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Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site

The Warhammer Alliance Forums have word that GamesWorkshop has filed a lawsuit against Curse, Inc. over the operation of this site dedicated to Warhammer Online (thanks MMORPG.com). Here's how they describe this puzzling turn of events:

We wanted to inform our community here on WarhammerAlliance.com that Games Workshop has filed lawsuit against Curse for operating and maintaining WarhammerAlliance.com. We feel this is a blatant disregard of the needs of Warhammer fans, and the community we've worked hard to set up. The lawsuit cites trademark infringement, cybersquatting (on the domain name), dilution and unfair competition. You can check out the full complaint here. It also states that GamesWorkshop was unable to contact anyone who was an administrator or decision makers at Curse (despite the numerous links on our site...).

We are shocked and surprised by this filing when this site, created in 2005, is well known for being one of the biggest Warhammer Online game fansite.

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46 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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46. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 21:40 KilrathiAce
 
MUGWUMP wrote on May 9, 2010, 11:11:
commonperson wrote on May 8, 2010, 17:23:
...Curse deserve what they are getting they lied (contact information is next to impossible to find on their site

Here. I'll hold your hand.
I googled this link in a few seconds.
http://www.linkedin.com/companies/curse-inc

Curse Inc Headquarters Address
116 New Montgomery Street Suite 233
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States
Phone: 415-856-0056
Fax: 415-856-0062

looks like commonperson got rolled a bit
 
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"On 2646.215 I myself attacked & destroyed TCS Tiger's Claw in my Jalthi heavy fighter"
Bakhtosh Redclaw Nar Kiranka
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45. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 21:04 Flatline
 
Eric Blade wrote on May 9, 2010, 17:09:
When I read their policy it was all on one site, and was all plain english. You don't use GW IP directly to make money off of. You sell gaming dice, you don't sell "DICE FOR WARHAMMER!" . Etc.



If it was before September of last year, it might have changed. That's when GW went lawsuit-happy.

And you can disagree all you want, but I provided direct quotes off of their web page.

You go to legal.games-workshop.com and go to the IP policy page, and then for a list of what you can do you go down half the page and select one link, and for what you can't do you select a second web link.

As I said, about 80% of it I have no problem with. But if you had, say, a free web page and the web site company puts an ad on your site, you can get a C&D from Games Workshop.

If I go to Kinkos to make some copies of a character sheet, I'm technically violating their IP policy because Kinkos is making money off of their IP.

That's f*cking insane.


You sell gaming dice, you don't sell "DICE FOR WARHAMMER!

Again, let's quote Games Workshop:

"Use our intellectual property in relation to any third party products or third party intellectual property."

That can easily be interpreted without much of a stretch to mean that if you start selling "gaming dice", and they get popular in the Warhammer community, you can receive a cease & desist/lawsuit since you're "using GW IP in relation to any third party product".

I understand what you're saying, and you're using common sense. However, their statement of IP policy gives them the *option* to be as anti-competitive as they wish to be.

This comment was edited on May 9, 2010, 21:12.
 
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44. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 17:09 The Magician
 
When I read their policy it was all on one site, and was all plain english. You don't use GW IP directly to make money off of. You sell gaming dice, you don't sell "DICE FOR WARHAMMER!" . Etc.

 
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43. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 11:30 Hump
 
great way to encourage your fanbase....simply sue them.

This is the whole "protect it or lose it" bullshit argument that attorneys have established to keep their slimy selves in business.

There are countless ways to resolve issues like this without having to litigate but none involve getting scumbag attorneys an opportunity to fill their pockets from both parties.

Tort reform NOW.
 
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"Both the “left” and the “right” pretend they have the answer, but they are mere flippers on the same thalidomide baby, and the truth is that neither side has a clue."

- Jim Goad
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42. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 11:11 MUGWUMP
 
commonperson wrote on May 8, 2010, 17:23:
...Curse deserve what they are getting they lied (contact information is next to impossible to find on their site

Here. I'll hold your hand.
I googled this link in a few seconds.
http://www.linkedin.com/companies/curse-inc

Curse Inc Headquarters Address
116 New Montgomery Street Suite 233
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States
Phone: 415-856-0056
Fax: 415-856-0062
 
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41. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 10:59 MUGWUMP
 
commonperson wrote on May 8, 2010, 18:02:
Nice straw man there, you don't address the fact they're stealing some ones IP and obfuscating it by falsely claiming accesability. I won't even justify the veiled insult with a response. Waste of time.

Listen. I was correcting your misinformation.

I don't think they're breaking the law, so I'm not arguing that.
Do some research. Find out the truth before you start spewing your crap.

You're a moron.
 
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40. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 08:18 commonperson
 
The PC Warrior wrote on May 9, 2010, 01:54:
this is probably the dumbest post ive seen on the forums, you contradict yourself multiple times and appear to be mentally retarded.

Thank you I was going to reply to him but just couldn't be bothered. :-)
 
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39. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 06:04 Klaus
 
The idea that you can limit how people use/enjoy/profit from you product is a rather new one and only exists in some countries.

Normally if you put out a product that people enjoy (say: Brand X cameras) there will develop a healthy commercial ecosystem around it.

Companies will spring up to sell 3rd party lenses, camera bags, "how to get the most out of your Brand X camera"-books, etc. Journalists will write about your product. And none of them will give you royalties of any kind.

This is something you cannot forbid and cannot profit directly from. But of couse you profit indirectly from it. All these little companies (while only trying to make profit for themselves) will make your product more appealing.

In the last years the everything-is-an-IP-idea has taken hold in North America. SO GW might actually win this thing. But let us not forget: Economy has worked well without this possibility and in most of the world still does.
 
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38. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 05:04 Silicon Avatar
 
I remember when TSR got really picky about all their D&D properties and how they totally failed at managing their online audience. They started suing people and well, hey - it didn't work out. WotC bought them up and then sold themselves to Hasbro.

Maybe somebody will buy up Games Workshop, fire all their turds, and teach them how to operate on the internet in 2010.

 
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37. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 03:24 Rossafur
 
"Create, distribute, or use any material that is derogatory, obscene, or offensive."

Hmmm... so does that mean all that Warhammer hentai fan-art I've seen (not on purpose, I swears!) is forbidden? Haha

"No tattoos of any GW IP"

Do a Google search of "Warhammer tattoo". Lotsa people out there better hope they never run into a GW lawyer!

It makes me sad to hear this stuff about how draconian GW is, as I absolutely love the WH and WH40k universes... =\
 
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36. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 02:47 Flatline
 
Eric Blade wrote on May 8, 2010, 15:30:
GW also has a VERY open, and very specific policy setup on how to deal with using their IP, that has been posted on their website for near a decade. If the site admins are violating that, they are just plain retarded.

I just read their policy. It's three or four different web sites, links to each page buried in the legalese without any particular headers to let you know *where* the pertinent information is, and divided up to be unfriendly to read.

Things that, according to their own legalese will get you a cease & desist:

* Paying a printer to generate flyers for a community event

* "Use our intellectual property in relation to any third party products or third party intellectual property." (Read: Crossovers). Technically, this would even include selling dice to play the game.

* "Create, distribute, or use any material that is derogatory, obscene, or offensive." (That's a direct and entire quote. Apparently they are officially the world's profanity police.)

* Using any trademarked term to identify your web site (which is where the curse inc lawsuit probably comes from, since the URL nor the website could contain anything in reference to warhammer in it.)

* Using any of their material for scholastic/research purposes

* Creating tabletop terrain and stating it can be used with Games Workshop games

* Linking to or mirroring anything asset on Games Workshop's website (they refer to it as bandwidth theft)

* Any themes/artwork must be completely created from scratch, and may not bear any resemblance to any trademarks. You're allowed "your interpretation" of say a Tyranid, but if it's too similar to Games Workshop, you'll get a C&D

* Making house rules look polished or professional in layout

* Apparently, while they won't go after you for doing it, converting/modifying GW figs constitutes a "major (IP) infringement".

* Forums concerning GW lines must be family friendly (Technically this thread is in violation of their IP)

* Fan films (which I'd include as CG animations under general rationality) are straight out (but then they go ahead and say animations are okay further down the list)

* Screensavers and fonts inspired by the IP are disallowed (?)

* No tattoos of any GW IP

* Cosplay generally won't be an issue but could be.


Note, this isn't a comprehensive list of "this will get you in trouble", it's only about a third of all their "you can't do this" stuff. Most of the remaining stuff makes general sense, but I pointed out either pertinent "don'ts" or some WTF moments.

Most of this comes back to "don't make money off of GW IP", which is cool. The problem is that they tend to pursue people far more vigorously than even I think Disney does. Technically, if your page has ads on it, even if you have no control over those ads, and you discuss Games Workshop or any of it's IP, you're in violation and a C&D order could be issued, since a 3rd party is "making money" off of GW IP. It gets a little silly.
 
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35. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 01:54 The PC Warrior
 
ForgedReality wrote on May 8, 2010, 22:31:
AHAHHAH!! Try harder, fuckface. I can't believe how over your head that was. Basically, I was making fun of the fact that your arguments are in no way based in reality. Just as mine were ridiculous, as were yours. The whole thing was a fucking joke, just like this lawsuit. If you're so fucking serious (as evidenced by your need to be continually connected to the internet), obviously you need to take a step back an analyze your life AND your arguments.

this is probably the dumbest post ive seen on the forums, you contradict yourself multiple times and appear to be mentally retarded.
 
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34. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 00:04 Acleacius
 
gamesworkshop really must be desperate, game has only been out 1.5 years now iirc, not a good sign for paying customers.  
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.
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33. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 00:04 KilrathiAce
 
GW obviously acts as if they just discovered the site even though founders posted clear evidence on comments on their site that GW been aware and even in contact with them back in 2006. Further, GW stated they couldn't contact anyone from the site? Really? That sounds like GW just going through the motions of the suit for the sake of it, they sound desperate for some ad money from the site at the very least.

Sad.
 
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"On 2646.215 I myself attacked & destroyed TCS Tiger's Claw in my Jalthi heavy fighter"
Bakhtosh Redclaw Nar Kiranka
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32. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 8, 2010, 23:52 Flatline
 
Blackhawk wrote on May 8, 2010, 22:43:
GW is well within their legal rights.

Maybe, maybe not. It depends entirely on their licensing agreement with Mythic, and Mythic's subsequent legalese on 3rd party fansites.

A brief overview of warhammeralliance.com doesn't show any blatantly ripped artwork on the website. It appears entirely devoted to the online game as well.

There are two issues I could see. One, it's not obvious enough that the site is *solely* devoted to Warhammer Online. Two, there's stuff like fan art presented on the site, and I know that GW has gone after fan art in the past.

I don't even see it as GW wanting the domain name for themselves. They're using the cybersquatting accusation to simply screw over the website owners. It isn't the first time they've done it too.
 
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31. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 8, 2010, 23:47 Flatline
 
commonperson wrote on May 8, 2010, 21:29:
Actually my point is proven. Go to this URL:
http://www.warhammeralliance.com/sendmessage.php?s=ea4b71b21bc62c4947c3658cc3a51a60

404 Not Found.

Sorry boyo.

It'd be like me registering MicrosoftSoftware and then funnelling it to an adware site that I made money off of. I'd be shut down faster than you could say cease and desist.

No, it'd be like registering "MicrosoftOfficeTemplates.com" and offering a free and paid version that collates 3rd party templates for office users.

Is that an IP violation? Perhaps. But if Microsoft had, in the past, openly acknowledged and participated with the website, (which was apparently done according to an earlier poster with GW), it makes C&D based on IP violations a lot weaker.

No, the truth has nothing to do with curse inc. In reality, Games Workshop has been sending C&D's to any gaming website out there that mentions any of their IP. Some of the C&D's have been justified, some haven't, and many of them are in a grey area that the website owners can't afford to litigate out, creating essentially SLAPP lawsuits. This situation has been going on for several months now in the non-computer gaming community and is old news.
 
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30. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 8, 2010, 22:43 Blackhawk
 
GW is well within their legal rights.

On the other hand, Games Workshop has a long standing and well-earned reputation for having their heads up their asses when it comes to controlling their products. Not reasonable protectiveness control, but obnoxious to the point that many hobby stores have refused to even carry their products due to their insane restrictions, and don't even think about trying to retail their products online.

GW are looked at like Fox meets Ubi in the wargames communities. This is just another echo of that attitude.
 
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29. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 8, 2010, 22:31 ForgedReality
 
commonperson wrote on May 8, 2010, 21:23:
So I was good up until the last five words of my post. Okay, so I was posting from a mobile device that had auto-complete and I didn't thoroughly check it. I humbly apologise, but come on, it's okay to not agree but to pull the spelling card? That's just sad. Thanks for reminding me how asinine the internet is. It's always nice to be reassured of your lack of faith in basic debate tactics and human civility.

Oh and by the way, I ran this through a spell check to make sure I didn't obfuscate my point by swapping out a letter. :-P

AHAHHAH!! Try harder, fuckface. I can't believe how over your head that was. Basically, I was making fun of the fact that your arguments are in no way based in reality. Just as mine were ridiculous, as were yours. The whole thing was a fucking joke, just like this lawsuit. If you're so fucking serious (as evidenced by your need to be continually connected to the internet), obviously you need to take a step back an analyze your life AND your arguments.
 
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28. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 8, 2010, 21:34 commonperson
 
This is where GW become kinda jerks, they have a notorious history of trying to protect their brand and being very VERY anal about brand ownership to the point of ending relationships due to control issues. Which is how Warcraft came around, they were near complete as a Warhammer game, got in a fight with GW and took their ball and went home. They didn't "steal" as some people acuse, they made a product for GW, GW were jerks and they took it and made a mint so now GW are kicking them selves.

They have a point, Warhammer alliance is a phrase owned by GW, it's been owned by them for a LONG time. They claim to have tried to contact to have them cease and desist before litigation was filed, given that the site's "contact us" is dead and they use a proxy service to register the domain so they can hide the ownership that's pretty skeezy. So this is the typical games workshop technique.

In this case I think it's a situation where people are doing two wrongs. WA are using some one else's intellectual property to make money and GW are being, well GW. That's the business world, go ask Kotick and Activision. They do the same crap all the time. Not cool, but people buy their products and the cycle keeps perpetuating. You want to stop it go buy stock in one of the companies and try and change their modus operandi otherwise suck it all up because it aint going to change any time soon.
 
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27. Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 8, 2010, 21:29 commonperson
 
Actually my point is proven. Go to this URL:
http://www.warhammeralliance.com/sendmessage.php?s=ea4b71b21bc62c4947c3658cc3a51a60

That's the link from the warhammer alliance website to contact them. They block whois traces by running through a third party. Yes GW is sue happy, I didn't argue that but they are funnelling people to a website that serves to make money using an IP that belongs to someone else. It'd be like me registering MicrosoftSoftware and then funnelling it to an adware site that I made money off of. I'd be shut down faster than you could say cease and desist.

Look, I'm not saying people have to agree with me. But people should try and debate or argue the facts not ad hoc personal attacks. It just proves how low discussion has sunk.
 
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