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Blizzard Sued By Game Guide Creator

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the don't-have-a-monopoly-on-info dept.

285

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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More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (5, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011966)


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.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (5, Insightful)

HoosierPeschke (887362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012010)

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.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (3, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012081)

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.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (4, Insightful)

deinol (210478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012559)

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.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15013283)

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."

Funny, I thought it was "The chief obstacle to the progress of an individual is morons like you." Also, please don't misrepresent any government currently in power on the planet as a democracy.Damn mindless liberatrians.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012258)

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.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012151)

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?

He wrote a guide book. The guide book is not a replacement for the game itself, it's something different.

Now if he had taken WoW artwork and characters and made his own MMORPG, that would be copyright infringement. A guide book is fair use, even if it uses screenshots from a copyrighted game.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (5, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012171)

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 will yield the best overall benefit. Looking only at competition or only at stimulating creation is too narrow. Both should be considered and weighed.

I don't think that the time has come to abolish these laws, but I do think they need to be reduced, and that this reduction will provide a net benefit to the public.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (0)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012236)

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.

I care not for laws -- when I mean prior art I mean the work of previous individual using their time as they please, freely. When the law takes over terms, there is a problem.

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.

If you went to Target and bought a bottle of Soda with the word 'Coke' on it, and it had coffee in it (actually, see Coke Blak, heh), or had a knockoff cola, you'd stop shopping at Target. Leave the quality control to the middle man between you and Coke -- that's their job to make sure you're happy.

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.

So the labor of one person is worth more than the labor of another because of government force? That's unwise to me. If you can do a job cheaper, the market will prosper. I don't believe in derivative profits being forced by law -- I believe the market sets many precedents why people will buy the original over the knockoff (see "generic products" for details). I also see no reason to force me to pay for previous work done after I've bought a product. Do you pay your plumber every time you flush the toilet? If you see how he fixed your toilet, do you have to license that knowledge in order to do it yourself? It is your labor, do with it as you please.

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.

Again with the laws. I care not for them. Intellectual property means that someone has the right to control how you think -- and what you do with those thoughts. My labor is mine, my time is mine, I should be able to do with it as I please. Nothing should stop me unless I am directly harming the physical body or physical property of another person -- but there should be no law against hurting their "thoughts."

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.

Complete BS. The blog world has taken over in just a few years, and millions of artists are writing great works and they're getting better. They don't do it because of copyright or even a profit motive, and the news corporations that previously controlled copyright are freaking out. Copyright creates cartels, patents creates cartels, regulations creates cartels and licensing creates cartels. Cartels are bad for business.

There is no reason to control the thoughts of others and how they use those thoughts.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (4, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012518)

If you went to Target and bought a bottle of Soda with the word 'Coke' on it, and it had coffee in it (actually, see Coke Blak, heh), or had a knockoff cola, you'd stop shopping at Target. Leave the quality control to the middle man between you and Coke -- that's their job to make sure you're happy.

But you wouldn't know which store is Target, either. Or visit some other place, you couldn't rely on the names at all to help you identify anything, you could go into Target and find a grocery store or a bar or a brothel. You wouldn't know which "Coke" they are selling until you try it, you could not carry over any previous experience with any product. All that just for some idea that "names should belong to noone".

If you can do a job cheaper, the market will prosper. I don't believe in derivative profits being forced by law -- I believe the market sets many precedents why people will buy the original over the knockoff (see "generic products" for details).

Problem is when you add media to the deal. With media the good sold is information, not the physical medium. But there would be no protection on the information and we have technology to duplicate the information without loss of quality. Concrete example: Take CDs. Data on a CD can take months or years and thousands or millions of dollars to produce but the actual medium only costs pennies these days. As you know, it's trivial to just take a CD and make an exact duplicate of it. A leech could sell tons of CDs for 1$ a piece by simply copying content he did not create. The original creator cannot offer any advantage to the buyer (except for the feeling of supporting the creator but few care about that) that the copiers cannot offer. So the creator would have to compete with the leeches on price directly but the leech has no development costs to cover. As a result the leech has a competitive advantage over the creator.

A market for data simply cannot exist without some restriction on just going out and copying it. And while you may argue that it's better to create art for the love of it instead of for money, you cannot deny that it would lower the productivity of artists simply because they would have to spend time they would spend on creating art on earning the money to live. Oh, and of course because they can't use the same budget current for-profit art uses. While some argue that Hollywood movies are unnecessary I still think that it would mean a loss of variety and artistic freedom. It's not like anyone's preventing you from making your own art in your free time, that possibility always remains. But without copyright the freedom to use expensive elements in your art would be greatly reduced, simply because you can't afford it.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012582)

But you wouldn't know which store is Target, either. Or visit some other place, you couldn't rely on the names at all to help you identify anything, you could go into Target and find a grocery store or a bar or a brothel. You wouldn't know which "Coke" they are selling until you try it, you could not carry over any previous experience with any product. All that just for some idea that "names should belong to noone".

So? You go to a store and you return because the service is good, the price is right and the product is consistent. It doesn't matter if it has a name, there are Targets I won't go to in my area because they're subpar to others in the same area.

Concrete example: Take CDs. Data on a CD can take months or years and thousands or millions of dollars to produce but the actual medium only costs pennies these days

Which is why you need to sell more than the data on the CD. Sell the support, sell the add-on hardware, sell the live performance, sell the training, sell the installation, sell a follow-up newsletter. The time you spend making that CD is your labor -- don't put in your labor until you know how you can market the product in a world of competition and "piracy."

A market for data simply cannot exist without some restriction on just going out and copying it.

Untrue. I make a very good income by giving all my data away for free and billing for my personal time (on the phone, in face-to-face consultations and in public speaking engagements). Nothing restricts others from doing it but they are LAZY because of the government force of copyright. They want to work once and make money forever rather than working a little bit at a time to build a regular customer base and then continue making money by working. Bands that make a one-hit wonder might spend 5 hours in the studio on that song, but they have a right to millions due to the monopoly distribution cartels who own the copyright system.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

Daggon (948225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012668)

Which is why you need to sell more than the data on the CD. Sell the support, sell the add-on hardware, sell the live performance, sell the training, sell the installation, sell a follow-up newsletter. The time you spend making that CD is your labor -- don't put in your labor until you know how you can market the product in a world of competition and "piracy." What if someone copying your data does this too, but because they had to invest nothing into the creation they can do it cheaper than you. In this type of model the copier will always win because he has no overhead costs in the creation.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (2, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012908)

Which is why you need to sell more than the data on the CD. Sell the support, sell the add-on hardware, sell the live performance, sell the training, sell the installation, sell a follow-up newsletter. The time you spend making that CD is your labor -- don't put in your labor until you know how you can market the product in a world of competition and "piracy."

So if you had the idea and ability to create a product that could not give you these additional income sources (e.g. movies, music or videogames) you'd either not do it or intentionally cripple your product to require such additional services? That'd still kill off the largest part of the entertainment sector.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012856)

A market for data simply cannot exist without some restriction on just going out and copying it.

That's not a good enough justification. And it treads dangerously close to the utterly discredited sweat of the brow theory. Copies of a work are commodities, and commodity markets should not be impaired with monopolies unless there is a very good reason. There are good reasons in the case of copyright, but merely not wanting competition at marginal cost isn't one of them.

But without copyright the freedom to use expensive elements in your art would be greatly reduced, simply because you can't afford it.

Sure. But the key question is, what's best for the public? Having works be unencumbered with efficient competition, or having encumberances and less competition but more investment put into works?

Both are valuable, and we should strive to have a balance of the two that is best for the public, rather than concentrating on one over the other. Of course, shifts in technology and society may tip the balance against copyright. But I don't think we're close to that yet.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012992)

Sure. But the key question is, what's best for the public? Having works be unencumbered with efficient competition, or having encumberances and less competition but more investment put into works?

Both are valuable, and we should strive to have a balance of the two that is best for the public, rather than concentrating on one over the other. Of course, shifts in technology and society may tip the balance against copyright. But I don't think we're close to that yet.


I don't think copyright takes away any ability to compete, it merely requires you to compete using your own work instead of other people's work. Nobody's stopping you from creating a work of art and using it to compete with the big players. Of course, if you can't contribute something meaningful to the market you will be ignored and that's the way it should be, those who cannot compete should be pushed out of the market, except competing is restricted to creating works and selling them instead of copying other people's works and selling them at a lower price.

Patents may hurt the competition that happens in a market but copyright certainly does not.

Some list the "perpetual copyright" on Mickey Mouse as a problem that Copyrighrt has brought upon us but they should ask themselves "Is it really important that works can contain Mickey Mouse?". Copyright does not withold anything you'd need to compte in a market, it always leaves you the option to create a viable substitute for use in your work.

If some copyrighted work is too expensive for you, well, ignore it. It's not food, it's not water, it's just entertainment. You can live without it.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013674)

I don't think copyright takes away any ability to compete, it merely requires you to compete using your own work instead of other people's work.

And that's anticompetitive. When Twain's books were copyrighted, only he could sell them, and he could charge a premium. When they hit the public domain, anyone could sell them, and the competition forced the various publishers to become more efficient and lower their prices.

It's no different from saying that a monopoly on wheat held by one farmer doesn't take away my ability to compete with him, so long as I sell rye instead. You're ignoring that I can't compete with him in the wheat market, and that this lack of competition may harm the public and harms me by restricting my freedom.

Sometimes monopolies are okay, but they need to be seriously justified.

Some list the "perpetual copyright" on Mickey Mouse as a problem that Copyrighrt has brought upon us but they should ask themselves "Is it really important that works can contain Mickey Mouse?"

Yes. If I have a Mickey Mouse story I want to tell, then I'm going to need the character. Not being able to use it harms me, since I'm not free to create the works I want. It harms the public, since they can't get those works, which could very well be better than those that Disney makes. It harms Disney to a degree, since the lack of competition lets it sit on its laurels.

We might want to give them a monopoly so that they'll create Mickey Mouse to begin with, but after that, we want everyone free to use it. This results in the greatest competition, producing the best Mickey Mouse works we can. It forces Disney to create something new if it wants a monopoly again. And it results in the least intrusion on people's freedom.

Disney certainly has done well by making works that contain fairy tale characters and stories. Why shouldn't the rest of us get to use Mickey Mouse in just the same way?

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

Daggon (948225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012598)

This is great if everyone remains honest and well intentioned, but we don't live in that kind of reality.

You seem to be forgetting the basic concept of copywriting; it's in the word itself "copy." What happens when you create something, you spend hours, weeks, months, years creating this, be it a work or art or commerce. After completing someone comes along and find a way to duplicate your work with minimal effort, say a few minutes. Now this person decides to not only copy your work, but also is dishonest and claims the work as their own. Should this person be allowed to claim your hard work as their own? You seem to be under the impression that the act of duplication is equal to the act of original creation, it isn't, by just about any measure.

The emergence of copywrite has nothing to do with decreased desire to create new works, but the emergence of easier and easier methods to copy those works and in many cases fraudulent claims that the copies are original work. To explain, lack of copywrite didn't discourage people from releasing work in the past because methods of duplication were difficult. Now methods of duplication are simplistic and thus the lack of protection on original works can mean the creator can be drowned in copies of his own work. With no protection there is nothing perverting lazy, deceitful people from stealing original work and profiting from it.

Now copywrite can be abused certainly, but with methods of duplication so simple today I really think lack of copywrite would be stifling in many areas of both art and commerce. Its one of those things that has be evolved an compromised, throwing it out removes protections from honest people looking to profit from their hard work. So rather lets find good way to improve copywrite laws to reduce abuses and retain protection of original work as just saying "throw them all out" is naïve.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013705)

To explain, lack of copywrite didn't discourage people from releasing work in the past because methods of duplication were difficult.

Meh.

Authors and pirates have always had parity in technology, often with a bit of an edge to the authors due to economies of scale, first mover advantages, etc. There's no reason that the MPAA can't put their movies on Bit Torrent themselves, rather than letting that medium remain the playground of pirates that it largely is. But, they don't want to, and for this they've no one to blame but themselves.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012770)

I care not for laws -- when I mean prior art I mean the work of previous individual using their time as they please, freely. When the law takes over terms, there is a problem.

It's merely jargon, but using it in an unusual manner can make it harder to understand you than it needs to be. Think of how many novice computer users call the monitor the computer, and the computer the hard drive, and so on. It makes it hard to provide them with tech support; they can't quite explain what their problem is, and the person helping them has a harder time telling them how to fix their problem and giving advice so that it doesn't happen again.

If you went to Target and bought a bottle of Soda with the word 'Coke' on it, and it had coffee in it (actually, see Coke Blak, heh), or had a knockoff cola, you'd stop shopping at Target.

No, I'd stop buying things labeled 'Coke' because I would no longer have any idea of what I'd be buying. And as another poster has noted, how would I know that this Target is related in any way to other stores of the same name? Basically I would have a much harder time as a customer, because I would have to test everything instead of being able to rely on all goods or services that bore a particular label being basically the same as others with that label. As I said, trademark law is basically about consumer protection. It's also about unfair competition, in that it's not very fair for one company to steal the customers of another, not by being better or cheaper, but simply by tricking customers.

So the labor of one person is worth more than the labor of another because of government force?

You're missing the point.

If I were to write a book, and there was no copyright, I could expect that of all the money that could possibly be made from the book, I might get 1% of that (the number is arbitrary). If there were a copyright, but no derivative right, I could expect maybe 10%. And if there were a copyright with a derivative right, I could expect maybe 25%.

So, let's say that the book will ultimately be worth $10,000. Without a copyright, I can expect to make $100. Given that I can spend the same amount of time working at a different job and earning more, I would not bother to write the book. The opportunity cost is too high for me. With the first level of copyright discussed, I could get $1,000. Maybe now it's worth it to me to write the book, or maybe not. And with the second level, it's worth $2,500, and it is much better than the best alternative, which is to work at some job for a wage.

If the public is interested in getting books written, then yes, without copyright some books will be. But with copyright -- at least up to a certain point -- more books can be written than otherwise would be, because the authors want to make money and have a better chance of doing so now.

The public is also interested in being frugal and in not being restricted by copyrights, and so they don't want to provide more copyright than it takes. If I would write the book for sure with the copyright that directs 25% of profits to me, then there's no need to have a more expansive copyright that directs 50% of the profits to me.

The derivative right is basically just part of this policy. It's fine to the extent that it serves the public interest. Because while we want people to be free to make derivatives without permission, we also want people to create original works. And favoring one tends to disfavor the other. It's not a zero-sum game, however, and when considered in the long run, favoring one could result in also eventually favoring the other, too.

Nothing should stop me unless I am directly harming the physical body or physical property of another person -- but there should be no law against hurting their "thoughts."

Okay, so you'd be in favor of allowing kidnapping if no one got hurt, or in causing intentional emotional distress (e.g. non-physically torturing someone into a mental breakdown), and so on.

I have to say that I do not find your ideas intriguing, and I have no wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

The blog world has taken over in just a few years, and millions of artists are writing great works and they're getting better. They don't do it because of copyright or even a profit motive,

Sure. I'm well aware that many people create without the motive of a copyright, and one change I'd like to see is to find a way to identify them (on a per-work basis, naturally) and not grant them copyrights that they didn't need.

But not everyone is like that.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013104)

It makes it hard to provide them with tech support; they can't quite explain what their problem is, and the person helping them has a harder time telling them how to fix their problem and giving advice so that it doesn't happen again.

Which just means that the uneducated consumers would have to pay more for support -- the way the market is supposed to work anyway.

No, I'd stop buying things labeled 'Coke' because I would no longer have any idea of what I'd be buying.

I highly doubt it -- retailers build their profits by buying consistent products from consistent manufacturers and are always looking for better products to sell. If they bought any of the knock-off Cokes, their customers would leave completely.

If I were to write a book, and there was no copyright, I could expect that of all the money that could possibly be made from the book, I might get 1% of that (the number is arbitrary). If there were a copyright, but no derivative right, I could expect maybe 10%. And if there were a copyright with a derivative right, I could expect maybe 25%.

You've never shopped a book to be published. I'm shopping 2 right now and will end up selling it myself because I make more money. The publisher's association has cartel control of distribution until Amazon came along, and they still have massive power made from previous moneys they made off the control. Most authors don't make 1% or even 0.5% of their book sales. When I printed my 2000 copies of my first book (self published) I sold about 40% of them and gave away 60% of them and did very well. I'm thinking of making 20,000 copies of the next one because its even better -- but I'll give the e-book version away free. Mises.org has free e-books of almost all their books that you can buy on Amazon, but people keeping buying them. Odd, isn't it?

Okay, so you'd be in favor of allowing kidnapping if no one got hurt, or in causing intentional emotional distress (e.g. non-physically torturing someone into a mental breakdown), and so on.

Kidnapping is violating someone's property -- their person. Intentional emotional distress doesn't happen without voluntary cooperation of both parties. If you come on my land and I cause you distress, you leave. If I come on your land and cause you distress, you tell me to leave. If I don't leave, I'm trespassing. If you don't leave, you're accepting my distress.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013613)

Most authors don't make 1% or even 0.5% of their book sales.

Like I said, the numbers were arbitrary.

Kidnapping is violating someone's property -- their person.

People aren't property.

Intentional emotional distress doesn't happen without voluntary cooperation of both parties.

Thoroughly untrue. If I suddenly and without warning scare you half to death, and you're left with mental trauma, e.g. constant nightmares, new phobias, anxiety, etc., then I've harmed you, just not physically. Your nonsense about trespassing isn't relevant. It can happen anywhere, and with sufficient rapidity that you can't really protect yourself.

Frankly, you're advocating crackpot positions, and I'm now less interested in discussing them with you as I am in refuting them so that others aren't taken in.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (3, Insightful)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013264)

If you went to Target and bought a bottle of Soda with the word 'Coke' on it, and it had coffee in it (actually, see Coke Blak, heh), or had a knockoff cola, you'd stop shopping at Target. Leave the quality control to the middle man between you and Coke -- that's their job to make sure you're happy.

Aren't you anarcho-capitalists at least supposed to consider fraud to be a form of indirect force?

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013619)

I care not for laws -- when I mean prior art I mean the work of previous individual using their time as they please, freely.
Care for them or not, they (closely related to them) will still come after you when you violate them.
When the law takes over terms, there is a problem.
Lots of problems then. A large part of the actual text of a given law is often spent defining terms.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

Da3vid (926771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012594)

Careful, you wrote down the word "legos" without attributing their trademark.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012798)

Well, I have a hobby in my spare time of trying to make trademarks generic. You can google for more information about this on any search engine. Or I could write about it and xerox you a xerox on my xerox.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012988)

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 deemed too beneficial to mankind such as the Combine Harvester which only got 5 years out its total 17 (around 1835). I wish I could find the source online but everything that I try in google gets modern patent references. (I remember watching this on the History Channel on the show Modern Marvels and nothing is mentioned aobut it on Wiki and can't seem to find any other patents that got revoked, but I think the policy back then was a bit different).

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013571)

I hadn't heard of that before, but then patents aren't my field.

In any event, I think that it's better to consider the balance with regard to broad policy and classes of works, rather than trying to look at individual works.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1, Flamebait)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012225)

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 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.

Granted, this case is not about verbatim copying - it is about the right to prepare derivative works.
The whole "information wants to be free" and "we should all be able to pirate anything" crowd is just trying to self-justify.

Apparently Ebay will remove a listing at the slightest hint of IP violations, because they fear a lawsuit. They have to comply with take-down provisions.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012281)

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 about copyright.

It is ridiculous to think that all art has commercial motivations. When you create a product for commercial purposes, you have to think of the marketing and how you'll profit from the time you spent making a product -- knowing full well that knockoffs will occur.

I created a game in the BBS days that I released without copyright. I wrote some songs, too. I published 2 books that are copyright free and still earn me money. I use my writings as a gateway to my person -- which I bill out at a high rate.

Your labor is your labor, do with it as you please. If you're worried someone will copy you, then you have to build up your customer base slowly, and they'll see you can make new creative content that they'll gladly pay you for. I publish 2 print newsletters without copyright and people continue to subscribe when they could photocopy them and send them to friends. In fact, some do, and those friends appreciate my work and then pay me for a subcription.

The law is in the hands of the powerful and completely tramples on my freedom to do with my labor as I want to as long as I don't physically harm anyone or their property. Intellectual property laws are the equivalent of mind control.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012303)


The law is in the hands of the powerful and completely tramples on my freedom to do with my labor as I want to as long as I don't physically harm anyone or their property. Intellectual property laws are the equivalent of mind control.

How exactly?

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

Naradak (964260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012323)

Nobody is going to make games/books/movies/music if they can't protect them.

There were artists, musicians, and writers before copyrights existed. I don't find it hard to believe that they wouldn't still create works without the law's protection.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012426)

True, but:

1) copyright has been around much longer than recording devices.
Technology has made copying much cheaper. You don't have to have a monk scribe make a copy of a book for you anymore.

2) Even if people still CREATE works, they will probably be less likely to reveal them to the public without any protection.
If you take away patents, you are left with a whole lot of trade secrets.
And that doesn't make the public better off.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012546)

Lights replaced gaslamps -- what happened to the lamplighters?

Tires replaced horseshoes -- what happened to the anvil makers?

The Internet is quickly making the Encyclopedia irrelevant, should we protect the encyclopedia makers?

The highway system made trains irrelevant, should we safe them with government power?

In the grand scheme of things, as technology improves, it replaces old ways of doing business. Now that you don't need a huge studio to make music, you also don't need huge budgets. What is wrong with a band making an album to give out freely -- charge for signatures or value added options -- and make their money using their real labor in live shows? What is wrong with a theater group making a movie DVD of their performance to give away freely -- to drive people to see their shows? What is wrong with a book author writing freely online (as I do) in order to charge more for their public engagements (as I do)?

Supply and demand wins out -- now that media is near infinite in supply, the price drops toward zero. Find new ways to make money, don't stick to the old ones.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

Daggon (948225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013557)

In the grand scheme of things, as technology improves, it replaces old ways of doing business. Now that you don't need a huge studio to make music, you also don't need huge budgets. What is wrong with a band making an album to give out freely -- charge for signatures or value added options -- and make their money using their real labor in live shows? What is wrong with a theater group making a movie DVD of their performance to give away freely -- to drive people to see their shows? What is wrong with a book author writing freely online (as I do) in order to charge more for their public engagements (as I do)?

Lets turn this idea loose into the free market and see what happens. Lets say I own a webserver and take all those free music and videos and host them for public download at no cost. But, being a clever entrepenuer I add in services to make money for myself, I set up a fast saver with a better connection and sell "premium" fast downloading at a minimal cost. Or I limit bandwidth you get for free access and offer more if you pay. Also if I can sell advertising space on my web service. Also since the music is free a make my own compliation CDs, print and sell those. Heck I can even ceate my own merchandising (t-shirts, hats, etc) and sell those alongside my "free" music. My only overhead costs are just waiting for the artists to realease new music so I can copy it into my service, then I can advertise and distribute it. This is an excellent buisness model, low overhead and high profit potential. When you remove copyright protection it means ANYONE can sell your work even if you choose not you. And as in my example they don't actually have to sell your specific creation to profit from it, it can be tangential to their real product. The artists get stuck with paying for the instruments the recording equiment and have to spend all the time create the music, so there is no way for them to compete with me, I'll be able to profit much more efficiently from their work than they will. So in effect you completely recreate those big bad record companies you don't like only now the have ABSOLUTLY no obligations to the original artists.

It can even get more fun, lets say I decide to market and sell a book you wrote, but I don't like the ending, I'll just re-write it and leave your name on it. Its free so I can do whatever I want to it and sell it and I have no obligation to tell anyone I changed it. I can throw it into compilations of writing and sell it, heck I'll even pitch it to you "Sure you can spend hours looking online for these stories and downloading them, but for the mere cost of $29.95 I give them to you in a collection" nice of me isn't it. And since I sell in bulk I can afford to distribute and advertise more than you so now my re-written copy of your book is more common than your orignal work. Giving up your protections to the free market is great isn't it? I'll just package your work with Mien Kampf, I mean its all just writing so you won't mind, it is free after all. We can go another way, without protections I can use your work as a tool for my own marketing "with every purchase of my book you get this guys book, absolutely free."

Its basic economics, the act of creating a new product is always going to cost more than copying an exisiting product. If you allow anyone to copy exisiting products at will you create a force in the market that makes creating new products LESS profitable than copying them.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

galonso (705202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012300)

*braces for random flames*

I have to first say that this posting was well presented. That said the theory presented and the facts in practice do not quite mesh.

When I read "Here's another person creating his own art based on the prior art of someone else." I assumed that the post would be against the ebay vendor, because this statement clearly shows how that creator is in the wrong.

This is a derived work, and derived works require permission. It is not a parody, and does not come under the heading of protected speech. If you intend to create art derived from somebody else's art, and you do not secure permission, you are reckless at best, or at worst, a thief.

What? Crazy talk?

Blizz must defend their IP vigorously or risk losing their rights to it. To this end, from a prudent legal perspective, they are doing the right thing. Even with this in mind, however, it is very hard for me to condone theft of IP for personal profit (exactly what is happening) either for a pure profit motive's sake or as a larger 'value' issue as outlined above.

Freedoms do not grant you the 'right' to steal or improperly inhibit another. The previous post calls this competition, but let's be real -- it's wrongfully taking what is not yours. The argument that this does not apply to non-individuals is also, while well intentioned (and I see the point I think -- corporations should not have more rights than individuals -- but neither, I think it's clear, should they have fewer protections), is also incorrect from a legal and philosophical value point of view.

Whether the art was made by 'Fred' or 'Anne' is not a determinant of how it should be protected; whether the art was made by a group is also not a determinant -- after all, if group work was not protected, then nobody would ever work together for fear of having no control or ownership of their creations.

I appreciate the notion that we need to be free to function creatively, but that freedom can never include theft -- to say so puts us firmly in the same boat as groups who would justify oppression and human rights violations in the name of 'society' and 'security.'

I suspect, though I could be wrong, that the author of the parent is not in favor of such tactics in that context. If they are, then there can be no meaningful debate. If not, then I am highly curious to see how they reconcile theft with freedom.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (0, Flamebait)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012336)

I suspect, though I could be wrong, that the author of the parent is not in favor of such tactics in that context. If they are, then there can be no meaningful debate. If not, then I am highly curious to see how they reconcile theft with freedom.

As I said in this reply [slashdot.org] your thoughts can never be theft. I also don't see using your labor as you see fit as theft. Theft to me means going onto someone's physical property and taking a physical belonging. Using your thoughts and your hands in any way you want (on your own property) should always be legal.

My sample idea holds true. If a plumber fixes your toilet, do you pay him for every flush? If you learn from him and go fix toilets, do you pay for his knowledge every time?

If I open a soccer store in your town, can you open one across the street? Absolutely. Should I have a right to being the only one in town? Not a chance.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012806)

If a plumber fixes your toilet, do you pay him for every flush? If you learn from him and go fix toilets, do you pay for his knowledge every time?

There is a flaw with this. The plumber has a marketable skill that he exercises in a "free" society. The environment is natural and exists in its own state. Any skills that the plumber employs in this environment are because he has them. If someone else learns this skill, they are free to employ it themselves as they see fit in the "free" environment. The idea that you would have to pay a plumber to do something associated with the skill he charges for is ridiculous. No you don't pay every time you flsh a toilet, because the plumber doesn't get paid by flushing toilets. He gets paid by facilitating the ability to flush toilets. Not the same thing.

Now to WoW. Not one skill or technique that can be employed in the game has any origin other than from the work that Blizzard did. Nothing. All actions, transactions, experiences, and visuals reside in a completely fictional place that was created and facilitated by Blizzard. Every piece of Knowledge transfer in the guide is dependant on the work of Blizzard. The information this man is selling can only be employed inside of Blizzards work.

I'll buy your argument if you can show me something in the guide that I can do independently of the WoW environment.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

shadexiii (723888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012579)

"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."

Blizzard is a business, a corporation.

Corporations according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Corporate entities are basically individuals in the legal sense, with some differences (I think, don't have a law degree, going off of memory and a brief skim of wiki.) Thus, Blizzard is, in fact, a singular artist. It just has many bodies and minds, sort of like a hive mind. Most of their workers likely signed agreements that they do not have ownership of their individual creations. Regardless, I agree with cpt kangarooski, your statement is bizarre. Its simply the law of the land we live in, like it or not. Believe it or not for that matter, it won't change the court's view if you infringe upon the law.

Re:More reasons for repudiating copyright and IP (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013056)

Its simply the law of the land we live in, like it or not.*

*DISCLAIMER: Laws are opinion and subject to change. Usually by a judge on the 9th circuit court. See your lawyer for details. ;)

The BS of the DMCA (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15011969)

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!

You hit a nail on it's head... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012491)

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?

Re:The BS of the DMCA (3, Funny)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012500)

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 /.

Re:The BS of the DMCA (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012601)

O_O I've never seen an ORA book for "basic word processing software."

Best damn books a sysadmin's money can buy, though...

Re:The BS of the DMCA (3, Informative)

TommyBlack (899306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012540)

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.

Protecting the Trademark (1, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012026)

Reagrdless of whether the actions taken by Blizzard against the guide creator were warranted based upon his actions, the simple fact of current Trademark law is:

If you don't actively protect it, you no longer own it.

Basically, if Blizzard became aware of this guy using the World of Warcraft trademark for personal profit (which he clearly did), then they are obligated by law to try to make him stop, or they lose their trademark.

Blizzard's action here isn't about keeping down the little guy; it's about protecting themselves from the bigger guys.

Doesn't make it just, or fair -- but their action is reasonable considering the nature of today's IP laws.

Re:Protecting the Trademark (5, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012110)

Basically, if Blizzard became aware of this guy using the World of Warcraft trademark for personal profit (which he clearly did), then they are obligated by law to try to make him stop, or they lose their trademark.

Nope. If the writer attributes the trademark and makes it clear for his readers that he does not own the World of Warcraft trademark, there is no infringement, therefore there is no possibility that Blizzard will "lose" their trademark.

It is no different than if someone writes about McDonald's or Home Depot. Both are trademarks. As long as its clear who owns the trademark, there is nothing there.

Re:Protecting the Trademark (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012404)

"Nope. If the writer attributes the trademark and makes it clear for his readers that he does not own the World of Warcraft trademark, there is no infringement, therefore there is no possibility that Blizzard will "lose" their trademark."

No, attribution is not all that's necessary. Usage still needs to fall under fair use, which is shaky at best for this guy.

Way off base, this is Copyright (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013049)

This isn't a trademark issue, though. The DMCA protects copyright. Blizzard can't use the DMCA to protect their Trademarks, so from that simple fact we shouldn't even be discussing trademark.

Regardless, this clearly falls under Nominative Use [wikipedia.org] of Blizzard's trademark. Since nobody is selling a competing product using "Warcraft" in it's title, but is instead selling a product that speaks about one of Blizzard's products by name, this is absolutely ok. Nominative Use is very clearly defined for trademarks, and this is why Blizzard has tried to hit them undercopyright, because they have no case under trademark but the DMCA can be used in a "Shoot first and ask questions later" manner.

Re:Way off base, this is Copyright (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013133)

Blizzard gets people for selling their ingame accounts using the DMCA as well. That isn't copyright either, but they have found a way to make it so.

Re:Protecting the Trademark (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013279)

No, attribution is not all that's necessary. Usage still needs to fall under fair use, which is shaky at best for this guy.

Fair use applies to copyrights, not trademarks. The article seems to indicate most of the writing is original. A few illustrations are included, which, if attributed are fair uses, and the World of Warcraft trademark is included as well. As long as the trademark is attributed, there's no infringement here. There just isn't.

Try and take a marketing course.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15013318)

Trademarks are discussed indepth even in introductory Marketing course. If they do not protect their trademarks, they can and will lose them. Don't try and say this is wrong, it isn't. Companies spend millions protecting them, as a trademark can be worth millions itself. Just think of the Nike balance sheet and where the "swoosh" would rank as an intangible asset.

Re:Protecting the Trademark (4, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012112)

Owning a trademark does not mean that you own the words in the trademark. I can write about Blizzard and World of Warcraft all day without infringing on their trademark. I don't need Blizzard's permission to write "World of Warcraft" in a document. Trademarks are designed to protect the customer, not to be pieces of IP that can be used to abuse others in court. If I write a book, "How to win at World of Warcraft(tm)", Blizzard has no legal basis to interfere.

Re:Protecting the Trademark (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012850)

"If I write a book, "How to win at World of Warcraft(tm)", Blizzard has no legal basis to interfere." ... until you start using screenshots from the game, that's when you start getting into legal difficulties. I'm reminded of when Paramount went running around to Star Trek fan sites in the mid-to-late 90's demanding they take down screen caps from the various series.

"Blizzard has no legal basis to interfere."

I'm afraid Blizzard does actually have a legal basis here, mainly because screenshots are involved. Will it hold up? Is it right? Are they evil puppy eaters? I'm not trying to answer any of those questions. I'm just pointing out that this shit's happened before all in the name of trademarks.

Re:Protecting the Trademark (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013285)

I'm afraid Blizzard does actually have a legal basis here, mainly because screenshots are involved.

Screenshots are used in 95%+ of the how-to books on computing that are out there today. I don't see them getting hauled into court. I fail to see how this is different.

Re:Protecting the Trademark (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013752)

"Screenshots are used in 95%+ of the how-to books on computing that are out there today. I fail to see how this is different."

GUIs of apps don't typically include trademarked images within them. Games, however, usually have nothing but trademarked characters in the screens. They own trademark, you gotta respect that trademark. It's hardly any different than trying to sell a T-Shirt with a picture of Donkey Kong on it.

Re:Protecting the Trademark (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012305)

As another poster pointed out TM does not apply here due to TM acknowledgement, but perhaps more relevantly, TM does not apply to DM C A cases because the C stands for copyright, not trademark.

Re:Protecting the Trademark (4, Informative)

rossifer (581396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012539)

this guy using the World of Warcraft trademark for personal profit (which he clearly did)

But trademark law doesn't prevent you from using another company's trademarks for your profit. It primarily protects against uses that dilute the value of the trademark. So "MS Excel for Dummies" can be published without a license from Microsoft, even though it (1) clearly uses a trademarked phrase and (2) is published for profit. You can even sell your own spreadsheet program and market it as "Better than Excel!(tm)" as long as you don't call it something that could be confused with "Excel" or "MS Excel" or... Basically, all you have to do is acknowledge the trademark and not confuse potential customers with your use of the other company's trademark in your materials.

Which this guy apparently did. Blizzard is way out on a crazy limb here and in my non-expert estimation, will probably not prevail.

Regards,
Ross

MOD PARENT DOWN -- thanks (4, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012903)

Blech, I was totally incorrect and wish I'd had the seventh cup of coffee before posting that.

Thanks to everyone who pointed it out!
J

WTF is wrong with Blizzard? (1, Interesting)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012028)

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?

Re:WTF is wrong with Blizzard? (1)

schon (31600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012142)

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.)

Re:WTF is wrong with Blizzard? (1, Insightful)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012166)

While I despise Blizzard, and no longer play WoW due to Queues and generally unreliable service (as compared to every other MMO on the market) I can't agree with this lawsuit.

The Jackass who's filing this suit is one of those slimeballs that scrapes freely available information (the kind you can get from any number of free websites that do not charge for it) and packages it up so he can sell it for a rediculous fee.

Why anyone would by crap like that when you can just look it up on the web I have no idea.

If he's successful at his lawsuit, I'm sure he'll try to sue Allakhazam's, and every other free game guide site out there for "interfering with his revenue stream".

And to be clear, Blizzard's not the one harassing in court here. It is the GAME GUIDE writer suing Blizzard.

Re:WTF is wrong with Blizzard? (4, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012210)

The Jackass who's filing this suit is one of those slimeballs that scrapes freely available information (the kind you can get from any number of free websites that do not charge for it) and packages it up so he can sell it for a rediculous fee.

Why anyone would by crap like that when you can just look it up on the web I have no idea.


Meh. I can download Shakespeare for free from all over the net. But I also bought a hardback collection of his work. Just because you wouldn't buy something is no reason to denigrate people who would, or people who create things for them.

And to be clear, Blizzard's not the one harassing in court here. It is the GAME GUIDE writer suing Blizzard.

Well apparently Blizzard kept issuing complaints to Ebay that resulted in the guy being unable to sell any of his guides there. So arguably they were harassing him out of court, and he's decided to go to court to protect himself.

Re:WTF is wrong with Blizzard? (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012261)

and packages it up so he can sell it for a rediculous fee.

How much are the books? Like $15 or something? $15 is ridiculous?

Now, if he is taking other published text verbatim and selling it, THAT is ACTUALLY copyright infringement. I doubt, of course, that most lawyers would recognize it, given they spend all their time trying to make non-infringing uses into infringements.

and every other free game guide site out there for "interfering with his revenue stream"

And he would be prevented from doing so by a legal concept known as "estoppel." The very arguments he is using to support the non-infringing nature of his book would be used as a defense by the game guides he claims are infringing. Estoppel prevents a party from being on both sides of an argument.

Re:WTF is wrong with Blizzard? (2, Insightful)

slakdrgn (531347) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012274)

Blizzard was hurrasing him outside of court though, and stating they would persue legal action. While you may agree with it or not, there is a point in all this. This still falls under fair use and DMCA has no place in this particular case. If he looses, this could set a huge precedence. Imagine O'Riley getting sued for their books, or better yet, Blizzard moves on to the free guides. Shutting down GameFaqs. They are making money (advertising) from others using their gameguides so they *must* be violating DMCA!



This guy is trying to make a buck, so be it. Mabey his guide is good, mabey it sucks but who cares? There is more at risk than just that.

Re:WTF is wrong with Blizzard? (1)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013187)

So? You're paying for the work that was involved in putting together, collating, and organizing that "freely-available information" into a more usable form. If you don't want to buy it, then don't buy it, and spend the time collecting the information yourself instead.

Not infringement (4, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not infringement (1)

Wraithlord01 (952423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012432)

As long as all trademarks and copyrights are attributed, there's no infringement here. Sorry. You're interpreting copyright law wrong. Attribution is irrelevant in this context. Here's the relevant section of the statuate. Sec. 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use: "Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.". Is this work a criticism? Nope. Is it a commentary? Nope. Is it news reporting? Nope. Is it for teaching purposes? Nope (teaching purposes in this context is formal education systems, not self-help guides) Scholarship? Nope. Research? He undoubtably did reseach to make that guide (which is protected) but his usage within the distrubted guide is not research. I'd say that's pretty clearly not fair-use from the statuate as written. It's also illustrative to notice that it's the writer suing Blizzard, not vice-versa. All Blizzard did was ask Ebay to remove his guide , and Ebay did so without lawsuit. If the guy has complaints about that, he should direct his anger against Ebay and their policies.

Re:Not infringement (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012814)

Ebay has no choice but to remove auctions if they are notified of a DMCA claim. The man's ONLY recourse is to either wait for Blizzard to sue him, shut down his own business, or file suit himself so that the courts will make a positive finding that his works do not violate the DMCA (which will allow eBay to sell them again). Amazingly he has chosen the third option, which of course Blizzard never expected.

His guide (from descriptions, I haven't read it) will most certainly sail through any Fair Use review. You dismissal of criticism, commentary, teaching etc suggest that you have no idea whatsoever what those mean or how they are applied. A guide such as his fits nearly half of the exemptions allowed for, as does every other reference/how-to manual that deals with a commercial product. The only difference between this guy and standard computer reference book publishers is that Blizzard assumed they could push him around and he couldn't or wouldn't defend his right.

And it goes on... (1, Insightful)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013044)

... In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include--

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;


Is a guide for a game trying to be a game? I think not. It is a book about using a product that you have already paid for.


2. the nature of the copyrighted work;


What the guide is using are basically the mechanics in the game, known and discovered by many gamers.


3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and


Apart from a few screenshots in the guide, he is using his own writing.


4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.


Will the guide stop people from buying the game? No! In fact, it is very unlikely that anybody who doesn't own the game would even look at such a book. Of course, it might compete with their official guide, but that is a seperate issue, because he doesn't use material from that guide, but from the original game.

Ebay's policy is like that because they can't research every situation of potential copyright infringement, so they close down auctions when they get complaints from what they believe to be respectable sources (such as the IP holder Blizzard).

Blizzard hase done wrong by trying to make them believe there was copyright infringement where there was none.

I have been able go to my local bookstore and buy guides to games for years. I'm sure I can go find some kind of guide for WoW if I wanted to. What gets me about this case is why Blizzard all of a sudden goes after the little guy selling a couple of hundred books on Ebay when this kind of thing has been common practice for years.
It's basically the same things magazines do when giving you tips for using computer programs, discuss strategies for "Dungeons and Dragons", or (*gasp*) write guides for computer games.

Re:Not infringement (2, Interesting)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013260)

You're interpreting copyright law wrong.

I think this is more about Blizzard's trademarks than their copyrights.

Attribution is irrelevant in this context.

Nonsense. It's a work of non-fiction. Attribution is not only relevant, it's required.

Is it for teaching purposes? Nope

Your list is quite flippant. The book is obviously both research and educational.

teaching purposes in this context is formal education systems, not self-help guides

Please point out the phrase "formal education system" in the law? Sounds like formal education system is a euphemism for "approved by the money people." And the little guy gets left out of the free market.

but his usage within the distrubted guide is not research.

So it's research until its published, then it becomes the property of the shareholders? Sorry. Neither copyright nor trademark law supports that. There's no infringement here.

All Blizzard did was ask Ebay to remove his guide

Based on an incorrect interpretation of trademark law. The entire issue should be dismissed. This is black letter fair use.

Just play Oblivion (2, Informative)

ShawnMcCool42 (557138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012165)

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.

Re:Just play Oblivion (1)

CoderBob (858156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012228)

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.

Re:Just play Oblivion (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012429)

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-generated quests based on what type you are looking for.)

Also, I've only played a few MMOs, and of those, all were at no cost to play (i.e. Free client, no fees). So no WoW, GW, or Evercrack for me.

Re:Just play Oblivion (3, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012851)

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

Re:Just play Oblivion (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013166)

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 the kind of person who likes to be entertained by a storyline that rarely deviates each time you play. (Of course, with MMOs that's generally at the expense of any storyline at all) I prefer gameplay and community over the pure "order" or at least well-orchestrated "chaos" that the developers put into a game.

Oh, and when it comes to spelling things properly and using complete sentences:

1) There is supposed to be a suspension of disbelief where what you are reading on the screen, your character is actually hearing.
2) If you can't understand what another player is saying, treat it as someone speaking a foreign language. I know you are a hero, but you're not supposed to be omnipotent (usually).
3) I'm playing the game for fun, not education. If I wanted education, I'd be playing Reader Rabbit.

Re:Just play Oblivion (1)

pagluy (651141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013234)

If you enjoy playing with virtual dolls, go ahead. That's what offline is.

Re:Just play Oblivion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15013427)

MMMMOOOPRRGGG lover? I bet you play an elf girlie. You're teh faggot!!!11!!!!1!

Blizzard Is Looking Worse & Worse (2, Insightful)

ecorona (953223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012184)

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.

Re:Blizzard Is Looking Worse & Worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012538)

Yes, lets all be outraged that any company would dare stand up for its IP rights. How dare they sue some poor 24 year old trying to exploit thier product for financial gain!

.
.
.
Oh wait, they didn't. HE sued THEM. Guess what, this guy brought it on himself and is now trying to build sympathy for his unsubstantiated case.

Re:Blizzard Is Looking Worse & Worse (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013617)

Yes, lets all be outraged that any company would dare stand up for its IP rights. How dare they sue some poor 24 year old trying to exploit thier product for financial gain!

.
.
.
Oh wait, they didn't. HE sued THEM. Guess what, this guy brought it on himself and is now trying to build sympathy for his unsubstantiated case.


You're trolling most likely, but lest someone not rtfa and spot this, there should be a rebuttal. He is only suing because Blizzard repeatedly forced Ebay to remove his listings for the guide. He's doing the same thing that countless authors do all the time. They write a how-to guide on some piece of software, complete with explanations and screenshots. He's not ripping off their work. He's creating something that is helpful to a lot of people, and making fair use of a very limited number of images from the game to do so. I don't see the other authors being harrassed, so I don't see why Blizzard should get away with harrassing this guy either.

Re:Blizzard Is Looking Worse & Worse (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012603)

True, but they'll always have a high spot in my book for being one of the few companies that strongly supports Macs....

Re:Blizzard Is Looking Worse & Worse (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012613)

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? (4, Insightful)

EggMan2000 (308859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012249)

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?

Re:Prima Game Guides? (1)

Marc_Hawke (130338) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012367)

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 (cheaper advertizing rates) publishers/developers will allow for 'exclusive distribution' of a game demo.

There must be some huge financial incentive, because it results in a large marketting and PR loss for the game. The people would rather it be available from the greatest number of sources possible.

Anyway...this is the same thing. Blizzard signed stupid (in the eyes of the public) that only Prima (example) would be able to publish a game guide....now they are stuck with being the 'bad guy' enforcing it.

Re:Prima Game Guides? (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012657)

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 legal secretaries sitting around scouring EBay for anything WoW related, gold or guides or what have you. If they find something, they mechanically send a take-down notice. They probably send out hundreds of these a day.

Re:Prima Game Guides? (4, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012898)

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.

Heh. Next thing you know... (1, Funny)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012298)

...Blizzard is gonna start suing its own customers for displaying copies of protected game images on their PC monitors...

Has anyone else noticed... (0, Offtopic)

Jeian (409916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012308)

Has anyone else noticed recently that a lot of WoW forum drama keeps ending up on Slashdot within a day or so?

Re:Has anyone else noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012698)

mmm.. Probably because it keeps getting buried on Digg for being lame..

Why is this modded troll? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012415)

Not agreeing with the parent does not make the post a troll...

Authors have done this before -- successfully (4, Informative)

Hannah E. Davis (870669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15012479)

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.

Re:Authors have done this before -- successfully (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012771)

Wow, what a bitch.

blizzards on my bad biz list already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15012983)

just one of a number of companies that will never, ever receive any coinage from me

unprofessional as it is, clearly blizzard executives still feel the need for greed

Blizzard is right (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15013120)

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 stuff benefits the brand that's being advertised, so the company will just say yes. But without asking, getting the profits too benefits blizzard even more. It's people with money looking for more money, which, in our capitalist fair to the consumer economy, is what we all do. This guy just made it easy.

Not to defend blizzard here, but look at every other brand, you can't take them and start selling them as your own under any copyright law without the "used with permission" clause.

Re:Blizzard is right (2, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013725)

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 descriptions of how to use the interface, etc. It's fair use. It's not stealing anything from MS. It's simply describing how to use something effectively. He's doing the same with the WoW guide.

Not to defend blizzard here, but look at every other brand, you can't take them and start selling them as your own under any copyright law without the "used with permission" clause.

He's not selling anything that belongs to Blizzard. From what I've seen, he has properly attributed the material and trademarks that are used. There is no reasonable chance of anyone mistaking who owns the marks, and he's not trying to confuse anyone. He even notes on the first page that the guide is unauthorized.

yeah, i agree (1, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013186)

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 (4, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Good Riddence (1)

cbuskirk (99904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013309)

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 and given him defense against Blizzards actions. He is just another scam artist who got caught and now he thinks he can blackmail a settlement out of Blizzard with the threat of negative publicity.

Re:Good Riddence (1)

mmalove (919245) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013644)

Quoth the article - he did set up a website from which he does sell his guide.

I'm not promoting copyright infringement or anything here, but unless this guide included ways to exploit the game (that is, take advantage of bugs and such unfairly), Blizzard should have better things to do. They are always about how they need more time to set up servers, that they don't have the resources to run live events, and yet obviously they have people on their payroll doing nothing more than running around squashing a guy trying to make a buck or two. Glad to see where that 15/month from all the players is going to.

Stolen Game Guides. (2, Interesting)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15013650)

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.
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