Eagle eyed fans of the new Spider-Man 2 game, released on 20 October 2023, have noticed a conspicuous absentee in the open-world New York City map featured in the game. The Chrysler Building, an iconic feature of the city’s skyline, is noticeably replaced by a non-descript skyscraper, the very same one that stood in its place in Insomniac Games’ previous 2020 release, Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
Since 1990, architectural works have been afforded copyright protection in the US. An architectural work is defined by the US Copyright Office as “the design of a building as embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings.” Naturally, therefore, such protection extends to the Chrysler Building, and its owners can resultantly manage its reproduction in pieces of media as they see fit.
The famous structure had appeared in nearly all previous Spider-Man related media including games, comics and film adaptations. It has yet to feature in any, however, since its $150 million co-purchase by SIGNA Group and RFR Holding LLC in March 2019. It raises the question of whether the games’ developer, Insomniac, and/ or publisher, Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC, have been granted permission to use the image of the building in their media.
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