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Games Your Rights Online

Games Workshop Goes After Fan Site 174

mark.leaman writes "BoingBoing has a recent post regarding Games Workshop's aggressive posturing against fan sites featuring derivative work of their game products. 'Game publisher and miniature manufacturer Games Workshop just sent a cease and desist letter to boardgamegeek.com, telling them to remove all fan-made players' aids. This includes scenarios, rules summaries, inventory manifests, scans to help replace worn pieces — many of these created for long out of print, well-loved games...' As a lifelong hobby gamer of table, board, card and miniature games, I view this as pure heresy. It made me reject the idea of buying any Games Workshop (read Warhammer) products for my son this Christmas. Their fate was sealed, in terms of my wallet, after I Googled their shenanigans. In 2007 they forbid Warhammer fan films, this year they shut down Vassal Modules, and a while back they went after retailers as well. What ever happened to fair use?"
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Games Workshop Goes After Fan Site

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  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @05:12AM (#30280778)

    meaning you have to fight for it in court which, in the American Legal System means you need to have deep pockets. Most people don't have the cash/want the hassle and so they just fold, even in extremely clear cut cases on their side.

    Fortunately, once ACTA passes we won't have to worry about protecting fair use anymore.

  • Talk about Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DiSKiLLeR ( 17651 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @05:15AM (#30280800) Homepage Journal

    Talk about Idiots.

    I know someone will step in with the proper history... but did you know, Blizzard was originally meant to make Warhammer games for Games Workshop?

    After they had a falling out and denied blizzard their IP, blizzard modified it sufficiently and renamed it into Warcraft, releasing the original "Orcs and Humans" game. Needless to say, they've had nothing but the most immense success with Warcraft 2, Warcraft 3, various expansions, and now World of Warcraft and its Expansions. As well as giving it a Sci Fi twist and coming up with Starcraft 1 and 2.

    I've always hope Games Workshop was kicking themselves hard over their stupidity for losing blizzard to make their own even more successful franchise when games such as Warhammer Online are a total flop.

    But I guess they haven't really learned anything going by their current behaviour.

  • by Asmor ( 775910 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @05:20AM (#30280828) Homepage

    Giving Warcraft a sci-fi twist?

    I think you mean "Doing to Warhammer 40k what they did to Warhammer Fantasy."

    It's pretty obvious that Terrans, Zerg and Protoss are analagous to Space Marines, Tyranid and Eldar respectively. They barely even filed off the serial numbers.

  • by Datamonstar ( 845886 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @05:24AM (#30280850)
    Wouldn't want to have people actually using our products now would we? Just keep buying the ones we tell you to buy, or else we'll punish you for not wanting to change to our mindset. It's why I stopped playing D20 games. After 4.0 came out with NO open content, I turned and never looked back. I've always stopped by their stores and thought HOW in heavens they keep afloat. A dedicated shop front for a hobiest game cant be all that efficient. Besides, there's just no way I'd drop that much cash on figurines just to play a game, but then again it's not my kind of hobby. I do play P&P PRGs, after all, and that require quite a bit of pricey dice and books, so who am I to talk? Seeing this now, I'll be pretty glad to see them going out of business soon.
  • by KermodeBear ( 738243 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @05:59AM (#30281064) Homepage

    I used to be involved in WarHammer table-top games. The books never did much for me, but the tabletop game was great. I never owned my own stuff; always played with a friend who had quite a lot, so I never needed to.

    Well, he moved away at some point, and I decided that I should get some of my own stuff. That ended very quickly when I found out just how much I had to pay for a single piece of cheap, unpainted plastic.

  • by abigsmurf ( 919188 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @06:47AM (#30281320)
    Fair use is a legal right.
    This is not fair use.

    They're scanning and posting Games Workshop's art, judging from the article, it's all the art relating to games like Space Hulk. They've revived Space Hulk in the past, it's not unthinkable they'll revive it again. Regardless, they're an active company, you don't have the automatic right to almost completely reproduce their work.

    They rely on stuff like codexes and boxed games for a large portion of their income. Given the traditional fantasy nature of their products, it's incredibly important they protect their IPs and trademarks.

    Think they're over-reacting? Look at Warcraft. That was originally going to be a Warhammer game. Their legal team fell asleep on the job, didn't sign a properly binding agreement and Blizzard decided that they'd just remove the GW branding, give the game a slightly different name and keep all the royalties. To rub salt into the wound, they then released Starcraft which again was more than slightly familiar to GW fans.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @09:57AM (#30282516) Homepage

    Hmm, £168 is cheap? Well, I guess if you enjoy paying money to hang out with little kids then it might have improved. As I said, I bailed when it was pay-to-win, and didn't go back to see if they'd stopped beating their customers. I guess you loved them enough to change them.

  • Re:Lesson of TSR (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WWWWolf ( 2428 ) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:27AM (#30283600) Homepage

    Of course, the company that invented the OGL has now abandoned it.

    My gut feeling tells me the abandonment of OGL was Hasbro's doing, not WotC's. Hasbro is the type of company that isn't concerned about people actually using the products for anything at all, just that people shut up and pay for that stuff. (And yeah, I'm feeling a bit weird defending WotC, who itself believed in gutting money from people with their cardboard crack. =)

    But yeah, I'm fairly certain that somewhere, somehow, there was a change in management and a new boss forgot to figure out all good things that the old boss had done right. And in GW's case, those who forget the history are doomed to repeat it.

  • by jamesbulman ( 103594 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:40AM (#30283814) Homepage

    (full disclosure, I worked for GW for a year back in 1995)

    I don't disagree that their behavior is shady and underhanded, but if you're signing a contract with all these restrictions surely alarm bells should be going off. It's only sensible then that you should do some research into what you're getting yourself into.

    It just sounds like classic selling your soul to the devil for short term gain.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)