How Not To Win Fans: Game Maker Sues Fan Site

from the drop-the-warhammer dept

samkash was the first of a few of you to send in the news that Games Workshop, makers of (among other things) the tabletop Warhammer games, has apparently decided to sue the operator of a Warhammer fansite. The website is WarhammerAlliance.com, and is run by a company called Curse. Now, some will quickly say that the trademark owner needs to enforce its trademarks or risk losing them, but it's not quite that simple. First, that's only in the case where the use really is infringing. A fan site that is clearly not associated with the company is unlikely to confuse consumers and hardly a dilution issue, since it would likely increase the value of the Warhammer brand. Second, even if it really was a trademark issue, the company could respond by granting the fansite a free license just to encourage the community. It takes a pretty shortsighted view to instead sue the operators of a fan site.


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    Malak (profile), May 10th, 2010 @ 8:00am

    Games Workshop have always acted like this for years in connection with their miniatures-based wargames... This is very much business as usual for them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2010 @ 8:15am

    Their customers are people with enough money to spend hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars on toy soldiers. Why they would do anything to anger their customers is beyond me.

     

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    Saragon, May 10th, 2010 @ 8:45am

    Seconding Malak

    This is definitely not a new thing for Games Workshop. Consider last year, when they forced BoardGameGeek.com to remove dozens of fan-made rules sheets, updates, and other non-commercial files.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    "Conduct as aforesaid has caused great and irreparable injury to Plaintiff, and unless such conduct is enjoined, it will continue and Plaintiff will continue to suffer great and irreparable injury."

    Haha what irreparable injury? Promoting your extremely overpriced table top war game? You need all the fans you can get GW. But like previously stated GW has always been like this with Warhammer.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2010 @ 9:28am

    Commercial?

    Somehow the concepts of "fansite" and "... run by a company called..." seem at odds. Aren't fansites usually created by individual users? Maybe that's the issue... the potential that some commercial entity's profiting by this...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2010 @ 10:40am

      Re: Commercial?

      sorta seems like that but at the same time just because someone is making money off of derivative works of your own product why would you get mad?

      At most they are producing add ons or just a repository for information. They are doing all the hard work of finding out what your customers really want which you could just steal for yourself after doing customary "re-deriving" of their work of your work to make new stuff to actually sell in shiny packages that fans you KNOW love.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2010 @ 9:37am

    This is about Warhammer Online, not the boardgame.

    Curse Gaming (www.curse.com) is largely centered around news, discussions and most importantly addons for various MMO games... including Warhammer Online and World of Warcraft.

    http://war.curse.com/downloads/war-addons/default.aspx is the direct link to the Warhammer Online addons that curse hosts.

    Sites like these aggregate user developed modifications to the various games and that's the value they provide to their readers/customers.

     

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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), May 10th, 2010 @ 10:51am

      Re: This is about Warhammer Online, not the boardgame.

      Correct.

      Its also interesting that the site has been in existence for at least 2 years (it has been running since the MMO was in beta).

      While Games Workshop may not have been aware of the site, the Electronic Arts (they run the MMO) folks absolutely were, as there were EA devs and EA community people discussing various issues on this and many other fan sites in beta and in the months after launch.

       

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    Mike, May 10th, 2010 @ 11:02am

    They have long since sold their soul.

    They have long since sold there soul.

    I was young, I was 14 or so, they had released their new version of Warhammer fantasy with the new "Bretonnians". I bought in. Support was terrible for the game in the US (outside of urban centers), i pressed on, I loved the game. Eventually, GW decided to move to a new version of the game... and released a god awful fly-by-night set of temp. instructions which horribly inbalanced certain races (mine among them), and not a little. A LOT. They then said "dont worry, dont worry, we will fix this and release new and workable rulebook for many races-- including Bretonnians." they then annouced it would be just over 2 years before that rulebook would hit stores.

    ...this all is a little tangencial, but the point Im trying to make, is GW has long made clear, they dont care about what few fans they have left. They destoryed Warhammer fantasy to the point where most people dont even release there is a non-warhammer 40k. GW is a greedy company that cares nothing for their fans.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2010 @ 11:23am

    If GW wants to sue someone over "Conduct as aforesaid has caused great and irreparable injury to Plaintiff, and unless such conduct is enjoined, it will continue and Plaintiff will continue to suffer great and irreparable injury". Why don't they sue EA/Mythic for releasing a craptacular game with their name on it?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2010 @ 11:28am

    When i saw the headline "Game Maker Sues Fan Site". I knew already that it was Games Workshop.

     

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    Anonymous User, May 10th, 2010 @ 1:34pm

    Maybe this is why there are those rumors about scientology's involvement in gw...

     

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    jsf (profile), May 11th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    The Originals

    As others have said this is nothing new for Games Workshop. They have actually been suing their fans for decades.

    I always figured the RIAA, MPAA, and such got the idea from Games Workshop.

     

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    Jeremy2020 (profile), May 12th, 2010 @ 8:14am

    While I do think it's silly to sue a fansite, be careful about propping up Curse. This is not a well regarded site and often does a lot of shady things to make money.

     

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