Red Cross Says Its Emblem Being Misused in Games

Posted on February 8, 2006

The Red Cross is upset at the way its emblem is being used in video games. Often the emblem is used to represent an item that a gamer can pick up to regain health or hit points. However, the Red Cross doesn't like some of the violent games that are using the emblem. The Vancouver Sun reports that the Red Cross has written letters to video game developers and distributors asking them to remove the emblem or face legal action. The Red Cross is also concerned use of its emblem will make others think they also can freely use the emblem.

"The fact that the Red Cross is also used in videos which contain strong language and violence is also of concern to us in that they directly conflict with the basic humanitarian principles espoused by the Red Cross movement," Pratt said in a Jan. 31 letter to a Vancouver law firm that represents several Canadian game developers. "The crux of the problem is that the misuse of the Red Cross in video games is not only in contravention of the law, it also encourages others to believe that the emblem of the Red Cross is 'public property' and can be freely used by any organization or indeed for commercial purposes."

In an interview Tuesday, Pratt said the proliferation of red cross images in video games "debases the currency" of one of the world's most recognizable symbols and could undermine the emblem's effectiveness as a sign of neutrality, protection and humanitarian aid in conflict zones around the world."

The Red Cross has been used in many role-playing video games for years so they face a major ordeal in trying to get developers to drop the icon from games. Boing Boing andSlashdot also have posts on this subject. The Red Cross also has a few games of their own.

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