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Blizzard Sued By Game Guide Creator 285

Posted by Zonk
from the don't-have-a-monopoly-on-info dept.
Gamespot reports on a suit brought by a game guide creator against Warcraft-maker Blizzard Entertainment. The two parties will be going to court because of an attempt by Blizzard to quash a guide the plaintiff created for the World of Warcraft MMORPG. Offered electronically through eBay, the company claims that the guide creator is infringing on their IP. From the article: "Kopp's complaint argues that his book does not infringe on any of the companies' copyrights for several reasons: The book presents a disclaimer on its first page about its 'unauthorized' nature, contains no copyrighted text or storylines from the game, and makes "fair use" of selected screenshots under copyright law, the complaint said."
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Blizzard Sued By Game Guide Creator

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @02:11PM (#15011966) Homepage Journal

    Here's another person creating his own art based on the prior art of someone else. The copyright and IP laws make no sense to me -- why is it OK to protect the overall look of a game or the name when pieces of the game are taken directly from thousands of games before it? Why is it wrong for someone to use their own labor to make a product (even a direct knock off) and go and sell it?

    I believe in true freedom and true competition. Both are what is best for the consumers in the market and the producers as well. If someone is willing to spend their own time and their own labor creating something with their own hands, I see no reason why the product shouldn't be allowed to sell. I personally tend to buy some items from large companies just because I feel I've gotten better quality products, but there are many items I won't buy from a big company because I prefer the unique feel of the item.

    Intellectual property laws were originally created to protect artists and artists alone. Blizzard is not an artist, it is a co-op of artists. The idea that a co-op can have more rights than an individual is ridiculous -- individuals have rights, co-ops are just groups of individuals trying to market a huge variety of products together. Each artist at Blizzard has their own art they've created, and they should worry individually about making the best produt they can at the lowest price. That is competition.

    Making a knockoff or a product that supports another is the best part of competition -- it gives the market a choice in goods of varying prices and quality, and it also allows others to make a product better by supplementing it with add-ons, upgrades, modifications and third party support services. Can you see Google suing someone for writing a guide to using Google? Wouldn't that guide give Google free marketing and promotion for their product?

    Blizzard is run by MBAs, I guess, not artists. These "educated" businessmen don't see the value of free promotion; they should be taking advantage of this guy's supplementary art by promoting his product just as he's promoting theirs. They can both profit, and the consumers will walk away with the products they want at a price they're willing to pay. That is competition, and that is freedom.

    The argument that invention and art would not occur without the force of copyright and IP is over. We see proof here that people can't create something based on previous work (as every work is) because the cartels with the power of the legal industry are the ones controlling the law -- the law meant to keep opportunities open, not close them off.
    • Funny, one of the word of the day phrases on Google today is "The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race." - Don Marquis.

      It ties in that Blizzard will stifle any competition because it only wants itself to make money. Maybe Blizzard wants to release its own Game Guide. I, for one, hope Blizzard loses or else this may set precedent for others to sue publishers for producing Game Guides.
      • Funny, one of the word of the day phrases on Google today is "The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race." - Don Marquis.

        That's funny, actually, because I was looking up that quote a few weeks ago. I tend to think of it a bit differently: "The chief obstacle to the progress of an individual is democracy."

        It ties in that Blizzard will stifle any competition because it only wants itself to make money. Maybe Blizzard wants to release its own Game Guide. I, for one, hope Blizzard loses or else this may set precedent for others to sue publishers for producing Game Guides.

        The precedents set can affect more than game guides. Why isn't it illegal to do a review of a product? Why isn't it illegal to complain about a product? I'm sure there are cases where both were true.
        • by deinol (210478) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @03:28PM (#15012559) Homepage
          The precedents set can affect more than game guides.

          Except there is no precedent set unless the trial actually concludes. Most often something like this is dropped or settled out of court.

          The real question is, can this guy afford to stay in the fight long enough to bring a case to conclusion?

          The main reason a big company is willing to sue small ones frequently, is that even if the law doesn't support the big one, they can afford to outlast a small one so the little guy gives up without a fight. It isn't right, but it is the way it often goes.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        There's already an official game guide out there. It was written and published by Bradygames but Blizzard endorses it and sells it on their online store. It's outdated and not very useful at all.
    • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @02:39PM (#15012171) Homepage
      Here's another person creating his own art based on the prior art of someone else.

      While I understand what you mean, you might want to avoid casual use of the term 'prior art' as it is a term of art in patent law, and this is essentially a copyright discussion.

      why is it OK to protect the overall look of a game or the name when pieces of the game are taken directly from thousands of games before it?

      These are really two different questions. So long as the assemblage is creative and original, it's not a problem that many of the component elements are not. Dragons and knights and rescuing princesses and so on are all staples of the fantasy genre and are unprotected, but what you do with those elements may be perfectly worthy of a copyright. And there are a lot of ways you can put those parts together. Think of them as being like legos; the individual blocks aren't interesting, but what you do with them is. As for the name, that's basically just consumer protection. If I bought a bottle of soda with the word 'Coke' all over it, I don't want it to actually contain coffee or something.

      Why is it wrong for someone to use their own labor to make a product (even a direct knock off) and go and sell it?

      It's not wrong, per se. But it might be unwise. Until fairly late in the 19th century, US copyright law didn't include a derivative right. So, if you wrote a book, anyone else could translate that book into another language without needing permission or having to pay you, the original author. If we have this right, then that means more of the possible profit that can be made from a work is directed to the author. This increases the incentive he has to create and publish works, and one goal of the copyright system to cause works to be created and published. Of course, we must balance this against other goals of the system, such as having the least restrictive, if any, copyright law at all, and having the shortest copyright terms, and encouraging the creation and publication of derivative works by any author.

      Intellectual property laws were originally created to protect artists and artists alone.

      That's wrong in many regards. First, I would strongly encourage you to not use the term 'intellectual property.' It includes bodies of law such as trademarks and patents which have nothing to do with artists, and which have quite different reasons for existing. Second, copyright laws were not created to protect artists alone; they also protected publishers, but their actual goal was to serve the public interest by enticing authors and publishers to behave in certain ways beneficial to the public. Helping authors is just a means to an end; it's not our goal.

      Think of cable television. A town that doesn't have cable will often give a monopoly on cable tv to a particular company for a term of years, in exchange for the company shouldering the cost of building the infrastructure. The goal of the town is not to have to pay one company that can charge monopoly prices. It is to get someone to build the cable tv infrastructure so that it can eventually be opened up to competition.

      Blizzard is not an artist, it is a co-op of artists. The idea that a co-op can have more rights than an individual is ridiculous -- individuals have rights, co-ops are just groups of individuals trying to market a huge variety of products together. Each artist at Blizzard has their own art they've created, and they should worry individually about making the best produt they can at the lowest price. That is competition.

      That's a really bizarre statement.

      The argument that invention and art would not occur without the force of copyright and IP is over.

      I disagree. First, I at least have never felt that creation and invention wouldn't occur without copyrights and patents, respectively. Second, however, the quantity of those acts would likely decrease sharply. So we have to decide whether unrestricted competition or some degree of monopoly granting wil
      • Careful, you wrote down the word "legos" without attributing their trademark.
      • I disagree. First, I at least have never felt that creation and invention wouldn't occur without copyrights and patents, respectively. Second, however, the quantity of those acts would likely decrease sharply. So we have to decide whether unrestricted competition or some degree of monopoly granting will yield the best overall benefit. Looking only at competition or only at stimulating creation is too narrow. Both should be considered and weighed.

        Back in the 1800's the USPTO would sometime revoke patents it
    • Intellectual property laws were originally created to protect artists and artists alone.

      Actually, Congress has the power to make copyright and patent laws for one expressly stated goal: "to promote the progress of science and the useful arts." Article 1, section 8, clause 8.

      Whether those laws are achieving that goal is a matter of debate.

      But your call for an absolute repudiation of all IP laws is just plain silly. Nobody is going to make games/books/movies/music if they can't protect them. Otherwise it i

      • ut your call for an absolute repudiation of all IP laws is just plain silly. Nobody is going to make games/books/movies/music if they can't protect them. Otherwise it is impossible to recoup the initial investment. Copyists have no initial investment, so they can offer copies of the work at the price of the copy.

        Thousands of bands play music without worrying about copyright. Thousands of theatre groups put on performances without worrying about copyright. Millions of bloggers post daily without worrying a
    • Blizzard is not an artist, it is a co-op of artists. The idea that a co-op can have more rights than an individual is ridiculous -- individuals have rights, co-ops are just groups of individuals trying to market a huge variety of products together.

      I doubt sincerely that Blizzard is a cooperative in any sense of the word. It is a corporation, with management and a board of directors like any other. It's true that there are multiple creators who work for this single entity, but that doesn't make it a co-op.

  • The BS of the DMCA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @02:11PM (#15011969) Journal
    Weeks after his first auction went live, Blizzard, Vivendi, and the ESA began sending repeated takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), asking eBay to yank the auctions because of copyright and trademark infringement concerns.
    At some point, everyone has to start to wonder where the DMCA's boundaries begin [loc.gov]. I don't believe I've ever seen any single act or bill used in the court of law more than this. Basically, if you are low on funds, wave the DMCA in front of someone's face and take them to court. I'm not a lawyer but this piece of trash is written in the most convoluted legalese I've ever seen. Everyone and their dog are using the DMCA like a damaged crop in a witch hunt. I can't even get through a summary of it without getting lost--a sure fire sign that if you have the money, you can get those fancy lawyers that are essentially 'truthsmiths.'

    I don't think everything about the DMCA is wrong. But I do think that it has no boundaries and can be openly interpreted. I believe this Act needs to be reformed before it is renewed and that it should be better defined. The internet has developed far past our wildest imaginations and no act passed in 1998 could account for all the legal caveats of it.

    I believe my hatred for the DMCA falls just under my hatred for the Patriot Act.

    And that's saying a lot.

    In effect, if the video game industry's actions are upheld, "then selling a how-to book about Microsoft Word would infringe Microsoft's copyright, especially if the book contained one or more screenshots of Word's user interface," said Paul Levy...
    Hey, with the DMCA, anything's possible! Well, what do you say Microsoft? O'Reilly's [oreilly.com] got deep pockets!
    • Lemme repost somethign you quoted...

      In effect, if the video game industry's actions are upheld, "then selling a how-to book about Microsoft Word would infringe Microsoft's copyright, especially if the book contained one or more screenshots of Word's user interface," said Paul Levy...

      I guess these idiots have never heard of Windows For Dummies, Word for Dummies, Excel for Dummies, etc.? Just how are those 'guides' infringing upon copyright, hrm?
    • Hey, with the DMCA, anything's possible! Well, what do you say Microsoft? O'Reilly's got deep pockets!

      PLEASE dont give them ideas, if that puts Oreilly out of business or keeps them from putting out books on how to use basic word processing software, it'll mean more people wont be able to read those books, meaning there'll be more people asking insanely stupid questions on how to use M$ word ("For the 80th time, *this* is how you change the font size"), making less time for us to be posting on glorious /.

    • by TommyBlack (899306)
      Basically, if you are low on funds, wave the DMCA in front of someone's face and take them to court.


      Actually, it's usually the opposite. If your opponent is low on funds, wave the DMCA in front of them and force them to settle out of court. A lot of these cases are adjudicated fairly if they ever actually get to court, but that's not where the main problem is.
      • This is the inherent flaw in Civil disputes (i don't mean small claims court).

        Until we can figure out a way to hold persons or companies responsible for their actions in civil court regardless of the size of a plaintiffs bankroll AND protect against frivolous or "harrassment" types of lawsuits, civil law will always favor those with more money, quite the opposite of the "scales of justice" the ideal of law is based on...
  • WTF is wrong with Blizzard? It seems they are always in court harassing their own user-base, which is a damn sight worse than the RIAA even, as the RIAA(well, supposedly) goes after actual pirates. Why not leave well enough alone?
    • WTF is wrong with Blizzard?

      They're owned by a company run by overzealous lawyers.

      The same company that sued Sony for inventing the VCR.

      It's why I'll never buy a Blizzard (or Universal) product ever again (or, at least until they become more friendly to their customers.)
  • Not infringement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone (681598) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @02:26PM (#15012077)
    attempts to trade off the substantial goodwill and recognition that Blizzard has built up in connection with its World of Warcraft product.

    Yep. And it is perfectly within the boundaries of copyright law for someone to do so, provided they don't infringe on a trademark, create a derivative product or republish copyrighted material that is not a fair use.

    From the article it sounds like this is a work of non-fiction, written to help people improve their knowledge of the game. It also sounds like "big company (that makes over $80M a MONTH in subscription revenue) uses copyright law as a club against entrepreneur." As long as all trademarks and copyrights are attributed, there's no infringement here. Sorry.

  • Just play Oblivion (Score:2, Informative)

    by ShawnMcCool42 (557138)
    I like WoW fine enough... but it was just a game to keep me interested while I waited for a single player RPG. You know... something with real content and playability.. Something designed around giving the player abilities rather than handicapping them.

    I bought Oblivion and it was well worth it. Throw away those MMOs and play something with atmosphere.
    • Unless Oblivion is to Morrowind what a modern computer is to a TRS-80, I'll stick with WoW, thanks. I play games for gameplay and atmosphere, not just atmosphere, and Morrowind was the biggest waste of space I ever installed. It made FF8 look good in comparison.
    • Does this "atmosphere" in Oblivion consist of characters being played by other people around the world that you can interact with? No? Well then I guess I'll be sticking to MMOs (which I don't consider anti-social behavior even though my wife does. Just because I've never met the people I'm talking to doesn't mean that I'm not being social...)

      That said, most MMOs could stand to use more story and less pure "grinding". (This is actually available in some MMOs such as Anarchy Online. You can get randomly
      • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @04:03PM (#15012851) Homepage
        Does this "atmosphere" in Oblivion consist of characters being played by other people around the world that you can interact with?

        Unfortunately, the characters in Oblivion use English properly, spell their words correctly, speak in complete sentences and never /yell about a leet sword they found or what a faggot that troll over there is.

        I know, it ruins the atmosphere but somehow I manage to enjoy it :P
        • Hell, in the MMOs that I play, the NPCs don't even use English properly (poorly translated from Korean). I actually find it enjoyable that not every character in the game gets along. I also like that unlike a single-player RPG, I'm one of many who are actually doing something. I might actually play another single-player RPG if things happened at random (such as an NPC bragging about a great find he got while hunting and then looking to sell it to the highest bidder.)

          But I guess that's just me. I'm not t
  • Blizzard has been making some moves that make it look like one of those big ugly soul-less corporations that we all hate so much. I will be much more hesitant to buy any of their products. A company doesn't have to be open source for me to support it but Blizzard has become arrogant and unapologetic when it comes to its customers and the little poeple in general.
    • True, but they'll always have a high spot in my book for being one of the few companies that strongly supports Macs....
    • I will be much more hesitant to buy any of their product

      Don't worry about it. As long as WoW is going strong, they'll apparently never release another product anyway.
  • Prima Game Guides? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EggMan2000 (308859) * on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @02:48PM (#15012249) Homepage Journal
    I'm guessing that Blizzard has some kind of exclusive deal for guides through a publisher and is finding that competing guides violate their copyright? Could that be the case? It still doesn't make much sense to me though. I mean look at MS Office, there are dozens of books that teach users to use Office. Did each of these book publishers have to get permission from MS to produce it?
    • I'm guessing you're right.

      Blizzard signed an exclusivity deal with Prima. "You are the only ones who get to write game guides." Part of the deal with probably states that Blizzard will be responsible for enforcing that exclusivity.

      It seems like a stupid contract. I'm sure it happens in all industries, but video games see it all the time. Mostly with demo's and these 'Premium File Services' like Gamespot and Gamespy. For some worhtless reason, (payola? higher review scores?), or legitimate reason (che
      • I'd guess the actual deal is more like, "You're the ones who get to sell the game guides." Thottbot, Goblin's Workshop, and WoWWiki are all free, and still online. And they're GOOD. I suspect that Blizzard doesn't like these websites, but they're still operational, though they happen to contain a ton of copyrighted text. There's just something about charging money for services such as these that gets a lawyer's bloodlust up.

        Another possibility is that they just have a bunch of noob lawyers, paralegals and

    • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @04:09PM (#15012898) Homepage
      They do have an exclusive deal with Prima, but what Blizzard and Prima agree to has no bearing whatsoever on the rights of other parties to write about their game.

      The sticking point for unauthorized guides is usually that the author has no access to the software or development team before it is released to the general public. Large publishers want to have a book on the shelves the day the software comes out, not 12 months later.
    • I'm guessing that Blizzard has some kind of exclusive deal for guides through a publisher and is finding that competing guides violate their copyright? Could that be the case? It still doesn't make much sense to me though.

      Blizzard may be able to offer someone the exclusive rights to make an officially sanctioned game guide, but they can't prevent someone from making an unofficial guide. Writing a game guide is simply writing about the game. It is part analysis, part critique. Typically in an official
  • ...Blizzard is gonna start suing its own customers for displaying copies of protected game images on their PC monitors...
  • by Hannah E. Davis (870669) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @03:18PM (#15012479) Journal
    I've heard of this kind of thing happening before, actually -- a while back, Anne McCaffrey was squelching fan artists left and right, angry that people should even try to make money off illustrating scenes from her novels. The vast majority of authors (and other IP owners) habitually turn a blind eye to this type of copyright infringement, mainly because it benefits them, but the point is that they can put a stop to it if they want, and some of them have in the past.
    • When it comes to printed media (such as books), generally 'fanmade' stuff is frowned upon generally because its sold for profit (to cover the cost of printing of course). In addition, because content is released so slowly 'fanmade' works can be too easily mistaken or accepted as "official" works. (the sheer amount of Star Wars fanmade works are impossible to accurately keep track of, especially since between '83 to '99 there were no 'new' Star Wars movies).

      As for Anne McCaffrey, if you read any of her book

  • Blizzard is right (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The difference between all these other publishers and this one guy is that all these publishers do one thing first: that is ask Blizzard's permission. He is publicly using Blizzard's works for profit, and he's in the right to do so as long as he's asked. The disclaimer that he published doesn't mean anything without at the very least asking for permission.

    I wonder what would have happened if the guy just followed accepted procedure and simply asked to publish his works? Most of the time, as stated, this
    • by Danse (1026)

      The difference between all these other publishers and this one guy is that all these publishers do one thing first: that is ask Blizzard's permission.

      It may be true that others asked for permission (actually just one AFAIK, which is Prima, who has the rights to publish the "Official Guide"), but it's certainly not required. I don't have to get permission to write a book on how to use MS Excel, and have it published. That's not the point of copyright law. I can write the book, include screenshots and de

      • He may put a disclaimer in somewhere, but the trademark issue circles around whether or not a normal person would confuse this product with a guidebook that was written by blizzard. This is known as liklihood of confusion.

        Or to rephrase: you have a right to create a guidebook, but you do not have the right to abuse someone else's good name in order to sell more copies. For instance, you can't confuse people into thinking your book was written by blizzard or is sanctioned by blizzard. It doesn't matter th
        • Well they aren't claiming trademark infringement in this case, so it's my guess that they don't feel they have a trademark case against him. They're claiming copyright infringement, but I doubt that will hold up in court. They tried to intimidate him and it seems to have backfired.

    • It is not necessary to receive permission to publish a work. If that were so, every review that negatively commented on a movie or a book would be 86'd. It would be impossible to comment on any work without making direct references to it.

      As far as your capitalist comment, a company would only allow permission if the work would favorably impact their bottom line.

      Lastly, you most certainly can use a "Brand" when selling a product of your own, as long as you make note of whom that "Brand" belongs to, and corre
  • yeah, i agree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550)
    I guess I have to side with Blizz on this one.

    Sounds like the guy basically just published and is trying to sell the data that's available almost everywhere on thottbot.com or wow.allakhazam.com (for example), which Blizz doesn't seem to object to.

    So what's their beef? Probably that he's trying to make a buck off THEIR IP. I agree with them. If he just put it up for download as a free pdf, I bet that they wouldn't have any beef with it.
    • Re:yeah, i agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cubicledrone (681598) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @05:15PM (#15013332)
      Probably that he's trying to make a buck off THEIR IP.

      Like movie reviewers?

      Copyright law was not written to prevent people from "making a buck." It's to prevent people from taking a buck away from the copyright holder. This book sounds like it's perfectly within the boundaries of fair use.

      • Copyright law was not written to prevent people from "making a buck." It's to prevent people from taking a buck away from the copyright holder. This book sounds like it's perfectly within the boundaries of fair use.

        Ah, but a good game guide could speed up a player's progress in WoW, which means fewer months of subscription fees for Blizzard. Therefore, he is taking money away from them.

        No, I'm not serious.

        Yes, Blizzard might be thinking this very thing.
  • This isn't about fair use. This is about protecting the WoW brand. Hundreds of these "guides" litter EBay. They are nothing more than get rich quick schemes promising secret exploits and easy gold. Frankly the people dumb enough to buy these are the same people whose opinion of Blizzard unfairly damaged when the realize they were conned. If this guy were above board, he could have set up a website to promote and sell a legitimate e-book to paying customers. This would have made him accountable to customers
  • Stolen Game Guides. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JavaLord (680960) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @05:57PM (#15013650) Journal
    FYI, most of these game guides are created by taking information (even if it's outdated) from strategy sites like MultiplayerStrategies.com. I wrote a few guides for them (No, I wasn't paid, but they have paid writers on the staff) and those guides turned up in different places for free. (whatever).

    Another one of their writers (mongoose) who is very popular for having leveled every class to 60, has had many of his guides stolen and resold on ebay, and on those annoying 1 page ad websites. The worst part is they resell guides that are months old, with tips that haven't worked for many patches (such as the zoning into and out of instances near maintanence to dupe items).

    I was actually thinking about writing a new guide and selling it on ebay. Nice to see blizz is picking on the little guys again. tsk tsk.
  • Obviously Blizzard isn't that concerned about what is in the book, because there are literally hundreds of websites that describe various strategies to become successful in WoW, from running instances to selling stuff successfully. So Blizzard's real concern must be that he is making money and they aren't getting a cut. If this is so, why doesn't Warcraft more actively go after all the farmers selling gold for real money. While they may say they are actively pursuing these farmers, I can go to thottbot
  • by Retired Replicant (668463) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:50PM (#15014091)
    So does this mean that if I write a tutorial textbook on how to create awesome chart macros in Excel, I would be infringing on Microsofts copyright on MS Excel? Sounds like BS to me, and shortsighted BS at that.
  • Bad Prima Guides (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mabu (178417) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:28PM (#15014370)
    As far as I'm concerned, anything that offers an alternative to the mostly-useless Prima "official" game guides is an improvement. I've always thought the whole Prima game guide deal was a big scam to get more money from consumers for basic information that can be easily found elsewhere and doesn't contain any real insight, tricks or valuable tips.
  • Will Microsoft sue for various reference books for the upcoming versions of Vista and Office?

    Will Apple start suing publishers for distributing OS/X documentation?

    Hey, maybe they'll even take the next leap and start suing third-party developers, since obviously referencing the OS by calling the API is copyright infringement!

    Anyone from Blizzard here? Don't those leaps I'm proposing in the above scenarios look idiotic? Well, your suit against someone who developed a strategy guide (a VERY common type of pub
  • "Derivative Works" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PhxBlue (562201) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @09:50PM (#15015093) Homepage Journal

    I'm no lawyer, but I'm willing to bet Blizzard is working under the derivative works clause of the Copyright Act. In essence, "derivative works" means that I own the rights not just to what I have created but also to what I have not yet created.

    For example: If I write an science fiction novel with original characters, settings, etc., I own not only the story I have written but also the characters and the settings I have written about. I can create further works based on those characters and settings, which promotes the original purpose of copyright law (at least as I understand it).

    If, on the other hand, I want to write a novel set in the Farscape universe, I can't just go out and write the story. For one thing, someone else owns that universe--and aside from the capital they stand to lose if I write and publish something set in their universe, they also stand to lose the intellectual integrity. What would Farscape look like if any schmo could publish material about it?

    That's what I think Blizzard is protecting here--not just its right to make money off its product, but the ability to make sure people who participate in WOW are getting information that's at least somewhat accurate.

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:50AM (#15016143) Journal
    I think it can be generally agreed on that writing about WoW on its own isn't an infrigement; books do this all day, and then also makes it clear who owns the trademark, like this one did, and everyone is happy. But... These guides also had screenshots, which he said would fall under fair use, however, these books are also sold for profit, which means he's profiting in part from Blizzard's material.

    For fair use to be most clearly applicable, the content need to not impact the copyright owner, the material isn't sold, and isn't used to profit from it. But these things aren't fulfilled here, which puts him in a grey area, and I can understand why greddy Blizzard lawyers make a fuss of this when they can.

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