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Subject: Games Workshop and BoardGameGeek rss

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Scott Alden
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The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).
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Gary Bacchus
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Aldie wrote:


[snip!!]

I know this is a frustrating outcome for everyone involved, but I don't think that posting retaliatory game ratings is a constructive response to the situation.


Per the guidelines in the "tooltips" for the rating boxes, they correlate to how readily one would play a game or suggest it's play. It doesn't really mention why one would (or wouldn't) suggest play of said game.
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Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


Aldie, just so you know my stance on this, you guys don't make enough money to fight the legal battle. Let your users take that mantle for you.
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Mark Kalina
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It all smacks of heavy handedness on the part of Games Workshop...

They can choose to run their company as they wish, into the ground or otherwise. They are free to trade the goodwill they may have built up into customer anger. They are free to sell to whom for whatever price they wish or think they can get.

As a consumer, I am free to purchase what I want and when I want. I can choose to sell what I've purchased. I am free to discuss it, take pictures of it, comment on it, review it as I wish and resell it.

Personally a cup of spit is more appealing at this point than the attitude corporate Games Workshop is espousing at the moment. Consequently, Being a consumer I can and will vote with my dollars elsewhere. Games Workshop products are well done, but not so well done I can't find something as good or better elsewhere. With the current angst the management and legal department at Games Workshop have created, I am sure many other consumers can and will get their wants from another producer. The key here is Games Workshop products are wants, they are not a need from a consumer standpoint all the more so with the current economy being in trouble.

The Warhammer products I have purchased will soon be up for sale. I will make the concession to my son to keep Space Hulk since it makes a nice gateway game to products made by other more appreciative game producers.

Currently I am looking for a new miniatures game to play with my son. I am sure there is at least one game company out there that won't mind my business...

Good Gaming!
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Michael Basil
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Aldie wrote:

I know this is a frustrating outcome for everyone involved, but I don't think that posting retaliatory game ratings is a constructive response to the situation.


I respectfully disagree. Sorry, I just think it sends the right message.
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Gary Bacchus
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Bagherra wrote:
Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


Aldie, just so you know my stance on this, you guys don't make enough money to fight the legal battle. Let your users take that mantle for you.


Indeed. As singular gamers, we are all in the same boat. I (or any of us) can't make much of a difference (anybody a GW stock holder? That's an exception).

However, as a very large and vocal group, we *do* have enough money to make a difference. Simply by not spending it on GW product and letting them know about it.
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Jorge Arroyo
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Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


It looks like many of the removed files don't really infringe on any copyright and/or trademark. Many are from games that GW doesn't even own anymore. Also many files would be ok by GW's rules if they included a disclaimer and the necessary trademark information.

Will you open the file sections of the affected games once you have your appeal system in place so users can make these modifications if necessary an re-upload the files?

I don't think it makes sense to not let users upload files for these games as that's not really something GW can demand. It does seem like overreacting (unless it's meant to be just a temporary measure)
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maka wrote:
Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


It looks like many of the removed files don't really infringe on any copyright and/or trademark. Many are from games that GW doesn't even own anymore. Also many files would be ok by GW's rules if they included a disclaimer and the necessary trademark information.

Will you open the file sections of the affected games once you have your appeal system in place so users can make these modifications if necessary an re-upload the files?

I don't think it makes sense to not let users upload files for these games as that's not really something GW can demand. It does seem like overreacting (unless it's meant to be just a temporary measure)


This seems most logical. If many of the files could be restored if their creators could simply add the required disclaimer language, and perhaps get rid of any offending "official" brand logos, that would seem to be the best course of action in the long run. Here's hoping that is what will transpire.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).

Finally. So basically, a combination of GW mentioning a few specific files, and then BGG covering its boardgame ass based on GW's ridiculous guidelines. Yes, that is a very bitter pill to swallow for the owners of the files which were less than marginally related to GW's actual IP, but I can now fully understand where BGG is coming from, and why the admins---you, and others---took the course of action that you did. BGG simply cannot afford to have a dark cloud like that lumbering over its head. Machiavelli would have been proud, really.

I sincerely hope that the challenge procedure you plan on instating will at least carry sufficient legal weight to protect the files which rely only marginally on a third party's IP, because I am sure you realise by now that a lot of (practically) innocent material got nuked in the process.

I thank you for providing the above clarification.
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Jim Cote
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There are prefectly legal files that users might want to upload for GW games. Blocking those only hurts other users. I hope you lift the overall block at some point.
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Andreas Krüger
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Quote:
Second, to avoid recurrence of this issue, we have indefinitely suspended all future uploading of files for products published by Games Workshop.


Too bad that this seems to be necessary. Space Hulk and probably some other games would benefit from a living community uploading variants, scenarios etc. But I have to agree, GW has so strict rules about their IP that it is impossible for BGG to make sure that every single upload complies.

Quote:
I know this is a frustrating outcome for everyone involved, but I don't think that posting retaliatory game ratings is a constructive response to the situation.


Yes, but the availability or lack of downloads will certainly have an effect on the long term playability of my game. Especially if the missions that come with the game are unbalanced and untested. I can perfectly understand if someone reduces the rating by one or two points just for this reason.

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Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


So GW demanded/asked that FOUR specific files be removed, and left everything else up to BGG's own good judgment.

Let's just make sure that this is clear to everyone, since they will probably be a lot less upset that BGG decided to remove files, because they are predisposed to like BGG.
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joedogboy wrote:
Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


So GW demanded/asked that FOUR specific files be removed, and left everything else up to BGG's own good judgment.

Let's just make sure that this is clear to everyone, since they will probably be a lot less upset that BGG decided to remove files, because they are predisposed to like BGG.
And you want to stir up trouble, right? That certainly seems to be your bent in many of your posts.

Many of us would much rather see BGG be overly cautious than get involved in a lawsuit they can't possibly afford.
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joedogboy wrote:
Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


So GW demanded/asked that FOUR specific files be removed, and left everything else up to BGG's own good judgment.

Let's just make sure that this is clear to everyone, since they will probably be a lot less upset that BGG decided to remove files, because they are predisposed to like BGG.


You should totally ban BGG.
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Seth Owen
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ekted wrote:
There are prefectly legal files that users might want to upload for GW games. Blocking those only hurts other users. I hope you lift the overall block at some point.


On the other hand, I don't see why BGG should go out of its way to support GW products. If GW doesn't want want files added then fine. I don't think BGG admins should have to police submissions for IP compliance.

Better to let IP owners complain if they beleive their rights are being infringed and then let content submitters appeal. This will cut down on the workload a lot, because the vast majority of game makers seem to believe that most of the content actually increases sales or is harmless and they let it go.
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joedogboy wrote:
Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


So GW demanded/asked that FOUR specific files be removed, and left everything else up to BGG's own good judgment.

Let's just make sure that this is clear to everyone, since they will probably be a lot less upset that BGG decided to remove files, because they are predisposed to like BGG.


I don't read it quite the same way, Joe. What I read was that BGG admin was tasked to remove four specific files, and then any and all additional files that could be considered to violate GW's stated intellectual property rules as posted on their website. Sounds like BGG administration had to review each file, consider it against GW's posted IP rules, and determine for each if the file potentially violated any of those rules. If it was unclear that a given file would or would not violate one of those rules, I'd reasonably assume BGG administration would err on the side of deletion, since to do otherwise would put the entire site in legal jeopardy. I think BGG administration has acted prudently to this point, given the circumstances. Do you disagree?
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Seth Owen
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Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


What about games that Games Workshop no longer publishes like Kings & Things adn Cosmic Encounter? Are they covered by the files ban?
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Seth Owen
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gamephotos wrote:
Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items

To aid in everyone's understanding of the problem and to allow future contributors to know what the standard is, could you name the four 'offending' files.

That way, those of us who may have those files can inspect them to identify what GW objected to. With this information, it will be easier for existing and future files to be altered to remove the offending items, whatever they may be.

I can understand GW actively pursuing others' use of their Trademarks, as these have to be actively protected, but I seriously doubt that they have a leg to stand on in regards of possible copyright infringement.

If it's just the Trademarks that are causing the problem, then all it needs in the files are statements to the effect that these files are not official GW files. (Also, acknowledging where files are based on GW materials will help with copyright issues.)

But, without knowing which files are the 'offenders' it's too hard to identify what the problems are that GW are addressing in their letter.

(I'm not suggesting we're going on a witch hunt of the file uploaders. I'm only asking so that the community can keep adding good content to BGG without falling foul of GW.)



Without knowing which files they were it's hard to be sure, but it's possible that some of them were egregious violations of copyright (direct copy of a component the sell, for example) so it might not just be trademarks.
 
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Jim Cote
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wargamer55 wrote:
ekted wrote:
There are prefectly legal files that users might want to upload for GW games. Blocking those only hurts other users. I hope you lift the overall block at some point.


On the other hand, I don't see why BGG should go out of its way to support GW products. If GW doesn't want want files added then fine. I don't think BGG admins should have to police submissions for IP compliance.

Better to let IP owners complain if they beleive their rights are being infringed and then let content submitters appeal. This will cut down on the workload a lot, because the vast majority of game makers seem to believe that most of the content actually increases sales or is harmless and they let it go.

I'm not saying they should police them. They should take down files as requested by copyright holders, as they have done. But to block all file uploads for any game only hurts the users. BGG doesn't block file uploads for Age of Steam, but I'm certain they were asked to delete uploaded rules in the past.
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spearjr wrote:
joedogboy wrote:
Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


So GW demanded/asked that FOUR specific files be removed, and left everything else up to BGG's own good judgment.

Let's just make sure that this is clear to everyone, since they will probably be a lot less upset that BGG decided to remove files, because they are predisposed to like BGG.
And you want to stir up trouble, right? That certainly seems to be your bent in many of your posts.

Many of us would much rather see BGG be overly cautious than get involved in a lawsuit they can't possibly afford.


Joe's not been stirring up trouble in any of his posts. He's just not let himself get caught up in the mob hate that's been poisoning this site, all before the facts of the matter became apparent.

Thanks for the update Aldie.
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Mike B
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In contrary to all the "thank you, Aldie" sayers, I'm not so happy with the explanation:

1. About time we got an explanation after days of silence. This is a community based site, sponsored (=paid for) partly by us, the users. A big part of the usefullness lies within the rules explanations and other (fanmade) submissions that help gameplay. Withdrawing that should be explained without delay.

2. As long as no list is published of what has been withdrawn, I tend to believe all the people that mentioned at various places what has been withdrawn. I can personally attest that various files had NOTHING to do with Games Lawshops claims. So I still say Aldie & co overreacted quite a bit. Games publishers are important. Sticking within the law for a site as this as well. Nodding yes to bullies is not something I'd like to see this site do. Especially not a bully that is known for it's bullying.

Aldie wrote:
The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


Ok, so just remove those 4 specific items. No reason at all to withdraw a lot of fanmade material that helps a lot of GW-buyers to more fun with their games. I think that was a pretty bad decision. YES BGG shouldn't be in a legal battle, NO BGG shouldn't withdraw a lot of fanmade material without proper reason.

3. Retaliatary game ratings are a proper reaction: I've bought Space Hulk and now I feel ripped off, and have a sour taste in my mouth. I'd rather play something else now. As soon as this feeling leaves, I'll adapt my rating. For now it reflects the way I feel about playing it. I hope Games Workshop will go bankrupt. If enough people are outraged they will. I won't spend another cent on their products.

4. Aldie refers to the file submission rules. I guess he means the "NO Copyrighted material without permission! " part.
Well, IT'S NOT GAMES WORKSHOP WHO DECIDES WHAT IS COPYRIGHTED AND WHAT'S NOT! That's what copyright laws are for. Right now Games Workshop even states that it's illegal to get a tattoo of their artwork. I'd love to hear what happens when they sue someone with a Space Hulk tattoo.

I'm sorry, I'm very disappointed in the way this has been handled so far.
I find the way BGG reacted to Games Workshop email very weak. Giving a reaction only after days of howls of injustice is pretty lame as well.
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wargamer55 wrote:
Better to let IP owners complain if they beleive their rights are being infringed and then let content submitters appeal. This will cut down on the workload a lot, because the vast majority of game makers seem to believe that most of the content actually increases sales or is harmless and they let it go.


That's interesting and AFAIK sites like youtube work like this, only removing a video when there's a specific complain against it.

But I'm not sure BGG has the legal strength to make this work... so they might not have this alternative. In that case, they should make a bigger effort to mod the file submissions because even though most publishers don't care about small infringements, you can never be sure that what happened with GW won't happen again with another publisher. And I think that possibility weakens BGG...
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Seth Owen
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gamephotos wrote:
wargamer55 wrote:
What about games that Games Workshop no longer publishes like Kings & Things adn Cosmic Encounter? Are they covered by the files ban?

I would expect so, as IP rights last for a long time, much longer than the current lifetime of GW's current crop of OOP games.


Right, but the IP rights in question are not theirs in the case of games also published by other companies. From an IP standpoint the fact that GW games are out of print doesn't matter, but if the GW published the game under license they only have copyright of the edition they made, not the game itself or editions made by someone else. Cosmic Enconter is the best example, as it's been published many times by different folks, before and after the GW version.
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Dear Aldie & Mods,

Thank you for explaining the background to this decision.

Like many posters here I am a bit of a long-term Games Workshop customer (and like many it is a love-hate relationship with that company). I know we all have limited amounts of leisure time and our gaming activities can generate strong emotions - especially where there is a perceived 'betrayal' by a manufacturer who was receiving a lot of gratis support for their product by BGG users.

I am also a long term subscriber to White Dwarf (WD) and I have been undecided about renewing the subscription. I wanted to wait and see what the 'official' word on what happened was before I made any decision to boycott GW.

If the four deleted items did breach IP laws than I have no problem with GW asking for them to be taken down (even if it does seem an unusual decision to alienate customers and potential customers from a business point of view). I am also very happy to see that for the other removed files there is an internal BGG appeal process.

Most of all I am happy to see that the BGG owners and mods have handled this in a rational and mature manner and explained what has been going on and why certain decisions were taken to all BGG users.

As yet, I am still undecided about renewing my WD subscription. As these days I tend to read it more for the painting tips than the articles (i.e. advertorials) I may try a year of Wargames Illustrated – that magazine seems a pretty slick production now it has been taken over by the Kiwis who run "Flames of War". The free box of hard plastic miniatures is also a bit more appealing than the gobbo freebie for WD subscribers.

For the above posters who are looking for a fantasy miniatures game to get into I really do recommend that you have a look at Crocodile Game's "Wargods of Aegyptus". It has wonderful miniatures, great support from the manufacturer and a rich background that is just a bit different to the standard "swords and sorcery" fantasy simulations.

Finally, thank you again to everyone who has contributed to the identification and resolution of this issue.

Best wishes for happy gaming no matter what system you use,

MF4.
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Aldie wrote:
I don't think that posting retaliatory game ratings is a constructive response to the situation.


Why not? That just as arbitrary as any other reason that people have for rating games. And given that the ratings are ostensibly based on a person's desire to play the game, the change may be justified given a person's attitude towards GW games now.

Edit x2: Spelling shake
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