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Games Workshop Sues Warhammer Online Fansite

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the don't-anger-your-base-again dept.

The Courts 182

chalkyj writes "WarhammerAlliance.com (run for the last five years as one of the leading fansites for the MMORPG Warhammer Online) is being sued by Games Workshop for the use of the 'Warhammer' name, 'cybersquatting' and 'unfair competition.' This lawsuit is yet another in Games Workshop's disturbing pattern of suing their fans and hobbyists, this time going after a legitimate fansite for their MMORPG franchise. The full complaint (PDF) has been posted online."

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182 comments

Damm lawyers (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32139598)

Hey lets sue the people who love our games the most!

Yeah! That'll make us a ton of money!

You'd think they could at least BUY a clue... But no... They don't.

Re:Damm lawyers (3, Insightful)

bconway (63464) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140032)

Your subject shares nothing with your post. Lawyers didn't decide to a sue a Warhammer fan site.

Re:Damm lawyers (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140084)

like happiness you can't buy clues. you can only earn them through in game rewards.

Maybe should stop playing with their little army men and actually try to play the game.

Trademark is a tricky thing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32139600)

If you don't defend it, you potentially lose it. If you do defend it, you look like a jerk. What they need to do is come up with a $0 license for the site to use the name for specific purposes.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32139626)

You only have to defend it against legitimate infringement. You don't have to defend it against fair use. And this is almost assuredly fair use.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139842)

there is also no reason to defend your copyright against someone who is encouraging others to buy and use your copyrighted product.

There are a lot of stupid copyright suits, but these type are the ones that absolutely astonish me the most. They aren't suing someone who makes them lose money or even a use that does nothing for the bottom line, they are suing people that are helping them make money by giving out free positive promotion and rallying their customer base. They ought to be sending them a thank you a "Warhammer approved!" website badge. When companies that I patronize do this it makes me reconsider being their customer in the future... especially when it's a "want" product like a game rather than a need.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140008)

Completely agreed. Stupid lawsuit.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (4, Interesting)

logjon (1411219) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140134)

27. The domain name warhammeralliance.com and the mark WARHAMMER ALLIANCE itself literally states and implies that defendants and their business are in an "alliance" with Plaintiff and its products and services offered under the WARHAMMER Marks. Stupid indeed. It would be funny if it weren't so illustrative of bogus IP action that takes place every day. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait for ACTA.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140132)

"There are a lot of stupid copyright suits, but these type are the ones that absolutely astonish me the most."

While I agree they should have made every possible attempt to contact them first to work out a more peaceful resolution, I did find a few things in the lawsuit that made sense.
"22. Defendants’ website at the URL warhammeralliance.com displays HTML links featuring banner advertisements, and, upon information and belief, when Internet users click on one or more of the displayed HTML advertisements at the warhammeralliance.com website, Defendants receive payment from one or more advertisers, search engines, or affiliate programs."

Depending on what the banner ads are I could easily see why they wouldn't want their copyright next to a certain ads. For example, you are CEO of BigNameCorp making BoardGameZ. Someone makes a fan site for BoardGameZ.... and runs adult ads on it. Not good.

Also what if they're trying to make a partnership with another brand, but every time someone searches for Warhammer they're brought to a page advertising a competitor?

Even if Games Workshop did contact them and work out an arrangement, they could sell warhammeralliance.com a week later and a new arrangement would need to be made. What a pain in the ass to have to constantly having to make arrangements to prevent their brand from being diluted.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (4, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140194)

there is also no reason to defend your copyright against someone who is encouraging others to buy and use your copyrighted product.

You just jumped from trademark to copyright; two sometimes related but entirely different things.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140552)

They aren't suing someone who makes them lose money or even a use that does nothing for the bottom line, they are suing people that are helping them make money by giving out free positive promotion and rallying their customer base.

Modern copyright and trademark laws are not designed or capable of dealing with fansites or any other such internet based phenomena. If you asked an IP lawyer about fansites, he probably wouldn't even know what they were. People, publishing things, but they're not companies, and they're not making a profit out of it? Does not compute. If his vapid brain did somehow manage to wrap its head around the concept, he'd probably give a spiel about the need to protect and recognise copyrights and IP rights andvigilance and respect mah awthouritae!! That's how backward the legal industry is when it comes to the net.

The more these cases come up, the more it becomes obvious that the real problem with the net, in fact virtually the only problems, come from the legal industry. There is nothing wrong with the internet. It's out laws which are at fault.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140660)

Best part? Warhammeronline mentions WarhammerAlliance multiple times in the past years. Even better, their developers/community people monitored the WarhammerAlliance.com forums.
Guaranteed, WHA said something that pissed off the right people. But who cares, WarhammerOnline is dead.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (1)

Vayra (1744282) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140970)

EA/Mythic != GW

Though that said, GW did know about the site almost since its release, having already come to an agreement about some copyright issues a few years back.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (3, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140048)

That's true, but otoh, if you, even retroactively, give someone your blessing to use your trademark, you are doing enough to protect it. You only lose it if you allow someone to use it out of context or as a generic term. If they allowed "Warhammer game" to become the term for any kind of tabletop game, they certainly would be in trouble.

To defend their trademark, all they would have had to do, in this case, is basically nothing. Their content was not used out of context (it was used in the Warhammer context, to promote a Warhammer franchise game).

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140788)

To defend their trademark, all they would have had to do, in this case, is basically nothing.

Except - doing nothing is doing nothing, not defending.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140168)

I don't think you need to defend against fair use.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (2, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140258)

Woops. Replied to fast.
This fansite is operated by a commercial company for commercial purposes. That is most definitely NOT fair use.

Re:Trademark is a tricky thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32140408)

If reference.com is be trusted, the term "war hammer" (TM?*) has been around and considered part of the general English language, as a variant of the term pole hammer [reference.com].
It looks like JRR Tolkein used the term "war-hammer" (TM?) in LotR [wikia.com]. The exact spacing/lettering used by Warhammer Online (TM) is probably best avoided by another commercial organization.
I think it would be clever if they renamed the site "PoleHammerAlliance".

* (TM?) indicates something that probably is not trademarked, or at least ought not to be, nor be recognized as one, IMHO. I use TM? to indicate a problematic ambiguity, not to recognize a possible trademark.

-os

Wow (4, Funny)

deep9x (1068252) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139618)

Getting sued by GW must be frightening. You can never be sure when they're going to declare Exterminatus on your offices.

Re:Wow (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139922)

Well, considering how their fans and customers probably know more about the way an Exterminatus works than any exec at GW, I wouldn't be so certain which side should be frightened...

Aye (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140340)

Aye, a few fans showing up with chainsaws and cries of "Blood For The Blood God!" would probabl be scary ;)

You always hurt... (2, Funny)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139640)

... the ones you love

another in Games Workshop's disturbing pattern of suing their fans and hobbyists,

Re:You always hurt... (0, Troll)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139706)

"You always hurt... the ones you love"

Another reason we should abolish copyright.

Re:You always hurt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32139822)

Abolish copyright? So you don't believe writers should be paid for what they write? That whatever publisher wants to sell it can do so and the writers get nothing?

Re:You always hurt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32139872)

"You always hurt... the ones you love"

Another reason we should abolish copyright.

/me thinks you mean trademark, looks like the industries "Intellectual Property" campaign is working.

Re:You always hurt... (1)

shar303 (944843) | more than 3 years ago | (#32141132)

does anyone here remember their shop in Hammersmith? just off kings st?

i got thrown out of there quite a few times, for pinching d&d figures (painted of course.) they always seemed very benign and understanding about the matter. how times change. funny old life.

Cost them one paying customer (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139648)

In the past, I've considered both playing the tabletop game, and did play the MMO beta. After reading about their past and present legal idiocy, I decided to take a pass.

Re:Cost them one paying customer (4, Informative)

MicktheMech (697533) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139980)

As someone who's played GW games in the past I can tell you that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Over the past year they've been sending C&Ds to lots of the tabletop fan sites. Lots of gamers have been moving towards Privateer Press who's attitude towards their customers compares like night and day to GW.

Re:Cost them one paying customer (2, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140058)

Yep. They make life incredibly difficult on game store owners also. GW is basically the Apple of the tabletop gaming world.

Re:Cost them one paying customer (1)

mathx314 (1365325) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140152)

Except if I make a website devoted to Apple for fanboys and the like I'm not going to get a C&D from them.

Re:Cost them one paying customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32140686)

It wouldn't be the first time apple has shut down/sued fan websites.

http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/050125glaser/
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22347719/

http://creativebits.org/opinion/apple_sues_another_company_apple_logo

How stupid must one be? (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139650)

Does it really never occur to anyone in the "common sense" departments of these corporations that suing devoted fans leads to having fewer of them? And that further, making it difficult to find fan sites (by suing them just for using the name of your product) also diminishes the fanbase? Seriously, if I want to meet other people who play Warhammer Online, a place called warhammeralliance.com is going to be the first place I stop. I'm not going to go to the "Warhammer Fan Page" on wecantusethenameoftheproduct.com...

Re:How stupid must one be? (5, Funny)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139858)

Dear fans,

Please be advised that usage of the Warhammer(TM)®© name on third party websites is not legally authorized. However, we really do value our beloved fans. To show our sincerity, we have come up with a few example names that you may wish to use* to set up your fan site for your favourite online game, Warhammer(TM)®© Online. Instead of Warhammer(TM)®© Alliance, please consider another name similar to the following:

- Battlesmasher Alliance
- Fightmace Alliance
- Pewpewbangbang Friends

Now it's your turn! Try making up some names to refer to the Warhammer(TM)®© franchise without actually using the word Warhammer(TM)®©. It's more fun than you think! More fun than Warhammer(TM)®© Online anyway.

Thanks for your support of the Warhammer(TM)®© franchise.

Sincerely,
Games Workshop.

* No matter how much you wish to use them, Battlesmasher Alliance, Fightmace Alliance, and Pewpewbangbang Friends are registered trademark copyright properties of Games Workshop and may not be used for any reason whatsoever in any third party materials.

Re:How stupid must one be? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139912)

Now it's your turn! Try making up some names to refer to the Warhammer(TM)®© franchise without actually using the word Warhammer(TM)®©.

Um, do you mean something that is similar enough to the name and yet describes the company? Something like ConflictTools(TM)®©, 'cuz, you know, they are.

Re:How stupid must one be? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32141076)

Dear SpeedyDX:

It has come to our attention that your unauthorized use of our Warhammer(TM)®© trademark harms our business interests and infringes our rights and protection from libel and slander under 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. and could be liable for statutory and punitive damages as high as $500,000,000,000 as set forth in Section 504(c)(2) therein.

We demand that you immediately cease the use and distribution of all infringing works, and destroy all copies, including electronic copies, of the work described above, and that you desist from this or any other infringement of our rights in the future. If we have not received an affirmative response from you by 2:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time on Saturday, 8 May 2010 indicating that you have fully complied with these requirements, we shall take further action against you.

Do not believe that such petty excuses as parody and fair use will offer protection from our Lawhammer(TM)®©.

Sincerely,

Games Workshop

Re:How stupid must one be? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139948)

The common sense department was downsized due to the economy crisis, we had to cut everything that isn't directly involved in making money.

Re:How stupid must one be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32140002)

Does it really never occur to anyone in the "common sense" departments of these corporations that suing devoted fans leads to having fewer of them?

I'm surprised there's anybody left who would touch Warhammer products. They've sued dozens of fan sites, fan movie projects, fan games and so on and so forth into oblivion.

The only sensible course of action would be to ignore them. Don't talk about them, don't write about them and certainly don't buy their products.

At least it teaches those who support these IP Nazis a lesson: don't be an idiot by helping greedy corporations.

Re:How stupid must one be? (1)

Erinnys Tisiphone (1627695) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140732)

A lot of other people have shown (appropriate) outrage that GW is suing their biggest fans (and customers). But aside from that, think of this from a marketing and money perspective. Do they really lose more money due to 'trademark infringement' than they gain from free press? I really doubt it. These sites are a great way to get people involved in their tabletop and PC games, and to get the word out to new players. If they shut down every fan site, they are going to have to shoulder the whole burden of marketing their products. I'm not certain they really comprehend how much staffing and money that really entails. The fact that their MMORPG (which really is a pretty solid game) is now down to only 4 live servers should be a clue to them. Outside of geek and gamer culture, Warhammer is not quite a household name like Dungeons and Dragons, Warcraft, or Magic: The Gathering. People who play it often devote a lot of time and money into playing it, but in my experience, GW has never made a huge outreach to bring in new players since launch. Its world and gameplay is complex and detailed. In my experience, people start playing Warhammer because their friends play Warhammer, they happen to walk into a GW store, or because they *read about it on the internet and get interested*. I agree that this is a really bad move by GW, but they've been doing this for some time, now. You have to wonder what is going through their corporate heads.

Way to kill your business (5, Insightful)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139652)

I can't imagine anything worse for their PR. No amount of advertisement can fix that.

Re:Way to kill your business (4, Insightful)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139666)

They took down a bunch of stuff from BoardGameGeek too: They are doing their best to commit PR Suicide.

Re:Way to kill your business (2, Interesting)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139762)

They took it down because the reviews stunk. I don't know anyone who plays GW stuff anymore, even though they have a store in town. A decade ago, I know a dozen or more who played regularly.

Re:Way to kill your business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32140652)

They took it down because the reviews stunk.

Actually, this very much depends upon when you were looking at the reviews. When it came out (a board game -with far fewer minis/components/etc than Descent Journeys in the Dark (~$70)) for a staggering $100 for a limited release, people stepped over themselves to order copies. Why the material was nice, it was definitely not worth the price tag it brought. Unsurprisingly, all of these chaps who spent $100 on this game unseen gave the game *incredible* review scores. Space Hulk 3e quickly rose to the top of the Board Game Geek best game charts.

Que the GW movement to slash and burn any reference to their products on the Geek as well as other websites, and all of those stellar reviews quickly reversed themselves, bringing the aggregate score of Space Hulk to its knees.

Re:Way to kill your business (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139774)

I can't imagine anything worse for their PR. No amount of advertisement can fix that.

Sadly, Blizzard has been proving you wrong for quite some time now.

Re:Way to kill your business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32139834)

You may be referring to the bnetd lawsuit, however, that's a different situation. In fairness, I am not aware of any time Blizzard sued a WoW fan site.

If you have any references, I'm sure everyone would love to see them.

Re:Way to kill your business (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139844)

Blizzard doesn't shut down fansites. Shutting down cheating software and software that can be used for piracy is really not even close to the same thing.

Re:Way to kill your business (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139930)

I personally know a guy, who started and maintains a fansite, and Blizzard was quite friendly with him. (Sending him tickets, giving interview etc.) Heck, does EA even have community managers?

Re:Way to kill your business (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140550)

EA does have community managers, I happen to have had dealings (via email) with the community manager for the Command & Conquer series myself (because I have written lots of editing related tools for C&C series and because I run a C&C related website).

Nice guy although a lot of the things he wants to do he cant do because his bosses wont let him :(

Questionable claims (5, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139754)

Two points:

1. It's not cybersquatting when the domain name is used for legitimate purposes.
2. I don't know about trademark law, but a non-legal, average person interpretation of the term "unfair competition" suggests that you'd have to be competing against the trademark holder rather than expressing support for their product.

Re:Questionable claims (1, Informative)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140030)

Trademarks exist to help the public distinguish the original source of something. If it's possible that people may be confused and think this fan site is actually made by people at Warhammer, then they may have a trademark infringement case.

Re:Questionable claims (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32140034)

I was told this by our patent lawyer once, I don't know how true it is but, don't you have to defend your trademark in order to make it valid? Meaning that they have to prosecute everyone (including fan sites like this) even if they settle on a 1 dollar license agreement in order to make sure that a real threat can't take the trademark freely.

Re:Questionable claims (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140304)

I was told this by our patent lawyer once, I don't know how true it is but, don't you have to defend your trademark in order to make it valid? Meaning that they have to prosecute everyone (including fan sites like this) even if they settle on a 1 dollar license agreement in order to make sure that a real threat can't take the trademark freely.

In this case, the name is used to refer to the franchise specifically and not as a generic word. This also seems to be "fair use". This means it does not dilute the trademark, and nothing needs to be done.

Furthermore, if something needed to be done, simply giving a $0 license (with specific conditions) to use the trademark would have been sufficient to "defend" it.

Of course, writing the free license only earns a lawyer... $1000-$10000 or so maybe? If the same lawyer manages to convince those that decide that suing is really the best course of action, he'll make 100x more, so you can guess what he's going to recommend...

Re:Questionable claims (1)

hackerjoe (159094) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140404)

Sure, but you don't have to sue them. You just have to ask nicely, "could you please sign a license agreement?"

Unless they were asked, and they refused, or they insisted on conditions GW couldn't abide. I mean, companies don't usually jump straight to litigation without even sending a letter or making a phone call first, but that doesn't tell us about this particular case. The claim from Curse is that that's exactly what happened.

Reading the complaint does turn up some interesting information. Among other things, it asserts that the warhammeralliance.com domain was registered in 2009 using false WHOIS information, which would make this particular iteration of the site, at least, *way* younger than 5 years. A cursory check on archive.org, though, suggests that the site's been in existence at that URL since 2006.

It's hard to call, from here. It sounds like GW's being at least a little inept, but on the other hand the site doesn't disclaim a relationship with GW anywhere obvious. I could totally have believed it was the official GW Warhammer forum site if I were a little more naive than I am; the logo's obviously a little unprofessional, but otherwise...

Re:Questionable claims (2, Informative)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140674)

The registration is through domain by proxy. The contact information is not false, it's just information for an intermediary. If using intermediaries was illegal GW's lawyers would be out of work.

Re:Questionable claims (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32140812)

Among other things, it asserts that the warhammeralliance.com domain was registered in 2009 using false WHOIS information, which would make this particular iteration of the site, at least, *way* younger than 5 years.

I suspect that 2009 is just when they switched to using private WHOIS information during a renewal. Doing a WHOIS on warhammeralliance.com shows a creation date of November 3rd, 2004. However, the information is for a private registration via Domains by Proxy. That's not really anything unusual or nefarious though -- if I were running a site as an individual, I wouldn't want my contact information being broadcast to the world, either. The last thing you want is phone calls at 3 am and getting signed up for every conceivable junk mailing just because you booted a troll from your forums.

Re:Questionable claims (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140154)

I don't know about trademark law, but a non-legal, average person interpretation of the term "unfair competition" suggests that you'd have to be competing against the trademark holder rather than expressing support for their product.

Perhaps the "unfair competition" comes from having a more popular fan site than the company's own Internet properties? They are both "embarrassed" and "irritated" that they are not leveraging those fans to the fullest financial extent on their own site... Idiots. Typical MBAs.

A natural consequence of intellectual property (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139800)

This is a natural consequence of intellectual property for something like GW who essentially relies on people consuming their storytelling, artwork and game mechanics. On one hand, the publisher wants you to be able to do what you want with their IP, but on the other, they don't want you to go so far as to start competing with them in the development of IP. It's a moronic business philosophy, the same as putting DRM on your video discs trying to stop attackers who are the exact same people as the users.

I remember seeing this all the time with NWN mods based on Tolkien's work, a couple of them shut down for fear of being sued by Tolkien's estate. The trick, at least with video games, would be to a completely open source setup that doesn't rely on a for profit publisher. I.e., you'd need an open source engine that is relatively decent as far as graphics go, of which there are several; a common use rules set for determining game mechanics (classes, stats, feats, etc.) and then a large body of creative commons artwork to go with it. Traditionally, the stumbling block has been that NWN proved that a sufficiently motivated community could come up with decent artwork and 3D models. I don't know why it is though that such a thing doesn't exist. I suppose it's easier to just pay $50 for a game that is fed to you, less work.

Re:A natural consequence of intellectual property (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139820)

Er, oops, that last part should read:

Traditionally, the stumbling block has been a lack of good artwork, but NWN proved that a sufficiently motivated community could come up with decent artwork and 3D models (a lot of which I admit were ripped from elsewhere, but people used them just the same).

Isnt it ironic .... (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140870)

I remember seeing this all the time with NWN mods based on Tolkien's work, a couple of them shut down for fear of being sued by Tolkien's estate.

that the heirs of the guy who wrote about a struggle against an evil overlord residing in a castle, became very much like that overlord themselves.

Looks like they (2, Interesting)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139832)

chose the very opposite path that CCP hf. (EVE-Online) decided to go. They are doing whatever they can to prevent their fans to create some fan platform.
CCP is helping fans with:
  • making videos
  • writing and publishing books about eve
  • reporting on events from eve universe
  • writing howto's and publishing them online
  • reporting on events from within CCP
  • providing API's for fan's servers and custom programs

creators of warhammer seem to take the exactly opposite way...
let's see how long it'll last

Re:Looks like they (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140082)

Heck, just look at the list of the CCP employees that helped out with Clear Skies 2 ;-)

Gotta love those guys. "You're gonna make a movie using our IP? Awesome! Need any help?".

For the non-EVE players, Clear Skies 1 and 2 are machinima movies using both the EVE Online and the Halflife 2 engines, set it in the EVE universe. For the second one, CCP had a whole bunch of people flying ships and providing assistance.

"legitimate fansite" (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32139890)

Owned and operated by a commercial company (Curse).

Misleading news items? In my Slashdot?

Re:"legitimate fansite" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32139936)

And why do you think the site is "illegitimate" because it is run by a commercial company?

Re:"legitimate fansite" (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140480)

That's like saying Slashdot is a misleading open source website because it's ran by Geeknet. The fact it is backed up by a company does not in any way change that it wasn't competing, it was promoting their games!

Next up, why don't they sue people who don't paint their little Space Marines in the proper official colors?

Even their lawsuit is inaccurate... (2, Informative)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32139952)

The domain warhammeralliance.com was registered in 2005. But the lawsuit claims it happened in 2009. What's worse, GW even provided promotional materials (such as interviews) over the past five years.

Warhammer?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32140010)

WTF?! The game system's not even that popular. I was vaguely interested in their fantasy setting, but it just never clicked with me, and if it had I'd certainly no longer be interested after these strings of lawsuits.

Someone needs to GDW this is NOT good marketing and/or a good how-to-win-friends-and-influence-people-move.

I guess that they're just getting read for their epic phail when they decide to sue the MMO dev studio and publisher.

IMNHO they'd've been better off doing a Traveler MMO, which I think that they own, or at least I seem to recall my original rulebooks having GDW on them. (First time that I'd ever heard of GDW too... NEVER saw any of their warhammer crap until YEARS later and then only bits and pieces here and there usually in the bargain bin or heavily price reduced.

tell them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32140036)

I sent them a very sternly written letter. That'll show them!

Typical GW (5, Informative)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140042)

This is pretty typical GW stupidities.

The one I like is how you can't sell Games Workshop games online -- they use the same theory to block that, too. See, Games Workshop sells their own miniatures on their own online store. GW prices are, to be charitable, completely fucking nuts. We're talking $35+ bucks for a single miniature, most armies using hundreds of miniatures. What people were doing were buying bulk orders from GW and GW's resellers, then reselling them online for 40-50% discounts.

Well, can't have that, can we? So GW now prohibits anyone from selling their product for more than 20% off, and prohibits the use of online stores [thewarstore.com] to sell their product. How is that legal? Rule of first sale and the like?

Hell if I know.

I myself have rumbled with the big dumb collective -- their website had a simplistic naming scheme, so I guessed the URL of the Necromunda website (Necromunda is one of GW's "flavor of the year" games, wherein they release a rulebook with slightly tweaked rules, a new miniature set or 3, then promptly stop supporting after the early adopters give up some cash -- see also: Mordheim, Inquisitor, Bloodbowl, Battlefleet Gothic, Epic...) and posted screenshots of the incomplete page. I got a nastygram in my email pretty quickly. They were cordial enough about it, but they still had a "do this now or else" vibe going on.

The local gaming store told me why he didn't like carrying GW products, either -- I was buying a Tyranid Hive Tyrant, and he flat out told me that GW would require he buy 2-4 Hive Tyrants to replace that single one. This is despite my purchase of said Hive Tyrant being the only HT purchase that year. GW requires minimum orders, GW requires minimum shelving space, GW requires X number of GW dedicated gaming tables, the works, in order to work with them instead of a re-reseller. And god forbid if you want to host official GW tournaments -- in order to be an official GW store you basically have to dedicate their entire store to them, and get used to buying the "new release of the week" and swapping it out, even if the existing stuff hasn't sold yet.

Did I mention that GW also runs their own dedicated retail store network -- the "Rogue Traders", which means that even if you ARE dancing to the GW tune, you're still a dirty little competitor, and thus they hate you and want to see you suffer?

There's no wonder Warhammer Online is an utter failure, why their wargames aren't selling anywhere near the levels they used to, the works. GW is, to be frank, toxic as hell to work with, and it is finally catching up to them.

Re:Typical GW (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140236)

I want to know why they act this way? What kind of idiot thought that such horrible business practices would be a good idea? Is it to "protect" their franchise? Do people actually graduate from business school anymore or do they just take some classes and remember their lessons just long enuff to get that paper? WTF! I hate life.

Re:Typical GW (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#32141200)

Pretty much reminds me how Tesco hypermarkets work here in Eastern-Europe. They ask you shelf price, you have to do regular selloffs (which usually go below production price) etc.

Re:Typical GW (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140252)

Easy solution, don't buy their products. Let them wither on the vine. There are lots of other games you can play.

Re:Typical GW (2, Interesting)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140626)

Here in Australia I see a bunch of "Games Workshop" stores around that I assume are owned by GW themselves

Other than that, I havent seen any GW stuff around (not that there are that many places around that sell tabletop fantasy and sci-fi war gaming bits)

Games Workshop needs to realize that the whole "screw the customers, fans and resellers" crap isn't a good way to make money. (Wizards Of The Coast, another big player in gaming owning both Magic The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons seems to be doing a lot of the same crap Games Workshop is doing)

Re:Typical GW (2, Interesting)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140724)

I was in a local gaming store, when the owner was explaining why he stopped carrying Warhammer stuff. They tried to twist his arm over minimum purchases, and he told them that if he wanted to be a Warhammer store he would have opened one. This was at least ten years ago, and the actual Warhammer store in town that opened at about the same time lasted all of three months.

Warhammer Online's faults should be laid at Mythic's feet, though. Their earlier Realm-vs-Realm game, Dark Ages of Camelot, was plagued with a similar variety of design flaws and bugs.

Re:Typical GW (4, Interesting)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140892)

Yeah, there was an interesting post [slashdot.org] on this in the last thread on the topic. Of note is that their anti-reseller antics only apply in the US and not in the UK - not because Games Workshop is any more ethical in the UK, but because the Competition Commission here came down on them like a ton of bricks and forced them to cease their anti-competitive practices forthwith. Unfortunately, the US is kinda lacking in the consumer protection department and there's a lot of political opposition to correcting this.

Ads (1)

sieb (749103) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140078)

The only legitimate claim I see here is that they are profiting by using the name Warhammer and it's connection to GW's Trademark of Warhammer by having banner ads on the site, which don't appear to be working for me at the moment. The claim of anonymity by shielding their domain registration information is lame, they are only trying to use that to their advantage and claim they knowingly hid their info so they couldn't be found. Last I checked, you could still get that information through legal means. Cybersquatting they are not as the domain name is being used legitimately to host a site and not as a landing page for ads or to just resell the domain for money. But, since they are looking for a trial with a jury, GW will probably be sure to pick the most technologically illiterate people they can to serve on the jury. But, being that this is about a Trademark, GW has to sue regardless of merit or else risk losing the Trademark.

Re:Ads (1)

sieb (749103) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140136)

I should also add that I find it amusing they are claiming unfair competition and "Defendants' 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." Really? A fan site that encourages people to play a GW product is injuring you? Seems that this act of suing is causing more injury to GW than the fansite is.. :D

Ooops Games Workshop/GDW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32140088)

heh heh heh I see that they are actually two ENTIRELY different companies now, with GDW defunct, yet it looks like GW is working hard to follow in their footsteps.

Warhammer, must be a European thing as I can't say that I've ever run into anyone that ever played one of their Warhammer strategy/RPG games. I guess that their biggest break must've the series of so-so tactical/strategy computer games.

Seems reasonable to me. (3, Informative)

NPerez (930539) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140234)

Rather than hopping on the 'Screw GW!' bandwagon, I actually decided to rtfa and look into the situation.

The site was originally a fan-site, and it was welcomed by GW. Then it was bought out by a corporation called Curse. Curse is running it with intent to make profit. It's common sense that a for-profit site with 'Warhammer' in the name is not exactly fair business.

It's not a fan-site anymore. It's a corporate asset

Re:Seems reasonable to me. (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140762)

Curse wanted Warhammeralliance not for the name but for it's history ... I doubt they really considered legal consequences, since if GW had legal claims it would have had them 5 years earlier too. Whether it's a fan or a company makes not a lick of difference legally. Driving up 10s of thousands of dollars in lawyers cost bringing a suit without even giving Curse an opportunity to remedy the situation is just a complete asshole move.

Before bringing suit I would have said GW had the moral right to demand Curse changed the domain name ... after bringing the suit the most just outcome however I think is for them to lose. Unless they want to swallow their lawyer fees in case of settlement, without damages, which I sincerely doubt.

Re:Seems reasonable to me. (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 3 years ago | (#32141104)

The website has always been running with ads to generate revenue. It shouldn't make a difference who's handling the money or where the excess goes to.
More likely GW is just being it's usual incompetent self and suing the people who love them best.

-A former fan (15 years ago)

It's worth noting (4, Informative)

Runefox (905204) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140296)

If you look into the forums, the second post [warhammeralliance.com] actually explains that Games Workshop was promoting the site back in 2006 and that they had come to an agreement between the site, Games Workshop and Mythic Entertainment by way of a disclaimer. Apparently, they now allege that they had just discovered the site.

Either there's incredibly bad miscommunication going on inside Games Workshop, or... Well, I can't really think of how anything else really sounds remotely sane about this. I'm not a fan of Warhammer Online or anything, but seriously?

Reap what you sow (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140312)

It's behavior like this that has kept me from buying Space Hulk or any Warhammer 40k minis. I haven't even picked up any of the Dawn of War games since I found out what they've been doing.

You hear me, Games Workshop? I am your ideal customer. I have lots of money and I want to give you some of it. But I'm not going to until you stop being a goddamn asshole.

isnt this?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32140584)

isn't this the same game company that was overcharging their customers for their subscriptions?

I was about to start playing Warhammer Online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32140756)

I was getting ready to restart my Warhammer Online subscription. But after seeing this? I'll keep my money.

Par for the course (1)

Patspeed (1792794) | more than 3 years ago | (#32140980)

I having dealt with Games Workshop in both personal and profession capacities over the years, I have always been struck by their stupidly greedy tactics. From the over priced kits, to requiring me order $40,000 of everything in their product line in order to sell any of their products in my store. This lawsuit is very typical of them.
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