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Subject: Games Workshop being sued for 6.2 million rss

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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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Game store owner, and legal counsel David Moore has filed a criminal complaint in the US Federal Court of Southern Florida alleging six criminal violations of US law and is seeking $62.5 million in equitable relief from Games Workshop.


From https://spikeybits.com/2017/08/games-workshop-is-being-sued-...

Hmm. While we all like to see GW get a bit of a kicking, this suit worries me a bit.

Especially this part:

Quote:
Moore even goes on to say in the background of his Fraud complaint that Games Workshop may have even stolen Intellectual property of others to establish it’s Warhammer 40,000 game in the 1980s among others:

Prior to stealing these, GW’s Warhammergame was a 110% rip-off of R.R. Tolkien – a Middle Earth magic/fantasy war of Tolkein’s Orcs-Goblins-Trolls-Ogres-Dwarves-Elves, etc. The litany of GW’s copyright thefts and abuses are endless, from the exact spelling of Tolkein’s Eldar – to exact sculpts of Universal’s Dracula, Frankenstein, Werewolf, & Mummy. GW’s 5-man Terminator Squad – is a Xerox of FASA’s 5-man Elemental Star, et al.


It's tempted to see GW as being hoist by their own IP petard here. But it's got wider potential consequences. If that was upheld, not being able to use elves or dwarves would massively limit the themes available to all publishers.
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Trevor Taylor
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I don't know the details of the dispute or the strength of either sides cases. But Moore immediately loses points for me by using 110% to describe how complete something is gulp
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Olli Juhala
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
Quote:
Game store owner, and legal counsel David Moore has filed a criminal complaint in the US Federal Court of Southern Florida alleging six criminal violations of US law and is seeking $62.5 million in equitable relief from Games Workshop.


From https://spikeybits.com/2017/08/games-workshop-is-being-sued-...

Hmm. While we all like to see GW get a bit of a kicking, this suit worries me a bit.

Especially this part:

Quote:
Moore even goes on to say in the background of his Fraud complaint that Games Workshop may have even stolen Intellectual property of others to establish it’s Warhammer 40,000 game in the 1980s among others:

Prior to stealing these, GW’s Warhammergame was a 110% rip-off of R.R. Tolkien – a Middle Earth magic/fantasy war of Tolkein’s Orcs-Goblins-Trolls-Ogres-Dwarves-Elves, etc. The litany of GW’s copyright thefts and abuses are endless, from the exact spelling of Tolkein’s Eldar – to exact sculpts of Universal’s Dracula, Frankenstein, Werewolf, & Mummy. GW’s 5-man Terminator Squad – is a Xerox of FASA’s 5-man Elemental Star, et al.


It's tempted to see GW as being hoist by their own IP petard here. But it's got wider potential consequences. If that was upheld, not being able to use elves or dwarves would massively limit the themes available to all publishers.


If that quote is any indication of the quality of the complaint, this suit is going nowhere and fast.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Well as he seems to be suing over words like Eldar (rather then Elf) serves them right. (I do not see how this will be knock on effect as GW have already chased most people way form using these IP's.
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Qu'est-ce que c'est
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This guy sounds like a crank.
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fambans wrote:
This guy sounds like a crank.

Yep. Suit will be dismissed.
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Daniel Harris
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$6.2 million stinks. I just read the article and it looks like he's actually suing for $62.5 million! That's even worse!

If he does make any headway, do you think this will impact MAP pricing? It seems like one of his big gripes is that he is being told what he has to sell products for and that is in violation of RICO.
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Jade Knight
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
Quote:
Game store owner, and legal counsel David Moore has filed a criminal complaint in the US Federal Court of Southern Florida alleging six criminal violations of US law and is seeking $62.5 million in equitable relief from Games Workshop.


From https://spikeybits.com/2017/08/games-workshop-is-being-sued-...

Hmm. While we all like to see GW get a bit of a kicking, this suit worries me a bit.

Especially this part:

Quote:
Moore even goes on to say in the background of his Fraud complaint that Games Workshop may have even stolen Intellectual property of others to establish it’s Warhammer 40,000 game in the 1980s among others:

Prior to stealing these, GW’s Warhammergame was a 110% rip-off of R.R. Tolkien – a Middle Earth magic/fantasy war of Tolkein’s Orcs-Goblins-Trolls-Ogres-Dwarves-Elves, etc. The litany of GW’s copyright thefts and abuses are endless, from the exact spelling of Tolkein’s Eldar – to exact sculpts of Universal’s Dracula, Frankenstein, Werewolf, & Mummy. GW’s 5-man Terminator Squad – is a Xerox of FASA’s 5-man Elemental Star, et al.


It's tempted to see GW as being hoist by their own IP petard here. But it's got wider potential consequences. If that was upheld, not being able to use elves or dwarves would massively limit the themes available to all publishers.


While GW actually did blatantly rip off some other IP in their early days (like in the 80's), it sounds like a lot of this suit is spurious.

And, more importantly, I don't think Mr. Moore has legal standing to sue over IP infringement.

Quote:
He alleges that the current way that Games Workshop does business in America from limiting stores access to new releases in the numbers they may actually need, taking more and more items back to direct sales, and making other items only available exclusively hampers businesses here in the states


While this may be true, I don't see how it gives Mr. Moore grounds to sue, either. Did GW make any contractual promises to him to the contrary?

From the complaint:
Quote:
GW ‘Investor Relations’ webpage betrays their criminal intent (as well as socio-pathology to ethics regarding the Great Debt they owe to the America Stores that made them


Socio-pathology? Love it.
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negatrev wrote:
I don't know the details of the dispute or the strength of either sides cases. But Moore immediately loses points for me by using 110% to describe how complete something is gulp


I 150% agree.
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Trevor Taylor
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darthhugo wrote:
negatrev wrote:
I don't know the details of the dispute or the strength of either sides cases. But Moore immediately loses points for me by using 110% to describe how complete something is gulp


I 150% agree.


I'm not with him N shake
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Because Mr. Moore filed a criminal complaint in Federal Court, this is going nowhere. A private citizen cannot file a private prosecution in Federal Court ever since the 1981 Supreme Court decision in Leeke v. Timmerman disallowed this at the Federal Level.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
not being able to use elves or dwarves would massively limit the themes available to all publishers.
It's hard to imagine that this would be the outcome. Myths about elves and dwarves existed long before Tolkien. Classifying them as anything besides public domain would be silly. You might as well try to sue someone for writing a book about vampires.
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Kolby Reddish
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fambans wrote:
Because Mr. Moore filed a criminal complaint in Federal Court, this is going nowhere. A private citizen cannot file a private prosecution in Federal Court ever since the 1981 Supreme Court decision in Leeke v. Timmerman disallowed this at the Federal Level.


That's exactly what I was thinking - how exactly would a private citizen file a criminal complaint to reclaim money damages? Sounds like just the garden variety nut that files a completely ridiculous suit every once in a while.

By the way, I think the way that the media reports on legal things like this are a big reason people thing the legal system is so messed up. I remember a year or two ago some no-name singer filed a suit almost exactly like this against Taylor Swift claiming she stole his IP. The suit was dismissed immediately, but of course that fact was barely reported compared to the amount that reported what she was being sued for and the (ridiculous) amount.
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deehizzle wrote:
$6.2 million stinks. I just read the article and it looks like he's actually suing for $62.5 million! That's even worse!

If he does make any headway, do you think this will impact MAP pricing? It seems like one of his big gripes is that he is being told what he has to sell products for and that is in violation of RICO.


Oh boyo, yeah this one is gonna get laughed out of court.
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I don't think the IP part of this is going anywhere, if only for the fact that you can't file a IP/Copyright lawsuit on someone else's behalf. If the Tolkien estate feels infringed they can (and have in the past) initiate their own legal action. Further what Tolkien created as opposed to borrowed from mythology and revamped for his own use was pretty well established when the Tolkien estate challenged Gary Gygax and D&D only on the usage of the word Hobbit. No other Tolkien fantasy tropes were affected.

The part I found funniest was the deceptive claim that their "$0.03 a piece" figures are marked up 50,000% to $30 dollars. While the markup is probably on the hefty side, that calculation ignores all the other costs of making that figure and only includes the cost per figure in the middle of production. It ignores the cost of having the figure sculpted, the cost of having the molds made (which is thousands) the cost of having the figures shipped to them, paying the graphic designer for the box art, the physical box itself, someone packaging everything up into the box...those costs can add up quick. That 3 cent figure is probably closer to a few dollars when it is all said and done. Then add that to the fact that the figure shown is the limited collectable anniversary space marine which means its price is already artificially high and not indicative of their normal markup. It is clearly an attempt to get an emotional response.

Edit: Corrected typo in number
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James Webb
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Quote:
Prior to stealing these, GW’s Warhammergame was a 110% rip-off of R.R. Tolkien...


R.R Tolkien is a 90% rip-off of J.R.R. Tolkien.
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Robert Bracey
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Thunkd wrote:
Abiezer Coppe wrote:
not being able to use elves or dwarves would massively limit the themes available to all publishers.
It's hard to imagine that this would be the outcome. Myths about elves and dwarves existed long before Tolkien. Classifying them as anything besides public domain would be silly. You might as well try to sue someone for writing a book about vampires.


Not true. Myths about 'elfs and dwarfs' existed long before Tolkien but Tolkien invented both 'elves and dwarves'. You can occassionally find this with some uptight pedant who thinks fantasy things are 'childish' and does not want to use a now standard plural just because some fantasy writer invented it.
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Shader10 wrote:
deehizzle wrote:
$6.2 million stinks. I just read the article and it looks like he's actually suing for $62.5 million! That's even worse!

If he does make any headway, do you think this will impact MAP pricing? It seems like one of his big gripes is that he is being told what he has to sell products for and that is in violation of RICO.


Oh boyo, yeah this one is gonna get laughed out of court.


It is simple. By picking such a large sum of money he knows that he is not going to win, however, he is hoping that the bad publicity will force GW in cutting a deal and he will walk away with a bunch of cash ever before going to court. Just another lazy loser looking for a quick payday without actually doing anything useful to society. Woot.
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Olli Juhala
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Mabuchi wrote:
Shader10 wrote:
deehizzle wrote:
$6.2 million stinks. I just read the article and it looks like he's actually suing for $62.5 million! That's even worse!

If he does make any headway, do you think this will impact MAP pricing? It seems like one of his big gripes is that he is being told what he has to sell products for and that is in violation of RICO.


Oh boyo, yeah this one is gonna get laughed out of court.


It is simple. By picking such a large sum of money he knows that he is not going to win, however, he is hoping that the bad publicity will force GW in cutting a deal and he will walk away with a bunch of cash ever before going to court. Just another lazy loser looking for a quick payday without actually doing anything useful to society. Woot.


But this is GW, the company that's reviled even by their own fans and one with a pretty good grasp of IP law. Does he really think this press is scary?
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RobertBr wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Abiezer Coppe wrote:
not being able to use elves or dwarves would massively limit the themes available to all publishers.
It's hard to imagine that this would be the outcome. Myths about elves and dwarves existed long before Tolkien. Classifying them as anything besides public domain would be silly. You might as well try to sue someone for writing a book about vampires.


Not true. Myths about 'elfs and dwarfs' existed long before Tolkien but Tolkien invented both 'elves and dwarves'. You can occassionally find this with some uptight pedant who thinks fantasy things are 'childish' and does not want to use a now standard plural just because some fantasy writer invented it.


No, he invented "Dwarves". "Elves" was already standard usage by the time Tolkien came around, and this was part of his reason for using "Dwarves".
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Bryan Thunkd
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RobertBr wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Abiezer Coppe wrote:
not being able to use elves or dwarves would massively limit the themes available to all publishers.
It's hard to imagine that this would be the outcome. Myths about elves and dwarves existed long before Tolkien. Classifying them as anything besides public domain would be silly. You might as well try to sue someone for writing a book about vampires.


Not true. Myths about 'elfs and dwarfs' existed long before Tolkien but Tolkien invented both 'elves and dwarves'. You can occassionally find this with some uptight pedant who thinks fantasy things are 'childish' and does not want to use a now standard plural just because some fantasy writer invented it.
The fact that I'm referring to a myth about an elf doesn't change because I'm spelling the plural of elf differently than they used to. Spelling changes over time even when the meaning stays the same. Before dictionaries were invented, and even for some time after, there often wasn't a commonly agreed upon spelling for many words.

So yeah, maybe Tolkien changed the spelling of the plural, but he didn't invent new myths. His elves were exactly the same thing as earlier elfs. Arguing that 'elves' are a different thing than an elf that appeared in old myths is silly and certainly wouldn't be enough to hold up in court.
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revgiblet wrote:
Quote:
Prior to stealing these, GW’s Warhammergame was a 110% rip-off of R.R. Tolkien...


R.R Tolkien is a 90% rip-off of J.R.R. Tolkien.


Math checks out.
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Thunkd wrote:
RobertBr wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Abiezer Coppe wrote:
not being able to use elves or dwarves would massively limit the themes available to all publishers.
It's hard to imagine that this would be the outcome. Myths about elves and dwarves existed long before Tolkien. Classifying them as anything besides public domain would be silly. You might as well try to sue someone for writing a book about vampires.


Not true. Myths about 'elfs and dwarfs' existed long before Tolkien but Tolkien invented both 'elves and dwarves'. You can occassionally find this with some uptight pedant who thinks fantasy things are 'childish' and does not want to use a now standard plural just because some fantasy writer invented it.
The fact that I'm referring to a myth about an elf doesn't change because I'm spelling the plural of elf differently than they used to. Spelling changes over time even when the meaning stays the same. Before dictionaries were invented, and even for some time after, there often wasn't a commonly agreed upon spelling for many words.

So yeah, maybe Tolkien changed the spelling of the plural, but he didn't invent new myths. His elves were exactly the same thing as earlier elfs. Arguing that 'elves' are a different thing than an elf that appeared in old myths is silly and certainly wouldn't be enough to hold up in court.


None of this is legal advice!
Obviously it depends on country which is complex when you have multiple involved. But in general terms I suspect all GW would need to do is find a single reference which matched the specific complaint of IP that the Tolkien estate had (as only they can 'protect' their IP) that occurred before Tolkien's first publishing date. Multiple references AFTER the release of the books would also be fine if it's shown that Tolkien didn't 'protect' their IP from those instances also.

However calling an aubergine an Eggplant doesn't mean the person who first did that can claim the usage rights to Eggplant. But call a vacuum cleaner a Hoover, and Hoover might have a case. It can be tricky! (but almost definitely not in this case).
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Mabuchi wrote:
It is simple. By picking such a large sum of money he knows that he is not going to win, however, he is hoping that the bad publicity will force GW in cutting a deal and he will walk away with a bunch of cash ever before going to court. Just another lazy loser looking for a quick payday without actually doing anything useful to society. Woot.


This is what I was thinking.

If the case doesn't get immediately dismissed GW is going to have to weigh the costs of litigation versus the cost of a settlement.

Settling would be less expensive in the short term but it could also encourage more people to submit frivolous lawsuits in the hopes of collecting.

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fambans wrote:
Because Mr. Moore filed a criminal complaint in Federal Court, this is going nowhere. A private citizen cannot file a private prosecution in Federal Court ever since the 1981 Supreme Court decision in Leeke v. Timmerman disallowed this at the Federal Level.
I'm pretty sure that's not true, at least not for a civil allegations in this lawsuit. The criminal parts will just be stricken or the suit will be dismissed but without prejudice.

Pete (notes that the court's issuance of pro-se instructions to Moore seems to indicate that he is welcome to the process)
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