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The Courts Games Your Rights Online

Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Online Fansite 182

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-anger-your-base-again dept.
chalkyj writes "WarhammerAlliance.com (run for the last five years as one of the leading fansites for the MMORPG Warhammer Online) is being sued by Games Workshop for the use of the 'Warhammer' name, 'cybersquatting' and 'unfair competition.' This lawsuit is yet another in Games Workshop's disturbing pattern of suing their fans and hobbyists, this time going after a legitimate fansite for their MMORPG franchise. The full complaint (PDF) has been posted online."
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Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Online Fansite

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  • by QuantumLeaper (607189) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:16PM (#32139762) Journal
    They took it down because the reviews stunk. I don't know anyone who plays GW stuff anymore, even though they have a store in town. A decade ago, I know a dozen or more who played regularly.
  • Looks like they (Score:3, Interesting)

    by toxygen01 (901511) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:24PM (#32139832) Journal
    chose the very opposite path that CCP hf. (EVE-Online) decided to go. They are doing whatever they can to prevent their fans to create some fan platform.
    CCP is helping fans with:
    • making videos
    • writing and publishing books about eve
    • reporting on events from eve universe
    • writing howto's and publishing them online
    • reporting on events from within CCP
    • providing API's for fan's servers and custom programs

    creators of warhammer seem to take the exactly opposite way...
    let's see how long it'll last

  • by logjon (1411219) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:59PM (#32140134)
    27. The domain name warhammeralliance.com and the mark WARHAMMER ALLIANCE itself literally states and implies that defendants and their business are in an "alliance" with Plaintiff and its products and services offered under the WARHAMMER Marks. Stupid indeed. It would be funny if it weren't so illustrative of bogus IP action that takes place every day. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait for ACTA.
  • Re:Typical GW (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jonwil (467024) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:01PM (#32140626)

    Here in Australia I see a bunch of "Games Workshop" stores around that I assume are owned by GW themselves

    Other than that, I havent seen any GW stuff around (not that there are that many places around that sell tabletop fantasy and sci-fi war gaming bits)

    Games Workshop needs to realize that the whole "screw the customers, fans and resellers" crap isn't a good way to make money. (Wizards Of The Coast, another big player in gaming owning both Magic The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons seems to be doing a lot of the same crap Games Workshop is doing)

  • Re:Typical GW (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bieeanda (961632) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:15PM (#32140724)
    I was in a local gaming store, when the owner was explaining why he stopped carrying Warhammer stuff. They tried to twist his arm over minimum purchases, and he told them that if he wanted to be a Warhammer store he would have opened one. This was at least ten years ago, and the actual Warhammer store in town that opened at about the same time lasted all of three months.

    Warhammer Online's faults should be laid at Mythic's feet, though. Their earlier Realm-vs-Realm game, Dark Ages of Camelot, was plagued with a similar variety of design flaws and bugs.

  • Re:Typical GW (Score:5, Interesting)

    by makomk (752139) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:40PM (#32140892) Journal

    Yeah, there was an interesting post [slashdot.org] on this in the last thread on the topic. Of note is that their anti-reseller antics only apply in the US and not in the UK - not because Games Workshop is any more ethical in the UK, but because the Competition Commission here came down on them like a ton of bricks and forced them to cease their anti-competitive practices forthwith. Unfortunately, the US is kinda lacking in the consumer protection department and there's a lot of political opposition to correcting this.

  • by azrebb (850804) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @07:21PM (#32142484)
    Love the IP, hate the company... I used to work for them in the Australian arm. Back then, they had had slave wages for the drones who loved the games and filled the lower rungs, but for some reason, the upper echelons had non-gamers who seemed to be doing alright for themselves.
  • Re:Typical GW (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vintermann (400722) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @03:48AM (#32145186) Homepage

    Not on nearly the same scale. You can still sell your MtG cards on ebay. WotC also are not abusing their resellers to anything near the same degrees.

    What you could say they have in common is that they are ripping off their customers. And WotC used to be a lot better (open gaming license, selling PDF versions), so they are moving in the wrong direction. But they are still a long, long way away from GW.

  • Re:It's worth noting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @04:38PM (#32149152)
    There is obviously a big difference in privately run fan site and a site owned by for-profit corporation like Curse. Naturally the agreements made with the previous owner do not hold after he sold the site to a corporation trying to make profit with it.

    Depends on the agreement. Just acquiring something doesn't invalidate all contracts. And I'd guess the previous site was not non-profit (as setting up such things to be legal non-profit entities is harder than just running it like a pro-profit business). So if they have an existing contract with a for-profit entity that's acquired by another for-profit entity, then that contract would be 100% in effect today unless there was something specific in there limiting the agreement such that it wouldn't persist after an acquisition.

    And who the hell cares if they are trying to make a profit from it? There were banner adds before. There are banner ads now. Whether they have better integration with a for-profit fan-oriented conglomerate of sites is irrelevant to the point and purpose of that site.

    I believe it is possible that they have recently discovered that the site is now ran to make profit. While I certainly don't like corporations suing devoted fans, I can see why they are suing the new owner of that site. It's not owned by a devoted fan anymore, it's a corporate asset. It may still be a bad move PR-wise, but it's lot more understandable than "suing a devoted fan site", which most people here seem to think is the case.

    I can see them not wanting the site around. But not wanting something and having legal grounds to declare it illegal are two separate issues. You seem to be arguing that since they might not want it, that it's "understandable" that they sue it. For one, it is still a fan site, since the vast majority of content on it is by fans for fans. And for another, understandable motives do not necessarily make for an understandable court case. I can see no basis for this case, other than throwing out lies and hoping the recipient of the lies decides it's cheaper to give up the domain for free and rename the site than to fight it. I've seen nothing in the complaint which sounds like sound legal grounds. If you disagree, please point me to any specific claim you believe is sound legal grounds and that you believe to be true. Otherwise, you aren't addressing the topic at hand, but just whining about the people posting about the topic at hand.

"Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit!" -- Looney Tunes, "What's Opera Doc?" (1957, Chuck Jones)

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