Ferrari Causes Temporary BATracer Shutdown

Some rather worrying news for the sim racing modding scene come from the BATracer browser game which has been forced to go offline by Ferrari S.p.A earlier today.

Ferrari demands the deletion of all user-created Ferrari-related content such as carsets and logos due to the fact that these weren’t officially authorised . BATracer is a motorsports browser game, the material in question are nothing more than a few photos, logos and trademarked names. As a result, the BATracer website is now offline and users won’t be able to upload new content until further notice.

This may become a potential problem for the sim racing modding scene as BATracer is a free game, still Ferrari felt the need to unleash their lawyers on them. A few days ago, several VirtualR readers were discussing whether or not user-created content for racing simulations qualifies as artwork and as such, does not breach copyright. I guess we now have an answer what the license holders think about this issue….

GTOmegaRacing.com

  • DW

    One significant issue is while BATRacer might be “free” – does it generate income for the creator through adverts or whatever? There is a growing trend towards “free” net based games but the developers still generate an income from the game.

    If the game did generate an imcome then whether it was free to the end user or not isn’t relevant.

  • BATFAN

    The overall feeling around the BAT community for this action is the conclusion of a Ferrari carset by the name of “Ferrari Challenge”. Ferrari actually released a game under the same name, so that’s most likely to be the issue, rather than pictures/names.

    As for whether the Dev’s get any money it’s a grey area. BATracer is free to play but users can ‘donate’ to get a few extra features. They can also pay to advertise down the sides of the website, although this has disappeared over the past week or so.

    Even though, for a game with currently about 3000 players world wide, this appears to be a massive over-reaction, especially when you consider the money they’re also reportedly demanding.

  • kev_sheedy

    That’s shocking news. If it wasn’t for pitstopboss.co.uk I wouldn’t have a game to get me through the working day now.

  • FormulaOneSpy

    F1Racer reading this?

  • MadCat360

    A guy from Forza 3 got a legal notice to stop selling BTCC branded items on his storefront for in-game credits.

    Technically, the free use of any trademark is required to be in compliance with the company’s logo policy. For instance Microsoft has very restrictive parameters.

  • poalala

    3000 players? We passed the 100.000 a few months ago!

    Not a great drama for Batracer alone, but I think for a lot more web-based games, all due to a few morons at Ferrari, feeling pretty happy with themselves..

  • http://racingrenders.com F1Racer

    FormulaOneSpy: F1Racer reading this?

    I am indeed, with interest.

    My reply has been delayed though because I used a naughty web link that means my post required the once over by the moderator.

    Here’s my thoughts, be they right or wrong…
    BATFAN’s explanation seems a credible reason why this might have happened but maybe the Batracer guys can shed some more light on the content of Ferrari’s communication. Whether they specified anything in particular.

    Issuing a threat to scare off things like this and actually pushing it through to a court case is of course two different things. Scare tactics are common.

    There’s not much they can do re the modding scene though. If they get heavy, mod makers who do F1 mods or Ferrari based stuff could just go underground and share out their stuff under the radar just to avoid the hassle.

    I dunno how much Batracer communicated with Ferrari before backing down to close the site, which I hope is temporary. If it was me I wouldn’t have just shut it down without sending them a reply.

    By the same token, if they hassle me with RacingRenders, they won’t see me backing off so easily.

    I’m not sure how far Ferrari could push this if Batracers authors aren’t making money off it. That’s providing this is about usage of their photos etc which I presume are in public domain anyway ? I haven’t been to the site for a long time so I dunno exactly what the content was. My stuff is user created and original so I guess theres a difference there.

    If BATFAN is correct though, then I can see why this has happened.
    Anyway hope it gets resolved soon.

    Not to harp on about the artwork issue, but if I am wrong then all this is illegal and Ebay needs to take it offline.

    http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m38.l1313&_nkw=ferrari+art+painting&_sacat=See-All-Categories

  • BATFAN

    We passed 100,000 accounts a few months ago. I said “currently about 3000 players.”

    Currently being the important word.

  • scca1981

    This could happen at anytime in this community. Even simple things like skins use logos without consent. No content regardless if its scratch made or converted is “legal”. Just a matter of if the trademark/copyright owner decides to pursue or not.

  • DeDios

    scca1981: This could happen at anytime in this community.Even simple things like skins use logos without consent.No content regardless if its scratch made or converted is “legal”.Just a matter of if the trademark/copyright owner decides to pursue or not.

    All true..but sad imho. If is it all free, why pursue? :weird:

  • Panchito

    :sad2: I was about winning another LMES

  • http://stores.lulu.com/tfoe tfoe

    Batracer is free if you play by the rules of a free account, 4 games as I understand 2 public in academy series, and 2 private.

    Donators can purchase upgraded accounts with Kool tools which allow 12 games per account, 4 public, 4 private, 4 midseason (caused by players abandoning games, or breaking rules allowing a space to be taken over.

    Many long time players have 1 or more of these Kool Tools accounts, which can be had for about $20 US lifetime, not monthly, or yearly, but lifetime.

    World of Warcraft 1 year is $240.

    Batracer even as a pay option game is a bargain, and the quality is decent.

    Batracer is more than a game, its a community, many long time players have formed online friendships during gameplay, teamwork is a valuable tool.

    Only in Batracer will you find North Ireland and Ireland living in peace in a clan.

    If Ferrari sees fit to cause an end to world peace by bullying Batracer, they have lost a multitude of fans they could have gained with the Alonso-Massa lineup.

    Batracer does not take over our lives, 1hr a day is probably enough, at 12 hour intervals to make sure your teammate gets your setup info. We only spend more time on it when friends invite you to more games, or Batracer debuts new ones.

    I have 4 Kool tool accounts, but have limited my time to suing 3 of them in continuing private series MZ, PRC, and GPCA.

    There are always those that don’t like rules and cause chaos, and those that manipulate rules to their advantage, but overall, most players are decent human beings.

    Ferrari was likely informed by one of the black flagged lot with a chip on their shoulder.

    It’s merely a game. They make more money off Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi than they lose over this, in fact they lose nothing, its free advertising, they are not paying for the image to be on batracer any more than batracer is paying to use it. Free advertising works, don’t knock it.

    I’d say more, but you’re bored already.

  • UncleChuckle

    It’s only a matter of time until the mod community gets hit like this. Something I’ve been predicting for many years whenever whining about people stealing other mods content. The entire mod community is based on IP theft.

  • http://racingrenders.com F1Racer

    How come the flight sim world don’t seem affected ? At least I haven’t heard of any cases of British Airways or Lufthansa having any issues, and people charge money for add-on planes in that community.

  • DeDios

    So, reading tfoe post, is that site/game not 10% free?? :weird: this could be the reason for the shutdown.

  • DeDios

    *100% free (sorry i don’t see edit command)

  • http://stores.lulu.com/tfoe tfoe

    I said a ton of stuff and this webpage killed it. Trying a test now.

  • Y E S

    DeDios:
    All true..but sad imho. If is it all free, why pursue?

    Because they think, these free products makes people less buying paying products (sorry for my very aproximative english…)
    F1 Modding is at a frontier between legal and non-legal… The F1modding scene has to not cross the limits, but unfortunatelly we could be before a sad period, where trademarks will kill our free passion for making more money. If we wouldn’t have a such free content, many of us would pay for it…

  • f0xx

    I understand the legal issues here but why would a healthy and well financed company like Ferrari pursue ppl with 1/100000 their money?

  • http://racingrenders.com F1Racer

    Because they are a capitalist fat-cat corporation like most of the big companies on this money driven planet.

  • http://stores.lulu.com/tfoe tfoe

    Even if 100,000 users spent $20 to play with kool tools, that’s only $2,000,000 for lifetime. That cannot possibly pay for server rental, maintenance, advertising, and any support for an eternity. To think they actually profit with this bargain is laughable.

    If they had their own facility, my company could build it, a server room alone is $2million, without the 4 walls closing it in, or the power rooms to run them.

    Simple fact: Ferrari are bullies. It’s always the rich and powerful suing the little guys, never once considering that it’s not hurting them at all.

    So your Ferrari logo is in a game advertising the events you race in, wouldn’t that give you a larger fan base? Wouldn’t forcefully removing the logos destroy a great majority of the fanbase you had from it? Sorry for my logical mind, but it’s rediculous that Ferrari are willing to use these shameful tactics. All the liveries are drawn mirror image anyway.

  • TheJoker

    As a player on BATracer and a carset developer I couldnt believe my eyes when I saw the message on the site about Ferrari’s action.

    They are just bullying a group of people that play a browser game that features some graphics of Ferrari logos and cars. Apart from the logos and little pictures of the cars for car selection, the actual graphics themselves are scratchmade. Templates and liveries have alot of hours put into them, and for Ferrari to make a demand of a small time site like this is totally over the top.

    Granted they have the rights to their interlectual properties, but to use the kind of bully tactics they have used it’s shameful, and as tfoe says, this will not help Ferrari’s image, rep or fanbase in any positive way.

  • raisen1964

    to be fair, F1 entrants such as Ferrari, don’t necessarily own even their own F1 cars likeness. Bernie does….. which adds a layer of complication. Believe it or not, as late as 2002 Toyota had to pay Bernie to use photos of their own car in publicity material. It may not be as straightforward as it sounds.

    If anyone thinks these tactics are hardball incidentally, check out what Grumman did to flightsim developers in general and 1C the devs of the IL2 series in partcular…..

  • toniovodka

    modding and skinning most of the time are tecnically ilegal (at least in my country), companies and carmakers let us do it because its usually a win-win situation, in skinnig its good to see your company name without paying for it, gives you publicity without moving a finger, and carmakers are the same, they see thier cars in a racing situation wich means their cars are fast, strong, etc., all without modelling the cars and creating a game to show them.

    now if you mod something in wich the objective is to destroy the car in a wall you will probably recieve a call from the car manufacture because youre not using their car in a way they would like to see, or even if they doesnt like something

  • http://racingrenders.com F1Racer

    So the chances of their lawyers contacting you depend on if you are driving their car well or crashing it a lot ?

    What is being modded where the actual objective is to destroy the car in a wall ?

    Agree with your first point though and more companies should see it that way. If all we have to depend on is Codemasters, then thats not enough. If we want an F1 fix we have to make it between ourselves.

  • xilix

    To shut down an entire site simply because of a legal threat is ridiculous. I’d personally tell Ferrari that until someone knocks on my door and says the words “You’ve been served”, they can shove their threats up their ass. I’d never shut down a site unless a judge ordered me to, but that’s because I have a spine. Some people weren’t born with these, I understand, but it’s not hard to fake it. All you have to do is slowly raise your middle finger and then stick it in the air. Mind blowing concept; to disobey complete strangers, I know, but I swear, you’ll get used to it.

  • felipe

    completely agree! when a moder says he owns something (that in true doesn’t belong to him) he is indeed accepting the role of a thief! that’s why I don’t mind downloading content which is “controversial”!

    UncleChuckle: It’s only a matter of time until the mod community gets hit like this. Something I’ve been predicting for many years whenever whining about people stealing other mods content. The entire mod community is based on IP theft.

  • http://racingrenders.com F1Racer

    xilix: To shut down an entire site simply because of a legal threat is ridiculous. I’d personally tell Ferrari that until someone knocks on my door and says the words “You’ve been served”, they can shove their threats up their ass. I’d never shut down a site unless a judge ordered me to, but that’s because I have a spine. Some people weren’t born with these, I understand, but it’s not hard to fake it. All you have to do is slowly raise your middle finger and then stick it in the air. Mind blowing concept; to disobey complete strangers, I know, but I swear, you’ll get used to it.

    Exactly !! I couldn’t agree with you more mate. I say screw these multi-million corporate morons who have nothing better to do than piss on our tiny community who they don’t care about anyway. We are nothing to them and what sales exactly do they think are threatened by something like Batracer ?

  • DW

    felipe: completely agree! when a moder says he owns something (that in true doesn’t belong to him) he is indeed accepting the role of a thief! that’s why I don’t mind downloading content which is “controversial”!

    If you think he is a thief then you shouldn’t download any mods. It’s you who is the hypocrite.

  • Raikku

    Something smelly with Italians. First they let Kimi go, secondly they have that idiot prime minister and now this.

    Knock knock, anybody home?

  • DeDios

    Raikku: Something smelly with Italians. First they let Kimi go, secondly they have that idiot prime minister and now this.Knock knock, anybody home?

    Mate, i’m italian, but i don’t like this situation, i’m sad for Kimi and…..i hate prime minister :sd: :sd:

    We aren’t all the same 😉

  • http://stores.lulu.com/tfoe tfoe

    I have nothing against Italians, I work for one, and live in Canada’s Italian capital. How I’ve lived this long without concrete boots is probably a miracle.

    In all honesty, I have not hated any Italians at Ferrari, the one Ferrari person I hated is taking over for Max, and that has me very worried for F1.

    Though I have not cheered for the entire Ferrari team, I did cheer for Irvine, Barrichello, and Massa. I simply cannot cheer for the Finish robot or his German precursor for many reasons not worth stating.

    Back to topic, more of these Batracer vs. Ferrari arguments on my blog: http colon slash slash ThreeForcesOfEvil dot Blogspot dot com

  • quik4ever

    good ! pretty good smashback in the pc “modders” community… they though they got rights on trademarks… copyrighted brands etc… maybe they’ll learn from that, cuz F is doing the same thing the modders did “says: hey boy that’s mine…” but here thats for real, little difference… brands, for most, always permit and have tolerated mods cuz mods are “underground” they dont say the brand on my model is quite, or quite something like that and its good advertising for the brands, the most people that knows, the most they buy… i dont like “mod stealers” but making a mod and dont asking the owner, dont writing : “all brands showed here are…” the copyrights, the “unoficial” or “non supported by xxx itself” or “unaprooved” something that means its not my thing… yes 3d community took “but the model is a little bit 1% maybe more inacurate, so its not the same…” for jesus words… but this is none sense, modders want people to ask them to use their work, but they dont ask themselves (for most) and nowadays models are very accurate… +even if you copy the lines of an already existing model designed by someboody, i think this somebody got the right on his design… if its build on earth, somebody designed its before you, so he got all rights on this thing… even a color can be copyrighted… i know its internet and its free but if someone says that he got all rights on a model, and that he doesnt really got them officially, and that goes to the brand owner… it’ll directly goes into the lawyer bin… so, no surprise. maybe modders should put their work under “common creative” license, and put all that in a “common creative” licensed website, so people that know how to make 3d models will put their models, sound makers could put sound on it, artists could paint it etc etc, and we could got really more addons for all games… no need to do 10 times the models the same sounds etc…(1 high poly model and lods of it, texture in 2048 1024 512 etc, sounds in 256kbps 128 96…) and one place where all gamers can ask something directly to the publisher/developper of the game what they want. dont forget many websites make money cuz of their content, with ads, that content is branded and copyrighted, its the web and its still tolerated, but for how long ? i mean no big wave = peacefull cruise…

  • Sensekhmet

    Sorry, I can’t bring my self to read… that… mess… written… like… this…
    It seems the site will be back in 24 hours, in what state: it remains to be seen. I’m guessing all the F1 games will be gone, surely Ferrari Challenge, and if the LMS series will survive it will lack the 360 and 550.

    And yeah, Kimi is hard to symphatize with. Besides, he seems really disinterested this season, seems he finds ice cream more appealing than racing. One thing I’ll never understand is why, if he gets on a podium, his face looks as if he’s getting penalized for something. I thought he’d be happy: that’s a lot of alcohol in that bottle 😆

  • http://racingrenders.com F1Racer

    yeah…I…was…wanting…to…read…quik4evers…post..too…but…can’t…bring…myself…to…
    do…that…without…paragraphs……also…I…don’t…do…morse…code…

    …—…

  • http://stores.lulu.com/tfoe tfoe

    Good news is less than 24hrs it should be back.

  • calcal101

    this is bad they say they are going to re open the website but alot of people are going to be sad including me because not many games are going to be there f109 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01 00 and all of the f1′ have got ferriri

  • eiwfihaaa

    erm….i dont understand this.

    ferrari use rfactor – we’ve seen it a few times on their videos, even on their website theres a single lap virtual drive with rfactor. they obviously know of the game, and therefore would know theres loads of mods in it with ferrari cars.

    why hasn’t anything happened there???

  • http://stores.lulu.com/tfoe tfoe

    Fact: Ferrari suck

    They are ridiculing the new teams already. They don’t deserve respect.

  • quik4ever

    “why hasn’t anything happened there???”

    cuz they are not so much useless kids fighting to know who got the rights on a Ferrari model ? seriously, someone warned them, and that is really really good. make some people stop saying more bullshits…

    “They are ridiculing the new teams already. They don’t deserve respect.”

    ahah, that made me laugh… 3sec

  • felipe

    really?? if english isn’t your first language like it isn’t mine I can accept your lack of understand for what I said but if english is you first language what are you doing here?? Go back to school asap! i won’t bother re-writing it just get a school teacher to read it for or a friend to translate it for you! idiot (for calling me hypocrite)!

    DW:
    If you think he is a thief then you shouldn’t download any mods.It’s you who is the hypocrite.

  • Danny

    Looks like f1racer was wrong (as usual). Oh now he thinks ferrari dont have a case, well maybe he should take them to court and represent batracer if hes so confident?. I dont even think it matters if you are making money off someone elses copyright, as they have a right to dictate who uses it for any means regardless of profit. Either way they shut down batracer so the modding community has proven to have no copyrights other than their imaginary ones. Too bad hey f1racer? Looks like your bullshit ‘art’ defense was worthless? LOl.

  • Sensekhmet

    Danny: Either way they shut down batracer so the modding community has proven to have no copyrights other than their imaginary ones..

    I fail to grasp how BATracer situation *proves* anything regarding simracing.

  • Tip

    felipe: completely agree! when a moder says he owns something (that in true doesn’t belong to him) he is indeed accepting the role of a thief! that’s why I don’t mind downloading content which is “controversial”!

    You’re a tool. Someone painting a ferrari(like the link given in the replies) doesn’t own the painting he made? Come on use your brain for once.

  • Danny

    He doesnt own the copyright. Ferrari can claim copyright breach even if there is no financial gain. They wouldnt bother though for a single painting but dont confuse that with ferrari not having the right.

  • Tip

    Ermm… Did i say the painter owned the ferrari copyright? If you read i said he owned his own painting.

    Soon anyway we’re gonna get sued for saying or writing/typing “Ferrari”. You see a Ferrari in the streets, hide your eyes and wait it’s gone, Ferrari could sue you for watching it…

  • quik4ever

    “You’re a tool. Someone painting a ferrari(like the link given in the replies) doesn’t own the painting he made? Come on use your brain for once.”

    you too, its the “image right” its entirely owned by… the owner… without permission, it will be tolerated but not allowed, thats it, get a lawyer for precisions

  • Tip

    Ever heard of the Fair use fair deal concept in example? There’s limit to what copyrights can achieve. Period.

  • Tip

    Plus i wasn’t saying the painter owns the copyright i said he owns his painting, FFS learn to read tool. 😉

  • quik4ever

    he maybe own the paper, but he can only keep it or give it, if it’s for sale, the brand could ask him to remove the thing in question for abusive use of “picture”. IRL is not the internet…

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