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3-13-2007 @ 4:52PM
Sorry to outnerd anyone here, but since I'm actually headed to my copyright law class right now: the Leeroy Jenkins video is what you'd call a derivative work, one based in large part on a pre-existing work. To the extent that the video offers creative, original authorship separate from the pre-existing work, it is copyrightable. But the right to create derivative works is itself a copyright protection, so Blizz is likely to play this trump card if challenged on its use of anything Leeroy related. As for the name Leeroy Jenkins, short phrases are not copyrightable (and before you disagree, be sure you're not thinking of a trademark, which offers a more limited set of protections).As for the right to use characters, take a good hard look at the EULA on the next patch day. I've never read the thing but I'll bet dollars to donuts Blizz specifically disclaims giving any property rights at all. And if you're wondering why a lawyer wouldn't read every contract that passes in front of him, these are the reasons why I don't and you shouldn't either:1) Unless you live in California, it's not clear that click-wrap contracts are enforceable (though they probably are)2) Anything you'd strongly dislike in the contract is probably unenforceable anyway3) What are you gonna do if you do find something you don't like? Not play? No? So why waste your time?These thoughts courtesy of my civil procedure teacher, who also taught me to say the following whenever talking casually about the law: I am not your lawyer, and none of the foregoing should be construed as legal advice.
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