitarian things, so that basis I can see no way in which it could be argued that the design of a race track (basically a 'road') would be covered by copyright. The nearest parallel would be a work of architecture (for instance, a building) where the plans and drawings etc are protected by copyright but the building itself is in the public domain – literally and metaphorically – and can be photographed or sketched without any problems.
Furthermore, names cannot be subject to copyright because they are treated as facts, not something creative.
But as you seem to be aware, the F1 organisation (rather like the International Olympic Committee) is very brand aware and owns many trade marks associated with the sport, so you need to be careful not to infringe these. In other words you must take care not to imply that any game you produce is associated with or endorsed by F1 (some details are available here).

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:24 pm
by mistamerlin
Awesome, thanks very much. I am being very careful with the many F1 trademarks :) Bernie is not a man I want to mess with!