Spider-Man 2 features a New York that is slightly inaccurate due to Copyright Law

Hi everyone,

If anyone is interested in the world of superheroes and/or video games, I came across a unique example of copyright law in action with the release of the new Spider-Man 2 game for PS5.

To give players the most accurate version of New York City possible, Insomniac Games included 47 special landmarks in their  2018 release of Spider-Man for the PS4. However, before the next game in the series, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, was released, the Chrysler Building was sold and so was the underlying IP for its design. According to US Copyright Law, architectural designs are covered by the Copyright Act. Architectural designs are commonly known as “the design of a building as embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings”.

Including an image or short video clip showing off the design may be fair use, but the unique nature of the video game series as an open-world immersive experience allows players to freely move around the space and closely inspect the details of each area. As a result, including it in the game without permission would have put Insomniac Games at risk of litigation. So, once negotiations to use the Chrysler Building broke down, they were forced to remove it from subsequent games in the series.