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Posts with tag copyright-infringement

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: License v. Purchase -- Sgt. Joe Friday Edition

Welcome to The Lawbringer, WoW.com's weekly look at the intersection of law and the World of Warcraft. I'm a recent law school grad acting as your tour guide and trying not to think about the Bar Exam in a few weeks.

Last week's discussion of seems to have left many of y'all rather confused. The occasional hazard of having an idea that is fun to write is discovering that it isn't always as much fun to read, so I apologize for that. This week we'll be skipping the dramatization about License v. Purchase issues to get just the facts, ma'am.

(If you were one of those who really enjoyed last week, you might want to check out my fiction.)

We'll begin by noting that the program of World of Warcraft comes with an End User License Agreement. While vocabulary isn't everything, one has a difficult time arguing that the relationship isn't a license when one has signed a license agreement.

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Filed under: The Lawbringer

Blizzard and The9 fined $212,000 for copyright infringement in China

From Worlds in Motion we've learned that Blizzard has suffered yet another setback in China.

As reported by JLM Pacific Epoch, the Beijing Municipal Higher People's Court has found that The9, Blizzard's onetime partner in China violated the copyrights of five Chinese fonts owned by Founder Technology Group. The9, Blizzard, and two other parties have been ordered to pay a fine of RMB 1.45 million, or approximately US$ 212,000. The9 has appealed the order to the People's Supreme Court. (Lovely place by the way. Just watch the steps.)

To recap, Blizzard had licensed World of Warcraft to The9 to distribute the game in China. Apparently, in localizing the game for China, The9 used five fonts for the Chinese text in game. However, these fonts are owned by Founder Technology Group, who sued The9 and Blizzard for copyright infringement in 2007, requesting damages of RMB 100M, or about US$ 13M. In September 2007, when The Burning Crusade was released in China, all of the Founder Technology Group fonts were replaced with fonts that Blizzard had permission to use "as a gesture of goodwill to the gaming community" "without any admission of liability."

Given the rocky relationship between The9 and Blizzard, it is likely that this fine will be yet another bone of contention between the companies and that responsibility for this fine may end up being decided in yet another court battle. Stay tuned!

Filed under: News items, The Lawbringer

Blizzard files lawsuit against private server

We've talked about private servers on the site here before, but in case you haven't heard the term: they're unofficial servers, very much against WoW's Terms of Use, that are run by companies other than Blizzard. They're shady as get out -- some make you pay (and these are not people you'd ever want to give any credit card information to), some will delete or change characters on a regular basis, and many times they're created just so whoever's running them can mess around with GM powers, and cheat with any items they want.

So you can see why Blizzard would want them shut down, and that's exactly what they're trying to do with this lawsuit filed in the California Central District Court against a company called "Scapegaming" that runs at least one private WoW server (and they've apparently been running microtransactions in-game -- selling in-game items for "donations" of money). The law firm working for Blizzard, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, also worked on the "Bnetd" case, which was another piece of unofficial server software that allowed players to play off of Blizzard's Battle.net setup.

The complaint lists copyright infringement as the cause, which means they're probably using the same argument targeted at other private servers in the past. We'll keep an eye on this, but it's very likely Blizzard will win this one unopposed, and Scapegaming (or at least just their WoW server) will get shut down for good.

Thanks, Phenom!

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items, Hardware

[UPDATED] Playtime over for You Play or We Pay


In what seems to be an inevitable move, Blizzard has ordered the controversial and too-good-to-be-true services of You Play or We Pay to stop operations. According to their website, Blizzard found YPOWP's offering to be a violation of their intellectual property rights. You Play or We Pay, which stirred up a bit of controversy and a lot of skepticism when it first launched, aimed to compensate players whenever the World of Warcraft had unscheduled downtime. Essentially, it was insurance for WoW game time.

Initially, the site planned to charge for their service but eventually moved to a free model after some mysterious downtime of their own. It was such a novel idea that WoW Insider even interviewed the site's founders, George Tung and Milos Golubovic. It seems that this bizarre saga has at last come to an end, and questions of whether the site was for real or not (did anyone ever get compensation?) will never be answered.

[UPDATE: Several readers chimed in to answer that question -- apparently YPOWP sent its members 30-day game cards as compensation for lost play time. This indicates that the service, even after going to the free model, was for real. It also isn't against the TOS. That service was frowned upon by Blizzard legal, though, and YPOWP was taken down because of intellectual property rights issues instead.]

Filed under: Fan stuff, Realm Status, Odds and ends, News items, Weird But True, Opinions, New In Pop Culture

Blizzard wins lawsuit against bot makers

You may recall the long running Blizzard vs. MDY battle from various reports here on WoW Insider. In short, Blizzard sued MDY, the makers of the MMOGlider bot (formerly the WOWGlider bot), claiming that the bot violated Blizzard copyright by writing portions of the game to RAM in order to work (since you only have a license to run the game files, and do not actually own them, unauthorized copies are against the EULA). They also claimed that the bot tortiously interfered with Blizzard's customer base. MDY sued them right back, claiming they had every right to sell and distribute their bots.

MDY received a crushing blow yesterday as the court ruled against them, Virtually Blind reports, declaring them guilty of copyright infringement and tortious interference (Apparently, bots stealing your kills is now a legal issue, which is sort of cool). The ramifications of this decision are still being discussed in various corners of the net and legal world.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard, News items, Account Security

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