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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Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site
May 9, 2010, 02:47
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Re: Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Fan Site May 9, 2010, 02:47
May 9, 2010, 02:47
 
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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