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Posts with tag CopyrightInfringement

The Lawbringer: The trouble with fan fiction


Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Finally, I return home after a bit of bliss. Fun is over -- it's time to get serious by talking about fan fiction. Sort of. You see, fan fiction is one of those areas that people love to hate, hate to love and everything in between. What is it about fan fiction that gets people so upset and so defensive? Is it the personal nature of the craft, the accusatory piggy-backing on other people's characters, or just that so much of it is mind-numbingly terrible? Who knows? Today, we're going to explore a few of the concepts of fan fiction in a very no-nonsense, barely legal way, to give you aspiring authors something to consider while writing your own fan fiction or even original content.

With my post-vacation bliss now completely out of my system, thanks to reading so much terrible fan fiction in preparation, I am happy to share with all of you a story that I've been writing for the last minute and a half. Don't be cruel, now. It's pretty much going to become the greatest story ever told. Enjoy.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: The history of Blizzard and MDY (Glider)

It's a Glider! Sorry, that's as good as the jokes are going to get. Greetings from The Lawbringer, WoW.com's weekly look at the intersection between law and the World of Warcraft. I'm a newly minted law school grad acting as your tour guide between bar prep sessions.

In the last two weeks, we looked at the difference between purchases and licenses. This is of vital importance as a major bit of cyberlaw plays out in the Ninth Circuit, namely the next stages of MDY v. Blizzard, Vernor v. Autodesk, and UMG v. Augusto. Today seems like an excellent time to review the case of MDY v. Blizzard, as we've covered the other two a bit. My source for this history will be the excellent collection of files at Justicia.com, which includes all documents filed in the district court of Arizona in this case.

Let's get started!

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Filed under: The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: Purchase vs. License cage match

Welcome to The Lawbringer, WoW.com's weekly tour of the intersection between law and the World of Warcraft. I am a new law school grad, acting as your crossing guard.

Ladies and gentlemen, gnomes of all ages, welcome to THE CAGE! In our first corner, we have the provider of countless yachts to copyright lawyers, with the power of the contract, the big bad himself, the License! And in our second corner, it's the plucky defender of consumers' property rights, the champion of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the curse of the big bads everywhere -- let's give a big welcome to the Purchase! Now let's go to Bob for tonight's rules.

The rules of tonight's fight are simple, Jim. These two contenders are fighting over who best describes World of Warcraft players' relationship to Blizzard. There will be three rounds, during which each fighter will present a case to persuade our judges. After three rounds of presentations, our judges will decide who really embodies the relationship between Blizzard and its customers.

Why is this so important, Bob?

Well, Jim, a license can contain pretty much any rights, but the EULA for a piece of entertainment software with a subscription like World of Warcraft is going to only give the bare minimum of what Blizzard is willing to allow. They can't be too stingy, or they'll go down like Linden Labs to an unconscionability claim, but they're much more worried about protecting their interests than allowing the customers to get all licentious.

Licentious, Bob?

Read a book, Jim. Anyway, if plucky little Purchase wins, then players get to be subject to the firmly defined laws instead of a mushy, Blizzard-defined license. The law regarding copyrighted copies allows them to make backup copies, get first sale doctrine protection and not be subject to copyright law for breaking the rules defined in the EULA.

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Filed under: The Lawbringer

Blizzard 1, BC rumor sites 0


The pluralization is a bit pre-emptive here, as only one site I know of has had its contents pulled offline due to Blizzard's requests. That site, the Caverns of Time, was a great compilation of rumors and occasionally legitimate information about the upcoming expansion (the screenshot above, pulled from the site, was obviously not an accurate representation of the druid changes). They've received notice from Blizzard giving them 48 hours to remove contents of the site or else face "formal action," and they seem to have complied. You can check the site, still, for a copy of what I assume is Blizzard's complaint. Ah well -- I'm sure three sites will spring up tomorrow to replace it, thus providing us a steady stream of interesting Burning Crusade gossip!

Filed under: Blizzard, Expansions

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