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Blizzard Folds on WoW Guide Suit 46

Posted by Zonk
from the easy-way-out dept.
Agent writes "You may remember the suit that Brian Kopp brought against Blizzard, Vivendi and the ESA in March of this year. He sued due to wrongful takedowns under the DMCA of his ebay auctions. The case was settled today, allowing him to resell his guide on eBay and his personal site. The settlement helps more than just Kopp, as it sets a precedent for future interactions of this nature with game companies."
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Blizzard Folds on WoW Guide Suit

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  • I'm glad they settled, but it doesn't make up for all the shit they put the bnetd guys through, or the fact that they constantly ignore what their user community wants, or the whole silly 'gay marriage' thing in WoW.

    I'm afraid they're all just corporate asshats. It's sad, but I'd love to see a mass exodus of the creative people who brought us StarCraft to somewhere else, so that we could get some games that are worth playing.
    • welcome to 2002 (Score:5, Informative)

      by BitterAndDrunk (799378) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:44PM (#15505365) Homepage Journal
      It's sad, but I'd love to see a mass exodus of the creative people who brought us StarCraft to somewhere else, so that we could get some games that are worth playing.

      I'm pretty certain all of the lead designers moved on a while ago.

      Guild Wars is an ex-Blizzard thing, as is Hellgate: London.

    • by Surt (22457)
      There was already such a mass exodus. Over the last couple of years they've lost over 50% of the Starcraft guys, 90% of the Diablo I/II guys, I'm not sure on Warcraft ... over 50% from WarII are gone, WOW has probably not lost quite as many because it is still bringing in the bucks.
  • I thought settlements avoided the issue of precedent?
  • Blizzard settled out of court. So there is no legal president set.

    You can't goto a judge and say well in Blizzard vs. Knopp they settled so it's an open and shut case your honor.
    • Blizzard settled out of court. So there is no legal president set.

      There's still a precedent here, even if it isn't a legal one. It shows users that it is possible for them to successfully fight the game companies on this kind of issue, though it may be expensive.
    • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:45PM (#15505377) Homepage Journal
      Blizzard settled out of court. So there is no legal president set.

      A Freudian slip about President Bush's legitimacy? ;-) But seriously, assuming you meant "precedent", you're right in a strict sense, but here's why it doesn't matter as much as some may think:

      You can't goto a judge

      But you can go to a journalist, who may be able to spin up the discrimination. Settling in the same way may be easier for a firm than denying a settlement and facing a PR nightmare.

      • The difference is that as long as your case has merit a judge must hear you while a journalist can tell you "sorry, not interested" and your story won't reach anything larger than some niche gaming website.
        • The difference is that as long as your case has merit a judge must hear you while a journalist can tell you "sorry, not interested"

          The other difference is that forum shopping is a lot easier because while judges are limited to a territorial jurisdiction, journalists aren't. There are a lot more journalists than judges, especially if the alleged infringer can harness a lot of small-time journalists from the so-called blogosphere. As a first try, the journalist who took the first story is likely to take s

  • by Manip (656104) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:34PM (#15505263)
    Wrong! Only a court can set a legal precedent... Out of court settlements are just that, out of court agreements to "Not sue, if X, Y and Z terms are met." Common Law allows a judge / court to make decisions that have to be examined when the same (or similar) cases come before it or a lower court again, and thus how a precedent is formed.

    You can't use this case to even defend against Blizzard themselves suing you unfortunately, let alone anyone else... If Blizzard had gone to court and lost then it would have set a new precedent for unofficial gaming guides, but you can't use an out-of-court settlement because for one thing the court often isn't even aware of the terms of that settlement.

    • Court != court (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027)
      Only a court can set a legal precedent

      And only a journalist can set a precedent in the court of public opinion.

      You can't use this case to even defend against Blizzard themselves suing you unfortunately, let alone anyone else

      Think outside the box. Even if you can't defend yourself in a court of law, you can still defend yourself by threatening to make the company's public relations a living h*ll.

    • Wrong! Only a court can set a legal precedent... Out of court settlements are just that, out of court agreements to "Not sue, if X, Y and Z terms are met."

      And just because a court decides in a certain way doesn't mean the precedent is legally binding.

      It just means that it has been tried in court and chances are if the same incident (or similar) was tried in court again that it would receive the same verdict and judges often time use other cases to decide how to rule.

      However... If the prior judge was insane,
  • no precedent (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Goldsmith (561202)
    Actually, this does not set precedent. There's no court ruling for other courts to reference, a private settlement is not a valid law.

    This actually keeps other companies from having to allow this.
  • What I'd like to know, is this guide any good?
    • If it's the guide I'm thinking of (Joana's) then yeah, it's pretty OK. There are lots of free guides out there that will give as much or more info, but that one is freakishly fast. I've a friend who's run alts through it 2x on new servers, and he's been able to hit 60 both times in under 5 days /played, if I remember right.
      • by garylian (870843)
        What's the point of getting alts to lvl 60 in 5 days? Besides not sleeping and having zero social life, you haven't really enjoyed a single moment of the game.

        I don't play MMOs to hit max level uber-fast. I play them to enjoy them. I liked the fact that it took me about 6 months to hit 60, because WoW was exceedingly boring for a lvl 60 toon. You had a choice of griding for crap drop rates of gear, or doing PvP for a honorless Honor System. Aren't you glad you got your toon to that point in 5 days????

        N
        • > I liked the fact that it took me about 6 months to hit 60, because WoW was exceedingly boring for a lvl 60 toon.

          It may come as a surprise to you, but for some people *it is fun* to see 20 or 40 people working together, play their classes well, and kill the uber bosses in Molten Core or Zul'Gurub (it's not just W00t-EPIXXX! - of course, we dont mind those either).

          - Rhonac (Thunderhorn EU)
  • Blizzard got away without paying any damages to Kopp. I would say they owed tens of thousands of dollars to him minimum. I don't call that much of a victory for Kopp.

    If I was the Evil Overlord, Blizzard would be roasting over an open fire right about now.

  • by Avatar8 (748465) on Friday June 09, 2006 @06:35PM (#15506224)
    I saw nothing wrong with Blizzard protecting their content AND all opportunities (read marketing) that stem from that content.

    What I see is this guy capitalizing off Blizzard's work. I dislike that, but it is the way of the capitalist world in which we live.

    It also sickens me that the guide is geared towards making money in WoW, supports (ads on the website) buying gold for real money and in general demeans the essence of the game. All of this leads to imbalances that once done cannot be undone. In short, this is all leading towards ruining the game.

    I personally wish Blizzard would strongly enforce their Terms of Service agreement that states that all virtual property in World of Warcraft belongs to Blizzard and therefore cannot be sold.

    • Unfortunately, there's ways around their ToS (I don't know it verbatim, so take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt). I know someone who just put his account up for sale on eBay and it was closed by eBay, which is expected. He reposted and got a successful sale, just because he changed some of the verbiage within. Instead of selling his account, he said something along the lines of "I'm giving away the game and account for free as I am no longer interested in playing my character anymore, and you
      • Blizzard's Terms of Use (at least last time I checked) allows reselling an account, *provided* that you sell the entire game, CD, documentation, original box, etc... along with it. That sticks to first sale doctrine, so hats off to them for that.
        • It does, but it also prohibits you from transferring any "virtual" assets (characters, gold) for real money. Without exception.

          It's very contradictory.
          • exactly. So if I'm tired of the game, I could sell my copy of the game to my neighbor so he doesn't have to buy a new copy from the store - I'd just have to delete my characters first.

            I don't see what's contradictory about that.
          • What you state doesn't sound that contradictory to me. Selling the entire shebang isn't transferring virtual assets (as in, it's staying with the original account), whereas selling gold is counted as transferrance, as it is going from your account to someone else's.

            I tend to disagree with both, as it's a game. Selling accounts ends up with high end characters in the hands of people who, well, are willing to buy accounts, and there are enough asshats out there without adding lazy asshats to the equation. S

    • by Jamesday (794888) on Friday June 09, 2006 @07:34PM (#15506596)
      It's already well established that you can produce things like a collector's guide without any authoization from the maker of what you're describing. One leading case involved Beanie Babies [ivanhoffman.com] and included photographs of them all. It was fair use even though it included photographs of them all because a collectors guide has to include all of the items. To quote from the decision:

      "we may say that copying that is complementary to the copyrighted work ... is fair use, but copying that is a substitute for the copyrighted work ... is not fair use. ... A photograph of a Beanie Baby is not a substitute for a Beanie Baby."

      It's clearly impossible for any book to replace the WoW gameplay experience. Hence, Blizzard had ample reason to know that their takedown notices were completely invalid and subjected them to the penalties under section 512(f) of the DMCA for sending false notices.

    • in general demeans the essence of the game


      What does this even mean?

      • It means to me that when you're in a fantasy RPG, you want to experience the fantasy and leave the real world behind for a little while. THAT world has its own politics, economics and other dynamics that make it unique.

        When something like a strategy guide focused towards gaining you gold faster than other players is created, it causes an imbalance and allows the real world to bleed into the fantasy world. Knowing strategy of how to succeed in the game as a player is one thing; knowing all the shortcuts and

    • by Pofy (471469)
      >I personally wish Blizzard would strongly enforce their Terms of Service
      >agreement that states that all virtual property in
      >World of Warcraft belongs to Blizzard and therefore cannot be sold.

      Which is completely irellevant since you don't sell anything in the normal meaning of selling anyway, it is about transfering items in the game and possession of items in the game, something completely allowed by the game. Actually there are specific systems such as pop up windows, auction houses and mail syst
  • my wife and I each have 3 lvl 60's and we have never paid real money for gold or items. all but one of our toons has an epic mount and I will be getting his soon.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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