Microsoft's new ad for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds looks similar to a mockup done by a Redditor back in November.
The Redditor fired back, pointing out that the ad is similar to a concept that he posted on Reddit.
Don't Copy It Word For Word
In the buildup to the release of PUBG for Xbox, players were wondering how the game will be marketed. Reddit user Macsterr posted the image about a faux ad promoting PUBG's Xbox release.
Cut to almost two months later, Xbox tweets an image that shares the same concept as the original.
Both images, the original done by Macsterr and Xbox One's ad, look very similar. In both images, a player from the game kneels in a field of tall brush that's contained inside of an Xbox. Xbox's ad even has the faded blue sky at the top of the image.
One of the changes made by Microsoft is that they used an Xbox One X while Macsterr's uses an Xbox One S. Plus it also stacked a controller next to the Xbox in its ad.
Xbox's tweet that featured the ad was taken down before 11:00 a.m. today. In the thread where Macsterr drew attention to the ad, there was a statement about it.
Inspiration And Infringement
"I'm not saying I own any copyright but the original post has 63k views so I assume they saw it and I got no credits," Macsterr wrote on Reddit.
To make the image, Macsterr used another user's image and credited that user in the original thread.
Whether this was a blatant copy presents a problem. Macsterr used assets of copyrighted material owned by Microsoft and PUBG. However, it doesn't look good if Microsoft or a team that it hired copied the concept from a fan on Reddit.
Graphic design copyright laws are difficult to explain. Macsterr's problem is that the image that was created is a piece of fan art. Changes were made to make a mockup, but none of the work belongs to Macsterr.
Last month, Firewatch creators saw ads that were stealing imagery from the game. An ad by cloud computing company Salesforce borrowed directly from tower found in the game. This wasn't the only time when Firewatch had to see someone else incorporate their imagery into ads.
Gillette used the game's design elements to market their new razor. That same month, a Ford dealership used the image of the watchtower to advertise an upcoming sale.