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Subject: GW - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back...File Removal! rss

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Leo Zappa
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Reports are sketchy at this point, but it sounds as though GW has issued a "cease and desist" notice to BGG as concerns the fan-generated files posted to the various GW game entries on BGG. Apparently, GW has become concerned about their IP and has decided to force BGG to eliminate numerous files, including FAQ's and player aids.

GW has never enjoyed a great reputation here at BGG. Many have criticized their games as overpriced and under-supported. Part of this lack of love in truth probably stems from the reality that GW-style games were not the focus of BGG in the early days, this site being initially a primarily "Eurogame" haven. However, those days are gone, and GW_style "AT" games have quite a few fans here. The recent release of "Space Hulk 3rd Edition" has met with enormous fanfare here at BGG, and there has been a buzz around GW on this site the likes of which have never been seen - our "one step forward". And now this, our "two steps back" move. It's hard to imagine GW pulling off a bigger "buzzkill" than what they have apparently just accomplished.

GW has been around awhile, and have been a profitable company, so I'll grant that at least on some level, they know what they are doing from a business perspective. However, it is hard to picture how pulling a move like this "cease and desist" can ultimately be in their best interest. Given that GW products are first and foremost about the models, paints, and graphic production, it's hard to imagine that any electronic file posted on BGG and ultimately printed out by a gameplayer would have a negative impact on GW revenues. In fact, quite the opposite should be expected. The fan-generated content creates more interest in GW products and generates additional sales.

The IP argument falls flat for me. Countless other companies, including heavyweights like Hasbro and FFG, permit similar files to be posted to their game entries here. I rather doubt that GW has anything on Hasbro when it comes to legal competence, so I find it hard to believe that there's anything so special or different about GW's products that would warrant this move, when other companies appear unconcerned by comparison. I would suggest that it is a uniquely paranoid perspective on the part of GW that leads them to committing these ultimately self-defeating actions.

I for one would hope that GW reconsiders their ill-conceived action and allows fan content for their games to florish on BGG. Such a move will not only build goodwill amongst the gameplayers, but likely spur additional sales, which should always be the prime concern of a business.
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Seth Owen
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I wouldn't hold out much hope of that. They seem determined to piss off as many people as possible.

What I object to the the overkill where they seem to be behind the removal of content related to games they don't even own. There are reports of files for Cosmic Encounter and Kings & Things being pulled.
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Leo Zappa
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wargamer55 wrote:
I wouldn't hold out much hope of that. They seem determined to piss off as many people as possible.

What I object to the the overkill where they seem to be behind the removal of content related to games they don't even own. There are reports of files for Cosmic Encounter and Kings & Things being pulled.


You're probably right. GW's questionable business practices are only exceeded by their outright refusal to even acknowledge their customers, let alone act on their requests. These guys just don't get it. shake
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Houserule Jay
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desertfox2004 wrote:
Reports are sketchy at this point, but it sounds as though GW has issued a "cease and desist" notice to BGG as concerns the fan-generated files posted to the various GW game entries on BGG. Apparently, GW has become concerned about their IP and has decided to force BGG to eliminate numerous files, including FAQ's and player aids.

GW has never enjoyed a great reputation here at BGG.


Are they fu--ing serious? Player aids and FAQ's too?

Hilarious and then we have another poster in another thread asking why they get a bad rap.

Selfish and overprotective on all counts, thanks for thinking about the players, who you know, are the people that actually BUY your shit? The people that put up with your over-priced shit that should have come with a player aid and faq in the first place?

Concerned about their IP? shake


Not too mention that a player constructed FAQ for example, really is not THEIR property at all. It has nothing of theirs in it, is a copy of nothing, that is some bogus shit. All the time people put into this stuff and they are going to wipe it all out because their scared to lose some money somehow? Greedy ____ _____ _____ _______s
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Seth Owen
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charliethemutt wrote:
Just a few thoughts...

May I ask where the BGG server is located? If not in the U.S., please ignore the following questions

How is this information not protected under the 1st Amendment?
How is it that any file that talks about , guides or assists, a GW game is being pulled?
Is this just a BGG issue?
Is the site pulling files willingly?




Fair use applies to copyrights, not trademarks, and most of what they are doing is within their legal rights to do. Most of us think it's stupid, and destructive, but not illegal.

The First Amendment protects certain uses of their IP without their permission -- primarily reviews and parody. If someone created a parody of Games Workshop materials they probably couldn't stop that. Likewise they can't force the removal of any reviews or other commentary about their games. They can and do claim that any fan-generated play aids are "derivative works" of their material and are prohibited.

So you can write criticism, strategy articles, or comparative analysis pieces. I think house rules would be a gray area. I'd consider that fair use, but they might characterize it as a derivation of their IP and not allow it.
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Leo Zappa
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jayjonbeach wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
Reports are sketchy at this point, but it sounds as though GW has issued a "cease and desist" notice to BGG as concerns the fan-generated files posted to the various GW game entries on BGG. Apparently, GW has become concerned about their IP and has decided to force BGG to eliminate numerous files, including FAQ's and player aids.

GW has never enjoyed a great reputation here at BGG.


Are they fu--ing serious? Player aids and FAQ's too?

Hilarious and then we have another poster in another thread asking why they get a bad rap.

Selfish and overprotective on all counts, thanks for thinking about the players, who you know, are the people that actually BUY your shit? The people that put up with your over-priced shit that should have come with a player aid and faq in the first place?

Concerned about their IP? shake


FAQ's - I would refer everyone to this thread, which details the removal of the recently posted FAQ for Space Hulk 3rd Edition:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/467081
This, even though the designer himself had granted permission to post the file. Now, it's possible that in this case, the file may be reposted, but that is not clear at this time. What is clear is that GW is taking a very broad stroke to this issue - carpet bombing rather than surgical strikes it would seem.
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James Wilhelm
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desertfox2004 wrote:
by their outright refusal to even acknowledge their customers


Well, they have at times in the past acknowledged their customers. Rumour has it that the Management Discussion and Analysis section of the financial statements they released five years or so ago contained the statement, "Our customers are special people." Strangely, this didn't go over well with the their customers as it was reasonably apparent from the context of the statement that it was meant like the special in "Special Education."

At least GW does love something about their customers...I think it's their money...
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Houserule Jay
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Hastur13 wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
by their outright refusal to even acknowledge their customers


Well, they have at times in the past acknowledged their customers. Rumour has it that the Management Discussion and Analysis section of the financial statements they released five years or so ago contained the statement, "Our customers are special people." Strangely, this didn't go over well with the their customers as it was reasonably apparent from the context of the statement that it was meant like the special in "Special Education."

At least GW does love something about their customers...I think it's their money...



Yeah that is it alright, time for a boycott.

I mean come on they are going to take away all the fan-made scenarios, extra variants, all that kind of shit that doesnt belong to them and adds to the experience that all the fans put their hard work into?

Fu-- em then.


p.s. Jeez do I need to be downloading the stuff for my FF games quickly now too to make them 'playable' before those get ripped down too?
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Tim Gilberg
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wargamer55 wrote:

The First Amendment protects certain uses of their IP without their permission -- primarily reviews and parody. If someone created a parody of Games Workshop materials they probably couldn't stop that. Likewise they can't force the removal of any reviews or other commentary about their games. They can and do claim that any fan-generated play aids are "derivative works" of their material and are prohibited.


Er, no.

A piece of IP being about a protected piece of IP does not make it derivative. By your logic any review or report would be derivative and prohibited.
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Leo Zappa
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BTW - on a slight tangent, but perhaps relevant, here is the most recent (2008) GW annual report:

http://investor.games-workshop.com/downloads/results/results...

The last couple of years have been rough on them financially. Perhaps the red ink has influenced their thinking, especially if they have adopted the typical short-term, quarter-to-quarter mindset held by many publically owned companies. Of course, sitting here, it's easy to come to the conclusion that their business approach (as illustrated by the recent cease and desist order) is what is hurting their financials - they are turning off customers with high prices, little product support, and annoying business practices, such as the cease-and-desist action. One thing that kind of came through to me glancing at this report was the apparent lack of passion for the games themselves. Little to no mention of the actual games, and reading the bios on the company executives, I didn't get the impression that any of these guys are or ever were actually gamers. Rather, they sounded like professional businessmen. Now, on the one hand, that's not necessarily a bad thing - having actual business knowhow is crucial in running a corporation (I'm a corporate director myself). However, what I suspect is that the management of the company may not have a very good connection to its customer base - no shared interests or experiences. Which leads me back to my earlier comment that I feel these guys "just don't get it" when it comes to marketing products to the gaming hobby. Their recent financial woes may simply be their past (and current) practices finally catching up to them.
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Seth Owen
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Gilby wrote:
wargamer55 wrote:

The First Amendment protects certain uses of their IP without their permission -- primarily reviews and parody. If someone created a parody of Games Workshop materials they probably couldn't stop that. Likewise they can't force the removal of any reviews or other commentary about their games. They can and do claim that any fan-generated play aids are "derivative works" of their material and are prohibited.


Er, no.

A piece of IP being about a protected piece of IP does not make it derivative. By your logic any review or report would be derivative and prohibited.


It depends. A play aid is probably a derivative work under copyright law and would be considered an infringement. Reviews are clearly protected under the First Amendment as well as copyright fair use and are allowed. It's not my logic, it's established case law as I understand it. I'm not a lawyer, but I do work in the media and I'm familiar with the general principles involved.
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Ernesto Cabrera
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This covers images as well?

I don't know how far this goes but I'm already happy of not buying the largely overpriced/overhyped Space Hulk
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Sven
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An open letter (yay, I wrote one too!!!) to Games Workshop
Not that it will make any difference to GW, since I haven't bought a thing from them for years (except Space Hulk 3rd very recently):
I am fed up with you guys. I often defended Games Workshop against detractors because I respected your right to do your business any way you see fit. Many of the tempest-in-a-teapot-discussions about GW really seemed unreasonable, stupid and naive to me. GW rises prices? So what - they are running a business! GW pulled down a few scans of rulebooks? Yes, annoying but it's definitly their good right.
But now you are again lashing out at your fans, who have put lots of time and work into their pet-projects, which are just promoting YOUR products. Obviously you haven't learned a thing about the value of an active internet fanbase. Other companies would kill to have this kind of active supporters who do free marketing for them on the internet! Other companies have dedicated community managers and carefuly try to steer their fan/user-communities the way they'd like it to go.
Not you, not Games Workshop: You are stuck in the early days of the internet. You see your customers as potential thieves and enemies and you just apply brute force where a careful nudge might suffice.
You know what? Games Workshop really just deserves any kind of mad, inane, furious, unreasoning, hating, stupid, naive and immature customer reaction they get. Good luck with your general strategy. Maybe you can lure enough teenage boys to your products on a regular basis to keep going. I doubt it and I think that the market would do better without you. There are by now better products in the hobby, that are having a hard time to get the ammount of attention they deserve.
Oh, and nice going on completely destroying your recently gained credibility on this site for the successful 3rd Edition of Space Hulk.
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matthew midgley
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As a company I gree that this move is within their rights, but it is a strange one.
Games Workshop have always seemed to distance themselves from their customers (was it round about the time they dropped all other role-playing stuff and just focused on Warhammer?)

(Isn't fan based material what has kept an interest in Blood Bowl?)

Were it not for sites like BGG I probably wouldn't even recall Space Hulk!
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If this is true, I have bought my last Games Workshop product with Space Hulk, and I am a long-time collector (at least 20 years into the hobby).

I bought, painted and, after a while, sold a lot of armies for both of their big systems. Now I will be looking for some new miniature games, as I like the painting and modelling coming with this.

Any good recommendations on those? Either fantasy or Sci-fi would be fine.
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Its rumoured that a "hit has been pronounced" on various GW persons following this latest snivelling attack on the fanbase; but with some zany restrictions: Jervis Johnson must be taken out with lightning claws; the financial director with a hugely big calculator; Gav Thorpe with one of his own books; the entire legal department with a flamer; and the CEO with a warhammer - to get the bounties available on each person.

I for one, don't believe the rumour.
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Marius Roth
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This isn't the first step GW takes aganst their fanbase.

Two weeks ago, there were news about GW issuing a Cease & Desist against the domain talkbloodbowl.com, one of the largest communities for Blood Bowl. http://www.librarium-online.com/ also got such a letter because they had the Imperial Eagle in their logo.

Considering the last financial reports from GW, the closure of many stores in the US, the reduction of Games Days for the US from 3 to 1 and the total absence of GW in Essen, it doesn't look that good for GW (which is understandable with such a cocky behavior).
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desertfox2004 wrote:
GW has never enjoyed a great reputation here at BGG. Many have criticized their games as overpriced and under-supported. Part of this lack of love in truth probably stems from the reality that GW-style games were not the focus of BGG in the early days, this site being initially a primarily "Eurogame" haven.


Could we please stop with the "Eurogame" complex once and for all? Most of the flak towards GW comes from *fans* of their games, people that spent a fortune on their products, and despite the braindead behaviour of the company, still buy a bit from them from time to time. It's not Caylus players that rant about the power creep in army lists, the increase in the price of paint because minis switch from lead to white metal, or the planned obsolescence (just in: it seems that with the next army-list, my Beastmen won't be allowed to field Dragon-Ogres anymore, another big thank you GW).

It's a testament to their policies that this cease and desist order doesn't even constitute a new low for them...
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I agee with everyone that this is a stupid decision on GW's part but I have heard rumours that as part of the streamlining and cut-backs they are making to the company they wanted to get rid of most of the legal department and all these cease and desist orders are only being sent so the legal department can justify their jobs and not get the sack!!

How true this is I have no idea but it certainly is plausible. If it is true I hope they sack them all anyway.
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Mik Svellov
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desertfox2004 wrote:
I for one would hope that GW reconsiders their ill-conceived action and allows fan content for their games to florish on BGG.

The problem is not GW. It is the people disregarding decent behavior.

I know of several Talisman-sites that runs succesfully with the concent of GW, because the people running them have followed commom curtesy rules and asked permission.
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charliethemutt wrote:
How is it that any file that talks about , guides or assists, a GW game is being pulled?

They aren't.
I can find many files for GW games on BGG.
 
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Martin Smith
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My Chainsaw Warrior player aids went today too. Just bizarre and arrogant behaviour - from a company that owes EVERYTHING to the fans of its games but shows no sign of appreciation or community ...
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Quote:
The problem is not GW. It is the people disregarding decent behavior.


"decent behaviour"?????????

So do you really think it was OK for GW to ask for the removal of the Errata for the german edition of Kings & Things by West End Games?

So much for "decent behaviour"...



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I posted an FAQ file for a game that was originally in White Dwarf, and that has been removed?

WTF?

The GW I remember, back in the 90's, positively encouraged fan-created scenarios, rules, everything really. Heck, there was a whole magazine (the citadel journal) with fan-created content for a while. Do they really have sufficiently little collective brain as a company to realise that people creating play-aids, scenarios, house rules etc. actually supports their game and helps sales?

And as for asking for the removal of stuff that's 10-15 years out of print and never planned to be reprinted (that we know of) is just mental.

GW's rep around here is not great, but there was a lot of love for them with the reprint of Space Hulk. That love just evaporated.
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If we want to act I suggest a thing we can do.

They seem to be on a rampage and why not help them. Point them to every single website where possibly their IP is being infringed and require them to send the letters as well.

If they really would do that, they would piss off so large portion of their customer base that they might even notice it.
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