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Games Workshop Forbids Warhammer Fan Films 251

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the wont-last-after-WAR-is-released dept.
EikeHein writes "Made by dozens of fans over a period of several years and featuring impressive special effects, the feature-length Warhammer 40.000 epic DAMNATUS ranks among the most elaborate fan productions ever made — and yet may never see the light of day. Despite initially giving a go-ahead to the project, UK-based Warhammer franchise owner Games Workshop has come around to forbid distribution of the film just as it was being readied for release. What's more, they've amended their IP Policy to forbid any such projects in the future. At the heart of the matter appears to be Continental European copyright law, which grants the German film makers certain irrevocable rights to their creation which they cannot sign away. Given that the owners of the other two SF mega-franchises, Star Trek and Star Wars, have been able to come to terms with such issues and arguably benefit greatly from the media attention paid to popular fan productions, it would seem that Games Workshop still has to learn a thing or two about how to capture fan enthusiasm for their benefit."
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Games Workshop Forbids Warhammer Fan Films

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  • Preposterous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Control Group (105494) * on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:20PM (#19828193) Homepage
    Well, congrats to GW for taking my general disinterest for their products and elevating it to actual dislike of their organization.

    Ignoring my personal purchasing decisions, though, this is still stupid. I mean, it's not like Games Workshop actually sells games. They sell miniatures. They encourage purchase of the miniatures with something like a game structure (so it's a little more advanced than playing with toy soldiers...but not much more advanced than the games I invented for my various little figures when I was 10. Except for Blood Bowl, of course. That game is two shots of high-proof awesome.) that requires you to buy more miniatures if you want to play by the rules and an (admittedly) pretty compelling universe to set your encounters in.

    I would, in fact, make the case that the universe is more important to their income than the "games" are. I know plenty of people who play Warhammer with pretty major departures from the rules, but I don't know anyone who plays Warhammer without Orcs.

    So when presented with an opportunity to, at no cost, generate fan excitement and greater exposure, you'd think the smart thing to do would be to run with it as far as possible. Squelching it - moreover, squelching it in a way that makes you look like a bully, an ingrate, and general underdog-trampler - would seem to be the worst thing you could do.

    I mean, aside from kicking puppies and smogging out rainbows.

    (As an aside: the bright spot in all this is, should some miracle of rationality prevail, and GW manage to figure out that blocking this is a bad move, it should generate plenty of publicity for the project)
    • by andrewd18 (989408) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:28PM (#19828305)

      I don't know anyone who plays Warhammer without Orcs.
      Waaagh!! We be Orks wid uh k, you insensitive 'umie!
    • Re:Preposterous (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Phanatic1a (413374) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:47PM (#19828539)

      I would, in fact, make the case that the universe is more important to their income than the "games" are. I know plenty of people who play Warhammer with pretty major departures from the rules, but I don't know anyone who plays Warhammer without Orcs.


      And the ironic part is that the Orcs are what aren't necessary to play the game. They make (relatively) inexpensive rulebooks and horrifically expensive miniatures. It would be entirely possible to play the game by buying the inexpensive rulebooks and using a bunch of scraps of paper with "Orc" written on them in crayon in lieu of the expensive orc miniatures. But as you said, nobody does that.

      They're an an enviable position of having valuable IP that's *hard to reproduce*. But they still end up being dicks over it.
      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        Ok..I've been trying to figure out what Warhammer was...I'm guessing it is an old D & D type game?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by lakeland (218447)
          No, nothing like D&D. It is battle reenactment except it also has fantasy sets (hence orcs) and futuristic sets (robots). There isn't any role-playing or characters - the players are sorta army generals trying to coordinate their armies.
          • Re:Preposterous (Score:4, Informative)

            by BridgeBum (11413) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @04:04PM (#19830457)
            There is a role playing version of Warhammer (with the ever so original name of Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing or FRP), which is actually not a bad system at all. Brings back memories from many years ago. It is true that when most people refer to 'Warhammer', they are thinking the miniatures battles.
        • Re:Preposterous (Score:5, Informative)

          by Control Group (105494) * on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @03:01PM (#19829401) Homepage
          Warhammer is a tabletop - ie, using miniatures - tactical war game with role-playing elements. Rather than using a hex map or other grid, all line-of-sight and range measurements are actually taken relative to the actual analog position and facing of the miniatures. The business proposition from Games Workshop is that they sell you the rulebooks for the game. The rules include provisions requiring you to purchase Games Workshop miniatures (eg, if the miniature on the table doesn't have a boltgun in its hand, the character it represents also doesn't have a boltgun in its hand); GW is, first and foremost, a seller of miniatures. Warhammer as a universe encompasses several different game systems and miniature series: Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, Battlefleet: Gothic, and Necromunda all spring to mind, though I believe there are others.

          In my opinion, the game aspect of it is particularly shallow in comparison to most other similar games (tabletop tactical), with odd and limiting provisions such as only being allowed to fire at the nearest enemy.

          One way to look at it is that Games Workshop is the grown up (that is, expensive) version of playing with toy soldiers: you collect your toy soldiers, then get to use them in a game structure.

          (Note: I completely understand the attraction of buying and painting miniatures, building up huge collections of them, and getting enjoyment out of deploying them in a structured game format; I don't mean to disparage it as a hobby. I, personally, prefer the game to be more involving than the game pieces, but I'm not much of a collector.)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Molochi (555357)
          No. Paper rulebooks. Fantasy Lead/Pewter/Plastic Miniatures. Buncha geeks arguing about obscure game related rules. Deathstalker II playing n the background. Maybe 1 girl in 10 gamers. Nothing like D&D.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Seraphim_72 (622457)
        I tried this once with MTG. A bunch of my friends used to play, so one day we sat down at the table and everybody got out their carefully crafted decks and I brought out a large deck of cards.

        "What is that?"

        "My deck, it is a black green deck, mostly rares, should work well together."

        "What?"

        You see I had scanned in the cards from one of the "recognition manuals" printed them on a color printer and taped them to regular playing cards. The whole room about blew a gasket. One guy, who owned the big 7 (
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Control Group (105494) *
          How is this surprising? I imagine you'd get a similar reaction if you sat down at a poker table and produced a stack of hundreds you had run off on your inkjet. The scarcity of the game piece (in this case, money) is key to the game.

          Similarly in M:tG, the game balance depends on the rarity of the cards. Free access to as many copies as desired of whatever cards you choose does completely change the nature of the game (which is why you always want to play with people in similar financial circumstances as you
          • Re:Preposterous (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Seraphim_72 (622457) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @10:37PM (#19834225)
            I disagree, it is more like entering a poker game where you can only buy the cards you are dealt - "sorry bub, I can't deal you an Ace till you dropped $1000 for it" (thus my point). Poker can be a game of skill. Magic quickly descended into who could spend more money. They even started selling "tournament decks" for Pete's sake. Your annalogy might make some more sense if there were "I dropped $500 this month on cards" tables, as it stands, you always walked into a supposedly level field. For all the great "skillz" that every Magic player thought he had in the beginning of the game, it was really who had more disposable income to drop on cards. But you missed my point entirely, and the fact that you remembered (where I did not) the correct abbreviation for it makes me wonder how much of your cash went down that rabbit hole.

            Obviously I didn't miss the mark.
      • Re: Preposterous (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Sawopox (18730)
        I had to clear up a few things here and there, not just in this post.

        First of all, Games Workshop does *not* produce miniatures of any sort. The miniature models come from Citadel Miniatures. Games Workshop produces games.

        The older models were quite expensive. Lead, and most recently pewter, hand-cast miniatures are not exactly cheap pieces like those found in Monopoly. That, and if you've actually held and seen some of the miniatures, they have FANTASTIC detail. To address the cost question, plastic m
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Phanatic1a (413374)
          First of all, Games Workshop does *not* produce miniatures of any sort. The miniature models come from Citadel Miniatures. Games Workshop produces games.

          This is a meaningless distinction. Citadel Miniatures is a *brand* of Games Workshop. What you just said is akin to saying "General Motors does not produce cars of any sort. The cars come from Chevrolet."

          • That's only because GW acquired Citadel, just as they finally acquired Forgeworld.

            And just as after they acquired White Dwarf, all of it will turn to crap.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          $100? Surely you jest, unless you're referring to the purchase of used models via a service like eBay (which does have some fantastic deals). A box of basic troops (W40k) or a core unit (WFB) is about $45 CDN and about $35 US. You need far more than two or three of these plus more to make even a basic army. The Batallion boxes are $90 US and $135 (or so) CDN; these are a good start, but still not enough to have more than a very simplistic army. $200 is certainly a good number for a reasonable start. At cur
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Hognoxious (631665)

          First of all, Games Workshop does *not* produce miniatures of any sort. The miniature models come from Citadel Miniatures.
          They were once a separate company (in theory) but now they're not even a wholly owned subsidiary. More like a department.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by russian_casey (954084)
      This isn't surprising at all...I've been playing 40K since 1994 and have watched GW threaten all sorts of "intellectual property" suits, all the while driving prices through the roof and driving quality through the bedrock. Yes, the models look good today, but they don't have the same sort of character as the old stuff did (Rogue Trader-era was the Golden Age of Citadel for a good reason).

      I've said it before and I'll say it again - Games Workshop is the Microsoft of miniatures gaming. Fuck you, Games Worksh
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BadMrMojo (767184)

      I mean, it's not like Games Workshop actually sells games. They sell miniatures. ...
      Except for Blood Bowl, of course. That game is two shots of high-proof awesome.

      Important note: Blood Bowl - along with Necromunda, Mordheim and some of the other Specialist Games which essentially got axed - did not require a huge investment in miniatures. One team per person is enough to play. A full collection (one of absolutely every possible legal team configuration) would probably be less than 200 miniatures (although I

    • Re:Preposterous (Score:5, Interesting)

      by garyok (218493) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @03:24PM (#19829743)

      Well, congrats to GW for taking my general disinterest for their products and elevating it to actual dislike of their organization.

      Way ahead of you, big man. I used to be a real hardcore fan of GW and, back in the day, I was a subscriber to White Dwarf for a long time but around #110ish things started going badly, badly wrong at the ranch. That's about when they switched their focus from RPGs to the miniatures business. They stopped doing articles on other companies' games and started bigging up Warhammer, Blood Bowl, and WH40K. They even seemed to lose interest in their own roleplaying games. Before that it was a hell of a magazine - fiction, articles, art, and quality all the way. After that it became a big ad you paid for. I had no interest whatsoever in their dinky little toys and I was on a one-way ticket to Alienation City. It was a real shame because a lot of real talent used to contribute.

      They seem to be doing well enough out of it but, if such a thing is possible, they sold their soul back at the end of the 80s for their money. Plus the staff in the stores I've visited since are total dicks.

      • Re:Preposterous (Score:5, Interesting)

        by yogi (3827) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @04:48PM (#19831085) Homepage
        And you are not the only one who came to that conclusion. I've got a big stack of White Dwarf back episodes from my subscription, and the first editions of WH40K and WHRPG, but lost interest when the rules started changing so you would need to buy more ( relatively expensive ) vehicle miniatures.

        Of course, before WD become a large, paid for, GW advert, they used to publish adventures and source material for all sorts of games in the magazine. I can look in the corner of the room now, and see Traveller, AD&D and other game system adventures published in White Dwarf. If that's not making money from derivative works of other peoples IP, I don't know what is. And what's more, they did this quite unashamedly for 10 years, before GW had enough games to fill the pages with adverts for their own games. Talk about hypocrisy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Hognoxious (631665)

        That's about when they switched their focus from RPGs to the miniatures business.

        For me they jumped the shark when they introduced that stupid imperial chariot with the 20 foot long musket [games-workshop.com] that could shoot the enemy general (even through a hill) anywhere on the board if you could roll 2 or above on 2D6. Around 1990?

        Then there was the stupid colleges of magic thing that seemed like a cross between Terry Pratchett and scissors-paper-stone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rgaginol (950787)
        Yeah dude, I couldn't agree more... GW used to be good, *sigh*. I'm not sure when it turned sour, but something definitely went odd in the GW mix about a decade ago.

        At the moment, I'm about to get back into the swing of things after a decade long hiatus from miniatures with other pursuits (I just can't seem to get rid of that hankering of painting nicely done miniatures). Yet... after checking out the local GW store and noticing that:
        - Most of the cool miniatures now suck or have been replaced with 'yet-ano
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I want to share a GW story that involved a gaming store I used to frequent:

      A few years ago GW set mandatory sell targets for their merchandise. If you weren't pushing their games and selling x amount of figures every week, they would drop you as a supplier. So a lot of gaming stores sucked it up and really pushed GW hard, resulting in an expected increasee in GW sales. GW then analyzed the sales demographics and totally fucked these top selling stores by cutting off their stock and opening Games Workshops
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mal3 (59208)
      That's not the half of it. From the GW website:

      This also means that we cannot allow tattoos as an acceptable use of our IP as a third party necessarily has to perform the "service."

      So if i get a Tattoo of one of their trademarks, exactly what do they plan to do about it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Saxerman (253676) *
      I'm a fan of Warhammer 40k not so much for the game system for but for the game content. They're created an incredibly interesting game universe which lends itself well to telling stories about the massive conflicts between their various factions. I've been a fan for years, and have witnessed the terrible debacle as Games Workshop tries to define itself. Though out the years, they have been painfully protected of their 'content' and have been 'unusually' picky about who and where they license it. If you
    • Well, congrats to GW for taking my general disinterest for their products and elevating it to actual dislike of their organization.

      Maybe they've been hanging out with Sony Execs.
  • Jolly Roger (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:20PM (#19828195)
    I suppose they could sue Games Workshop, but that would drag on for a rather long period of time. By the end of the lawsuit, the movie will be irrelevant regardless of the outcome. And after 4 years of film development, that's a really cruddy result. Especially since it sounds like the only problem is that Games Workshop wants 100% control and they can't have it. Well duh, it's not your film. It's a fan creation that you *should* be finding a set of guidelines under which it can be distributed.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. I hear that there are alternative (?) distribution methods out there. Something about "hoisting the flag" and all that?

    *ahem* *ahem* *ahem*

    "Arrrrghhhh"
    • Re:Jolly Roger (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sorak (246725) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @03:06PM (#19829485)

      I suppose they could sue Games Workshop, but that would drag on for a rather long period of time. By the end of the lawsuit, the movie will be irrelevant regardless of the outcome. And after 4 years of film development, that's a really cruddy result. Especially since it sounds like the only problem is that Games Workshop wants 100% control and they can't have it. Well duh, it's not your film. It's a fan creation that you *should* be finding a set of guidelines under which it can be distributed.

      The real tragedy is that after four years of working on a project, just to have the company that originally gave you permission say "throw it away. We changed our minds and would like for you to undo all of your work". After that, how hard will they try to get it distributed? Someone may put it out there just for spite, but I doubt it will ever be the labor of love that it once was.

    • by thegnu (557446)

      Desperate times call for desperate measures. I hear that there are alternative (?) distribution methods out there. Something about "hoisting the flag" and all that?

      If they're allowed to show it to their parents and friends, it should be no problem getting it on Bittorrent and eDonkey (hint:use emule or amule, double hint:they're free) untraceably. I'm sure if you accidentally dropped the DVD at a few LAN parties, you'd be well on your way to hassle-free distribution.

      AND, they could put a donations button o

  • by imbaczek (690596) <imbaczek AT poczta DOT fm> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:23PM (#19828245) Journal
    ...to which fans will reply with a generous "fuck you too."

    More news at 11.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Kitanin (7884)

      You're funny.

      Seriously, based on the players I see in the two GW stores in town, I doubt more than 10% of GW's base these days knows there's a story behind the minis, let alone that some people in the other 10% were making a fan film about it. This is going to be a ripple, at best.

      And if it gets any bigger, we'll just feed the God-Emperor of Mankind a few hundred more souls today, and he'll smooth it right out.

  • by rhartness (993048) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:23PM (#19828249)
    "Dammit! 'Somebody' has leaked the film..."
  • by ArchAngelQ (35053) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:29PM (#19828317) Homepage Journal
    They've done a lot to undermine their fans for years. That they are now buggering this up surprises me not at all.

    They have many creative individuals working for them that I respect, but as a company, they have basically sucked to be a fan of for YEARS.

    And really, their background material is largely 'borrowed' from other fantasy and sci-fi sources anyway, so that they should be so very protective, when the movie will just bring them more exposure and act as a huge advert for them, seems utterly ridiculous.
    • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @04:01PM (#19830385)
      I've played GW games on and off over the years, more off then on, but every once in a while someone gets me into it. They decided to bring their GW Stores to the US, which decimated game stores that used to sell GW stuff, not because of competition, but because GW would play games with events, etc.

      They also realized that their old-time base was mostly using their older miniatures, just updating rule books and adding a few neat elements. Their third edition tried to force changes by making the troops more powerful than the specialists, to encourage more purchases as well.

      They found that with their game stores, they were able to bring in teenagers with disposable income, but the other gamers didn't want to play with teenagers... makes sense, if you're in your 30s and 40s and have kids at home, your hanging out with the guys night is less fun if there are 14 and 15 year olds there.

      They found that getting teenagers into the game, who would drop money then disappear when they got older gave them a constant supply of people buying miniatures. The guy playing the same Imperial Guard army for 10 years doesn't generate that much revenue.

      They took a very anti-fan approach, and while it gave them a bump in sales, they have become one of the companies hated by gamers... including those that play their games.
  • by HexRei (515117) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:30PM (#19828339)
    That is really too bad. GW has made some great games over the years, I really enjoyed Warhammer and Space Hulk as a kid. Now, I HATE Games Workshop and hope their offices get infested with lice and skunks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 3chuck3 (512455)
      And Tryranids and Necrons...
    • Agreed, and I speak as a recently-stopped Warhammer 40k player.

      GW has gone significantly south in the last few years, along with its magazine/catalog White Dwarf.

      From Peter Haines whining about "the internet", Jervis Johson pontificating about "Just Play for Fun" without allowing reader feedback (Hey Jervis, why tournaments then?).

      This is just one more spike in the pudding.

  • by SolusSD (680489) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:33PM (#19828375) Homepage
    its all in the subject line
  • IP Laws (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GWLlosa (800011) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:34PM (#19828385)
    Apparently, they were completely willing to sanction the movie under the terms of a deal that they and the movie producers had agreed to regarding the ownership of the intellectual property (i.e., Games Workshop's entire universe). Then it turned out that according to German copyright law, the producers are prevented from signing away some of their own rights, which derailed the deal. What I'm curious about is what rights are you prevented from signing away? Does this mean that German developers can't assign copyright to 3rd parties (FSF?)? Does it only apply to movies? Why would it be a problem to willfully and knowingly explicitely sign away your rights to something as nonfundamental as a movie?
    • by cdrguru (88047)
      My understanding (limited as it is) is that you cannot sign away "moral rights" in Germany. This has many implications legally. It applies to everything that is copyright-able, such as books, movies, help files for software products, manual, artwork, etc.
    • by iknownuttin (1099999) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:42PM (#19828473)
      Then it turned out that according to German copyright law, the producers are prevented from signing away some of their own rights, which derailed the deal.

      There, you have it. There's a lot more to this story that's not even mentioned in the summary - it's just another /. IP is EVIL story. Just the summary on Wikipedia is kind of confusing. And to honest, I don't blame GW for putting the brakes on the movie. Wikipedia summary of German copyright law. [wikipedia.org] I'm trying to find more English versions, but even then, I'm not a lawyer, let alone a German lawyer.

      There's more to it than GW maliciously hurting fans.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by EikeHein (686534)
      Indeed, this has implications for European open source developers as well. The FSF Europe's mechanic for dealing with this problem is called the "Fiduciary License Agreement" (FLA) which works by giving $central_body a license that allows it to e.g. relicense code contributions made by the copyright owner. Press coverage on the FLA: http://www.linux.com/articles/60129 [linux.com]
    • Re:IP Laws (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zatic (790028) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:46PM (#19828515)
      You can't sign away Urheberrecht, which simply states that you are the original creator of a piece of art. Kinda makes sense to me.

      They could sign over the copy/distribution/whatsorever rights with no problem. But still GW can't say that they created this movie. Which they haven't. That's all there is to it.
    • by mocm (141920)
      I don't know if this is the relevant part of German copyright law,but it states that in case the work is resold, the original author can get a percentage of the price. This right cannot be signed away. But is limited by a 12500 Euro cap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gorath99 (746654)
      IANAL, but this may be about the moral rights [wikipedia.org] of the authors, which includes things like the right of attribution. In some countries/jurisdictions these rights can go quite far and cannot be transfered or waived. For instance, in The Netherlands, artists can object to defilement of their work. This can have nasty implications, for instance, when you want to alter a building you own in a way that the architect or interior designer objects to. My alma mater [www.uu.nl] cannot alter the interior design of one of its libra
      • by lastninja (237588)
        Are they allowed to tear it down completely?
        • by Gorath99 (746654)
          Yes, that they are, fortunately. The Dutch supreme courts have ruled in 2004 that demolishing a building does not violate the moral rights of the architect. (The LJN number of that case is AN7830, for those who are interested.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by foobsr (693224)
      What you cannot sign away is the fact that you are the creator (Urheber). If you are an employee, it is a different story.

      You can however sign away commercial rights (usage, protection).

      This is what the German Wikipedia says (and what I recalled).

      CC.
  • Well, duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by slapout (93640) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:34PM (#19828387)
    1. Leak film on bittorrent.
    2. ?
    3. Profit!
  • by lena_10326 (1100441) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:34PM (#19828391) Homepage
    ....for fans to submit work? Videos/art/themes/scripts/mods/etc.

    GW gets the credit and any revenue generated; fans get to be creative.

    If I was their CEO, that's the way I'd do it.

    • Avast!

      When a vacuum is created, something will fill the void. In GW's case, that something is Privateer Press (privateerpress.com).

      Now there's a company that knows how to interface with their customers!
  • by athloi (1075845) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:34PM (#19828393) Homepage Journal
    Then it's legal.

    This doesn't get around a truth of a world in which ideas generate money in a hostile environment where those without money suffer badly. If you create something, and own it, and want to keep profiting off of it, the tendency is to reserve as many rights as possible. And until you get the fifty million bucks that puts you and your family out of society's reach, that's what you're gonna do.

    Wonder how long that ill-designed paradigm will last.
  • Games Workshop has a history of not only keeping a stranglehold on their IP, but also doing their damnedest to control resellers as well. If there were a way to make miniatures self-destruct on contact with non-GW paint or scratch-built gribblies, you can bet that they'd implement it without blinking, and declare that all of the old miniatures are tournament-illegal. The idea that they might have to trust another outfit, even one so tiny as a bunch of hard-core fans, is utterly anathema to them.
    • If there were a way to make miniatures self-destruct on contact with non-GW paint or scratch-built gribblies, you can bet that they'd implement it without blinking
      Haven't touched their stuff since I grew up (I mean, became a boring old fart), but does their paint still suck like it used to?
      • Warning: I've only been a hobbyist for about two years. Their individual paints are fine. They've released a new line called "Foundation Paints"....aka paints that actually cover in one coat. However, they've totally screwed up their primers. They've stopped making the good stuff and just started selling Krylon, basically....it's horrible.
      • Haven't touched their stuff since I grew up (I mean, became a boring old fart), but does their paint still suck like it used to?

        No idea, but you've obviously never seen the spectacularly, hideously useless results obtained through attempting to paint a Citadel miniature using enamel paints intended for Airfix model planes.

        WHEN CULTURES COLLIDE and all that. Never again.

        • Enamels work perfectly well if you know how to use them - the first Citadel ones I ever painted (Chaos warrior & Orc hossifer on a boar) came as a gift and I painted them in enamels because that's what I had in my box. Previously I'd mostly done Airfix 1/32 & Tamiya 1/35 AFVs - I probably had more tanks than Rommel at one point. Sigh. Those were the days...
  • Ground isn't being broken here. Plenty of fan flicks have been created and distributed for everybody to see and the net benefit is more interest in the product...

    The fucktards are short sighted idiots who will undoubtly realize their stupidity when their fan/customer base up and leaves...

    You're only as good as your last [insert thing of interest].
    • .. imagine that.. .. among most of the tabletop/(non PC) gamers, GW is well known as 'the Evil Empire' of the tabletop world.. this is just another shiny example.. big deal..

      I'll admit I bought a few of thier things.. promptly modified them to be more realistic (why do evil robots need axes on the end of thier particle cannons? oh wait.. they dont.. THEY ARE EVIL ROBOTS!!!).. and used them for non-GW uses... hurray hurray!

    • Why would they need any kind of "permission" from Games Workshop to begin with? Games Workshop sells miniatures, i.e., objects. Saying that the people buying the miniatures aren't allowed to make a movie with them is as absurd as IKEA saying I can't make a movie featuring my coffee table!

  • As far as I can tell, everything that's not allowed by fair use (in the U.S.) is forbidden. If memory serves, the U.K. has no 'fair use' provisions in its IP law, so it may technically be more permissive than the default U.K. policy. Either way, it does seem like it hurts the fans without helping Games Workshop make any money.
  • At the heart of the matter appears to be Continental European copyright law, which grants the German film makers certain irrevocable rights to their creation which they cannot sign away.
    Ok, but they just signed Relic enough rights to make a game about Warhammer so what the hell?
  • by jdb2 (800046) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @01:47PM (#19828535) Journal
    ... "damnatus" means condemned. (perfect passive participle of "damno"/"damnare" -- "to condemn") YIAALG Yes I Am A Latin Geek jdb2
    • by giorgiofr (887762)
      Yeps, and (for completeness sake) der Feind im Innern ought to mean "the enemy within", but then again I'm not too good at German :)
  • This sounds alot like what has happened in the past with Paladium and WoC. Though im sure I will piss off some diehard ccg players and d&d geeks, face it their business if not dying is surely shrinking. Rather than embrace the technologies that are making them irrelevent they have chosen to mostly ignore them and instead bolster attempts to "protect" what they have to the point of turning away their audience.

    If it was my film i'd swap some of the characters around..throw in a semi rediculous sub plot
  • They're just in it for the money.

    Warhammer's title has a typo. As it's a reminder of the minimal buy-in price for a decent, tournament-official army.

    Warhammer $40,000

    Don't get me wrong, GW's minis are the shit. But between their money-grubbing and the paint-scheme nazi fans...

    FUCK...THAT...NOISE.

    Don't even get me started on WHOL.
  • by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @02:28PM (#19829025) Homepage
    An e-mail I just sent to Games Workshop Customer Service [mailto]:

    Dear Sir,

    Over the last months, since I discovered about the Warhammer 40,000 franchise, I had read many positive reviews on what seems to be a really nice fictional universe with some pretty good games based on it.

    However, after reading today's Slashdot article (link below) on how Games Workshop is bullying the producers of a German fan movie based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe, I must confess your misguided approach to the situation caused my interest to drop into nothingness.

    Link to the Slashdot article:
    http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/11/ 1536240 [slashdot.org]
    (I advise you to read both the article and the community comments below it.)

    Thus, I'm sad to inform you that, effective today, I'm not only utterly uninterested on your games, but actively boycotting each, every and all products based on each, every and all pieces of Games Workshop intellectual property. I'm also advising all my contacts (those who play games and video-games, and those who read fantasy and sci-fi to do the same.

    The moment you drop your bullying tactics towards fans is the moment I'll think about becoming one. Before that, sorry, but it's too risky.

    In the meantime, I hope you take the backlash on your decision wisely, for your PR and legal departments certainly don't seem to understand how the fan/producers relationship is developed and maintained in the new world of 21st century Internet. The geometric progression you'll experience on this matter in the following days will surely be instructive, provided your management shows some willingness to learn from it.

    Farewell, and good luck.

    Sincerely,

    Alexander Gieg
    Sao Paulo, Brazil

    • Nice email. I'd love to know if you get a response from them.
    • If you'd painted a nice mininature holding a sign with that text, you might have gotten GW's attention.

      However, GW seems to not get "that Internet" thing. From discontinuing their user forums to denigrating huge fan forums such as warseer.com.

      Sad really. Guess that's why I stopped buying their products. :)
  • A Lesson Learned (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tentac1e (62936) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @02:36PM (#19829115) Journal

    The links don't provide any details on what "go ahead" means, and there was no link to this copyright law they are talking about, so maybe I'm wrong. But it looks like these people spent years on a project without getting any clearance in writing. It sucks you had an unwritten agreement, but this will teach you to do your research.

    A few months ago, I was in a short that went through the process of clearing the rights to a song by The White Stripes. The director contacted their management, who took a look at the film and a few weeks later sent a contract (signed by Jack White) licensing the song. They didn't charge us a cent, but stipulations include not distributing the film commercially. Was it annoying jumping through legal hoops for one song? Yes, but that's how copyright law works, and that's how real filmmakers make films.

    You can either get written clearance before starting the project, accept that your film can be yanked at any time, or take the road of greatest artistic integrity and create original source material.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by EikeHein (686534)
      One thing they (Games Workship) did do, however, was promote the movie project in their own official magazine publication, the "White Dwarf". While not being a written permission, it does serve to illustrate how hypocritical GW's turn-around is on this one.
  • ...they're not using all the same tactics (yet) but they have the school spirit about right.
  • Dear Legal Department -

    I am writing to express my severe dissatisfaction with regard to the decision made by Games Workshop as to the organization's IP policy related to video productions. More specifically, I am concerned to hear about the process that was used to determine the company's stance with regard to the fan-produced movie Damnatus and how several years of labor from hobbists / enthusiasts was wasted producing something while internal deliberations took place.

    With all due respect for the valuable
  • 1. Absolutely crush any fan-based creativity so only you can create new material for the game without being sued. 2. ? 3. Profit? Seriously, Games Workshop seems to be run by complete idiots now, take a hint from the video games that so many of your potential fans now go to, people like to create fan movies and content; it helps your image and ultimately helps you sell stuff, embrace it! It's odd, a few years ago Games Workshop seemed to be on the road to a big return to doing extremely well again, but no
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @03:02PM (#19829417)
    On one hand, I know the law-weasels need to defend the IP to prevent someone else from coming along later and saying they have a right to it since nobody else was speaking up for it. It is an unpleasant but necessary bit of stewardship. On the other hand, ham-fisted and draconian enforcement will cause more harm than good. Why not have the fan filmmakers sign an official licensing agreement and just set the cost as something nominal like $1? GW can then show that the IP was defended, the movie was legally produced and distributed, and thus IP is defended and the realm is secure?
  • Obnoxious.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by UncleTogie (1004853) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @03:02PM (#19829425) Homepage Journal

    ...and after finding the link to their number, 1-800-394-4263, at their Contact Page [games-workshop.com], I called to get their take on this. I asked why they'd choose to alienate their fan base like this, and was told "to protect our IP". I asked just what the rationale was for this decision, and the response once again was "to protect our IP." I asked who made the decision, and the CS rep wouldn't say, just restating that it was their IP. "I know," I told them, "but using Star Trek as an example, Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning [starwreck.com] was lovingly made by fans of ST and Bab5 as a nice spoof. They weren't sued; they were encouraged." The rep once again quietly parroted "but it's OUR IP...", and I gave up.

    I'm not selling any of their material to make my money back, either. At this point, my choice is simply to burn it/melt it all down before someone else gets the infamous "FanBoi Bitchslap"....
  • (sent to custserv@games-workshop.com):

    Dear Sir or Ma'am,

    I am writing in regards to your decision to withdraw permission for the release of the fan-created film Damnatus, based on your Warhammer 40,000 universe. While I understand the economic necessity of protecting your intellectual property, I also have a difficult time believing there is no acceptable license under which it is possible for a group of such obviously dedicated fans to release a work that has been four years in the making - moreover, four y
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @03:33PM (#19829869)
    If GW gave them the okay and they can prove this, and the people making the film invested time and resources into the project in the belief that they were allowed to, only to have the plug yanked, then that puts them in a position to sue for their time and money.

    It seems ridiculous to even suggest that one should fight with the very group that inspired them, though. The whole world-wide hoopola over intellectual property we're investing so much time and anxiety into these days is totally nuts. --I've talked to teachers who tell their kids not to copy pictures out of books because it's copyright infringement. How crazy is that?

    Of course, I also find it interesting to note that War Hammer is all about hyper-competitiveness, focusing every last atom of one's soul upon the annihilation of your opponents. With that kind of crazy-selfish thinking, is it any wonder GW is acting this way? "I AM THE KING OF THE HILL. MINE! ALL MINE! NOW, DIE!!!"

    You don't see the Harry Potter franchise trying to stomp out fan fics. Or who knows? Maybe you do. The world is crazy enough.


    -FL

    • by Dunx (23729)
      Actually, yes you do see the Harry Potter franchise behaving stupidly - there were several stories about fan websites being sent cease and desists letters by Warner Brothers lawyers about brand dilution and so on.

      They haven't done that recently - the Potter people have learned.

      Games Workshop are special, as another poster remarked, because they have been pulling these kinds of customer alienating tricks for years. I gave up on the hopeless bunch in around 1990.
  • While we're discussing the vagaries of German law, isn't Nazi iconography (like, say, skulls and lightning bolts and everything else anyone in WH40K ever wears), illegal in Germany? I suppose there might be a "toy soldier" exception.

    Disclaimers:
    1) I'm opposed to the German laws in question. I believe that even Nazi's should have freedom of speech. To quote Chomsky: "Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you're really in favor of free speech, then you're in favor
  • Typical GW. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nim82 (838705) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @04:39PM (#19830963)
    I really am not surprised by this, I used to be quite a fan of GW products ~13 years ago. At the time they were quite cheap and you could collect armies relatively easily, they had a greater range too (I collected EPIC mostly). Then slowly but surely they began to ramp up the prices, first they made all £3.99 blisters £4 (not a big deal), then every couple of months £4 would change into £5 into £6. They began dropping gaming systems they couldn't market easily, EPIC got the chop - they replaced it with a LOTR themed Warhammer to tie in with the movies. Even the official rag White Dwarf has changed from a hobby magazine into an overpriced catalogue.

    When I first started they would let you play with custom armies in-store, if you had the odd model from another dev they didn't care, if you didn't have a Terminator with a Flamer they would let you use a normal one and put a counter by it. Nowadays the staff are nazi's, they wont let you play with a badly painted army, they wont let you use other miniatures in your army, you have to have the proper model for everything (unless it's a custom conversion using their gear). They wont even let you play their old games there anymore. The higher ups only want people to see in-store what they can buy, in-store gaming is now product placement, using the unpaid kids who game there these days.

    Since GW floated they have tried to screw everyone over, and a few of their big name developers walked (unsurprisingly). They are now in a catch 22; their steep price has deterred many from pursuing the hobby and they have driven away the vets (who now use Ebay). The result is lower sales, necessitating yet higher unit costs. In the not too distant future I can see them having to bail on miniature gaming altogether, and simply use their IP for video games and literature.

    Talking of games - I wonder if this will have an impact on the modding scene? There are an awful lot of WH/40k themed mods, most of which directly compete with the official games (and some tabletop systems). Time will tell I guess...

    They really are shooting themselves in the head with this one, utterly retarded given their predicament.
  • It's rumored (I don't know how accurate the rumor is) that the original Warcraft was originally going to be a Warhammer game. The deal supposedly fell through, and Blizzard kept the gameplay and units intact and instead came up with an original story, taking it out of the Warhammer universe. If this rumor is accurate, perhaps this is the very reason that happened (GW wanting complete control over it). There's a similar rumor about Starcraft/Warhammer 40K.

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan

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