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Posts with tag trademarks

Blizzard trademarks "Cute But Deadly"

cute but deadly
News of Blizzard trademarks always spells a flurry of speculation on video game websites such as this one, especially when they begin to roll in toward the end of an expansion cycle, like now. Yet somehow I doubt that "Cute But Deadly" is the title that will follow Mists of Pandaria as the next World of Warcraft installation. However, if I happen to be wrong about this, hats off to Blizzard's sirs and mesdames for a superb bit of trolling.

Of course this begs the question of just what it might be a trademark for. I could see it as potentially having to do with Hearthstone, or maybe, considering that Blizzard has just announced production of a children's book, something along those lines. Maybe it's just a decoy to throw us all off the scent. Or...it could be a new spin-off miniseries featuring Wrathion and all his adorable, angry dragon friends! No? Uh, well then. Who knows? Certainly not me, but guessing games are fun!

Edit: Our commentariat has let it be known that this is the name for the new line of super-deformed merchandise that was announced at the Blizzard SDCC panel. The more you know!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Breanni of WarcraftPets.com closes store, posts apology to Blizzard

The amazing Breanni of WarcraftPets.com, once loved so much by Blizzard that he got immortalized in the game, has apparently gotten another of Blizzard's C&Ds. First, we saw iPhone apps pulled off of the App Store with what seemed like legal action, and then we heard that webcomic Shakes and Fidget was contacted by Blizzard legal, and now Breanni has pulled down his merchandise store, as well as posted a "formal apology" to Blizzard. Breanni doesn't say exactly what happened, but he says that he "became aware" that what he was selling was violating Blizzard's trademark policy, and calls the store a "lapse in judgment," and says that he hopes to "continue to recieve Blizzard's blessing." It's almost like hearing one side of the conversation -- we don't know what Blizzard said to him (if anything), but he definitely sounds spooked.

This is a slightly different issue from the other C&Ds we've seen -- Breanni was making money from selling what we presume were actual images of Blizzard's copyrights and trademarks, so a store like that is pretty plainly in violation of copyright law (Mania's Pets calendar, for example, uses fan art rather than actual screenshots). But what's interesting here is, if they did contact him, why Blizzard has decided to do this now, and why they've only moved against Breanni. There are certainly lots of other places to find Blizzard art printed on products for sale. We're not suggesting that Blizzard should just let it all go, obviously, but why now?

We've had requests for comment out to Blizzard ever since the first few iPhone apps were pulled off of the App Store about all of this recent C&D action, and we've added this one to the stack. If we hear anything back from them, we'll let you know.

[Thanks, John E!]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, News items, Fan art

Blizzard legal censures Shakes and Fidget

First the legal crackdown on fan-made iPhone apps, and now this: German-based webcomic Shakes and Fidget, a longtime sight in our Sunday Morning Funnies column, has apparently been smacked with a cease-and-desist by Blizzard. Our German isn't that great (and we've reached out to the comic's creators for further comment), but a translation of this forum page tells us that Activision-Blizzard's legal department suggested to them that there was enough similarity between the official game and the unofficial comic to cause a problem, and while they believe that they're covered under parody laws, they decided to take the "offending" comics offline anyway, and are apparently currently working on editing them so that they can be put back up without any issues.

Obviously, since the comics are offline, we have no idea what material Blizzard objected to -- you could argue that depictions of certain gear created by Blizzard artists in the game or specific names are under trademark and thus could be protected under copyright law. But even then, Shakes and Fidget is one of many, many fan-made webcomics to obviously depict World of Warcraft and Blizzard-designed items specific to the game, and we haven't yet heard of any other webcomics that have been approached in this way.

Still, as they might say in Germany, wir riechen eine ratte. Without knowing the exact nature of the comics that Blizzard had an issue with, this seems like a complete overreach on their part, especially considering that it's some of their biggest fans who are making these comics, and that many artists have portrayed many videogames in webcomics without anyone confusing the issue of whether they were official or not. We'll keep an eye out for more information (and we've also contacted Blizzard for comment) -- if you know of any other webcomics or fan artists who've been approached by Blizzard in this way, definitely let us know.

Thanks, Henry!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Comics, Fan art

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