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IP Owner sues Longtime WAR Fansite

Maybe I shouldn't use this. I might get sued.

Ark reports the news today that Games Workshop, the company behind the Warhammer IP dating back to its tabletop gaming roots, is suing Curse fan forum Warhammer Alliance.

Ark provides the legal documents detailing the allegations but it pretty much boils down to using the word Warhammer without permission. Nevermind the fact that WA has served the community in a more or less official capacity since long before WAR’s official launch. Even the developers of the game made it a frequent haunt and announcement locale.

What’s also interesting is that Games Workshop is claiming that the domain name was registered “in or around” 2009. That’s patently false and easily proven so. Did they even research who it was they were suing?

I also find it interesting that the claim uses this as one of their main arguments:Defendants’ conduct as aforesaid has caused great and irreparable injury to Plaintiff, and unless such conduct is enjoined, it will continue and Plaintiff will continue to suffer great and irreparable injury.

Defendants’ conduct as aforesaid has caused great and irreparable injury to Plaintiff, and unless such conduct is enjoined, it will continue and Plaintiff will continue to suffer great and irreparable injury.

Aforesaid conduct meaning putting “Warhammer” in the URL. Tell me, how does a forum that gave voice to the developers and has done nothing but serve the community cause great and irreparable injury? If anything, WA helped the game sell boxes at launch and continue to foster an active social community.

They also claim that the existence of Warhammer Alliance constitutes cybersquatting. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:

Cybersquatting … is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter then offers to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price.

Broken down, it means they use a trademark that doesn’t belong to them in order to make money, then try to sell it back at an excessive cost.

From what I can see, there are two Google Adsense ads on their homepage. They’re not selling any WA branded products. They’re not offering up a Support the Warhammer Fund. Nothing. And from those two ads, I’d bet they don’t make a whole heck of a lot anyways.

Holy crap, we're tempting the devil now.

More worryingly, if they get away with this lawsuit it will set a precedent against all fansites for established IPs. From now on, Mythic better package each one of their fansite kits with a disclaimer that reads “WARNING: USE OF THIS KIT MAY RESULT IN COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT AND SUBSEQUENT LAWSUITS.” Each one they send out for download contains WAR logos and “marks” that fall under the legalese of this lawsuit.

Good luck, Curse, because this is an expensive case of total crap. Even as an outsider, there’s a lot of information I was able to find that disputes their claims. It’s really too bad that you’ll have to pay so much just to defend the good service you’ve offered the fanbase for THEIR game.

What’s even worse is that Mythic can’t say a word about it, even though it’s the right thing to do. Who knows, too much bad blood and the Warhammer IP might no longer be a good fit for an MMO audience.


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  1. Genda

    Damn. What’s worse is that Shelby, the site’s founder, worked very hard to keep the discourse there civil and was for all intents and purposes a pre-launch community manager for the property.

    The fact that it’s now a Curse property doesn’t really change the fact that the guy who made, registered, administered, and acted as the lead moderator for that forum did a fantastic job, grew a huge community, and introduced tons of people to the Warhammer property in a positive and helful manner.

    Shame on Games Workshop and their evident shotgun approach to protecting their IP. I’m just thankful I didn’t renew my 2 domains a couple of years ago or they may have accused me of squatting as well.

  2. Yogi

    Wow. Warhammer is cursed with bad juju. The newest Universal Law: Headlines containing “Warhammer” must be bad news!

    Poor Mythic.

  3. xXJayeDuBXx

    It’s stupid lawsuits like this that really get under my skin, bad form Games Workshop!

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