Appearantly the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) have send out a “cease and desist” letter to several modding teams working on mods resembling FIA governed cars and series. A cease and desist letter is a request to a party to halt an activity and not take it up again or face legal action. It is rumoured that more unauthorized modding projects are under investigation, including hardware mods. In essence, it is not yet known if this crusade will only impact the open wheeler series, or if it will apply to more related racing series.
One of the modding teams that where recently hit are the F1ASR team. They where working on an a Ferrari 643 F1 and Formula 1 1992 mod. After receiving the cease and desist letter, the team announced that they will suspend work on the mods till further notice.
It looks like this will not just stop there. A month ago we at Bsimracing received a cease and desist letter from a well known brand requesting us not to post or promote any to their brand related software and Hardware mod news. VirtualR.net received a similar Formula 1 related “cease and desist” request only a few months ago.
The last few years it has been discussed and debated that with the growing Sim Racing popularity also the rules of the game could get stricter. A while ago the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) announced a long term partnership with Polyphony Digital (Gran Turismo), revealing that there might be an FIA sanctioned Sim Racing championship in the making. With federations such as the FIA involved Sim Racing could soon become a sport. As with all sports, advertising and sponsorship will have their influence on what can and cannot be done.
The Modding scene also changed allot the last few years. With high detailed and higher quality models, the risk of being associated with a product is becoming apparent. High quality mods could also be seen as competition for licenced material by the established companies. Then there are trends such as payed modding and sponsored leagues and teams that might open up a can of worms when it comes to copyright infringements and people creating revenue with it. The multiple cross-platform conversions that appear lately have also raised attention and could become an issue in the near future.
The Sim Scene is taken more serious and is now recognised as a business platform by many marketeers out there. While that is ultimately a good thing, it will change the way the established companies look at our little niche community. The bigger the market becomes, the more opportunities it will create for marketing. These opportunities will generate a bigger competition. If Sim Racing and the commercial world get even closer, there might be no room left for ” tolerated art” such as modding. Sim Racing livery services such as used in LFS and the “Trading Paints” project for iRacing might become a topic of discussion soon. Fingers crossed.