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8-23-2008 @ 1:40PM
Whether or not the information is publicly available is legallyirrelevant. Utilizing any element of somebody else's intellectualproperty without permission is potential infringement, subject to thestatutory exceptions of the relevant country.However, my law is a little rusty, so if you have the relevantstatute or a piece of case law to make your point anything more thanmere conjecture, then by all means, I'm up for a spirited discussionon the matter.
8-23-2008 @ 2:41PM
Agreed, "publically available" probably wasn't the best phrase to use there. However, to the best of my knowledge there is no copyright infringement case when the application in question doesn't supply the copyrighted information, but merely parses it. There were, as I recall, a number of cases about this in connection with various stock tracker applications back in the '90s. To put it in simpler terms - could Blizzard sue a company that made a video player which was designed to show Blizzard videos in an unusual way, if that player didn't include any Blizzard IP, but merely, say, played a sound whenever the Blizzard logo appeared (assuming they'd found a way to do that without infringing)?Now, it has occurred to me that depending how closely the character graphics in the application matched the appearance of the items in WoW, Blizzard might have a potential suit under design right. I don't know enough about design right to say there, but that might be where they were going, and that certainly sounds plausible as grounds for a suit.
8-23-2008 @ 3:01PM
It depends on the actual purpose of the app. A single-purpose application based around someone elses IP is a pretty clear infringement, especially when that's all it does. There is no additional functionality here upon which you could make the case that it is a multi-purpose application, and the fact that it was marketed specifically as an Armory Browser does not work in their favor. You can find numerous infringements in both the app and the website, and there is a trademark infringement case as soon as you mention 'World of Warcraft' in your product. And no, that 'disclaimer' they used isn't good enough to change that.It all comes down to what this developer did. They sold an application that did little more than read a website which belongs to Blizzard Entertainment. They marketed it as such, and profiteered off of Blizzard's intellectual property. It had no other use, so you cannot argue multi-purpose. They could have still taken it down had it been given away for free, but as I mentioned in another comment, it's entirely down to what the copyright holder chooses to do when it comes to exercising their rights.
8-23-2008 @ 3:25PM
Hmm...is this really Blizzard's intellectual property, though? Is the fact that my Gnome is level 70 and currently has an S2 helm really Blizzard's intellectual property?Remember, this is similar to the argument that the MLB players association made and *lost* on (that MLB data was intellectual property and could not be reused by fantasy sports sites without licensing).This would be a very interesting case to see litigated, but presumably the iPhone Armory app folks are just going to roll over.
8-23-2008 @ 3:49PM
That isn't, but the actual system upon which the app relies upon is. Regardless of the fact that the images used in the app are unequivocally copyright of Blizzard Entertainment, you would have to look at whether or not this is actually a 'parser' or merely a viewer, and if it was a parser, just how much parsing it was actually doing. From what I can see, the answer to that is 'not an awful lot', and unless the creator of the app changed every aspect of how the data was viewed, rather than relied on a third-party system to display the data, they would indeed be infringing on Blizzard's intellectual property rights as related to the armory code. As I mentioned earlier, there are so many different infringements here, but what it all comes down to is the fact that Blizzard doesn't like it when you take their stuff, repackage it, and try to sell it. That's why they chose to exercise their rights here, and from a moral standpoint, that is absolutely defensible.
8-23-2008 @ 4:05PM
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