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 Hanskrampf wrote:
 Ketara wrote:

I think I'm going to have to duck out of the legal discussion at this point. Every time I explain to someone that IP infringement focuses upon infringement of a fixed expression of an idea, rather than an idea itself; another person drops by to say 'But they look similar and one makes me think of the other, so that must mean that it's a viable legal case!'


Don't forget the second part of the argument: "if KS pulled it, there must be something to it" (and not just a platform playing it safe and which may be exactly what they are legally obliged to do, as stated above).


KS pulls whatever it's told to pull, as soon as there's a claim. There's not an actual need to prove a thing, all the onus falls on the project owner. IF the PO decides to fight the claim, they will investigate, but not before.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/28 14:31:54


 
   
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Austria

 Ketara wrote:
 kodos wrote:
 Ketara wrote:
...And that was the point where it crossed over from honest discussion to intellectual dishonesty.

well than

it as a very simple case, GW just need to show Kickstarter those 2 pictures for them shut the project down
it does not matter if this is enough before the law and will hold in court, it does not matter if this is how copyright works or not

it just need to be enough for the hosting company to play it save and keep away from it, and everything else not the done by the lawyers of both parties

if the people validating the claim (and there are unless KS already uses an AI for that) see enough similarities the case is clear and not of their business any more


Never a truer word was spoken. That's been the running theme here:- GW is busy firing out C&D's regardless of legal merit, in a fashion which we haven't seen since pre-Chapterhouse and the third party bitz companies. Hence why people are suddenly battening down/switching to other sites.

they never stopped, we just don't hear of them very often unless it goes public because the people go to court or people here a customers

there was a wave of letters to 3D files supplier last year, or the year before
writers, bits supplier, artists, got them in the past as well

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

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Personally I'm aghast at how many times Scooby Doo infringed on Nighthaunts over the decades!

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It probably didn't help that they used 'nighthaunt compatible' in their advert tagline.
Also didn't help that the spell marker/tokens included only a scythe, hourglass and floating collection heads. It could be argued out of context those are generic themes, and the sculpts are very different, but if you want to sell generic ghosts warriors why only settle on those three things? why not include MORE options to explore the genre/magicking? Again, here using ''nighthaunt compatible' doesn't help convince arguments against intent of the products.
There are some other similarities and body-style choices that clearly show what units they're supposed to stand in as, buuut the execution out of context would be harder for GW to prove IP infringement. They could file a counter claim, right?
(I'm still curious to see that queen character printed. It was cool sculpt and just from a technical counter-balanced standpoint I want to see if it would stand on its own, or need strong magnets built in to support it/transport it).

However, the not-Death Guard...that's rather blatant what those were supposed to be. A shoulder pad swap on the DP and the top 2 warriors with a helmet swap and different symbol they might be okay. The terminator not so much.
Artist wants to sell twisted scifi armored soldiers, why not go for other themes of "plague" or forms corruption?
Plague mask is obvious and generic enough. There's a 3d hobbyist in the printing subreddits who's exploring nautical/coral themed DG counts-as, since GW doesn't have nautical themed astartes stuff, that person is more safe.
I have some older mosquito themed plague raptors that were designed well before the modern DG were released, but GW has since adopted some of the visual themes in other units, so I'd have to tweak them further if I ever want to sell them. Particularly with these types of crackdowns.
But then I also have this guy. Change the banner symbol, scifi it up/give em a gun and you can still tell what faction it's likely to fit into, but it doesn't match anything else GW officially has put out.

Going forward I think 3D sculptors would be safer to
- advertise projects as not obviously connected to the game system they're making proxies for
- market towards model-agnostic or multiple systems, (for use in your fantasy adventures games, D&D, etc)
- explore more diverse themes and styles GW won't/can't touch because we're not medium-limited(injection molds) like GW is.
- add options that aren't covered in GW's rules, or for out of print game systems, or might in a hypothetical system that may or may not be in the pipeline.

It's a gamble, but then so is the current trend of I-can't-believe-it's-not (faction) campaigns.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/07/28 20:05:37


   
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 PondaNagura wrote:
It probably didn't help that they used 'nighthaunt compatible' in their advert tagline.
Also didn't help that the spell marker/tokens included only a scythe, hourglass and floating collection heads. It could be argued out of context those are generic themes, and the sculpts are very different, but if you want to sell generic ghosts warriors why only settle on those three things? why not include MORE options to explore the genre/magicking? Again, here using ''nighthaunt compatible' doesn't help convince arguments against intent of the products.


I'm just going to requote my own post.

Ketara wrote:Again, that's not how copyright works. If I sculpt a model, I don't need to prove my 'intention'. I'm fully allowed to sculpt a model with the intent of having it used in somebody else's game, much like how I'm allowed to make a plastic case that fits an iPhone. I don't need to put on some saintly 'Oh my, I just happened to sculpt a model that conveniently fits a Games Workshop game, teehee, how silly of me'. If I market a new 'Frosted Flakes' cereal, I don't need to prove that I had never heard of or have no intent of copying Frosties...adding sugar to cornflakes is a common as hell idea and so they can't stop me from doing it.

What matters here is the letter of the law. Does my product infringe upon the -specific expression of an idea- as created by Games Workshop? In this case, the sculpts involved? If so, I'm breaching copyright. If not, everything else is irrelevant.


Saying 'Nighthaunt compatible' was ruled fully legal in Chapterhouse, and even if it hadn't been, has been ruled legal in cases in the automotive industry.

Going forward I think 3D sculptors would be safer to
- advertise projects as not obviously connected to the game system they're making proxies for
- market towards model-agnostic systems first
- explore more diverse themes and styles GW won't/can't touch because we're not medium-limited(injection molds) like GW is.
- add options that aren't covered in GW's rules, or for out of print game systems, or might in a hypothetical system that may or may not be in the pipeline.

It's a gamble, but then so is the current trend of I-can't-believe-it's-not (faction) campaigns.


It would be better if GW backed off instead of resuming their early 2010's legal brinkmanship and deceit, but that sadly doesn't seem to be their direction of movement. It's stupid really, because at some point, they're going to run into some stubborn fecker who makes them bleed for it in court. It might be this year, it might be in three; but the longer they play this game, the greater the odds of it happening. You only need one person with an IP lawyer as a cousin, and suddenly GW are haemorraging millions in legal costs in order to get slapped on the wrist again.

I'd be interested to know if someone new has taken over their legal department. I know Gail left and Merritt revealed himself to be an absolute moron on the stand (he quite literally didn't know what copyright was despite heading up the legal department). But I don't know who/how many people have been through it since.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/28 20:05:21



 
   
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Or perhaps the 3D print market stops trying to be the "cheap 40K" and goes somewhere else. Plus as hard as GW hit (which isn't actually that hard), the 3D print market is likely going to get a massive shake up when Hollywood and Video games come a knocking. Because those two markets are huge, with big players who have far more scary (and well paid) legal teams and have no need to appease the market.


Gw is going after creators yes, but they are also giving them clear messages on what infringes and letting them work through and adapt to move past that. Ergo if its a symbol or a specific sculpt that can be remade or removed and the creator cna keep going.

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Oh, I think the Wraith King has a chance to relaunch, not so much the DG campaign.
And like I said much earlier, it's a matter of time before a chapterhouse 2.0 situation.
Heck, I have suspicions about the "inspiration" of designs for certain Primaris units and AOS stuff in relation to fan/alternative model project discussions on other boards from over a decade ago...

Given the other recent revelation on how little GW pays their other internal people, maybe the legal department interns are paid on quarterly quota system? (joking)

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/07/28 21:04:23


 
   
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 PondaNagura wrote:
Given the other recent revelation on how little GW pays their other internal people, maybe the legal department interns are paid on quarterly quota system? (joking)


Plus they might hire their lawyers based on attitude, not skill

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The Wraith King campaign is back up, they removed a few entries but most of the stuff is still available.

And the DG one may come back in some form according to an update from the printing subreddit
Update 28/07/21

"Great news everyone!
I am in open discussion with Games Workshop and they have acted very gracefully for which I am extremely grateful. By the sounds of it - The projcect will go ahead as planned! We are just going back and forth to Kickstarter now to make sure it all goes to plan.
We may be losing Toxin and the Infected soldiers, and this saddens me immensely - but rest assured I will make awesome, new, original ideas that can continue to make this set a great addition to your printer at a great price.
Thank you all so much, and I will be in touch again very soon. This has been a whirlwind for me, but the professional and pleasant conversation I had with GW has really lifted my spirit when things could have been much more dire."

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/28 22:14:20


 
   
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The specific entries that the Wraith King KS had to drop were the banshees with blindfolds and scythe hands and the wraiths with horse/rat/dog skulls.

Which, not coincidentally, were the two entries I was least interested in because they look the most like Age of Sigmar specific crap rather than more universal ghosts and wraiths, which is what I'm backing the Kickstarter to get! Which is to say, I want these models because of how different they are to Nighthaunt, not because of how similar.

(I really hope we get a unit of just plain ol' screaming banshees with people hands as a replacement. I'd love some good banshee miniatures! I have no need for Blyndwail Bezzlebops, or whatever GW's crap is called.)
   
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 lord_blackfang wrote:
 PondaNagura wrote:
Given the other recent revelation on how little GW pays their other internal people, maybe the legal department interns are paid on quarterly quota system? (joking)


Plus they might hire their lawyers based on attitude, not skill


The funny thing is that this was actually the case before - Merritt got to head up the department not because he was a lawyer I believe, but because he was one of Kirby's Yes Men - it's why he got absolutely torn apart on the stand. He knew nothing about law, he ran part of the game studio beforehand IIRC. The legal department was supposed to be a nice comfy little sinecure. Then when Games Workshop actually hit their first taste of adversarial litigation, and someone grew a backbone to their attempted bullying of all the third party studios (Kromlech, Maxmini, Scibor, etc); it turned out that they owned very little of what they said they did and had no idea what they were doing.

Right now, I believe GW's legal IP department has a bloke called Jake Campbell, who joined in the last few years, who is an actual IP lawyer. I think his manager is (after some web sleuthing) a lady called Laura Carpenter-Jewels, who is a relatively fresh solicitor (accredited in 2015). The one who formally heads up the department at the Board is Rachel Tongue though, one of Kirby's old buddies and a massive shareholder in GW (she's a chartered accountant who joined the firm in 1995).

Given the nominal head of the department isn't a lawyer but one of the old brigade, and all the in-house legal counsel joined GW post-Chapterhouse and were only accredited as solicitors within the last decade - it wouldn't surprise me if they were just reverting to type as you both suggest.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/07/28 22:25:21



 
   
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This was posted in one of the 3D print discords from the guy who runs the Wraith Kings Army Kickstarter that is now back online with only 3 models being removed (which they've said on KS they'll work on replacing with new sculpts)

Spoiler:

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/28 22:56:49


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 Psychopomp wrote:
The specific entries that the Wraith King KS had to drop were the banshees with blindfolds and scythe hands and the wraiths with horse/rat/dog skulls.

Which, not coincidentally, were the two entries I was least interested in because they look the most like Age of Sigmar specific crap rather than more universal ghosts and wraiths, which is what I'm backing the Kickstarter to get! Which is to say, I want these models because of how different they are to Nighthaunt, not because of how similar.

(I really hope we get a unit of just plain ol' screaming banshees with people hands as a replacement. I'd love some good banshee miniatures! I have no need for Blyndwail Bezzlebops, or whatever GW's crap is called.)

That sounds pretty sensible. Glad that's resolved.


 
   
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Alexei Konev wrote:Hello guys,

I want to share with you my disturbing thoughts and perhaps find like-minded people who are worried about the same. In general, I have been under pressure from large companies since I entered the miniature business. In a similar situation, a huge number of independent artists like me. And each of them has a ton of stories about clashes with giant predatory corporations. But in recent days, very alarming things have been happening and the entire community is whispering in public about this, sending the latest news from the war zones to each other in private messages.

Most independent studios and artists want to be creative and make money from it to feed their families and pay the bills. This is an honest job on which people spend a lot of physical and creative energy and time. Of course, each of the artists wants to be in demand and offer people the product they need, thus finding their place in society.

After launching my project, for the second day in a row, waking up and opening Facebook, I see news that GamesWorkshop is putting down another project on Kickstarter. I'm talking about Dark Gods Eternal and Wraith King’s Army right now. Of course because of this reason I very sensitive to this kind of news. I am very sorry for the both guys, I can imagine their feelings, especially since I personally know Jaydon Hill that artist behind Dark Gods. I have seen both projects, before it been taken down each of them has gone into a huge amount of work. This is not something stolen. It was an alternative product on the market, which was supposed to provide a range of choices for the consumer, as well as competition in the market through which the market and art could develop, which in this game would ultimately benefit everyone. Someone will say that this product was somewhat similar to what GamesWorkshop does, but I can say that it was no longer similar. And so we can discuss this topic with you indefinitely. Someone may like the art from this company, and some more like the work of these artists. And the people themselves should choose what to spend their money or attention on, not Gamesworkshop. These are the basic principles of the free market.

But anyway intellectual property rights don't work the way Gamesworshop represent to us. You cannot have the right to an idea, a concept, or a method to do anything. What this company is doing now is not copyright protection. It's just a fight with competitors. They crush independent studios and artists one at a time like ants or cockroaches because they have already begun to pose competition to their business. A huge number of talented artists have appeared in the industry who can take the final product to a completely different quality level. And modern technology allows users to get a physical copy of this work at home at an affordable price and the same quality as a product from a store or large factory. What is happening in the industry right now is not what they call a zero-tolerance copyright policy.

This is a war with competitors, comrades. GamesWorkshop has declared war on all independent artists who make a product that can compete with theirs in the modern world. Their lawyers just come to any of the existing platforms and say this is ours and everyone throws a white flag because this is the path of least resistance today for them. But more and more artist will come, and evolution of technology cannot stop. And all this will last until the path of least resistance for GamesWorkshop will be an open Warhammer3dprinting +. The sooner they understand this, the better it will be for all of us. It difficult time, but here no another way.

Take care of yourself at this unstable time, comrades. God bless you.


I mean, it'll be pretty clear by now that in many regards I agree with the general thrust about GW taking the piss and misrepresenting how infringement works, but...Alexei Konev? Really? Where the Wraith KS was wholly independent, and Dark Gods was pretty solidly in the 'free use' department; Konev is...well, let's just say I wouldn't want to be his lawyer if he ever got caught up in legal trouble with GW. If they ever wanted to chase someone for genuine infringement, he'd probably be one of the ones they'd go for. He actually uses their product names in marketing his wares.

Also, automatically distrust anyone who ever calls you 'comrade' unironically.

 Overread wrote:
This was posted in one of the 3D print discords from the guy who runs the Wraith Kings Army Kickstarter that is now back online with only 3 models being removed (which they've said on KS they'll work on replacing with new sculpts)

Spoiler:



I saw someone else raise the point elsewhere that perhaps the intent behind the current drive in GW isn't so much to crush the competition - that's impossible. It's actually about controlling them. Whip and the apple. If you can reach a point where all your competitors submit their work to your beforehand for your 'approval', you have a phenomenal market advantage. Not sure if I buy it, but it's an interesting thought.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/07/29 09:39:18



 
   
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 Ketara wrote:
If you can reach a point where all your competitors submit their work to your beforehand for your 'approval', you have a phenomenal market advantage. Not sure if I buy it, but it's an interesting thought.
I know a few places (Wargame Exclusive, Taro) have said previously they have discussions with GW to make sure they're on the 'right side' of things. (Wargame Exclusive had issues with some of their shoulder pads, and Taro with the shields IIRC)

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/07/29 09:47:20


 
   
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Which honestly isn't a bad thing. Neither side actually wants to go to court as both sides could potentially lose a lot. The court costs might be crippling for small studios/one-man-bands and whilst GW can likely soak the court costs, any loss might hit them heavily in their core business. Which is also the same for the 3D designer if they lose. There's also the potential that no side would walk away with a solid win (if I recall Chapterhouse folded not long after their court case?)


As customers we also benefit because it means we get more unique alternate sculpts and designs to use. The only segment that "suffers" are those who purely want 3D printing to provide them with cheaper GW copy (or near copy) designs. Which honestly I don't see as a healthy market to promote because its a race to the bottom with price pure and simple. It's not a sustainable market you can expand or build a business on, esp if people are already giving them away for free in certain places.

In the end I think that a GW that moves forward with, not against, 3D printing and a mature 3D printing market that moves in the same way is a net gain.

I figure GW knows 3D printing won't go away, so if they can at least guide/control/steer it the right way it cant at least work alongside GW and not threaten GW's core business.




And lets not forget this is only talking about those who are producing alternate GW designs. The 3D print market has huge potential outside of that segment of the market. So its not as if GW would control all of 3D printing, not in the least. It would just be working with the segment that is complimenting what GW does already. Heck if a good working relationship were found we might even get more gains out of it in the future.

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 Overread wrote:
Or perhaps the 3D print market stops trying to be the "cheap 40K" and goes somewhere else. Plus as hard as GW hit (which isn't actually that hard), the 3D print market is likely going to get a massive shake up when Hollywood and Video games come a knocking. Because those two markets are huge, with big players who have far more scary (and well paid) legal teams and have no need to appease the market.

Gw is going after creators yes, but they are also giving them clear messages on what infringes and letting them work through and adapt to move past that. Ergo if its a symbol or a specific sculpt that can be remade or removed and the creator cna keep going.


That's a good point. It's pretty obvious which market these people are going after. That's not to say they can't try to tap into that market but you have to be aware of the pitfalls of doing so. Also, while copyright only deals with the expression of an idea rather than the concept itself, there is still the legal concept of striking similarity. You can't create something that's obviously based on someone else's work and claim "well, the arm's a bit different so it doesn't count as copyright infringement". In the real world this is a hugely grey area, but it's not a baseless IP infringement claim to say someone has produced something too similar to your own work.
   
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 Overread wrote:
Which honestly isn't a bad thing. Neither side actually wants to go to court as both sides could potentially lose a lot. The court costs might be crippling for small studios/one-man-bands and whilst GW can likely soak the court costs, any loss might hit them heavily in their core business. Which is also the same for the 3D designer if they lose. There's also the potential that no side would walk away with a solid win (if I recall Chapterhouse folded not long after their court case?)


Games Workshop ran Nick into the ground through dishonest and malicious litigation. To quote from Weeble at the time:-

The Chapterhouse case was never actually about Chapterhouse, for anyone. Except for Nick.

Nick was trying to keep his business alive.

Everyone else involved, everyone, had an agenda. For a lot of folks, the lawsuit was about our tiny slice of the table top games market and who got to control it.

'We' won that fight.

If you are a fan of the direction GW has gone in recently, you quite literally have the Chapterhouse lawsuit to thank.

If you are a fan of the myriad small companies like Anvil Industries, Scibor, and Max Mini that make our little market healthy and diverse, you have the Chapterhouse lawsuit to thank.

GW was on a campaign to strangle market growth with FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Whatever kind of guy Nick Villacci was or is, whatever he did that was 'wrong' or 'stupid' or 'irresponsible', he stood up to GW.

His stand allowed the creation of an unprecedented test case, not only in the table top gaming market, but unprecedented in intellectual property litigation and United States civil litigation writ large.

But nobody wins in a lawsuit. That's just a sad fact. A massive amount of good came out of the GW v Chapterouse case, and we will be feeling its effects for years and years to come.

But nobody party to the case really wins.

GW didn't win, and neither did Chapterhouse. Nick got a massive amount of help, and got years of continued business out of the lawsuit. But he also got used, hard. He knew it, he understood the situation, and he could have backed out at any time.

But because he stayed in for as long as he did, 'we', as in all of us regular folks who love this hobby, were able to reap massive rewards from the case. You may disagree, you may never realize it, but you're reaping the rewards of that case today.

Nick didn't do it for you. He did it for himself, and GW didn't give him any options. But he did it.

He went trough the stress and the anxiety, he went through endless hours of documents and preparation, he went through depositions, he went through public scorn, he listened to people he didn't know calling him a liar and a thief, he went through frustrating and fruitless negotiations over and over, and we went through a weeks-long trial.

He lost his marriage and his house and his business and his friends, and you don't have to feel sorry for him. You don't have to like him.

But he lost, and you gained. And a lot of people did a lot of hard work to make sure that happened, because they wanted to take that gackstorm and make something good out of it.

Which was easy, because Nick was paying the price.


Let's not make the mistake of believing that GW have any altruisitic motive about 'moving forward' with 3d printing or 'working with' it. They took the mick before, and they're taking it again now. At some point, they'll hit another legal wall with it if they carry it on. It's only because Nick Villacci got hammered to the curb that GW even have any caution or restraint about this at all. Remember, Rachel Tongue (the nominal collective head of legal &financial affairs at GW) got promoted to her role in 2012. She oversaw everything but the opening of the original CH case the year before. Merritt and Gill took the hit, but she was in there too.

This is the nature of large corporations. They always test to see what they can get away with. And I don't believe for one minute that a large company overstepping its legal boundaries is ever going to result in more choice or a better market for me as a consumer.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/07/29 11:09:34



 
   
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Yeah it's naive to think GW will just stop at the logical legal boundary by themselves. They'll nag and nag and nag, they'll C&D ever more tenuously related sculpts until someone puts themselves on the line again to enforce that boundary in court.

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For anyone who (like me) was wondering whether MMF was going to be more flexible than Kickstarter or Patreon, apparently they've updated their policies to be stricter than before with regards to stuff that might infringe on GW IP. So they've cast their die - they're not willing to risk anything.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/30 12:49:51



 
   
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Rihgu wrote:
If I know which Kickstarter you're talking about, the wraiths weren't really that generic. Much more Nighthaunt (smokey robes with skulls and arms and stuff) than say, every other generic wraith I've ever seen which is nothing more than a smokey robe.


The big issue with that kickstarter was that about half the miniatures in that model range were basically identical poses to GWs minis with only minor aesthetic/stylistic changes to differentiate them, and in many cases using similar names to market them (and in at least a couple cases directly referenced Nighthaunt, which is a trademarked term), etc. Theres a certain give and take, an art if you will, to riffing off of someones IP. You have to imagine there being a checklist of qualities for what it is you're doing (i.e. names, iconography/symbols, various stylistic design elements, poses/geometry, etc. etc. etc.), the more boxes on that checklist you hit the more likely you are to get a C&D for infringement.

In general - speaking as someone who designs and sells 3d printable terrain riffing off GWs IP, a lot of designers are really lazy and make what are essentially as close to a straight knock-off of GWs designs as you can get short of recasting their minis rather than putting a spin on it to try to make it unique or stand out. In part, I suspect that its because consumers are unimaginative and lazy and *want* straight knock-offs rather than something that would work just as easily but has some degree of spin or differentiation placed on it. To give an example, imagine two designers are producing Tomb Kings knockoffs. One of them plays it straight and does a literal translation of GWs egyptian Tomb Kings aesthetic. The other one makes all the same units which are essentially WYSIWYG for the army book in terms of size, shape, armament, etc. but puts a spin on it and instead of being Egyptian they look more Babylonian or maybe more Grecian or even MesoAmerican.

Which do you think is going to sell more and be more popular, even though both options are equally as functional and most likely priced equivalently (and in many cases the latter option is probably better designed in terms of its printability and general aesthetic design and sculpt quality, because people investing the creative effort into putting spin on something like that know they have an uphill climb to push sales vs something which is a straight rip)?

Its the one that edges closer to GWs own native designs. The closer, the better, because people aren't *really* interested in "creativity", "innovation" or "free expression" or whatever it is the proponents of the infringing designs/designers use to try to justify it, they just want a way to get GWs product - or something exceptionally close to it - for less money. And thats why IP laws exist - in order to give the original designers a defensible moat so they can maintain their exclusivity and continue to derive profit from their intellectual capital.

In any case, we can see from the followup that the problem was actually certain very specific items in the campaign, which not coincidentally are specific concepts - or fixed expressions, if you will - that I can only really associate with GWs Nighthaunt designs and therefore are, in fact, infringements on its IP. So all this doom and gloom about GW trying to copyright bedsheet ghosts or whatever was clearly overwrought.

 Ketara wrote:
Spoiler:

The Chapterhouse case was never actually about Chapterhouse, for anyone. Except for Nick.
Nick was trying to keep his business alive.
Everyone else involved, everyone, had an agenda. For a lot of folks, the lawsuit was about our tiny slice of the table top games market and who got to control it.
'We' won that fight.
If you are a fan of the direction GW has gone in recently, you quite literally have the Chapterhouse lawsuit to thank.
If you are a fan of the myriad small companies like Anvil Industries, Scibor, and Max Mini that make our little market healthy and diverse, you have the Chapterhouse lawsuit to thank.
GW was on a campaign to strangle market growth with FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Whatever kind of guy Nick Villacci was or is, whatever he did that was 'wrong' or 'stupid' or 'irresponsible', he stood up to GW.
His stand allowed the creation of an unprecedented test case, not only in the table top gaming market, but unprecedented in intellectual property litigation and United States civil litigation writ large.
But nobody wins in a lawsuit. That's just a sad fact. A massive amount of good came out of the GW v Chapterouse case, and we will be feeling its effects for years and years to come.
But nobody party to the case really wins.
GW didn't win, and neither did Chapterhouse. Nick got a massive amount of help, and got years of continued business out of the lawsuit. But he also got used, hard. He knew it, he understood the situation, and he could have backed out at any time.
But because he stayed in for as long as he did, 'we', as in all of us regular folks who love this hobby, were able to reap massive rewards from the case. You may disagree, you may never realize it, but you're reaping the rewards of that case today.
Nick didn't do it for you. He did it for himself, and GW didn't give him any options. But he did it.
He went trough the stress and the anxiety, he went through endless hours of documents and preparation, he went through depositions, he went through public scorn, he listened to people he didn't know calling him a liar and a thief, he went through frustrating and fruitless negotiations over and over, and we went through a weeks-long trial.
He lost his marriage and his house and his business and his friends, and you don't have to feel sorry for him. You don't have to like him.
But he lost, and you gained. And a lot of people did a lot of hard work to make sure that happened, because they wanted to take that gackstorm and make something good out of it.
Which was easy, because Nick was paying the price.

Let's not make the mistake of believing that GW have any altruisitic motive about 'moving forward' with 3d printing or 'working with' it. They took the mick before, and they're taking it again now. At some point, they'll hit another legal wall with it if they carry it on. It's only because Nick Villacci got hammered to the curb that GW even have any caution or restraint about this at all. Remember, Rachel Tongue (the nominal collective head of legal &financial affairs at GW) got promoted to her role in 2012. She oversaw everything but the opening of the original CH case the year before. Merritt and Gill took the hit, but she was in there too.
This is the nature of large corporations. They always test to see what they can get away with. And I don't believe for one minute that a large company overstepping its legal boundaries is ever going to result in more choice or a better market for me as a consumer.


Geez, talk about making someone a martyr. The impact and results of the Chapterhouse lawsuit are generally misunderstood and largely overblown. Sucks for Nick, I mean, but the main crux of what occurred is that GW can't claim a model is infringing on its IP if GW never produced the model in the first place or depicted it in artwork, etc. In the case of these kickstarters, they are models which are derivative of models/artwork/concepts that GW *does* produce and *does* depict - you can ask Nick about the 200 or so minor claims that GW won against him on the basis that the sculpts were infringing against GWs IP on the basis of similarity. The impact of that is that GW doesn't depict anything that it doesn't produce a model for, basically. It doesn't mean that third party designers have free run to produce miniatures that are identical to GWs own.

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It absolutely is not good for the consumer if GW manages to create a system where competitors have to check in with them before releasing products and get their blessing to do it. That has antitrust concerns written all over it in terms of the likely impact on competitiveness.

When competitors work together, that isn't competition any more.
   
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yukishiro1 wrote:
It absolutely is not good for the consumer if GW manages to create a system where competitors have to check in with them before releasing products and get their blessing to do it. That has antitrust concerns written all over it in terms of the likely impact on competitiveness.

When competitors work together, that isn't competition any more.


I would argue that designers who are making "counts as" are not competitors with GW. They aren't actually competing with GW in a direct sense, they are complimenting.
It's not the same as Privateer Press or Mini Monster Mayhem needing to ask permission of GW to make their own thing. This is designers who are setting out with the clear intention of copying elements of GW's design in order to produce alternative sculpts for people who are already GW customers in some form (even if only in supporting the games through playing and not through current model purchases).

Heck those who are using GW armies as a structural platform and then doing totally unique sculpts aren't even affected.

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You can argue whatever you want. If GW didn't see these modelers as competitors, they wouldn't be doing what they are doing.

The people who make the cheap generic print cartridges are most certainly in competition with the manufacturers of the printers who want to make money selling their expensive branded cartridges.
   
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chaos0xomega wrote:

The big issue with that kickstarter was that about half the miniatures in that model range were basically identical poses to GWs minis with only minor aesthetic/stylistic changes to differentiate them, and in many cases using similar names to market them (and in at least a couple cases directly referenced Nighthaunt, which is a trademarked term), etc. Theres a certain give and take, an art if you will, to riffing off of someones IP. You have to imagine there being a checklist of qualities for what it is you're doing (i.e. names, iconography/symbols, various stylistic design elements, poses/geometry, etc. etc. etc.), the more boxes on that checklist you hit the more likely you are to get a C&D for infringement.

Sorry, you've made the claim. Could you provide the evidence? Namely, the multiple direct references to Nighthaunt in a fashion that infringed upon the IP? Also, you are aware of the fact that a 'pose' isn't copyrightable, right? I'd appreciate it if you could nail down for me the actual exact -expression- of an idea by Games Workshop which is being copied in the campaign, and the checklist you mention.

You seem pretty clear in stating that these are 'basically identical', and whatever GW eventually chose to go with as a means of resolution, that has absolutely no bearing on the legality of things.

In any case, we can see from the followup that the problem was actually certain very specific items in the campaign, which not coincidentally are specific concepts - or fixed expressions, if you will - that I can only really associate with GWs Nighthaunt designs and therefore are, in fact, infringements on its IP. So all this doom and gloom about GW trying to copyright bedsheet ghosts or whatever was clearly overwrought.


...I'm just going to point you to the bit of Games Workshop's complaint to KS which claimed it infringed 'A significant part of Games Workshop's expression of the Nighthaunt'. You can of course, write to them to tell that they got their own initial and generalised complaint wrong.


Geez, talk about making someone a martyr. The impact and results of the Chapterhouse lawsuit are generally misunderstood and largely overblown.

You are aware, of course, that you're implying that part of Nick's legal team (which Weeble was) has....misunderstood the impact and results of the case he spent five years intimately working on? I'd be fascinated to hear on what basis you're dismissing his commentary. The more details the better. I love hearing well reasoned and evidenced legal commentary. Weird I know, but I take a real interest in it when it comes to wargaming IP.

This message was edited 7 times. Last update was at 2021/07/31 09:30:31



 
   
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What about bits sites like Puppetwars?
   
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 ArcaneHorror wrote:
What about bits sites like Puppetwars?


As long as their bits aren't copies of GW models (or exceptionally close too) they'll be fine; like Wargame Exclusive or any one of a number of other model makers. GW might try squeezing with tighter rules on tournaments but that really only affects Warhammer World in general.

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 Ketara wrote:

Also, you are aware of the fact that a 'pose' isn't copyrightable, right? I'd appreciate it if you could nail down for me the actual exact -expression- of an idea by Games Workshop which is being copied in the campaign.


A pose may not be copyrightable, but copyright laws do include protections against someone making something "strikingly similar". That's likely where the Wraith King stuff had a problem. You can't copyright a pose, true. The general concept of a floaty ghost with a sword and no legs isn't copyrightable. There's a spectrum between a generic ghost figure and a direct copy of a Nighthaunt and the law doesn't only protect a direct 1-to-1 copy. There is protection for striking similarity. How close you need to be to the model in question before you're infringing is pretty much what a court case is used to determine. There's no hard and fast rule, merely shades of grey that need to be judged on a case-by-case basis.

From looking at the renders from the campaign I can certainly see how some of the models would fall foul of the strikingly similar criteria. Not sure it's an absolute nailed-on certainty, but if I was the creator I'd be a little concerned about a lawsuit over some of the models. You also have to consider the possibility that the creator knew exactly what they were doing with those sculpts, so when GW called them on it they may have felt they had been rumbled.
   
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Depends also on whether a judge who isn't a lifelong warhams player and can't recite the power armour marks if woken up in the middle of the night can tell apart Space Marine heads and not-Space Marine heads.

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