Using the "Red Cross" symbol in health objects

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Post » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:27 pm

Like DatapawWolf says, I clearly remember seeing red cross in older games, especially fps, like half life or medal of honnor/call of duty. But it's true that it has become more rare in recent games, the cross symbol is still here, but generally in a different color (white or green). So maybe it's true, now that games a getting bigger and lawyers are involved, they are being more careful with those things.

I don't think you'd get in trouble for using a red cross in a small indie game though. And your game blow up and become super successful, you can still quickly update the graphic
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Post » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:45 am

It's fair use. The red cross symbol has been in use long before American National Red Cross adopted it. Johnson & Johnson used the symbol on their band-aid products, Switzerland flag is an inverted red cross logo, the Knights Templar used a red cross, the U.S. military uses it.... The list is endless.

Red Cross Symbols

It's ok to use. Just don't use the words "American Red Cross" with it or "Band-Aid." I'm certain those are trademarked.

--Edit--

The following games use the red cross icon:

Tomb Raider
Doom
Team Fortress
Worms
Delta Force
GTA Advance
Call of DutySebastian2013-10-13 08:23:07
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Post » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:08 am

Thanks for the information, @Sebastian. :)
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Post » Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:25 am

@Sebastian
Hmm, that would mean that either USA ignores the geneva convention or you aren't right.
The "red cross on white background" is, as I said in an earlier post, protected by international law. Any use other than defined via the geneva convention is a misuse under penalty. This is clearly defined in the laws and there's no way to read between the lines or something.
What kind of penalties the misuse will follow depends on the local authorities of each of the countries who signed the convention.
The german law clearly let's you pay up to 250,000 for a misuse. You'll find as a source the german law text at the bottom of this post
Also I added just one of quite a few verdicts. In this case a group of people, who printed a brochure using the red cross on white background although not related to the red cross federation, were sentenced to pay 607, and also aren't allowed to ever again use the sign or the brochure. If they do, they will have to pay 250,000
And the Switzerland flag is not an inverted red cross logo, but the red cross logo is an inverted Switzerland flag. This can also be read in the geneva convention. It was done so to honor the founder of the red cross, Henry Dunant, whose homeland was - Switzerland.

Regarding the picture collection: It is not forbidden to paint a red cross on white background. It is forbidden to use it for anything other than what is said in the geneva convention.

And finally: That the misue exists doesn't make it legal.

Sources:
German law text
German verdict
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Post » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:04 am

@tulamide

Sorry, I don't know the laws in Germany. I'll take your word for it. In the U.S., it has to be proven that the red cross symbol on white background was used as intent to misrepresent the ARC or harm it in some way. That would be very difficult to do unless it's obvious and deliberate, like using the words "American National Red Cross" along side the actual symbol or painting the symbol on your car to fool other's into believing you represent the ARC or maybe selling a product misleading people into thinking it was endorsed by the ARC. Those are proof of deliberate acts that can harm the ARC.

The ARC charter of 1910 clearly states that using the red cross is against the law if it's used on vehicles, vessels, aircraft, buildings or other structures, or upon the ground. No mention of use outside those conditions, as far as I've read. That leads me to believe that they are not so much concerned about protecting a red cross from being used as they are trying to protect the symbol that represents the ARC from being misused. What I mean by that is the red cross on a Knights Templar garment does not mean the same thing as the red cross for ARC. Red crosses other than those meant to represent the ARC and Band-Aids are fair use in America. The example I linked to was meant to prove that no one is being prevented from using red crosses and not as an indication of law.

If you are still worried about using it in a game, don't. It's not worth the headache. Use a heart symbol or something else to represent health.

--Edit--

I forgot to attach my source. Please refer to the final page of the charter. It's illegal to use the red cross to misrepresent the ARC, otherwise it's ok to use it in the U.S. without penalty as stated above.

Congressional Charter of the American National Red CrossSebastian2013-10-15 17:29:01
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Post » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:39 pm

Thank you for the link! It differs from the german law. Which also means, that you can get in trouble depending on where you publish your creation.

[QUOTE=Sebastian]The ARC charter of 1910 clearly states that using the red cross is against the law if it's used on vehicles, vessels, aircraft, buildings or other structures, or upon the ground. No mention of use outside those conditions, as far as I've read. That leads me to believe that they are not so much concerned about protecting a red cross from being used as they are trying to protect the symbol that represents the ARC from being misused.[/QUOTE] That especially is different to the german implementation of the geneva convention. And I think that you may be reading it literally. For example, "use the red cross and the words 'red cross'" doesn't mean you may only 'use it in conjunction', but 'as well the sign as the words'. Here's the original geneva convention article, that's responsible: article 44
"The international Red Cross organizations and their duly authorized personnel shall be permitted to make use, at all times, of the emblem of the Red Cross on a white ground." Only those are permitted to use the red cross on white background. Don't you think so too?

[QUOTE=Sebastian]If you are still worried about using it in a game, don't. It's not worth the headache. Use a heart symbol or something else to represent health.[/QUOTE] I'm not worried. It was my intention to
1) tell the people that the red cross on white background is an international protection sign, created to protect victims of armed conflicts and the people who help them. This is severe, and it should be handled with respect, even without reference to law.

2) state that it is much safer, just as you said, to use some other symbol than to hope to get off lightly.

If people then decide to use it anyway, well, I at least have tried my best to convince them beforehand.
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Post » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:47 am

Yeah, when it comes to game design, all the fun stuff is banned by Germany.
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Post » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:36 am

@tulamide

You ever read the example you posted??

Its about a dude who made a flyer how to stay save, and protect yourself from injuries. Of course you cant take the red cross for this reasons. Thats like taking the coca cola symbol to sell your own coke.

Also he paid 700 bugs + 5% for that.
"An den Klger 699,90 EUR zuzglich Zinsen in Hhe von 5 % ber dem Basiszinssatz seit dem 1. Dezember 2004 zu zahlen;"

Please be more careful with your information.
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Post » Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:29 am

@Beaverlicious
I'm sorry, but you are the one who should be more careful. The passage you quoted, was the petition of the plaintiff. The court instead sentenced exactly what I wrote. You will sure find the correct passage, if reading it again with a bit more attention.

And thank you for confirming what I said several times in this thread, which is, that the use of the red cross on white background is reserved to the red cross organistion. I also think, just like you with your coke example, that it should be self-evident.

And the flyer btw. was about first aid on demonstrations and eventstulamide2013-10-24 09:35:58
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Post » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:12 am

@Tulamide
Read the article again and cant find a passage where he is judged to 250k.

The red cross wanted 40k+Lawyer etc. but the flyer-dude didnt have to pay anything besides 606,30. The rest was obviously invalid, because of a earlier case where the court has decided different. He couldt know that.
Please correct me, if im getting things wrong here, Im not a lawyer.

Fr die Hhe des Gegenstandswertes ist auf das Interesse des Klgers an der knftigen Unterbindung des beanstandeten Verhaltens abzustellen. Der Klger hat im vorliegenden Rechtsstreit den Streitwert mit insgesamt 50.000 EUR angegeben. Mit der vorliegenden Klage macht der Klger neben dem Unterlassungsanspruch noch Folgeansprche (Auskunfts- und Schadensersatzfeststellungsansprche) geltend, so dass im vorliegenden Rechtsstreit der Wert des Unterlassungsanspruchs mit 40.000 EUR zu beziffern ist. Dieser Gegenstandswert ist auch dem vorprozessualen Abmahnschreiben zugrunde zu legen.

Nach dem RVG ist die Anrechnung der Geschftsgebhr fr eine auergerichtliche Ttigkeit neu geregelt. Soweit wegen desselben Gegenstandes eine Geschftsgebhr nach Nr. 2400 VV entstanden ist, wird diese zur Hlfte, jedoch hchstens mit einem Gebhrensatz von 0,75 auf die Verfahrensgebhr des gerichtlichen Verfahrens angerechnet (Vorbem. 3 Abs.4 zur VV RVG).

Erfolgt nunmehr eine nach dem RVG geregelte Anrechnung der auergerichtlichen Kosten zur Hlfte, berechnet sich der Erstattungsbetrag wie folgt:

Gegenstandswert: 40.000,- EUR

1,3 Geschftsgebhr des Rechtsanwalts

Nr.2400 VV RVG:

1.172,60 EUR

Auslagenpauschale des Rechtsanwalts

20,00 EUR

Anrechnung gem. Vorbem. 3 Abs.4 VV RVG

586,30 EUR

Gesamtbetrag:

606,30 EUR




To your second statement... of course this example was pretty obvious, but I guess you dont see the difference in using a symbol in creating something like a rivalry-product than to use it in a context, it doesnt affect things.
I mean ....you see thousand of mercedes stars, MacBooks, coke cans etcetcetc every day in television. What about that? You couldt even wear a adidas-pullover in your home videos :D
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