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Prison Architect broke the Geneva Conventions for the use of a red cross

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This is, odd. The developers of Prison Architect have broken the Geneva Conventions (and British law) for their use of a red cross in the game. (Source email from Henrique & PC Gamer).

Yes, really.

See their video where they make fun of it:
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They changed it to Green, problem solved.

The "British Red Cross" (the charity) sent them an email just before Christmas to inform them that using the Red Cross is an offence:
Quote"My immediate reason for writing is that it has been brought to our attention that in your game ‘Prison Architect’ a red cross emblem is displayed on vehicles," it reads. "Those responsible may be unaware that use of the red cross emblem is restricted under the Geneva Conventions for the Protection of War Victims of 12 August 1949, and that unauthorised use of this sign in the United Kingdom is an offence under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957."

It's at least worded nicely, not like the usual sort of thing that gets sent out when someone violates something.

I have to admit seeing this in my inbox raised a few eyebrows, especially since the developer said this which really made me think:
QuoteLots of people donate money and the assumption is that that money is going to treating [people in need] and it turns out that a portion of that money is going to lawyers writing letters to videogame companies who are apparently abusing use of the red cross symbol

I get that people need to protect trademarks and so on, but Red Cross is a charity. If anything, doesn't it help actually spread awareness that the Red Cross itself means good/help? Go after people using properly abusing it, not games including it to symbolise help.

Well, I sure learnt something new today. Maybe you have too with me highlighting this. Don't use a Red Cross, use a Green one or a Blue one or any other colour, just not Red. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Editorial | Apps: Prison Architect
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16 comments
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Przmk 17 Jan, 2017
When you're unable to run your charity properly, better to do some things in the meantime... Because yeah, a pixelated red cross is a grave offence.
wvstolzing 17 Jan, 2017
You guys are so naive... It's not an ordinary trademark; it's a stylized version of the emblem of the KNIGHTS TEMPLAR. These poor developers found themselves in the middle of a TEMPLAR conspiracy. Fortunately, they don't seem to have alerted the Illuminati yet.

... or have they? :S:
zimplex1 17 Jan, 2017
This is super dumb though, I'm sure a red cross will be re-added in the workshop soon enough.
silmeth 17 Jan, 2017
They should just use the Star of Life, which is pretty much universal ambulance marking today.

The mere existence of the Star of Life shows that the Red Cross can be pretty touchy about the sign. Also, the emergency doctors and medics I know, who also do not want to be associated with the Red Cross, and prefer the Star of Life sign.

As can be read on the Wikipedia: “the Star of Life was created after the American Red Cross complained in 1973 that the orange cross too closely resembled their logo, the red cross on a white background, its use restricted by the Geneva Conventions.”


Last edited by silmeth on 17 January 2017 at 9:54 pm UTC
wvstolzing 17 Jan, 2017
Quoting: silmethThey should just use the Star of Life, which is pretty much universal ambulance marking today.

The mere existence of the Star of Life shows that the Red Cross can be pretty touchy about the sign. Also, the emergency doctors and medics I know, who also do not want to be associated with the Red Cross, and prefer the Star of Life sign.

Says the guy whose avatar looks like Anton LaVey.
So many layers of conspiracy, I'm getting dizzy ... first the Knights Templar, now the Church of Satan. Oh no!

(music begins)
View video on youtube.com
dodrian 17 Jan, 2017
Wait... so if I draw a red 'x' on a piece of paper, turn it 45 degrees and pin it to my corkboard, will my cubicle be in violation of the Geneva Conventions?
oxymore 18 Jan, 2017
This isn't about copyright. The red cross symbol is limited in the number of people who are allowed to use it because it is basically a "Don't shoot me" sign. It is a war crime to target people wearing the symbol. As a consequence, they are also strict about misuse of the symbol, as otherwise everybody would use it which would completely undermine the proper use.
Julius 18 Jan, 2017
Quoting: oxymoreThis isn't about copyright. The red cross symbol is limited in the number of people who are allowed to use it because it is basically a "Don't shoot me" sign. It is a war crime to target people wearing the symbol. As a consequence, they are also strict about misuse of the symbol, as otherwise everybody would use it which would completely undermine the proper use.

This. One might think it's all fun and games, but the Geneva convention is one of the few international treaties that more or less anyone with a minimal bit of common sense left agrees is a good idea.

Besides, if it was the coca-cola logo no-one would think twice about it, just because there is a humanitarian aid organization behind it it is somehow different?
tuubi 18 Jan, 2017
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Quoting: JuliusBesides, if it was the coca-cola logo no-one would think twice about it, just because there is a humanitarian aid organization behind it it is somehow different?
This isn't about trademarks either. The concept is quite different. Besides, you'd expect Coca-Cola to sue anybody and everybody, just because they can. That's the American way.

I think any respectful use of the red cross symbol to depict health and first aid services in entertainment and media does more good than harm, by reinforcing the recognizability and power of the symbol. I just don't see what this is supposed to prevent.

Sure, you shouldn't be allowed to paint the red cross (or the red crescent) on your murdermobile, but that's very different from what happened here.
silmeth 18 Jan, 2017
Quoting: tuubiI think any respectful use of the red cross symbol to depict health and first aid services in entertainment and media does more good than harm, by reinforcing the recognizability and power of the symbol. I just don't see what this is supposed to prevent.

Sure, you shouldn't be allowed to paint the red cross (or the red crescent) on your murdermobile, but that's very different from what happened here.

Truth is, the non-military medical personnel and first-aid kits in most countries also cannot and do not use the symbol if they are not directly related to the Red Cross organization. The preferred emblem for the first-aid kits is a white cross on a green background (but others, like white cross on red are also used), the emergency personnel and vehicles use mainly the Star of Life (although red Maltese cross, orange cross etc. is sometimes used, also apparently they use red cross in Russia, violating the Geneva conventions). The Red Cross (and Red Crescent, and Red Crystal) are used by military medical personnel and by Red Cross itself.

So it seems the Red Cross is fighting to keep the red cross associated with the wartime medical aid, with treating injured soldiers in an area of military operations, and not with any trained (or not) emergency-medical personnel during peace. And there is no military and war in Prison Architect.

It’d be interesting if they sent similar email to some game in an actual war setting using that symbol – because that would be (IMO) a proper use of it.


Last edited by silmeth on 18 January 2017 at 10:01 am UTC
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