Ford Freedom Sales event lifts a little artwork from Firewatch

A US car dealer has been caught using artwork from indie video game smash Firewatch as part of a promotion for its summer sales. It’s not the first time Campo Santo has seen their iconic work lifted and used for other purposes, and the studio is not happy about it.

The minimalist art style for Firewatch was created by UK illustrator Olly Moss, and translated into 3D by Jane Ng. Since the game’s release, its artwork has popped up all over the internet, including on the website for online videomaker Renderforest.

The Ford promo was first pointed out by software company Panic, who worked with Santo Campo to produce Firewatch. The dealer was identified as Quirk Ford, from Quincy Massachusetts.

While not necessarily admitting to the violation – or announcing any plans to remove or edit the image – a spokesperson for Quirk Ford explains that the dealer would never have used the picture if it had known it was under copyright. He goes on to say that he had never even heard of the game before this incident occurred.

The real piece of Firewatch artwork

The real piece of Firewatch artwork

According to the spokesperson, the artwork was found via a wallpaper-sharing website, which he explains is “usually pretty good about about making sure [images] don’t violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”

However, it’s not as simple as all that, as Sean Vanaman – Campo Santo co-founder – explains via Twitter. He believes the “wallpaper site” argument the spokesperson has used is a lie, as he notes elements featured in the Quirk Ford mailout have been lifted directly from an old Campo Santo website.

…and while it would be great to think a massive corporation like Ford could have slipped up like this (perhaps sending Campo Santo a couple of cars by way of apology), it’s been determined that the Ford dealership is completely at fault here, and Ford the car manufacturer is not at all involved – artwork and promotions are sourced and used by the franchises, rather than Head Office.

Looks like Quirk Ford will be in a spot of bother, but – as Sean Vanaman continues, “Olly and his contemporaries get yoinked 100x a day”, and it’s nothing unusual. “We live in a time of infinite free content so it’s really no wonder everyone thinks everything is free on the internet.”

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