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World of Warcraft : Blizzard Being Sued

Posted Mar 28, 2006 by Jon Wood

News.com has reported that Blizzard is being sued for blocking an eBayer who was trying to see his own unofficial guide to the game. We've given you a part of the story, read the whole thing by following the link below:

 

Makers of the wildly popular "World of Warcraft" online game now face a lawsuit from an eBay seller who claims he was improperly barred from selling copies of his own unofficial gaming guide.

Filed Thursday in a California federal court, the complaint (click here for PDF) alleges that Blizzard Entertainment, its parent company Vivendi Universal, and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) were wrong to order eBay to terminate auctions of "The Ultimate World of Warcraft Leveling & Gold Guide," a book penned by 24-year-old Brian Kopp of Bronson, Fla.

The multiplayer online game of wizards, warriors and monsters has now attracted a following of 6 million subscribers worldwide since it debuted in 2004--among them, active virtual guilds.

During several months beginning last August, Kopp sold several hundred copies of his guide, which contains tips on playing the game and accumulating points, at roughly $15 apiece. Weeks after his first auction went live, Blizzard, Vivendi, and the ESA began sending repeated takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), asking eBay to yank the auctions because of copyright and trademark infringement concerns. The auction giant's general policy is to halt auctions when it receives such complaints and to suspend a user's account after it racks up a certain number of warnings.

Kopp filed counternotices protesting the infringement claims. Because the companies did not respond to the documents within 14 days, eBay was free under the DMCA to reinstate his auctions, which it did. But by November, eBay had accumulated enough takedown warnings from the companies to warrant suspending Kopp's account. He restarted his sales under a new username, which quickly earned suspension, too.

The companies went on to threaten copyright and trademark infringement action against Kopp. In one message quoted in the complaint, a Blizzard executive said Kopp could not lawfully sell a guide that "attempts to trade off the substantial goodwill and recognition that Blizzard has built up in connection with its World of Warcraft product." He also dismissed Kopps' claims that his book was solely meant for "educational" value, saying it clearly had a commercial purpose.

Read it all, here.

 
 
 
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