FYI [GW Cease and Desist letters effect on the community]

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lostinnm
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#37 » Dec 07 2009 03:39

I think the biggest issue for LO with the C&D letter is the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). Under the DMCA all GW would have to do to shut down LO would be to send their hosting provider a letter stating that LO was infringing on their LO and copyrights, and all of LO would be taken offline by their hosting provider, no questions asked. From there LO would have to either switch hosting services (Which might be difficult due to the way their last hosting ended), or prove through the courts to their hosting provider that they were not infringing on GW's IP. So, they'd be guilty until proven innocent, and if it took 6 months to prove that they weren't infringing on GW's IP, then LO would be down for 6 months. Plus the legal fees.

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Peregrine
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#38 » Dec 07 2009 03:52

I don't buy this argument that GW is only doing what it absolutely has to if they wish to keep ownership of their IP at all. GW is FAR more aggressive about these things than other game companies.

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TheAmbit
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#39 » Dec 07 2009 08:02

Bad publicity is good publicity. . . Realistically, other game companies are for the most part smaller and can be more hurt by angering their small consumer base and are usually quite happy to have people toss around their image and name to help spread the product.

GW may not market the product currently but it may in the future. Claiming that the product does not exist currently is not a defensible reason to allow it. GW does not currently make red spray paint I'm aware of, but you cannot start producing it and selling it as a 'Blood Angel Primer' just because GW doesn't make it and blood, angel and primer are not unique inventions of GW.

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Lyi'ot
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#40 » Dec 07 2009 08:18

Honestly, I'm getting a little tired of GW's policies. This includes their recent crusade against BoardGameGeek, as well.

I think I'm going to go play a game where the fan base is respected and appreciated.

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Kies'el
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#41 » Dec 07 2009 09:47

I took a really good look at that librarium online logo...
If I didn't know what Librarium Online was, I wouldn't have associated it with 40k at all. It looked like the kind of crap FPS clans make for their logos. Vaguely based on a major league sports logo with the kind of tacky fantasy imagery you see on knickknacks they sell at truck stops.

It has a "double headed eagle", which looks absolutely nothing like the GW double eagle, or any other double headed eagle crest for that matter. The traditional heraldic double headed eagle has the heads pointed outward and wings spread, which is where GW gets their design from. This specimen looks instead like two griffin crests facing each other that have been intertwined , with some Celtic knots thrown in for good measure.

It also has the planet earth in the background, some stars on the border, and the words librarium & online.

There isn't a single element or combination of elements in the logo which GW has any legal claim over. Even the word librarium just means bookcase in latin, and thus predates GW by millenia.


The only link to GWs IP is through the forum topics themselves.
Someone at GW needs to stop giving their legal team so much crystal meth.

If GW got their site shut down they might be able to sue for damages. But they would still have to pay the legal fees out of their own pockets with no guarantee of compensation.

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lostinnm
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#42 » Dec 08 2009 01:30

Kies'el wrote:If GW got their site shut down they might be able to sue for damages. But they would still have to pay the legal fees out of their own pockets with no guarantee of compensation.


Exactly, if LO was shut down, they would probably lose 30% of their members within the first month, and 5% every month after that. If you have any advertising on your site, that is a huge revenue hit. And GW wouldn't really have to win the suit, I doubt the people at LO have large pocket books so all GW would have to do is stall the system for a couple years while the people at LO go bankrupt. Sad but in our day $$ does equal being right.

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Peregrine
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#43 » Dec 08 2009 01:38

To be clear: the LO logo in question is NOT the one that is currently on their site. THIS is what their old logo was, and while it is still questionable whether GW really has a case (and whether they really need to shut it down even if they do), the connection to GW's IP is much clearer.

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XV-02
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#44 » Dec 08 2009 04:36

Agreed, Peregrine, the connection is clearer, but that double-headed eagle is still unique enough from the one I've grown to associate with GW, that outside of being told I would never associate the two logos.
The double headed eagle is not by any means unique, and while GW has a unique twist on said heraldry, they cannot stop others from using similar imagery (although using the same imagery I could understand them wanting to stop), just as Microsoft cannot sue the makers of Lindows for the similarity of name with Windows.
To my eye LO has different head and wing designs. I don't know, maybe I'm the only one who sees a difference enough to distinguish. I will concede that I may be nit-picking differences.
I still think the best course of action would not to be cease and desists, but instead some form of creative commons.


Theambit wrote: GW may not market the product currently but it may in the future. Claiming that the product does not exist currently is not a defensible reason to allow it.

Well, I may have a case which, in some respects, mirrors this one: iPhone IP. Unfortunately we'll never know the outcome as both companies negotiated an agreement allowing each use of the name. I bring this case up because, if it wasn't a feasible legal route, Apple wouldn't have stood its ground against the much bigger Cisco systems. While not solid proof in favour of a contrary statement to your own, it is at least something which lends itself to my previous argument.

Theambit wrote:GW does not currently make red spray paint I'm aware of, but you cannot start producing it and selling it as a 'Blood Angel Primer' just because GW doesn't make it and blood, angel and primer are not unique inventions of GW.


Theambit, while I can see your point, I still think that the cases are different. Your idea stands to gain by making sales because of the name, where as LO shirts are sold because of LO, it just so happens that those shirts contain a small, arguable, bit of GW IP (and even then, the legitimacy of the GW IP claim could be called into question). Even then, at least GW makes a red paint, as well as spray paint primer, and has the Blood Angels name association, as apposed to no clothing market presence and only a resemblance in a minor detail of an image.

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TheAmbit
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#45 » Dec 08 2009 02:36

A friend of mine has a green shirt that has a 5+ on the lapel and 'The Emperor Protects' on the back. Where would this have come from?

If it was a GW prize or marketted item then they do have a market presence.

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brotherjason
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#46 » Dec 08 2009 06:03

Despite the fact that LO was using GW IP in their logo, keep in mind that other C&D letters have gone out to other sites like Board Game Geek which have prompted them to remove any and all GW IP, whether it violated their rights or not. This is actually what I'm more afraid of. GW will scare you with a C&D letter and because most fans aren't lawyers and don't understand all their rights they will simply shutdown their site. This almost happened to talkbloodbowl.com. I know under U.S. copyright and trademark law you're allowed "fair use" of protected material. I think GW should clarify this in their legal usage statements and provide fans with a kit so they can have their own fan sites, boards and clubs without worrying about a C&D letter from GW.

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Louder Than Thunder
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#47 » Dec 08 2009 06:36

I think Games Workshop have really put their foot in it this time. War gaming as o hobby is based on a strong sense of community, with most gamers playing a large majority of their games in a club. If gamers want to be inspired they pop along to war gaming hobby sites. If gamers need help learning the tactics of their particular army then they ask questions of hobby devoted websites like ATT.

Everybody knows the importance of advertising in selling a product. however for advertising to be effective there must be a clear link from the advertisement to the manufacturer. At the end of the day sites like ATT blatantly promote Games Workshop product, and in doing so are providing free exposure of GW products as well as providing a friendly community for hobbyists. Many such sites use GW recognized imagery in different forms in order to recognize and promote the fact that they are based around the Games Workshop hobby.


I think the GW people could learn from their latest rival Privateer Press. People like privateer press and have reason to. They sell bitz for their minatures, they have launched free PDF compact rules and stat cards for Warmachine MkII, and yes they also have their own forum boards attached to their commercial web site.

What I am finding is that Games Workshop are starting to look like the bad guys. They centre around sales above all else (which is fine) but in doing so they are inadvertently making themselves look bad, and I would think that this is coming down to the fact that GW is being ran by businessmen, not gamers.

I think that GW should be promoting gaming community sites, and instead of sending Cease and Desist messages they should be checked over, provided with official GW images, and Authorized by the games workshop company. these authorized sites could be linked to the GW site and in turn these sites could have GW links imbedded. that way the Gaming site are supporting the retailers and Vise versa. Win win, don't you think?

LTgland
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#48 » Dec 08 2009 06:53

The boardgamegeek C&D was for people releasing copies of tokens for games etc....
Sure the games were out of print, so bad on GW for being nasty about it, but it still stands that people were using the IP.

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brotherjason
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#49 » Dec 08 2009 07:32

LTgland wrote:The boardgamegeek C&D was for people releasing copies of tokens for games etc....
Sure the games were out of print, so bad on GW for being nasty about it, but it still stands that people were using the IP.


But as BGG pointed out, how does a 20+ year-old out-of-print game that you release replacement tokens or cards for affect GW's bottom line? I understand wanting to protect IP that is making them money, but at some point you need to draw the line.

There has been a disturbing trend in copyright and intellectual property laws in the last couple of decades. It used to be that a work was only protected for a short time and then it became public domain. Many say this stimulates new ideas. But certain corporations like Disney have fought hard to have perpetual copyright and intellectual property protection. IMHO these old games should simply be released to the public domain. If GW or FFG wants to do a re-print these re-prints are usually followed by rules updates, new artwork and sometimes new figures (i.e. Space Hulk). I'm sure fans of the older games that are in the public domain will still be interested in owning the new version. I understand that something in the public domain can be re-produced by anybody who wants to make a quick buck (just look at all the cheap public domain books you can download for the Kindle or Nook), but doing this still costs money and not everybody is going to release the game. Then there are those that would like an official copy of the game rather than a downloaded and printed version of the game.

Back when Napster was big I used to download songs and if I liked them I would go out and purchase the CD (long before iTunes). I think they generated more CD sales this way than by going after people for downloading the songs.

LTgland
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#50 » Dec 09 2009 01:41

brotherjason wrote:But as BGG pointed out, how does a 20+ year-old out-of-print game that you release replacement tokens or cards for affect GW's bottom line? I understand wanting to protect IP that is making them money, but at some point you need to draw the line.


Agreed it does seem silly they went hunting BGG but then again look at Space Hulk. That was re-released, who knows what else they may decide to re-release.
It was stolen IP, bad luck on BGG part.
I view this in the same light as illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants are that in order to better their life (in gaming terms: improve their game, repair stuff, etc). If they get caught, legally they have no "rights"/legs to stand on, they should shrug, get deported and try again later.
The same can be said about IP theft, they got caught, they need to shrug and move on and try again later.

I wonder if people would be so quick to condemn GW if someone walked into a shop and just took stuff. After all that model has sat there for ages and no-one is using it. Its obsolete, its a 2nd ed model, etc, etc, etc.

GW are an evil empire, they are there to make profit and that is their primary motivation, but stealing from an evil empire is still stealing

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lostinnm
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#51 » Dec 09 2009 01:53

LTgland wrote:I wonder if people would be so quick to condemn GW if someone walked into a shop and just took stuff. After all that model has sat there for ages and no-one is using it. Its obsolete, its a 2nd ed model, etc, etc, etc.

GW are an evil empire, they are there to make profit and that is their primary motivation, but stealing from an evil empire is still stealing


But it's more along the lines of, you walk into the store, ask to buy the models sitting at the back of the store, and they refuse to sell them to you. You ask where you can buy them from someone else, and they tell you that you can't buy them from someone else since that would be wrong. And they go so far as to tell you that if they catch you with those items, they're going to call the police and get you arrested.

So they don't sell the product
They don't support the product
They refuse to let anyone else support the product (Even for free)
They threaten people who talk about the product (talkbloodbowl.com)
They threaten people who get others interested in their product
:?

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Orpheus Hangar
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#52 » Dec 10 2009 12:05

lostinnm wrote:
LTgland wrote:I wonder if people would be so quick to condemn GW if someone walked into a shop and just took stuff. After all that model has sat there for ages and no-one is using it. Its obsolete, its a 2nd ed model, etc, etc, etc.

GW are an evil empire, they are there to make profit and that is their primary motivation, but stealing from an evil empire is still stealing


But it's more along the lines of, you walk into the store, ask to buy the models sitting at the back of the store, and they refuse to sell them to you. You ask where you can buy them from someone else, and they tell you that you can't buy them from someone else since that would be wrong. And they go so far as to tell you that if they catch you with those items, they're going to call the police and get you arrested.

So they don't sell the product
They don't support the product
They refuse to let anyone else support the product (Even for free)
They threaten people who talk about the product (talkbloodbowl.com)
They threaten people who get others interested in their product
:?

Well put, good sir.

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Louder Than Thunder
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#53 » Jan 11 2010 07:03

Oh Dear.

Games Workshop is however a corporate business and as such they do have to fully protect their IP or they could risk losing it.

At the end of the day the thing that sets Games Workshop apart from other miniature producing firms is the intellectual property. Without Games Workshop Tau would not exist, and neither would Beastmen, Space marines, or the forces of Chaos. Without the massive amount of fluff that surrounds GW miniatures the plastic and metal sets would be just another source of Si-Fi minis.

I think that GW could really sort out their IP issues, but shutting down users is the wrong way to go about it, but in the end it is their property, and it is the only thing that separates them from miniature producing firms such as Essex, or Airfix.

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Tael
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Re: GW Cease and Desist letters and the effect on the community

Post#54 » Jan 18 2010 03:51

Great final thoughts in this thread and for a near flammable topic, well discussed all. I think the essentials are covered and some sound concerns and points on why GW acts this way have been made.

I'll be locking this thread. :)


- Tael.

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