EA Breaks Law with Brass Knuckles

According to Kotaku, Electronic Arts shipped brass knuckles along with press copies of The Godfather II. Unfortunately, someone in marketing apparently didn't do their homework: the possession of brass knuckles is illegal in most countries. In the United States alone, brass knuckles are illegal in at least ten states: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. In Canada, brass knuckles--and similar variants--are prohibited weapons, and anyone in possession of said weapons face criminal charges under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Electronic Arts, based out of Los Angeles, California, is now emailing the press, demanding that each individual return the brass knuckles. That in itself is a tricky predicament: according to California Penal Code Section 12020(a), it's not only illegal to possess "metal knuckles," but illegal to ship the weapons as well. Electronic Arts, in fact, broke the law on numerous counts for not only possession, but for distribution. Now the company is asking members of the press--many of whom are probably breaking the law in their states for possession alone (a class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado)--are required to illegally ship the weapons back into California.

"The representative that contacted me said that the company wanted to make sure that the brass knuckles were properly disposed of," said Kotaku's Brian Crecente. "He declined to comment any further. Contacted by email Friday, an Electronic Arts spokesperson verified that the company is asking that all of the brass knuckles shipped out be returned." Strangely enough, members of the press may be able to "properly dispose" the brass knuckles by selling them as paperweights; sometimes they can be found on sale as belt buckles in flea markets and yard sales.

Last year, New York state lawmakers added plastic knuckles to the list of illegal weapons, saying that the knuckles do not set off metal detectors in airports, government buildings, and schools. Although plastic knuckles aren't made out of metal, lawmakers said that they can be just as dangerous. California outlawed plastic knuckles back in 2002, signed and sealed by Governor Gray Davis. The law states that, like brass knuckles, companies cannot manufacture, import, or sell plastic knuckles in the state. With that said, Electronic Arts would have faced legal issues even if the company chose plastic over metal.

Electronic Arts has not issued a formal statement.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more.