Sony, Polyphony Digital Face Italian Legal Threats

The new karting track revealed in the latest GT5 demo shown off at Gamescom 2010 is now causing problems for Polyphony Digital and Sony Computer Entertainment. The track, named Piazza del Campo after the famous city square in Siena, Italy, hosts a world-renowned horse race twice a year known as the Palio di Siena (you may remember it in Quantum of Solace – ironically a Sony movie). Unfortunately, though, in Polyphony’s digital recreation of the location, they’ve (gasp!) used flags of the local contrada without permission. As reported by Corriere Fiorentino, the city is none too happy about it, and is threatening to take legal action against Sony to prevent sale and distribution of the game in Italy.

While other sites are publishing headlines suggesting this legal scuffle could cause the delay of the game, I don’t see any need for alarm. This is clearly a money-grab for Siena officials, but even if Sony isn’t willing to pay, it seems their demands could be easily worked around by replacing the flags with something less “offensive” and/or re-naming the track (there has to be a reason GT4‘s rendition of the Monaco F1 circuit is known as “Cote d’Azur”).

Siena should be careful, though – a little free advertising in a game that will sell millions of copies around the world might not be a bad thing

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Comments (82)

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  1. GTP_COBRA

    i think someone should just go and steal the flags from the circuit and they cant say nothing again copyright crap, and there only doing it to get compo because there country is in the crap with all the resession stuff.

    Quick euros from a big company is all there thinking!

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  2. DEV-DAVIDE

    well, (un)fortunatelly i m italian and it s a fact that italian politics sucks, but it s really amazing that the ”beatifull” Palio di Siena (bleah) want Sony to pay for some stupind flags

    sorry for my english

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  3. tvensky

    In PD’s place I would do this – remove all the symbols and flags and place text “Italy’s goverment made us to remove all its national tresures”. :)

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  4. Pelle

    BTW, I dislike the anti-Italian sentiment here. We shouln’t dis a nation or use racist remarks bcs of this little issue. I just want to see this beautiful city track included in this fantastic game.

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  5. lilmann73

    I could see the conversation being something like this:

    “So, there’s a city in this e’game that nobady’s heard of, and have flags that are similar but not exact to the real ones that nobady will pay attention to. So, I weel sue e’Sony because I can.”

    They obviously haven’t thought this through.

    Not even a little bit.

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    1. gnorman

      I hope that’s a tongue in cheek comment. If not it really exposes the ignorance and arrogance of people who have a world of information at their fingertips, yet choose to ignore it.

      You’d be surprised how important the Contrade flags “that nobady will pay attention to” and what they represent are. Look it up.

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  6. DJSkyline701

    Wow… this is a bit ironic…

    Isn’t “Gran Turismo” ITALIAN for Grand Touring…

    PD chose to name a game in their language now look what happens XD

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  7. Minihulkster

    PD can just remove or replace the flags. This will not delay the release. However, the PSjailbreak has more potential to delay the release because Sony will probably want to include new encryption on the BR disk.

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    1. Tim

      I agree but i have a BD-RW drive on pc and i can tell you even at 8x times it takes well over an hour to copy a 25GB disc , at 2x This is increased to around 120 mins + and constant copying could cause unforeseen damage to the BD drive.

      It is not designed for backup standalone/PC writers are designed for this purpose and have heavy duty BD lasers hence the high cost of most players.

      Not all games are going to work with Jailbreak , because Sony will make sure they only work with latest firmwares and they are likely to be so heavily encrypted it will take some time before the exec can be decrypted.

      Will it delay GT5 i very much doubt it. Sony will be working on methods to stop Jailbreak. there is already an update on the way which is likely to contain a new bootcode , will Sony make it mandatory , yes without a doubt.

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  8. Martb_90

    Talking of free advertising, has anyone here visited the town in Italy where the Citta D’Aria track from GT4 is taken from, I think its called Assisi? Having heard of it from the game?!

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    1. Alfred

      Indeed, I hope they ban GT5 in Italy so those Guidos will see how it feels like to be left behind on all the fun. On the contrary, they should be glad that PD created such a track to the finest detail that they even added such flags to the game, despite the fact nobody could care less of such details.

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  9. RobGroove

    Hmmmm maybe GT5 with move support might be pretty cool for looking at the car @Super_Colossal

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  10. RobGroove

    I really can’t be arsed with another delay. I hope you sort it out PD. Just do what has to be done we’ve waited long enough.

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  11. tommy

    And I see French people calling out Americans for being to eager to start lawsuits…..so what the hell is this then.
    Im not saying all the French are bad, im not, not saying it either(lol), but this is just ridiculous.

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    1. fredyellow

      French people live in FRANCE.
      Italian people live in ITALY.

      Noqw, take your time to think about what you’ve just said.

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  12. Tim

    this is ridiculous , Do the Italians realize the world is trying to recover from the worlds biggest economic crisis wasting money a silly case of we dont like that is stupid !.

    YOU ITALIANS ARE MAKING YOUR SELF’S LOOK STUPID !.

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  13. j8mie

    This is simply pathetic. They should think themselves luck to feature in such a massive game with millions of fans Worldwide. If they play their cards right they get some fantastic free publicity out of it.

    Idiots!!!

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  14. Retri

    you don’t know how serious these people are about the Palio and their affiliation with whatever Contrada they belong.

    Being married with someone from a rival Contrada is a sort of taboo and you’re not going to see your wife/hubby during the days the Palio take place. Furthermore, showing up in a Contrada territory sporting the colors of a rival faction might get you a knife in the back.

    The level of patriotism and rivalry these people show, especially during the Palio days are insane.

    It’s like Hooligans in the 80’s x100.

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  15. Team_MoFF-No2

    Money Talks the Sony languish, Sony would have acted in the exactly the same way.. actually Sony is even by far, one of the worst to act like this.. So change the flags, and we are cool to go again.. It’s no big deal, ( we are talking about one single texture change, nothing else) If this should be a course of delaying GT5, then anything can course delay from now on… ;O)

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    1. Bernd

      You’re right, just think of the countless videos they took off YouTube, because of their music being used without permission. Apart from that, Siena isn’t an attractive track for me, PD should replace it with something like Autumn-Ring

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  16. ItchyTrigger

    If they previewed the track with 16 prancing 458s there wouldn’t have been a problem, guaranteed! Idiotic Italian officials all want to be Berlusconi’s pet, “eh, looka, I sue de Sony! promuovere, promuovere, promuovere!” GT has a big base in Italy and with Monza already in, it just shows non sanno nulla(they know nothing)! Change the name, change the flags and boycott the Palio!

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  17. Brian

    Gotta love the people nowadays, they’ll do anything to get money. Change or get rid of the flags, it’ll be golden. Honestly, what’s wrong with some advertising? If anything, some people who play GT, will never visit all of the tracks in the game in their real life. Ridiculous

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  18. Paulo

    Should be easy to sort out, that track is boring as hell in my opinion, just a big circle. Scenery nice, track bogus.

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  19. Rob

    They are getting my attention to never visit a town, that wants whine and cry about their town being in a video game! They might get more visitors by not complaining!!!

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  20. robert

    Id just take the flags and track out and have siena miss out on millions of euros in revenue and make a track up thats fictional and then no one can say its theres

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  21. Sele1981

    Delay? Sony, remove that track and it´s done… Then this city, that I never heared from, will never get any free advertise and nobody will hear again from this city…

    I would be proud if that little city were i live would be in GT5…

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  22. Madmurdock

    Rediculous and narrow minded of them in the first place. They should be glad of the free advertising. Not bemoaning the accurate and free modelling of their prized city.

    Won’t delay GT5 at all. Don’t understand why people think it would. If need be they’ll just change the name and the flags. No big deal. Game hasn’t gone gold yet so plenty of time.

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  23. Rich_Herds_Cats

    They are objecting because someone is using their trademarks without authorisation. If they don’t take action, then other unauthorised uses begin to get harder to prosecute. Sony would do the exact same if another company started using the PS logo, without authorisation.

    Not an employee of the local authority – but have been thrown out of Siena by the police :) It seems only residents are allowed to drive inside the city walls…

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  24. Strikey182

    If click on “might not be a bad thing” then another one on that page it takes you to KY’s Best Interview Ever, where is says KY laughed at a 2010 release date saying it might be release sooner than expected..
    PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFT! Sooner my arse…

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  25. alfajamesromeo

    it will not get delayed, think it is a bit pathetic of the city council to do that, but than again, its just a bit of a money grab for the corrupted leaders.

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  26. raceur

    Well, the Italians have actually got some publicity by mere fact of their objection. However, on balance, it was a silly move to go legal and all it’ll do is discourage others from doing anything in the locality if they have a lawyer first ask questsions later attitude. And as Jordan says it would be trivially easy to change the flags.

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  27. UCLA'09

    The last sentence says it all. THIS IS FREE ADVERTISEMENT you greedy idiots. If anything, you guys should be paying PD for putting your city in the game. I swear, we should start a petition to not visit this city if they talk more shiet.

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    1. Stune

      Yeah, you would think they would be honoured to have their town fetaured in the game. Looks like a cheap money grabbing attempt to be!

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  28. DZ

    The local government is being so stupid, they have been made into a game which probably will be the best selling driving title in the world, such a great opportunity to promote their town…reminds me when GT4 is launching, tourism bureau of HongKong awards Kaz for including HK in the game…

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  29. Mani_23

    The game will not get delayed. Its stupid to think so…

    If they choose to remove the flags/and or change the name of the track, then it will never threaten gt5’s release date. That process virtually takes 10 minutes, not 10 weeks. Or if they choose to scrap the track entirely, well, Obviously they have had to put in more than 1 kart track. So, Who cares if they just take this one out. We’ll just race on another.

    They have till november, it will never Threaten the Release.

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    1. Maxiboy

      Yeah it will be shed loads easier to simply drop the location, change the flags, or just rename the track then it would be to delay it again. Seriously it would take something much bigger to delay the game.

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  30. Fisha695

    Ehh leave it in and find some legal loop-hole saying those flags are public domain.

    Or just do a release day patch…. Although since I doubt the game has gone to the presses yes there should be time to change 5 small textures.

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  31. THEPUNISHER_UAE

    oh no please dont delay please pleeeeeeeeeeeez

    how much more we will wait for it ?!?!!?!

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    1. Crispy

      I doubt if PD will delay it. If it causes too much grief they’ll just pull the track from the game, which probably wouldn’t be a bad thing as it looks a pretty uninteresting cart track. Then they can replace it with a better one.

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    2. DirtyMudFlaps

      Exactly…. Deciding to remove it or not,replacing it, making a new one, all these things take time and resources.

      Anything can happen.

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    1. Kurenai

      I was about to post something pretty much along those lines! Oh no, some flags have been used… o_O

      Actually, PD and Sony pull this track anyway, cos let’s be honest, it’s a bit crap.

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    2. DirtyMudFlaps

      It maybe small but honestly i dont think its a horrible track, plus it creates variation amongst the other full-fledged tracks.

      I could just imagine 16 karts on this track, just constant overtaking, all day.

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    3. witham

      This is nearly as stupid as the music that had to be removed from LittleBigPlanet because it mention a holy book. Seriously the Italy’s should encourage PD to model there place as acuratly as possible as it may make some people want to got there!

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    1. Brendan

      what a stupid city council.

      Look, they race there with 17 horses from 17 districts twice a year. Now, GT5 has so far shown 16 cars on track.

      SONY, Polyphony, listen up, here’s how to not fail at legality.

      1/ add in an extra kart to the race (total 17)
      2/ paint the karts in the district’s colours
      3/ host online events the day before the real horse race with those karts
      4/ ?????
      5/ enjoy fine Italian cuisine and a withdrawn lawsuit

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    2. Nissan_Z32_90

      Only the Italians would be mad at this…c mon they made Ferrari for crying out loud…what are ya’ll so mad about?! GET OVER IT! My 2 cents worth of Italians.

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    3. FlareKR

      Stupid idiots looking for publicity. Don’t they have a socialized medical system to tend to? I’m gonna feel sorry for my cousins in Italy :-D.

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