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back to article Paper pictures failed hostage rescue with Call of Duty shot

The Sunday Times' use of a Call of Duty character to illustrate an article about a real-life military operation has left bloggers up in arms. Some claim the use of such an image is not ethically right. Alongside an article this past Sunday about the failed rescue mission in Nigeria, the Sunday Times published an image of John ' …

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They should only be allowed to use images from the original Commando video game.

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I think Activision might be interested

Can you just splurge Soap McTavish in your paper without asking them as it's not an article about the game, they're using it as clipart?

It's also kind of tasteless, too, something trivialising about connecting it with a game.

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The Sunday papers are tabloids, all of them, regardless of physical size.

Otherwise I was assuming this was from The Sun. But I'm not surprised that it's the Sunday Times.

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Re: The Sunday papers are tabloids, all of them, regardless of physical size.

Why? The Times is basically The Sun with no T&A.

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Game players have, ever since they were invented, wanted to play realistic games that depict real world places and events, so why are they so pissed when people take imagery from those games and use them to illustrate real world places and events?

I mean, who hasn't wanted to play GTA in a perfect re-creation of the area you live in?

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Anonymous Coward

> I mean, who hasn't wanted to play GTA in a perfect re-creation of the area you live in?

A Google street view to GTA map converter? That's an astounding idea. Do want.

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Anonymous Coward

this might surprise you

but I already am playing a realistic game that depicts real world places and events. So realistic, in fact, that it is indistinguishable from real life.

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Trollface

Re: this might surprise you

Yeah, but the graphics are crappy, and you only get one life.

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Re: this might surprise you

Plus the economy system is terrible.

Do you know how long it takes to grind enough gold to buy a house?

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Happy

Re: this might surprise you

You can improve the graphics with the "glasses" or "contact lenses" addon.

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Pint

You can improve the graphics more with the beer addon.

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Happy

Could be an excellent way for TV companies to get round not owning the rights to show F1 races, football matches etc. Simply replicate the event using state-of-the-art computer graphics and who'll know the difference?

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Meh

Mixed feelings

It's an illustration, like the other graphics -- so big deal. But why black out his eyes? This is definitely misleading and probably the only thing they actually did wrong, to my mind. Assuming they licensed use of the image.

And (slightly off point) why waste so much precious column-inch space with a full height picture of a fictional character? At least the mock-up of the scene adds (some) value to the story, he's just a big fat waste of space.

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Happy

Re: Mixed feelings

Blacking out eyes like that always reminds me of the Wayne and Waynetta Slob sketch where Wayne covers Waynetta's eyes with a bit of black electrical tape before proceeding to take supposedly erotic polaroid pictures of her in her velour shell-suit for Reader's Wives!

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"why waste so much space with a full height picture of a fictional character?"

Well, it's not like they have any actual journalism to put in there, is it?

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Who believes the papers in any case?

Whenever I have had personal experience of something that is in the press the report has little resemblance to anything I experienced. Most stories are a little bit boring and they cannot resist sexing things up. The punters demand it and they flock to the more disreputable papers.

PS Naturally El Reg is exempt from this accusation as it is a well known fact that all its stories are accurate, well thought out and rigorously checked for facts.

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Anonymous Coward

Lazy journalism, and misleading.

I knew things were taking a downturn 15 years ago when I noticed the Sun publishing a picture of a house in the Balkens that I'd stood next to three days earlier; but they'd added several hundred bullet holes to it. Now apparently it's fine to just make photos up in their entirety.

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why blank the eyes?

who cares if they are using a CGI to illistrate a story. But why blank the eyes? He isnt real, he doesnt have an ID to protect.

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Re: why blank the eyes?

I think it may mainly be to 'catch the eye' or its a loophole to use the graphic for demonstration purposes.

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Meh

Seems OK

It is clearly meant to be an illustration. Whether it came from a game or from an artist's own mind isn't really a problem to me. As long as the game association is unstated then the seriousness of the article isn't diminished.

Interesting to note, looking at the referenced blog which said it "seems a little frivolous for a story of this gravity", that the blogger (Will Sturgeon) was happy further down to find amusement in the juxtaposition of a photograph of three Royals and a headline about a really nasty case of child murder.

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Meh

Possibly outsourcing gone wrong - someone asked for a "graphic" to represent a UK SAS soldier and didn't check what they got handed back. Then again they could have shoehorned Soap in in the hopes that their story would become a story itself and lead to the paper being discussed.

Like what is happening now. I agree that mixing a fictional character in trivialises a real human tragedy, but I don't think we'll ever know if it was an Editorial whoopsie (understandable) or a cynical marketing trick (pretty low.)

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FAIL

Pshh

That's nothing. There's a certain well-known tech publication that regularly mocks-up real-life events using Playmobil, of all things.

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Just occured to me

Would anyone feel differently if it was an actual photo of a real person, but still a fictional character? i.e. Ross Kemp in his Ultimate Force costume?

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Stop

Re: Just occured to me

I suspect real soldiers would complain about that one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just occured to me

I think Mr Kemp tries to keep his distance from News International these days. Too many bad memories?

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WTF?

Re: Just occured to me

You're suspicions indicate you may be overly-empathetic and somewhat assumptive, having known many a solider, most like Call of Duty and dont read tabloids anyway? Infact it may provide humourous value in a sick and twisted way to some readers?

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Re: Just occured to me

SAS = super army soldiers... :) he was good in Extras :)

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Um

Isn't the image copyrighted?

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I just can't believe that people are still reading printed newspapers. Horrible, smelly things with print rubbing off on your hands*

The internet is a god send - none of that, plus you can pick and choose bits from different outlets, rather than having only the entire paper, or having to buy more than one.

Also, I have no evidence to back this up, but I wonder if this paper ever cried foul about games like Call of Duty? If so, that would be quite a double standard. Otherwise, the use of the image does seem a bit frivolous to me, but not the end of the world.

*I'm biased though: I *really* don't like the smell and the ink rubbing off on my hands. I know, I'm strange

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All perfectly okay...IF...

1) They acknowledge the source and copyright of the image

2) they have the permission of the copyright owner

3) they have paid any necessary fees to the copyright owner

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Stop

Nit Picking

I think people need to get a grip on critcism on what people use for artistic illustration, be more focused upon the details of the event as any graphic images from the incident could well be 'suppressed' by a court order prohibiting their release, who knows?

Trying to poke a hole in the 'copyright' laws over the use of the character, you'd find because El Reg posted it, they should honour trademark names too (if you wish to get picky), let activision deal with it, if they wish... do you work for them? no, well let them handle it, it's what they're paid to do!

I despise anyone that nitpicks anyone elses work if its not for a worthy cause.

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Pint

Re: Nit Picking

Pick harder. I believe that Activision Blizzard, Inc. should be written just like that, not simply 'activision.'

Or simply have another drink.

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Anonymous Coward

Well, it isn't any *more* fatuous than if they had used a still from Rambo.

It isn't any less fatuous either. It's pretty much exactly the same amount fatuous.

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FAIL

Deceiving

If the original clip art was used as is to illustrate a video game then no problem.

If the original clip art was used in an article about violence and video games then no problem.

If the original clip art was used to provide a picture to a story about war then no problem.

If the original clip art was used in a story about some situation using commandos then no problem.

The problem comes from blacking out the eyes. This makes it look like the clip art is a real figure otherwise there would be no point anonymising a virtual character. Also they are making it look like British soldiers look like American commandos.

To be a valid use of the clip art the newspaper must be clear about its use. As it is they are deceiving the readers and newspapers must not do that ever. But then The Times is pretty much like the Guardian these days so on that basis the newspaper is perfectly entitled to do whatever it wants with the clip art to sex up a story which their journalists can't write properly.

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Headmaster

"sour point"?

I do believe Mr Cox means "sore point".

A "sour point" would be putting lemon juice on your cox - although this might equally qualify as a "sore point" too...

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As gamers

Gamers spend a lot of time saying "it's only a game" or "it's not real" whenever some numpty politician or "speaking as a mother" type person tries to blame computer games when some psycho kid goes on a rampage, jumping on people's heads to steal their gold rings after having spent a few hours on Sonic the Hedgehog... mixing games imagery in with real-world stories is probably unhelpful at best; it dilutes the reality of the situation.

"Lots of people died but it's OK, they'll respawn at the start of the next round... oh, wait, hang on..."

Then I'd feel pretty much the same if they'd used a picture of James Bond or the A Team rather than an image from a game specifically; if you want to report on the horror of Auschwitz, show us the horror of Auschwitz or give us the details - don't mung in some pictures from Wolfenstein 3D to "sex it up" and expect us to take the article seriously.

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It's an outrageous slander

SOAP wouldn't have failed the mission.

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