Does the Red Cross issue apply to us?

I'm sure everyone here knows about the situation with the Red Cross and how they went after the games industry for using their logo (even though the industry's been using it for well over 2 to 3 decades and that they only recently started reinforcing their trademark as of a few years ago).

The most obvious effect of this is Id changing the cross on medipacks to pills in the recent re-releases of the classic Doom games (notably BFG Edition).

But really, does that affect us, the Doom Community, at all? Does that stop us from using the cross symbol in our mods? I'm sure that there are those who wouldn't use it out of respect, but beyond that, is there anything stopping us?

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For the most part we're not making the crosses, just using something that already had crosses in it. Also, I think we fly low enough under the radar that no one notices/cares anyway.

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you can copyright such a basic symbol? they should have picked a more unique logo

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Ribbiks said:

you can copyright such a basic symbol? they should have picked a more unique logo

I heard that T-mobile tried to copyright magenta.

I want to copyright oxygen. They would have to pay for usage.

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Well, it would definitely be nice if new mods would use something else than the red cross if they use different sprites for the health packs. This is more an issue of degrading the image by overexposure in entertainment media, and that applies here too.

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Ribbiks said:

you can copyright such a basic symbol? they should have picked a more unique logo

It's not a copyright, or even a trademark. The Red Cross is a protected symbol under the Geneva Conventions. It's actually just one of four such symbols. Essentially every country that is a signatory to the conventions has passed a special law that protects these symbols. Under US law, it's 18 USC § 706. In the UK there's the Geneva Conventions Act.

Technically if you use it in a Doom mod you're probably violating the law and could be fined for it, but in practise what DoomAD says is right: nobody really pays any attention to Doom mods or is going to waste any time following up on it.

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Unless you distribute a mod with modified graphics containing a red cross used to refer to medical supplies, you have no reason to be concerned.

And even if you do distribute mods with medikit sprites in them, they aren't going to do anything about it. Certainly, it's less of an issue than distributing copyrighted resources, like a MIDI track from Rise of the Triad and a bunch of textures from Hexen. (This describes something like half of all Doom II mods ever created.)

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Jimi said:

Does it only apply to red crosses on white background?

No, any red cross that's symmetrical on all sides, even if stand-alone.

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Technician said:

No, any red cross that's symmetrical on all sides

Hah-ah! Thanks to aspect ratio correction making the top and bottom branches longer than the left and right branches, the red cross in Doom does not feature 90° axial symmetry! Loopholed! :p

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In the recent releases of Doom, why didn't they just change the red cross to any other colour? Like for example, green...

The pill symbol just looks silly.

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Six said:

In the recent releases of Doom, why didn't they just change the red cross to any other colour? Like for example, green...

I've thought of that, myself. Both Green Cross and Blue Cross are copyrighted symbols. They're not Geneva protected symbols, but id would open themselves to a copyright infringement claim.

I think changing the cross to a red H would have sufficed. I don't care for the pill symbol, either. It would be appropriate on the Berserker packs, though.

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That green cross logo is more complex than a straight green +. It has a wavy curvature and is combined with a green leaf and (in negative space) a white sphere.

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Technician said:

I've thought of that, myself. Both Green Cross and Blue Cross are copyrighted symbols. They're not Geneva protected symbols, but id would open themselves to a copyright infringement claim.

I think changing the cross to a red H would have sufficed. I don't care for the pill symbol, either. It would be appropriate on the Berserker packs, though.


Then they could just use pink or orange cross. These colors also closer to red than green and blue.

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Technician said:

No, any red cross that's symmetrical on all sides, even if stand-alone.


Damn, Georgia barely escaped their rage (plenty of red crosses, but kinda curvy design).



Greece OTOH...suspiciously symmetrical cross, but OTOH we care about copyrights about as much G.W. Bush for an Iraqi's life ;-)

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Platinum Shell said:

Isn't that Maes like, the Baron's cross or something?


Yeah....go figure. And ancient Greeks were nazis:


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Could always swap the red and white around and have a red medkit with a white cross on it, but then it'd look like the Swedish flag. :P

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Heh. Never even knew about that bit.

Or like how Hitler started using the Heil gesture - well as it's now called - after the American's were using it.

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Avoozl said:

Could always swap the red and white around and have a red medkit with a white cross on it, but then it'd look like the Swedish flag. :P




I think you mean Danish:

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Sweden-Switzerland mixup


Funny how this often occurs in languages where the names for both are too similar: e.g. Sweden vs Switzerland (Eng.), Suisse vs Suède (Fra.), Svizzera vs Svezia (Ita.), Schweiz vs Schweden (Ger.) etc. while e.g. in Greek it's Ελβετία (Helvetia) vs Σουηδία (Swedia). Much harder to mix up ;-)

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The Red Cross symbol actually originates with the Swiss flag - it's the same with the colors reversed. They chose that symbol because they wanted the Red Cross to be a neutral organisation, like how Switzerland is a neutral country.

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The sign of red cross or rod of Asclepius always brings sort of comfort for me, even in games.
But it feels awkward for me. Why remove a universal symbol that means items which can aid people from their fatal wounds or cure them? It doesn't make sense for me.

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What about the Anarchist Black Cross and the Red Crescent?

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CorSair said:

The sign of red cross or rod of Asclepius always brings sort of comfort for me, even in games.
But it feels awkward for me. Why remove a universal symbol that means items which can aid people from their fatal wounds or cure them? It doesn't make sense for me.

That's not what the Red Cross means. It's actually a sign of protection - that is put on vehicles or people to indicate that they should not be military targets - military chaplains are also allowed to use the symbol for example. Most medical kits in real life actually have a white or green cross, not a red one.

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