Because I am a layman, I ask that you excuse my plain language when expressing myself.

Hypothetical situation:

An open-source car racing game has multiple skins (paintjobs) for each car. The car models are fictitious but the skins contain trademarked elements such as logos of real life software, energy drinks, fast-food restaurants, cosmetics and so on.

Each skin corresponds to a single sponsor and there is one skin per sponsor. The player can choose his car skin freely while the computer-controlled opponents have the skin chosen randomly. The developer's intent is to have the skins serve as a sort of non-intrusive advertisement in-game.

The questions are as follows:

  1. Is the above situation legally feasible? (given that I have not yet seen it occur in real life?)
  2. If the game is licensed as open-source, must the skins have a separate license that allows only redistribution but no modification?
  3. Is it expectable that competing brands can reconcile to each having their representative skin in the game?
  • Why would the developers do this if they were not being paid for it? What motive would they have to include skins on presumably fictitious cars? Also...It depends on the terms on which the licensed elements are licensed to begin with. Not sure you can reasonably answer that.
    – Stackstuck
    Nov 28, 2017 at 16:34
  • @Stackstuck it is implied, of course, that there is some payment for including the branded skins. I did not bring this up for fear that it would complicate the topic by forcing me to add more questions to the list. Nov 28, 2017 at 17:19

1 Answer 1


The specific terms of the license with each sponsor (owners of the trademark logos, names, colors, etc) would ultimately determine which of their trademarks may be depicted and how they may be duplicated and distributed, generally in exchange for an appropriate license fee from the distributor and subject to their final say on quality and other controls.

  • How come the distributor (developer) is expected to pay a license fee while the inclusion of the trademarks is meant to serve as an advertisement for the sponsor? Please clarify if I misunderstood. Nov 29, 2017 at 8:47

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