PDA

View Full Version : GW sends out loads of C&Ds



BaronIveagh
12-11-2009, 07:00
While TBB has been the headliner, apparently quite a few sites have gotten C&Ds, and not simply for site name violations.

At the time of writing, the only major sites not targeted (thus far that i know of) are Warseer and DakkaDakka, with C&D requests ranging from reasonable to downright silly, and many of which seem to have little regard to the actual laws of the countries the sites are hosted in.

Personally, the ones that irritate me the most are their C&Ds against Port Maw and Dark Reign, as FFG seemed to have no problem with Dark Reign's activities, some of their employees even contributing on occasion, and Port Maw they haven't cared about for years, why freak out now? (other than their trademarks are up for renewal.)

+++Attachments removed by the Warseer Inquisition+++

marv335
12-11-2009, 08:15
FFG don't care because it's not their IP, they just license it.
Looking at that letter, GW are well within their rights.
You should hear what a few of my photographer mates have to say about people stealing their photographs off the internet.

Bartali
12-11-2009, 08:29
It's nobodies fault apart from the website owners who use GW trademarks in their URLs

GW have to persue these or else they may loose the right to the trademark

scarletsquig
12-11-2009, 09:34
It's nobodies fault apart from the website owners who use GW trademarks in their URLs

Uh, at the risk of stating the obvious, the above 2 sites have no GW IP in their URLs. Or are you just trolling on that point?

Brother Loki
12-11-2009, 10:49
That Dark Reign one is specifically referring to using GW copyright images without permission. As in actual pictures copied and pasted from the GW website and books, not fan-art. That's out of order.

The clause about not reproducing news stories is a bit odd, since surely you want news to be disseminated, but it is easy to get around by simply paraphrasing and linking, rather than actually copying the text.

I honestly don't see that GW is being overly heavy-handed over this. Even the timescale is not unreasonable. All they're asking is for an undertaking within 14 days that the site owners will rectify the situation and make every effort to prevent it happening again. That simply means writing a letter. All that letter needs to say is that they will make every effort to remove the infringing material as quickly as possible, but that it will take a certain amount of time to do so as they do not have 100% control over all of it and will have to coordinate with authors of individual documents etc.

Changing the banner so it doesn't have GW images on it seems an obvious first step, which it looks like has already been done.

I don't think this is nearly as big a deal as you do. they're not trying to shut you down, they're just trying to stop you copying their stuff.

Bartali
12-11-2009, 10:53
Uh, at the risk of stating the obvious, the above 2 sites have no GW IP in their URLs. Or are you just trolling on that point?

No not trolling, what Brother Loki said. It's not rocket science, don't use something that's either a trademark or a copyrighted image on your website.

IJW
12-11-2009, 11:15
Bartali, you claimed that the sites used GW IP in the URL - for instance using a GW trademark in the web address of the site. As Scarletsquig pointed out, this is clearly not true...

Anyway, back on topic, using copyright-protected images or other content on a site without permission from the copyright owner is a no-no, period.

Whitehorn
12-11-2009, 11:29
Bartali was probably generalising the collective sites targeted - because some of them have used GW IP in their URLS - ie TBB.

Brother Loki
12-11-2009, 11:34
What actually is TBB? Never heard of it.

Whitehorn
12-11-2009, 11:40
What actually is TBB? Never heard of it.

Talk Blood Bowl

Now Talk Fantasy Football :(

Satan
12-11-2009, 12:06
As someone pointed out earlier, the laws regarding this vary greatly from country to country. I should know as I work with this stuff on a daily basis. They do have a legal obligation to protect their trademarks, but I couldn't say for certain how that would work in the UK, since UK copyright law isn't exactly my area of expertise.

The claims presented in that letter, wherein they want Dark Reign to remove pictures and quotes seem entirely reasonable to me, except for the news part. If they clearly stated it was from FF's webpage then I don't see how it could ever constitute a copyright infringement under international law. But that's assuming they'd be using direct quotations which would be clearly marked as such.

For example:

Hey guys, check out this newsflash from Fantasy Flight Games:!

"As you can see from this week’s headline picture, we’re quite pleased to announce that The Radical’s Handbook has arrived in FFG’s warehouse and will be shipping out to a game store near you next week!

If there is one sentence you could use to describe what The Radical’s Handbook is all about, it is:"
- From Fantasy Flights Webpage (http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=926)

Would not constitute any form of infringement as far as I'm aware...

Bartali
12-11-2009, 12:28
Bartali was probably generalising the collective sites targeted - because some of them have used GW IP in their URLS - ie TBB.


Thank you Whitehorn, exactly what I meant. I should probably take more time over my posts ;)

Charax
12-11-2009, 12:55
So Dark Reign actually copied news stories verbatim and used GW images on their Amazon store? wow, that's incredibly stupid.

Still, the site has had a lax attitude to authorship and ownership since the beginning, glad to see they finally took the wrong thing from the wrong person and got slapped down for it.

chaos0xomega
12-11-2009, 13:01
AFAIK, you have the right to post quotes and images freely, a little thing called "fair use" and "public domain". 99% (ok, maybe not THAT much) of what GW does is in itself illegal (okay... maybe not ILLEGAL... but they seem to use laws that don't actually exist...)

Anyone know if 40konline got slapped? Not gonna say I hope for it... but I would be less than disappointed to see them go...

Leinad
12-11-2009, 13:04
Nobody denies that GW has the right to defend their IP, however is the best way of doing that sending out C & D's to fansites? Should they not be looking to help fansites thrive? I'm no legal expert but there has to be a way they can do this and keep there precious IP, after all there is other companies out there who are happy to have fan support that must manage it.

cornixt
12-11-2009, 13:29
AFAIK, you have the right to post quotes and images freely, a little thing called "fair use" and "public domain".

It's not fair use if you are using it to make money. That includes advertising, even if it only covers costs,

blongbling
12-11-2009, 13:29
GW wants to drive business and visits to their site, therefore this fits into the greater strategy for their business.

Curufew
12-11-2009, 13:45
The fan sites help draw in new customers and promote the games. All these are free internet publicity that GW enjoys and they confirm would have benefited from them. Yet they are shooting themselves in the foot by trying to shut down those fan sites.

I know they are trying to protect their IP rights but their methods seems kind of too overprotective. Their business model seems to be outdated in a world where most businesses would be glad that there are people out there promoting their products for free on the internet.

yabbadabba
12-11-2009, 14:02
GW wants to drive business and visits to their site, therefore this fits into the greater strategy for their business.

Interesting. I can understand the whole protecting the IP thing. Also, for those having a go at C+D's I'm not sure a "polite word" is legal enough.


The fan sites help draw in new customers and promote the games.How?

Crube
12-11-2009, 14:21
I've removed the original attachments as they should remain a confidential communication between 2 parties, and also contained private contact information

Crube
The Warseer Inquisition

Jim
12-11-2009, 14:23
The fan sites help draw in new customers

I wouldn't imagine this to be true - how would people who've never heard of GW stumble across a fansite before they found the official GW one??? Fan sites have always seemed to be specifically aimed at more experienced gamers who are aware of GW and are looking for like minded people to talk about their hobby with/ask for advice/etc...


Yet they are shooting themselves in the foot by trying to shut down those fan sites.


GW are not trying to shut down anyone. They are politely (using the legal equivilent of a nice letter) asking the sites not to use trademarked words/copyrighted images to promote themselves. They have no problem with sites like Warseer or Dakka Dakka as these sites are not infringing on their trademarks, etc...


I know they are trying to protect their IP rights but their methods seems kind of too overprotective.


You cannot be too overprotective with these issues - you either protect your rights or you don't - which means you lose them. In GW's case this would effectively mean the end of the company as a viable business.


Their business model seems to be outdated .


I agree in as much as I think there is more that GW could do to engage with people using new media/blogging/podcasting/etc...but it is there business so I guess they can choose not to pursue these avenues if they don't want to.

Regards

Jim

Satan
12-11-2009, 14:39
Interesting. I can understand the whole protecting the IP thing. Also, for those having a go at C+D's I'm not sure a "polite word" is legal enough.

How?

Well, this one could go both ways.

Internet traffic by use of keywords such as 40k, warhammer, etc will lead to a lot of different landing pages such as Games Workshops own and fansites among others. If there's a strategy to increase traffic to their own website by excluding metadata such as the use of 40k or warhammer in the website's title of a fansite then I'd surmise that they would hope to increase the... prevalence of official GW webpages when using search terms such as 40k for example - and that fansites would get a lower ranking from searchengines.

Try a search for 40k and see what kind of results you get, for example.

On the other hand, the more frequent some search terms are, competition to secure a good ranking increases. GW, being an internationally renowned company should hopefully have come to some sort of agreement with google which would let them keep a firm hold of top rankings for their trademarks - if not, then I'd bluntly state that they suck at this whole internet thing, although I'd like to give their webmaster some credit. It's a very fine webpage indeed.

Returning to the topic at hand - having alot of domains use your trademarks may indeed make it hard not to secure top spot, but maybe 2nd or 3rd - where you'd suppose a company like GW would just like something like the top 10 ranking results on a search term such as "Warhammer" to consist of official GW landing pages only. The upside is of course that direct or indirect traffic from these other sources may well be worth more than maintaining a firm hold on a number of top ranking results besides the first one.

It's an interesting move if it's a part of such a strategy, but whether or not it'll have any effect only the gods know. It could also be a dangerous one, leading to a situation where fansites which help increase awareness of the hobby and games ends up with little or no traffic, and there's no guarantee whatsoever that the users who visited that site will contribute much, if anything, to GW's own.

I'm not saying one thing or the other, but if I were to do it I'd target specific sites for specific terms such as "40k".

Ethically, if it's part of a grander strategy - it's a really bad and unfair move. GW are lucky to have trademarks that they can actually claim infringement against, whereas a lot of websites just have to put up with the competition.

That said, I probably wouldn't hesitate to do it myself in order to gain more traffic if I could - but I belong to the group which will just have to take the competition and succeed by having relevant content, good content and above all a thorough SEO (which is harder than you think given the stubbornness of some people in the IT or content crowd...).

Satan
12-11-2009, 14:42
I wouldn't imagine this to be true - how would people who've never heard of GW stumble across a fansite before they found the official GW one??? Fan sites have always seemed to be specifically aimed at more experienced gamers who are aware of GW and are looking for like minded people to talk about their hobby with/ask for advice/etc...

It can not be argued against, however, that fansites provide content which you will not find on any of GW's webpages, and could therefore be said to increase not only the amount of awareness regarding their trademarks and products, but also the presence of their trademarks and products in regards to search engines, thereby increasing the "width" or "breadth" by which you'll end up in contact with their products and/or trademarks.

Brother Loki
12-11-2009, 15:52
GW, being an internationally renowned company should hopefully have come to some sort of agreement with google which would let them keep a firm hold of top rankings for their trademarks - if not, then I'd bluntly state that they suck at this whole internet thing, although I'd like to give their webmaster some credit. It's a very fine webpage indeed.

They can't do this with the organic search results. They are determined by the relevance and authority (in SEO terms) of the page in question. It just happens that GW's own site has such authority (i.e. so many links) that it's likely to dominate the top spots for most of their brands. Google's not that impressed by an 'internationally renowned company' - a few years ago they gave BMW a temporary ban for using an SEO technique called 'cloaking' which violates their webmaster guidelines. The organic and AdWords systems are entirely separate.

They CAN prevent other people using their trademarks in AdWords though. It looks like they don't though, as plenty of resellers seem to use them in ads. The organic and adwords systems are entirely separate.

To me, there's a world of difference between publishing fan created materials and reposting actual GW property. The former is acceptable and encouraged while the latter is most definitely not.

BaronIveagh
12-11-2009, 16:04
I'm going to point out that legally, there is nothing illegal about using someones IP as part of your domain name so long as the site makes it clear that they are not official. precedent Beck v Eiland-Hall

Further, very little of what Dark Reign did was infringement under US copyright law, I've had several attorneys actually look this over, and the majority of it was covered by fair use.

However: one thing that did stick out to me, in all this was GWs transparent attempt to move the entire issue from copyright law to contract law, in their third clause of the C&D. In Netherlands, where the system admin lives, clause 3 is, in effect, not legally binding.

In the US, where the website is located, it is. I don't know about you, but to me that's pretty underhanded.

Satan
12-11-2009, 16:46
They can't do this with the organic search results. They are determined by the relevance and authority (in SEO terms) of the page in question. It just happens that GW's own site has such authority (i.e. so many links) that it's likely to dominate the top spots for most of their brands. Google's not that impressed by an 'internationally renowned company' - a few years ago they gave BMW a temporary ban for using an SEO technique called 'cloaking' which violates their webmaster guidelines. The organic and AdWords systems are entirely separate.


Pardon, badly phrased on my part. But my company does have a collaboration with a major search-engine provider which does enable similiar results for us. I suppose what I mean is: There's nothing to stop them from contacting a Google representative or a representative from one of google's collaborative partners in order to attain tips on how to "maximize" (if you would) their SEO. And it's of course also fully possible for them to purchase adwords in order to increase traffic.

The part about being able to "block" adwords is new to me though. Shame it's not possible for my company to use it due to the business we're in.

Avian
12-11-2009, 17:14
However: one thing that did stick out to me, in all this was GWs transparent attempt to move the entire issue from copyright law to contract law, in their third clause of the C&D. In Netherlands, where the system admin lives, clause 3 is, in effect, not legally binding.

In the US, where the website is located, it is. I don't know about you, but to me that's pretty underhanded.
Yeah, that made me wonder as well. I can't see them pursuing the matter further if a website just went: "Thank you for your letter, we have complied with 1 & 2."

Apart from anything else, it would be awfully risky to promise to adhere to a policy that might get changed without warning.

Narf
12-11-2009, 18:03
to me this letter is basically saying:

"get off our lawn, we dont mind you using it sometimes but people have damaged it, so everyone can get off it for the moment, and just look at it, not walk all over it, thankyou"

Reinholt
12-11-2009, 18:28
GW has intellectual property coming up for various renewals in court (keeping trademarks, etc).

If you do not show you are vigorously defending these, you are not granted a renewal.

This is surprising to nobody with a law background; companies do this all the time when their stuff is coming up for another look.

Satan
12-11-2009, 18:36
This is surprising to nobody with a law background; companies do this all the time when their stuff is coming up for another look.

It is to me as swedish legislation only requries proof of registered pattern, trademark and/or the time at which use of said items was begun and for how long they've been active. It doesn't force you in any way to oppose any form of supposed "infringement" unless you yourelf would be interested in pursuing the matter in legal form.

BaronIveagh
12-11-2009, 21:10
It is to me as swedish legislation only requries proof of registered pattern, trademark and/or the time at which use of said items was begun and for how long they've been active. It doesn't force you in any way to oppose any form of supposed "infringement" unless you yourelf would be interested in pursuing the matter in legal form.

The problem is that GW is up for more reviews then that. They've found thier IP is on shaky ground in some countries due to changes in trademark and copyright laws since they last applied and since they've backed themselves into a corner, they're terrified they'll lose their trademarks, which would cost them their only real source of income.

This has been egged on by the fact that GW has become increasingly paranoid about IP as they've slowly suffered declining profits. While most other mini manufacturers have multiple sources of revenue, GW is more or less a one trick pony, having become increasingly specialized over the years.


"Overspecialize and you breed in weakness. It's slow death."

IJW
12-11-2009, 21:20
They've found thier IP is on shaky ground in some countries due to changes in trademark and copyright laws since they last applied
Please tell us more - I'm not aware of any major changes to trademark or copyright law recently.

Hivefleet Kara'don
12-11-2009, 22:50
[QUOTE=BaronIveagh;4122977]While most other mini manufacturers have multiple sources of revenue, GW is more or less a one trick pony, having become increasingly specialized over the years./QUOTE]

Such as......

Privateer Press: Miniatures
Rackham: Minatures
Reaper:Miniatures
Foundry: Miniatures
Ilyad: Miniatures
Avatars of War: Miniatures
Dark Age: Miniatures
Crocodile Games: Minitures
Freebooter: Miniatures
Hasselfree: Miniatures
Shadowforge: Miniatures
Wyrd: Miniatures
Spyglass: Minitures

Need I go on?

Just what sre these other sources of revenue that GW doesn't have? Movies? Computer games? Pretty sure GW has both of those.

ZeroTwentythree
13-11-2009, 00:12
I think he means that GW relies heavily its IP as a selling point. He can correct me if I'm wrong.

A couple of those in your list, PP, Croc, Dark Age and Rackham are really in the same boat.

However Reaper, Hasslefree, Spyglass, AoW, etc. produce fairly generic fantasy (and sci-fi) figures. They're relying on individual figures, sculpting quality, etc. to sell their figures. Not the background stories of a fictional and trademarked world. Similarly Foundry (and Crusader, Renegade, Wargames Factory, Old Glory, etc.) sell historical figures, based on a look that can't be trademarked.

So there is no stealing of the generic "elf" IP or "paladin" IP or "British Redcoat" or whatever.

At least that's the way I read that.

grissom2006
13-11-2009, 00:31
This has been egged on by the fact that GW has become increasingly paranoid about IP as they've slowly suffered declining profits. While most other mini manufacturers have multiple sources of revenue, GW is more or less a one trick pony, having become increasingly specialized over the years.


"Overspecialize and you breed in weakness. It's slow death."

Yet GW gains sales in other areas that most table top games don't with multiple computer game releases for a starter and the up coming film. This shows that GW isn't a one trick pony and is expanding it's interests into other markets. All the more reason that GW has to protect it's IP Trademarks and Copyrights. GW's actions are actually quite tame compaired to some companies. I've known of businesses to only find out that they've allegedly fallen foul of another Companies IP or what ever when a summons to court arrives on the doorstep.

Brother Enok
13-11-2009, 00:56
GW wants to drive business and visits to their site, therefore this fits into the greater strategy for their business.

That would be a great move if thier own site wasn't a charlie foxtrot of epic proportions.

09Project
13-11-2009, 00:59
The BloodBowl one is interesting, really for a fan forum which has no financial interest to the owner should be able to use bloodbowl no problem, GW couldn't show that in using it it-

A- causes confusion in customers (most bloodbowl fansites using bloodbowl in the URL were clear)
B- causes any loss in revenue
C- the owner is not in any way getting financial gain.


I can understand the legal case against fumbbl.com , though I strongly disagree with it. Oh sorry GW but you let Bloodbowl go years ago when you forgot about it as 'it didn't force people to spend a minimum of £200 to play'. But fumbbl is a complete online recreation using name and obviously, GW could argue that it stops people buying there 15 year old models that they still got stockpiled and that it obviously uses their ip.

For me GW should, relaunch Bloodbowl as an official product, new model lines and back in shops, and launch some sort of collaboration with fumbbl. Also, they should leave fansites that have no financial interest alone.

BaronIveagh
13-11-2009, 02:10
Yet GW gains sales in other areas that most table top games don't with multiple computer game releases for a starter and the up coming film. This shows that GW isn't a one trick pony and is expanding it's interests into other markets. All the more reason that GW has to protect it's IP Trademarks and Copyrights. GW's actions are actually quite tame compaired to some companies. I've known of businesses to only find out that they've allegedly fallen foul of another Companies IP or what ever when a summons to court arrives on the doorstep.

The actual income that GW receives from those games and movies is actually fairly small (less then what they make on minis). GW is paid for the licensing of the IP, which is rarely a large percentage of the profit. As far as film profits go, the studios retain most if not all of them through a process known as 'Hollywood Accounting'. It would probably surprise you to learn that, if the books are to be believed, Spider-man, Titanic, and Star Wars made no profit. (I believe if I remember their investor release, they made something like 5m on the first Dawn of War, but I may be mistaken)

As far as 'my earlier one trick pony' comment went, Zero was mostly correct in my referring to that fact that GW is heavily focused on not only it's own IP, but a small percentage of it's own IP.

However, I'll include that they were in a position to branch out into a larger player, but instead decided to give up those aspirations to focus on their core business. If their earnings reports are to be believed, they aren't dead, but they are far from flourishing.

@IJW: That would depend on where you are. In the US copyright was extended from 75 to 120 years. I believe that a clause also came into effect that stated that the US does not recognize any copyright that is contingent on US participation in the Berne Convention.

Some aspects of Berne have also been rejected lately by some other signatories, throwing the legitimacy of that convention into doubt now, particularly the 'shortest time' rule that states that a copyright is only good for the shorter of the two periods of time that it could be copyrighted (IE you can't use Berne to copyright something longer then you could at home.)

The fact that some of GW's IP can be shown to have been copied from prior art has also come into play, as IP concerns which in the era of BP (Before Potter) were considered inconsequential now lead to multi-million dollar lawsuits. What happens when GW tries to renew their trademark on the tau, if the artist of that obscure album cover they copied the firewarrior armor off of shows up? (as an example)

(point of fact, Croc produces minis under contract with Paizo as well as their own IP, so they get free advertising, in a way, like Reaper used to with all those M:tG life counters))

precinctomega
13-11-2009, 09:43
I don't really see the big deal, here.

GW's legal department is perfectly entitled to send out letters asserting legal rights over whatever they please. Whether the recipients choose to accept that legal right or to contest it is up to them. The precise legality of the claim is then subject to dispute in the relevant court.

Of course, with the Internet being what it is, determining the "relevant" court would be an interesting challenge in its own right. But the point is that asserting of right isn't equal to ownership of right which is subject to test in court. The people who get these letters will tend to comply with their requirements, simply on the "anything for an easy life" principle, but that doesn't, in itself, assert GW's right to the matters asserted.

R.

Satan
13-11-2009, 10:03
I don't really see the big deal, here.

GW's legal department is perfectly entitled to send out letters asserting legal rights over whatever they please. Whether the recipients choose to accept that legal right or to contest it is up to them. The precise legality of the claim is then subject to dispute in the relevant court.
R.

In some countries, making legal threats which are unsubstantiated could very well be tantamount to fraud and land you a fine for your trouble.

grissom2006
13-11-2009, 10:26
land you a fine for your trouble.

Which happened in the far east not so long back resulting in some serious money being forked out by a major American company. As they tried to protect their IP and Trademark and fell flat on their face. So GW and it's legal cause with it's C&D orders isn't 100% fool proof it can be challanged. Thing is not everyone will challange it as they may not have the funds to do so, or they simply see it as not worth the hassle and easier to comply to it.

The thing to ask yourself is if you spent thousands and thousands creating a brand and a name. Wouldn't you do your utmost to protect it and stop others making money off all of your hard work.

tu33y
13-11-2009, 12:28
I've removed the original attachments as they should remain a confidential communication between 2 parties, and also contained private contact information

Crube
The Warseer Inquisition

did we get a Cease And Dissist order from the people who had sent the original Cease And Dissist order to the other people telling us to Cease And Dissist publishing their Cease And Dissist order telling them to Cease And Dissist?

Hena
13-11-2009, 12:28
The thing to ask yourself is if you spent thousands and thousands creating a brand and a name. Wouldn't you do your utmost to protect it and stop others making money off all of your hard work.
Have you ever met the idea of Free or Open Source Software? While brand names are a bit different (and more contested) but there are a lot of people who wouldn't really mind that from work perspective.

Satan
13-11-2009, 12:37
Have you ever met the idea of Free or Open Source Software? While brand names are a bit different (and more contested) but there are a lot of people who wouldn't really mind that from work perspective.

Also, there's stuff which you wouldn't possibly be able to sell and make a big enough profit, but a open source-solution might let you gain your income from advertising or something similiar instead, aight?

Imagine if we had to pay for Facebook. And how much do you think the ad space will be worth once web-editions of newspapers start to charge fees for their content?

Brother Loki
13-11-2009, 12:38
Open source is only open because the creators choose to make it so. GW has not chosen to make it's creations open source. The issue is one of consent. If people use GW property without their consent, they can't very well complain if GW asks them not to, particularly when GW's publicly advertised policy, which has been published prominently on their website for years, explicitly states that they do NOT consent to it.

grissom2006
13-11-2009, 12:57
Have you ever met the idea of Free or Open Source Software? While brand names are a bit different (and more contested) but there are a lot of people who wouldn't really mind that from work perspective.

Yes and use a good amount of it like many of us on here will do. This though is the choice of the creator to make it free. We all see the computer mags with the CD/DVD Roms on the cover often the software given away is the older version. They then also try and send you updates to get you to buy the newer flashier version of the software when it comes to company based ones. GW isn't such a company that goes giving us freebies except once in a blue moon. Even then it's still their IP, Trademark or what ever and they retain the rights to it and to protect it as they see fit.

So if your a charitable person or business you don't mind the fact that your stuff is freely given out.

GW has been issueing C&D's for years and years i've known 1 business in my area that all got them. They got one because they was casting up parts from GW kits and selling them on.

Hena
13-11-2009, 13:00
Yes and use a good amount of it like many of us on here will do. This though is the choice of the creator to make it free. We all see the computer mags with the CD/DVD Roms on the cover often the software given away is the older version. They then also try and send you updates to get you to buy the newer flashier version of the software when it comes to company based ones. GW isn't such a company that goes giving us freebies except once in a blue moon. Even then it's still their IP, Trademark or what ever and they retain the rights to it and to protect it as they see fit.
Sure GW hasn't and won't. However the question you asked was open to any parties and there is a lot of parties who don't mind others making money out of their work :). GW of course doesn't belong to this category.

Satan
13-11-2009, 13:15
Sure GW hasn't and won't. However the question you asked was open to any parties and there is a lot of parties who don't mind others making money out of their work :). GW of course doesn't belong to this category.

Then again there's the parties who don't mind making money out of their own work.

And sometimes I am doubtful whether GW belongs in this category.

Brimstone
13-11-2009, 14:11
Lets avoid this thread getting onto general discussion please.


The Warseer Inquisition

Brimstone
13-11-2009, 21:08
A number of off topic posts removed despite my warning, if you want this thread to continue then please stay on topic.

The Warseer Inquisition

decker_cky
13-11-2009, 21:31
I can understand the legal case against fumbbl.com , though I strongly disagree with it. Oh sorry GW but you let Bloodbowl go years ago when you forgot about it as 'it didn't force people to spend a minimum of £200 to play'. But fumbbl is a complete online recreation using name and obviously, GW could argue that it stops people buying there 15 year old models that they still got stockpiled and that it obviously uses their ip.

For me GW should, relaunch Bloodbowl as an official product, new model lines and back in shops, and launch some sort of collaboration with fumbbl. Also, they should leave fansites that have no financial interest alone.

Amusingly, fumbbl was the weakest of the cease and desists. The infringement is javabbowl, which is NOT related to fumbbl. Fumbbl is a league controlling results of people using the javabbowl client. The letter to fumbbl said "don't link to javabbowl and don't host our rules and make it clear that you aren't official."

junglesnake
13-11-2009, 22:37
This may sound incredibly stupid but I will say it anyway:

Am I right in saying that by law to protect their copyright/trademarked material etc GW have a choice of either protecting it as they are with C&D or infact drawing up an agreement that allows certain people to use it?

I thought that that was the point with trademarks etc in that you allow people to use it. For example 'Lord of the Rings' is not a GW trademark and they have to pay for the rights to use it along with all of the other names etc.

However when it comes to the arrangements for how much they should pay etc - the people who do own the trademark could have simply allowed GW to use it for free. The only thing needed would be a document to back this up. So surely GW could have taken up this option and informed sites that were infringing the use of their trademarks to sign up to a basic sort of contract allowing them free use of some of their trademarks etc?

Or am I like I stated initially - being rather silly?

Hena
14-11-2009, 07:54
Am I right in saying that by law to protect their copyright/trademarked material etc GW have a choice of either protecting it as they are with C&D or infact drawing up an agreement that allows certain people to use it?
Nope. With trademarks it's something like that with copyright it is nothing like that. Also with trademark it's quite easy to go around like GW points out (http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article.jsp?catId=&categoryId=&section=&pIndex=5&aId=3900002&start=6)

Steve54
14-11-2009, 18:45
Has Port Maw actually recieved a C&D letter? The vast majority of other cases seem to be BB and therefore new BB computer game caused

Hena
14-11-2009, 20:53
Librarium Online seems to have gotten one

http://www.librarium-online.com/forums/general-announcement/182704-letter-gw.html

Deamon-forge
14-11-2009, 21:11
woow GW are on the ball at the moment with these letter. so would i get one for my web site name Daemon-forge? (whitch i havnt done anything to in years) as i am using the name Daemon????

Hellebore
14-11-2009, 22:30
No. Daemon is the old english spelling of demon. GW didn't invent and cannot copyright that word.

GW also cannot copyright or trademark their rules. They can do that to the actual TEXT used for the rules, but they cannot actually prevent others using the game mechanics.

So if you are really keen you can take all their rules and rewrite them and post them up for people to download free. So long as they don't use GW IP and are written in a different manner to that published by GW, they cannot stop you doing it.

You could take the BB rules and turn them into icehockey rules (by the simple expedient of changing the name to BloodHockey). Same rules, same game, different words.

Games mechanics aren't copyrightable so go nuts.

Hellebore

SonofBaharlu
15-11-2009, 06:31
I'm glad they have no presence in Pakistan or India. I for one would laugh at their attempts to either protect their IP laws as none exist as far as I'm aware in Pakistan. Would love a GW to open there and see themselves surrounded by the same product at a cheaper price and they could do nothing about it.

yabbadabba
15-11-2009, 14:45
I'm glad they have no presence in Pakistan or India. I for one would laugh at their attempts to either protect their IP laws as none exist as far as I'm aware in Pakistan. Would love a GW to open there and see themselves surrounded by the same product at a cheaper price and they could do nothing about it. And I wonder how quickly that would lead to the end of GW :rolleyes:

Again we have a situation where the community think they know better from hearing one side of the argument or just by expressing their opinion. If GW are sending out C+D orders then there is a reason. Whether that reason is legally right or morally right cannot be discussed without first acertaining GW's provocations and motives.

One thing cannot be denied. GW have a legal and moral right to protect what they consider as theirs. Should anyone successfully challenge that it won't be the storming of the winter palace but a case of GW readjusting their fences.

Arador
15-11-2009, 15:54
You say that like the end of GW were somehow a bad thing...

It is an interesting thing that the overall tone of the discussion is extremely different on different forums. Some take extremely partisan views, others have the entire thing descend into chaos. Birds of a feather, I suspect.

yabbadabba
15-11-2009, 18:10
You say that like the end of GW were somehow a bad thing.... I do. A change in strategic management would not be objected to over here though.

warhammergrimace
15-11-2009, 20:35
Its sad that a lot of sites have been given C&D letters, but to be honest most have committed some rather silly mistakes. It quite clearly states on their website what you can and can't do. Including a copyrighted name in a URL or images that quite clearly GW copyright are silly mistakes. It would make sense that GW provided a fan site press kit, which included images and text that you could freely use, then all these C&D's wouldn't be necessary.

I edit Irregular Magazine, and we make sure that if we include anything GW related, there statements that say this article is unofficial and we also include disclaimers at the back of the mag.

Though to be honest we do tend to shy away from articles that are GW related because of the IP police, because it's difficult to be sure what is infringement and what isn't.

We have been told we can't carry reviews of any products, also we can't cover any official events in the magazine as well. Its a shame but, well there are plenty of other gaming systems we can cover.

I guess these will be the first of many C&D's that will be issued over the next few weeks and months.

Satan
15-11-2009, 21:48
It would make sense that GW provided a fan site press kit, which included images and text that you could freely use, then all these C&D's wouldn't be necessary.


I always use Blizzard as an example in these situations - they probably have one of the best marketing and PR divions out there and readily supply their fans with kits like this. Not to mention, they're one if not THE most successful company with "gaming" products.

canucklhead
15-11-2009, 23:43
Grimace brings up a huge example of what not to do to get your name around.

We can't carry reviews of products, or cover official events.

As the organizer of an event, that I hope will bring in more customers, and more sales, I could think of little I'd like more than a fan magazine wanting to include an article on my event, for free no less. Or who would like to review, or reproduce my reviews for their readership, who are, after all, my customer base.

It's as simple as sending a form that entitles an independant entity to use certain published items with GW's permission, subject to the acceptance and strict adherence to some end user rules, such as not altering those items, or allowing them to be copied or redistributed.

Vaktathi
16-11-2009, 00:17
How?

By allowing them to get information beforehand that they may not get from staff members (or may simply not live near stores) and converse with other players, get ideas, help and tips, helping them find places to play (warseer did this for me) and many other things.


To discount the importance of fan circles and websites would be a painful error on GW's part. Protecting their IP is one thing, but ignoring the importance many of these communities have to their bottom line would drive any professional marketer insane.

Arador
16-11-2009, 05:45
Does GW even have any professional marketers on staff? It's not like they advertise.

yabbadabba
16-11-2009, 09:58
By allowing them to get information beforehand that they may not get from staff members (or may simply not live near stores) and converse with other players, get ideas, help and tips, helping them find places to play (warseer did this for me) and many other things. That doesn't bring in new customers. Extra custom maybe. Mr Bod and his son, Jamie Bod age 12, aren't going to stumble onto Warseer and then discover the joys or wargaming.
Friends, WD, GW's or Indies stores do that.

Avian
16-11-2009, 10:08
Extra custom maybe.
You're saying that as if earning more money was a bad thing for a company. ;)

erion
16-11-2009, 10:18
We can't carry reviews of products, or cover official events.

Huh?

How the heck is a product review infringement? I thought (perhaps mistakenly) that such a thing would be the very essence of fair use. As long as you don't use their official images or publish actual rules in the article, wouldn't you be in the clear?

warhammergrimace
16-11-2009, 10:34
I'm assuming that the reason they don't allow any magazine to do reviews of their products is that by not allowing, then there is no chance of getting a bad review, or bad publicity. Yes they also won't get a good review, but there is no one saying in a magazine that a particular product is no good, or over priced etc.

The fact that this company relies on word of mouth, shutting down fan sites seems to me to counter productive, as a lot of gamers are now going to be slightly miffed, which will probably mean some won't buy anything between now and xmas, some will quit the hobby, some will just switch to rival product and a lot are going to be bad mouthing the company, providing negative word of mouth feedback.

AndrewGPaul
16-11-2009, 10:52
I don't think they can prevent reviews of their stuff. What they don't do is send out free review copies, but that's different.

Zexitox
16-11-2009, 11:54
I'm assuming that the reason they don't allow any magazine to do reviews of their products is that by not allowing, then there is no chance of getting a bad review, or bad publicity.

Been reading through this and thought I'd better chip in here. I used to work as the editor of a mainstream youth music magazine in New Zealand. We had a games section in the mag (mainly console games) and when Warhammer 7th Edition first came out I contacted GW to see about getting a review copy. They were happy to oblige and sent in the 'Battle for Skull Pass' box and all the images I needed as well. For some reason the set was sent from Australia though, which was a bit weird considering there was a GW store 20 mins drive from the office...
So maybe the "no review" thing is a new policy.

But I don't think anyone can stop you from reviewing anything anyway. They may choose not to supply you with product but if you get go and get it yourself you can still review said product. Pretty sure there's no law that could or would ever stop you reviewing whatever you like.

Brimstone
16-11-2009, 12:02
None of this has anything to do with the thread topic I'm sorry to say.

I'll give a final warning before thread closure - PLEASE STAY ON TOPIC

The Warseer Inquisition

DDogwood
16-11-2009, 14:01
Has GW sent out any C&Ds to people who have merely reviewed their products, or mentioned reviews in any C&Ds?

x-esiv-4c
16-11-2009, 14:20
Good question. What are the limitations of a C&D order?

AndrewGPaul
16-11-2009, 15:02
It's not an order. Basically, all it means is "can you please stop doing that or we'll sue you".

Reinholt
16-11-2009, 16:51
A C&D (Cease & Desist) is not an order. It is a statement that the entity sending the C&D believes you are doing something for which they could sue you, and that they would like you to stop before they do sue you.

Sometimes they are bluffs, they certainly are not always sent on issues for which a company could win in court, but it's primarily the "shot across the bow".

One of the main benefits is sending them to people who don't have the money to pay for legal defense if they get sued; you can bully those poorer than you with them, to be blunt.

With regard to reviews, there is no country I am aware of under which a review constitutes a copyright violation, so I would be stunned if GW C&D'd anyone reviewing their products, and in the US, you could counter-sue based on tortious interference.

AndrewGPaul
16-11-2009, 17:05
IANAL, but a cease and desist letter isn't a requirement for pursuing legal action against someone you believe to be infringing your rights. Depending on your opinion of GW, these letters are either an attempt to bully web admins into dojng what GW wants, or an attempt to ask web admins to comply with the law without resorting to legal action.

warhammergrimace
16-11-2009, 17:16
Does anyone know how many C&D's have been sent out, I've heard its in the region of 50. Though I've no idea if this correct, or which sites, apart from the larger ones, and what for.

I'm guessing they've all committed some IP infringement as far as GW is concerned, but to be honest I would estimate that over half of fan based GW sites are probably committing some form of IP infringement. Most sites I've been to have images/artwork from one of the two game systems, especially some of the fanmags. It would be a shame to see some of these get C&D's cause generally its for armies or aspects of the hobby that are no longer supported by the company.

Reinholt
16-11-2009, 18:23
Does anyone know how many C&D's have been sent out, I've heard its in the region of 50. Though I've no idea if this correct, or which sites, apart from the larger ones, and what for.

I'm guessing they've all committed some IP infringement as far as GW is concerned, but to be honest I would estimate that over half of fan based GW sites are probably committing some form of IP infringement. Most sites I've been to have images/artwork from one of the two game systems, especially some of the fanmags. It would be a shame to see some of these get C&D's cause generally its for armies or aspects of the hobby that are no longer supported by the company.

Keep in mind that a C&D shouldn't prevent a site from operating; they might just have to remove the offending images. The only issues that are clearly infringed upon by the very existence of the site are those where the URL is a GW trademark, or where the entire purpose of the site is some sort of infringement upon IP (if, for example, someone were using a website to publish books in GW's universe for commercial gain).

As I also stated previously, a bunch of GW's IP is up for renewal in the courts (trademarks, copyrights, etc), and the net result is that companies always get more aggressive with these deadlines coming up to eliminate potential counter-arguments to their IP.

Given that GW has also made enemies out of a few companies, it is not implausible someone would assail them.

yabbadabba
16-11-2009, 19:24
One of the main benefits is sending them to people who don't have the money to pay for legal defense if they get sued; you can bully those poorer than you with them, to be blunt. Or its a legally polite way of saying "Stop or we will sue you", so that the first time you find out about your infringement isn't a letter saying you are getting sued.

Reinholt
16-11-2009, 20:05
Or its a legally polite way of saying "Stop or we will sue you", so that the first time you find out about your infringement isn't a letter saying you are getting sued.

I didn't say it wasn't, but I know for a fact that you can (and do) use them to push around smaller entities in many kinds of business. That's one of the main benefits; people don't like burning money if they are going to get sued, and if you think the other side is serious about going to court, a lot of times you just stop doing whatever.

That's not making a judgment about GW in particular. It is stating the empirically verifiable fact that C&D's are used, consistently, to push people around in turf battles. That's part of how law works, and you have to be in denial or a fool not to consider the possibility any time you get a C&D from a larger entity.

yabbadabba
16-11-2009, 21:36
I didn't say it wasn't, but I know for a fact that you can (and do) use them to push around smaller entities in many kinds of business. That's one of the main benefits; people don't like burning money if they are going to get sued, and if you think the other side is serious about going to court, a lot of times you just stop doing whatever.
That's not making a judgment about GW in particular. It is stating the empirically verifiable fact that C&D's are used, consistently, to push people around in turf battles. That's part of how law works, and you have to be in denial or a fool not to consider the possibility any time you get a C&D from a larger entity. I dont deny that either Reinholt. People often over react when these things get passed around and invariably the bigger party is accused or are implied to be, bullies. If after all this time people don't realise that GW will "defend" against IP "abuse", often vigorously, then they better have a good brief and a deep wallet. Without concrete evidence of intent, I wanted balance in this discussion.
I think someone challenging this in court is a good thing. Either ruling, both the community and GW benefit.

lanrak
17-11-2009, 10:37
Hi all.
GW PLC appear to be wanting to have thier cake and eat it!

GW PLC decided to cut game development and support in the hope that fans would take it upon themselves to sort it out.
(FAQs alternative rules for armies and game settings etc.)
GW SGs were a trial that went very well.

Now GW has saved a small fortune by giving the 'difficult support aspects ' over to the fans.

The legal team have more targets to jump on.

C& D letters CAN give prefered alternatives /options ,that aviods the removal of volentary donations to a site.(Which appears to be the killer blow, IMO.)

Eg '....Change name to 'XXXX' OR remove donation button from your site...' may have been more acceptable?

TTFN
Lanrak.

IJW
18-11-2009, 10:13
As I also stated previously, a bunch of GW's IP is up for renewal in the courts (trademarks, copyrights, etc)
Which countries have copyright periods that short? Not that you 'renew' copyrights - once the protected period is over it becomes public domain.


GW SGs were a trial that went very well.
Specialist Games was an experiment that struggled to break even, from what I can remember of discussions in the past. :(

canucklhead
18-11-2009, 10:59
IJW, I think it was implied that GW SG succeeded in the sense that Fan Maintained Living Rulebooks and various other rules systems worked quite well.

IJW
18-11-2009, 11:51
Fair enough!

RobC
18-11-2009, 11:57
Which countries have copyright periods that short? Not that you 'renew' copyrights - once the protected period is over it becomes public domain.It's the trademarks that need renewing. They have a nasty tendency to lapse if left alone for too long (CF several Transformers characters having name changes, and the various reissues of Talisman supposedly existing purely to retain rights).

Chris_Tzeentch
18-11-2009, 12:05
It gets worse - check out this thread on Tabletop Gaming News -

http://www.tabletopgamingnews.com/2009/11/17/31483

Satan
18-11-2009, 12:13
It gets worse - check out this thread on Tabletop Gaming News -

http://www.tabletopgamingnews.com/2009/11/17/31483

Yeah. I was just looking at that. I don't know what to say about it really, but I can tell you that the interwebz doesn't really give much for what GW thinks about discussions regarding someone else's products!

That just points to an incredible inability to understand how international business (and the internet) works. If a Taiwanese (for example) company decides to create unofficial products which could be used as, or marketed as, for example Fantasy Football Star players or what the heck - an Iphone protective cover - there's not much either GW nor Apple could really do about it.

For example, the following statement does not AFAIK imply any type of copyright infringement:

"This model can be used to represent an elite player in your fantasy football team, or maybe as a Starplayer or famous personality in any game of your choice, such as XXX"

XXX - Insert random starplayer name here. Possibly along with GW reference.

A failure to meet consumer demands is just that, and you can't put the blame on somebody else for your own company being unable to create business models which generate effective revenue when they're just acting according to consumer demand.

If I was going to do this, then at least I wouldn't do a press release about it!

IJW
18-11-2009, 12:16
It's the trademarks that need renewing.
That was my point. Copyright doesn't need renewing, and the shortest protection period I can think of is something like 40-50 years - longer than GW has been in existence.

GomezAddams
18-11-2009, 12:42
I saw that this morning and was unsure where to post it, its kind of depressing really - its a catch 22.

Say all those companies, who lets face it are small buisnesses, do comply in an effort to conform to these new demands by GW in order to keep there customers happy, then whats to stop GW pointing to XYZ model and going 'Aha! That human is clearly intended to be a human star player from our game!'.

To me, its not GW worrying about profit as lets face it even if they did release those missing star players it wont generate a lot of revenue - you arent going to buy a star player unless you already have a team, and even then not the whole set.

Its GW throwing its dummy out the pram after seeing other companies being successful with a niche product. The Impact! website has dozens of models (the monkey in fez still makes me smile) of all shapes and sizes and even small companies like heresy have a FF range that does well; no wonder GW's unhappy at not being in on the action, but its there own fault as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, I'm off to download all the specialist games rules books, just in case :D

Hena
18-11-2009, 13:05
It gets worse - check out this thread on Tabletop Gaming News -

http://www.tabletopgamingnews.com/2009/11/17/31483
So? They don't make models and don't want the rules to include them. I don't see problem in there. Since GW is "hugely active" with SG tournament (or leagues I suppose should be said in this game) scene I don't see it making much problem to any actual player. The ERC (or what ever it's called in Blood Bowl) just hosts the star players in other site where organisers get them and nobody loses anything.

SonofBaharlu
18-11-2009, 15:39
So? They don't make models and don't want the rules to include them. I don't see problem in there. Since GW is "hugely active" with SG tournament (or leagues I suppose should be said in this game) scene I don't see it making much problem to any actual player. The ERC (or what ever it's called in Blood Bowl) just hosts the star players in other site where organisers get them and nobody loses anything.


Prove that the models are benefiting from GW rules. Heresy Miniatures have their own game called "DeathBall".

Impact Miniatures have their game as well called "Elfball".

Privateer Press has "Grind".

GW thinks it is the only miniatures company out there that produces rules and miniatures is sickening. I've yet to see proof of these miniatures that GW is so crying about.

warhammergrimace
18-11-2009, 16:33
I've just seen the notice about star players on TGN, is it me or is this whole issue just becoming slightly insane.

They mention the discussion of using miniatures in replace of star players, I might be wrong but I've never come across any mini company saying or discussing this. I've seen plenty of discussion on a number of forums between players about using minis from other manufacturers, but not the manufacturers themselves.

So can players discuss the use of somebody else's minis or not.

Reinholt
18-11-2009, 16:44
I've just seen the notice about star players on TGN, is it me or is this whole issue just becoming slightly insane.

They mention the discussion of using miniatures in replace of star players, I might be wrong but I've never come across any mini company saying or discussing this. I've seen plenty of discussion on a number of forums between players about using minis from other manufacturers, but not the manufacturers themselves.

So can players discuss the use of somebody else's minis or not.

I am going to give GW an important piece of professional advice on this topic:

If you do not produce a product, and then threaten your customers when they find substitutes for it with punitive changes to your product, the backlash will hit you, not the people they are finding substitutes from.

You failed to support these games with miniatures while providing the rules for them. People, unsurprisingly, found ways to make or acquire these models to use the very rules you published. Getting bitter that they did this, and then eliminating the rules (despite you never having supported them appropriately in the first place) just makes you look like a total ***************

The cat is out of the bag. You aren't losing major money (if any) on this; you might be gaining if this is increasing the popularity of Blood Bowl. Don't **** people off for no reason.

Trust me on this one.

Brimstone
18-11-2009, 16:53
One piece of advice to everybody spitting their dummies out over the BB 'news'

There is nothing official about this in any way, it was posted on a news website (TTGN) from TalkBB from a person involved in LRB6 who got it from GW.

Hardly cast iron evidence that this is actually the case.

t-tauri
18-11-2009, 16:58
Please keep inside the posting guidelines.

There is at this time no evidence that this actually originated from GW or is their actual corporate position.

canucklhead
18-11-2009, 22:49
I will say that I generally trust the word of Tom Anders implicitly, as he's a classy gent, and a fine fellow to have a game of Blood Bowl against.

But with no comfirmation that those are the genuine words of Tom, I'll wait for a bit more before I get too angry.

I would, however, not be surprised in the least.

Brimstone
19-11-2009, 06:48
There is a thread in the BB forum about this subject, the thread is here. (http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4140457#post4140457)

To avoid duplicate discussion this thread is now closed.

The Warseer Inquisition