Good News For World Of StarCraft Modder

By John Walker on January 20th, 2011 at 11:15 am.

Is everyone bored of this image yet?

If you’re going to get bullied, get bullied in public. People notice. If you’ve followed the story of the World Of StarCraft mod, you’ll know that a mod team picked a really dumb name for their ambitious MMO project, and Activision-Blizzard went down the tiresomely dumb route of banning the existence of videos of the work in progress from the internet. But here comes the twist. According to Pixelated Geek, front man Ryan has been offered a potential postion working for League Of Legends developer, Riot Games.

The opportunity to see if he’d fit in at Riot was offered in a comment on PG itself.

“Ryan, I’d like to speak with you about potentially working for Riotgames (League of Legends). You can contact me directly at epak@riotgames.com since I think you’re awesome.”

Ryan has expressed his excitement at the chance. He told PG,

“I would be a complete idiot not to… I’ve waited my whole life for something like this. I feel like I’m in a dream man.”

So there you go. A potentially happy ending for Ryan.

What would have made more sense would be for Actiblizz to have made the job offer rather than the legal threats, of course. But with a copyright infringing name like the mod has, their lawyers would have been incapable of resisting.

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106 Comments »

  1. TalonofElysia says:

    Actiblizz are a bunch of retards anyway…

    Oh well, at least Ryan seems to be getting some good out of this.

    • DrazharLn says:

      Retards who have produced some of the most critically acclaimed games of all time?

      By throwing childish insults you’re just making yourself look stupid. I’d appreciate it if you’d register your displeasure politely and reasonably in future, thanks.

    • Catastrophe says:

      Fuck off, Kotick!

    • Zaboomafoozarg says:

      They’re most definitely idiot savants. Pump out great games, have absolutely no couth or social skills.

    • Hogni Gylfason says:

      Apologize to the retards please. What have they ever done to you to be compared to Actiblizz?

    • Wulf says:

      I’d honestly question the ‘great games’ part. I still think it’s just the most amazing social engineering I’ve ever seen. Look at casual games like Farmville, examine them in their entirety, and you’ll see that Blizzard is no different. You don’t need to make a great game if you can convince people that you’ve made the most compelling game ever.

      And people will grind, grind, grind, grind their lives away for it! I think that Blizzard are just fine with the social side of things, it’s just that they don’t see people as people, just robots to be reprogrammed to fork over their wallets. And usually it works! This is why developers like Zynga followed Blizzard’s cues.

      I’ve started being brutally honest lately, since I don’t think the feelings of most of the people here, especially not the Blizzard fans, are worth sparing. I couldn’t see them ever doing so for anyone else, so I’m not going to grant them the luxury. Instead I’m just going to point out that Blizzard ‘gamers’ are probably the most gullible people I’ve ever met.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      @Wulf: Yes, clearly Starcraft 2 is a Farmvillesque grindfest, and people have only been socially engineered to think otherwise.

      I MEAN WHAT THE CHRIST

    • Starky says:

      No he’s totally right, I’ve been socially engineered from a young age to enjoy that kind of heart stopping massively tense competition that pits you and your wits/skill against another person/challenge.

      All those games I played, even table top RPGs/board games and chess.
      Then team sports like Rugby and Ice/street hockey (yes Britain has some Ice hockey) and more…

      I just didn’t know all that social engineering was Blizzards master plan – those cunning evil bastards – all that just so I would enjoy the teamwork based challenges of dungeons/raids* and the competitive knife edge of Starcraft 2.

      Mind. Blown.

      *Which is why I quit at wrath when said places stopped being a challenge and became a face rolling AoE fest, though I’ve heart cataclysm is actually hard and requires a bit of skill again.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      You don’t have to be smart to aim for the lowest common denominator, yes, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call them retards though. (That would be very offensive towards retards.)

    • DoucheMullet says:

      Blizzard

      Good games.

      Imagine that.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “I’ve started being brutally honest lately, since I don’t think the feelings of most of the people here, especially not the Blizzard fans, are worth sparing. I couldn’t see them ever doing so for anyone else, so I’m not going to grant them the luxury. Instead I’m just going to point out that Blizzard ‘gamers’ are probably the most gullible people I’ve ever met.”

      Man, now I know how Iraq feels.

    • sassy says:

      @Catastrophe: I don’t know why but you just gave me a good laugh.

      Thank you kind sir!

  2. sneetch says:

    Looking forward to World of LeagueofLegendsCraft!

  3. SquareWheel says:

    Anybody else remember when Blizzard was a respectable company?

    Anyway, good on Riot Games.

    • RedViv says:

      When was that, in this regard? Mod projects using their franchise names always got a C&D once news spread. No change there.

    • bonjovi says:

      I’m still in denial. Blizzard are the good guys but they are tied to human flesh eating Activision.

    • plugmonkey says:

      There’s sending a C & D, and then there’s sending a C & D. This was sending a C & D.

      If you catch my meaning.

      You don’t have to do it on a public forum, for example.

    • karry says:

      Good guys, you say, but their first real claim to fame was ripping off two franchises simultaneously.

    • lurkalisk says:

      Simultaneously?

    • Starky says:

      Good god guys, it was a DMCA takedown, NOT a C&D – there is a fairly large difference between the 2.

    • Wulf says:

      It was still a takedown nonetheless.

      And to be honest, I haven’t seen them being responsible since Warcraft III, since I don’t remember them handing out any sorts of asshatery in regards to Warcraft III mods that had ‘Warcraft’ in them, in fact, I remember a number of mods that did. It was some time around Viviendi/World of Warcraft they went downhill, and have never improved since.

    • bob_d says:

      @Wulf: In this case wasn’t it about the Youtube videos, rather than the mod itself? That would mean they’re fine with the mod, so long as people see the mod contextualized as an actual mod. What Bliz doesn’t want to see is people going to Youtube and thinking there really is a Starcraft MMO, which is reasonable. Of course, it doesn’t change the fact that Bliz went about it in a completely heavy-handed and unreasonable way.

    • KillahMate says:

      @lurkalisk “Simultaneously?”

      He means Dune II and Warhammer.

  4. DrugCrazed says:

    I was skeptical until I saw they contacted him outside the comment.

  5. mda says:

    Any of the original mod videos still up anywhere?

  6. HexagonalBolts says:

    Why did they not simply call him up, “alright mate, how’s it going? Your favourite studio ever here, just wondering if you could change a few words in the title of your mod, you know, keep the suits happy, if it’s any good we might even hire you afterwards! Sound good to you? I thought it would.”

    • Stijn says:

      I suppose he didn’t put his phone number out in the open on the internet.

      (As far as I can see he didn’t put his e-mail out there either. Kind of hard to contact him then)

    • ZenArcade says:

      Wow Stijn, big humour failure there, pal.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      well then they could have messaged him on a forum, and even put a few kisses on the end for goodwills sake.

      Also, had anyone else not yet seen this parody of the Starcraft 2 opening cinematic done in the WoW engine (I think)? I had no idea of it’s existence till I started youtubing ‘world of starcraft’ and this came up:

    • Stijn says:

      I got the joke, but I was being serious. It can be really hard to actually find contact info on people on the internet. Even if Blizzard had wanted to send him a message, the best they could’ve done was using youtube comments or (if youtube has such a thing) private messages. I can sort of see them not wanting to go down that route.

    • mda says:

      @Stijn:

      They could just message him on his mod’s forums, surely.

    • Diziet Sma says:

      I recently had a run in with a bigger company that went exactly like that. It was all resolved amicably enough without lawyergrams involved and both parties left the debate happy AFAIK. There is really no need for lawyers to ever be involved as first point of contact.

    • SimonHawthorne says:

      As a lawyer, I should probably mention that these kinds of lawyer are the bane of my life. It’s like they don’t exist in the real world. Law firms go on and on about “Commercial Awareness” but there’s a complete lack of people awareness.

      It may sound ridiculous, but a lawyer’s job should involve avoiding invoking the law as much as possible. Especially when dealing with your client’s customers. Wake up, this is not the 1950s

      (Involve avoiding invoking. Wow.)

    • BobsLawnService says:

      Probably because the DMCA notice was automatically generated by a bot designed to identify copywrite infringement and fire off automated DMCA takedowns. It’s what I would do anyway.

      I wish people wouldn’t take this whole thing as a personal attack on the modder.

      As for hiring the guy – I read his peurile response to the whole thing that was posted on RPS yesterday and I wouldn’t hire someone that childish. Anyone expressing his righteous fury because he thinks his mod will be the quality of a Blizzard release is completely delusional and has a lot of growing up to do.

  7. ZenArcade says:

    Why would the name be copyright infringement? If it’s a mod and being given away for no pence, I don’t understand how that’s ripping something off. If the mod guys were profiting monetarily from it, it’d be different. Genuinely asking, btw, because I’m a bit in the dark with the copyright laws.

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s less of a legal issue, and more of a company policy one.

      For example, there are thousands of Mario fan-games using Nintendo-owned brand names (http://www.mfgg.net/), and yet the Japanese megacorp doesn’t so much as grumble.

      Meanwhile, you’ve got companies like Square-Enix, who now own Eidos, who will flip out and set the lawyers loose if someone so much as thinks of using a name they might have possibly once owned (such as ‘Carmageddon’, to use a recent example) in a mod/freeware project.

      It really is down to how dickish the company is feeling at the time.

    • plugmonkey says:

      Put simply, what if ActiBlizzard wanted to release their own World of Starcraft? They wouldn’t want to start by overcoming the associations that already existed from a mod.

    • Starky says:

      Also if they own the trademark “World of Starcraft” and you can bet they do… law REQUIRES them to defend it, and shut down anyone using it, or they lose it.

    • Dominic White says:

      Because as we all know, Nintendo no longer own ‘Super Mario Bros’.

      Hrmmm.. Nope. That doesn’t sound quite right, does it?

    • Starky says:

      Mario is a crappy example, it’s such a monstrous trademark that at this point nothing can damage it – it as synonymous with Nintendo as mickey mouse is with Disney.

      Still you can bet your arse that if someone tried to release a game called Super Mario in any large scale (not just limited to some tiny website in the arse end of the internet) they’d drop the hammer.

      If those fan made games were getting coverage on RPS and other major internet gaming publications you can bet that they’d also take them out.

      Again though this was a youtube copyright notice – it may not have been from Acti-Blizz, anyone can full one of those things in, it might have been some legal intern working at minimum wage (or for free) who did it without checking anything beforehand.
      It might have simply been one of the many random bastards from the internet doing it for a laugh.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t buy the trademark argument.

      Surely Bethesda owns the trademark for Oblivion. Then surely Zenimax or Bethesda should’ve leaped upon Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul and killed it dead. Did they? No. Because that’s Bethesda, not Blizzard. It’s like Dominic says. In fact, the only thing I’d disagree with is that usually one instance of this is indicative of how a company is these days.

      Essentially, if they’ve been a prick about one thing, don’t expect them to not be a prick about another. Developing Starcraft II mods does not seem like a particularly wise thing to do. Instead, develop Gamebryo mods, because Bethesda don’t have a history of being pricks to mod makers.

    • Starky says:

      including the title name isn’t even close to using the trademark only.

      If he’d called his mod “Fallout 3″ they might have… or maybe “Elder scrolls 4″,
      Not to mention “oblivion” is a real word, so they couldn’t do anything about a guy using it in a sentence for his mod title, referring to the game or not. “Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul” could be the name of a game unrelated to “The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion” and there is nothing Bethesda could do.
      you can’t trademark real words, except in their specific usage.
      Apple Inc can’t stop people using the word apple, in games or anything, they can only specifically stop people from using the trademark apple when it comes to technology companies and the specifics their trademark covers.
      I could open a shop called Apple, that sells apples and apple based products and there is sod all Steve Jobs or his army of lawyers could do.

      Blizzard would not have given a shit if this guy called his mod “Starcraft 2 craftier worlds of war” as that clearly would not be an issue.

      As has been explained to you and others multiple times now, the issue is just with the name and that it is on youtube and looks pretty genuine.
      As in people might google “World of Starcraft” see that mod video and mistake if for a genuine Blizzard product some leaked footage, or something taken a Expo.

      That and they might own the Trademark “World of Starcraft” the exact phrase and so it could not be used.

    • Shadram says:

      I think the issue is mostly about Blizzard not wanting people to see the mod dev’s work and mistake it for Blizzard’s own. Calling the mod “World of Starcraft” and sticking up some YouTube videos with that name will obviously lead curious googlers there at some point, who may well watch them and believe them to be the work of Blizzard. No offense to the mod dev, but his work is obviously far less polished than anything Blizz would ever release, and so could leave people with a bad impression of Blizzard, despite them having nothing to do with it. So they got their legal department to get the vids removed.

  8. Wurzel says:

    I just don’t get how a SC2 mod, using only SC2 assets, requiring a copy of SC2 and only playable over Battle.net, could in any way be copyright infringement. I mean, by that logic surely any kind of custom map could be construed as copyright infringement.

    And isn’t this exactly the sort of thing Blizzard were using to promote SC2′s modding capabilities, with that Ghost third-person shooter mod? Seems extremely hypocritical and somewhat disjointed.

  9. GHudston says:

    I really don’t think it was a dumb name at all.

    It was a Starcraft 2 mod, so calling it anything with the words “Star” or “Craft” in it is basically a given. It’s also an MMO so calling it “World of xCraft” is also basically a given.

    If I had made anything resembling an MMO in StarCraft 2′s engine using it’s mod tools, models and setting; I would have called it “World of Starcraft” as well.

    • ZenArcade says:

      I didn’t think the name was too bad, either. Probably not very professional, but I’ve seen worse mod names before, mostly in Half-life mods.

    • Jonathan says:

      It was a Starcraft 2 mod, so calling it anything with the words “Star” or “Craft” in it is basically a given.

      I agree with this

      It’s also an MMO so calling it “World of xCraft” is also basically a given.

      But this is a little nuts. It’s not World of Lord of the Rings, or World of DC Universe, or World of the Old Republic, or World of Everquest, etc. I suspect it’s precisely the “World of xCraft” construction that stuck in their craws.

    • Voidy says:

      Your reasoning is flawless, sir. Except that as a SCII mod, World of Starcraft has a somewhat strict cap on the number of players and therefore cannot be a MMO. Well done otherwise.

    • plugmonkey says:

      Again, World of Starcraft is such an obvious concept, what if ActiBlizzard fancy doing it themselves at some point?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I seriously hope Blizzard don’t call a Starcraft MMO “World of Starcraft”, if they ever make one. Even the dumbest sci-fi fan would be more inclined to go with “Galaxy of Starcraft” or “Universe of Starcraft”.

    • gwathdring says:

      But the construction feels odd, then. Maybe Starcraft Universe or Starcraft Galaxy? Or maybe Starcraft: Galaxies. Nevermind. Some rather bad associations with that last one.

    • GHudston says:

      @Jonathan

      You’re right, well spotted. Perhaps I should have specified that it’s intended to be an MMO (Specifically a World of Warcraft clone, but it’s just faster to say MMO these days -_-) based around a franchise with the word “craft” in it (by the people that made World of Warcraft). The point was not that all MMOs are called “World of xCraft” but that if any mod in the history of gaming were to be named “World of Starcraft” it would be this one.

      @Voidy

      Well aware that it’s not actually an MMO. It’s the fact that it’s supposed to imitate one that fueled my naming logic. As far as I can tell it’s just a Starcraft 2 mod that vaguely resembles World of Warcraft in a Starcraft setting made by a fan of both games, which actually makes Blizzard look even worse for taking it down.

      @Hoaxfish

      Hey, I didn’t say it was a terribly good name! ;)

  10. pkt-zer0 says:

    As I’ve pointed out in the previous comment section, I don’t think people should be jumping to conclusions based on a bunch of videos that got pulled – folks have gotten their entire accounts banned from YouTube based on completely bogus copyright infringement claims. Some even after being put in touch with the legal department of the company in question, and getting an explicit okay from them.

    • AbyssUK says:

      Yeah, there has been no C&D right at all… just a notice from youtube telling him his videos have been pulled. He hasen’t been told to stop development right ?

    • zergrush says:

      Sadly, any post activision-related seem to automatically turn the comments thread into a Kotaku one, robbing otherwise reasonable people of their reading comprehension and critical thinking.

      Well, that’s what happens when they put so much effort in ruining their public image, I guess.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      So, how about them new consoles and stuff. I sure do hate that other console. PC gaming is dead.

    • zergrush says:

      And here’s a picture of a cake made by a girl with big boobs who once played a little bit of Wiisports on a friends house…

      Also, Japan rules.

    • Starky says:

      It is quite sad that the usually high quality of comments on RPS suddenly becomes a drooling rage fast whenever Blizzard or Activision get a mention – and the usual suspects come crawling out from under their bridges to rant and spout meaningless drivel.

      Fair enough Activision are a stupid company who deserve a lot of scorn, but RPS is usually slightly higher class in it’s scorn giving than youtube/kotaku comment threads.

      Things like not understanding that Blizzard and Activision are separate independent company’s that just happen to be under the same holding company, owned by a larger umbrella company – and their interaction is basically zero…
      Bobby Kotick may have the title of CEO of Activision-Blizzard, but he’s NOT CEO of Blizzard entertainment. he doesn’t (and probably contractually can’t) tell mike Morhaime what to do Blizzard.

      The companies run as independent entities – they simply share the same holding company for stock value, strength and stability reasons. To make investment more appealing.
      They BOTH report to Jean-Bernard Lévy (CEO of vivendi).

      The average console gamer on the street I would not expect to understand the difference between Activision-Blizzard, Activison and Blizzard – but I’d expect more of RPS readers.

    • zergrush says:

      And then there’s the fact that the guy wasn’t asked to change the mod’s name, cancel the project or anything like that.

      He only got a youtube copyright notice. Just that. It doesn’t take anyones lawyers to do that, or even any kind of corporate involvement. It’s only a matter of reporting the content and waiting till youtube pulls the video out and gives the user a warning.

      It’s not a big deal, at all. I got a couple of those the other day for some three year old amvs I’d already forgotten about, and seriously doubt that some random music / anime company lawyer was searching for crappy amvs with their material.

    • Wulf says:

      “RPS is usually slightly higher class in it’s scorn giving than youtube/kotaku comment threads.”

      This sentence seems like an oxymoron, to me. RPS has often seemed exactly like YouTube/Kotaku in its scorn-giving, and is only not like that when it’s not filled with bile (such as Minecraft threads).

      I’ll be the first to admit that scorn has more anger than intelligence attached, but to be honest, considering that so much here seems built on scorn, I don’t really have much of an excuse to be intelligent. I’m always afraid to say anything unless I’m saying it angrily – since that’ll just make me look like prey. And that’s the feeling I’ve always had from this community.

      I’ve seen intelligent communities out there, but RPS is more angry than intelligent, and I feel that likewise, i have to be more angry than intelligent to survive here, to even get anything said. I mean – a recent example of where I was trying to be more intelligent than angry was where I expressed the desire to create a mod for Skyrim, because I’m tired of constant, nonsensical killing in my games. Where I’d prefer to try and talk my way out of a situation. I’d like to get to know my so-called enemy and understand their motivations – New Vegas style. This includes everything from goblins to dragons, yes. My point for this was so that I could suave my way out of situations and handle the problems I encounter in an RPG with approaches other than violence.

      This was met with bile and caustic replies.

      And that’s what you get. If you’re not caustic, angry, and bile-filled, you just make yourself a target here for those that are. I’m frankly afraid to be anything else, here. I’m always on the defensive, I never feel comfortable. And to be honest – if this wasn’t the only dedicated PC gaming news source, I wouldn’t bother. That and RPS tends to frequently bring out the worst in me. I’ve been tempted to just drop it a few times, now. Or to just not read the comments. I keep trying to get involved, though, and like I said… that tends to mean that you have to be angry.

      I’m sorry, but I’ll say it again. I’ve seen intelligent communities – they don’t discriminate, they’re not particularly angry, they’re open-minded, and they’re clever and creative. I cited the Nexus forums as one example of a more open-minded gaming community, and it is. But gamers tend to lend themselves to scarping the barrel of humanity, and this makes me bitter and angry as well. So really, I can’t bring myself to care any more.

    • Starky says:

      Nah it is not an Oxy Moron, I threads about things that don’t inflame such fanboy fueled hatred – basically anything other than Blizzard or valve – people here are pretty damn witty with their scorn.

      I submit for example the posts about the Edge trademark stuff, there are tons of other threads (that usually don’t get the same number of replies) that are filled with brilliant satirical, ironic and wonderfully humorous and intelligent scorn.

      Honestly Wulf you yourself are an example, you’re sometimes quite thoughtful and give reasoned (if slightly oddball at times) comments – but whenever it is a Blizzard topic, you become a frothing flaming hater, coming out with some really daft rubbish (for example your social engineering rant – which was mindbogglingly daft).
      Usually while praising Guildwars 2 for being the best of everything ever, especially the art (which is amazing granted – but you’ve taken it a bit far in past threads).

    • Lilliput King says:

      Wulf, people probably react so badly to you because you pre-emptively insult things they care about. Look at the end of that post where you propose your mod – “The end result would be more How to Train Your Dragon and less ‘leet durgankiller nerd ovaltine’ – which still makes me twitch.”

      This is hardly an isolated instance, either. Your bizarre and abusive behaviour towards Quinns, your rage in every Bioware/Blizzard thread, your obsessive championing of anything Guild Wars or Obsidian (and your bile towards those who don’t agree) all kind of contribute to the impression that you’re not really as open-minded as you tell us you are.

      As regards this fella and his mod: Seems to me he overreacted somewhat with his angry open letter, given that Blizzard themselves probably had nothing to do with it. Seems kinda sad, after a little reflection. This guy getting all wound up over something that was almost certainly the action of a bot.

  11. aerozol says:

    Why do people think he shouldn’t have had his vids pulled/ some kind of consequences eventually?
    I don’t go around making mods called ‘ The McDonalds and Coca-Cola and World of Warcraft game’, because those companies are obligated, wether they’re ‘nice’ or not, to protect their trademarks.

    If he’d called his game something slightly different, like ‘Warld of Storcraft’ (or even better, something completely different), then everything would have probably been fine (based on some other, very ip borrowing, mods that are floating around for various Blizzard games)

    It doesn’t make Blizzards legal dept. bad people for having to take these steps, or possibly face consequences later.

    • aerozol says:

      Although I admit the name choice was pretty good otherwise. Got coverage on here pretty quick…

    • SimonHawthorne says:

      I think the point is that the guy doesn’t know whether that’s the problem or not. It may be that a name change was all that was needed – in which case, he should be told that so he can fix it. Maybe it’s the actual concept they dislike (whether they’re making a competing product or not). There was no interaction or dialogue for something that a lot of the SC community were quite interested in, that’s the issue.

  12. Hoaxfish says:

    Later on, one of other the modders will be hired by Valve, an argument will ensue over who really did what, and the cycle will be complete

  13. Dreamhacker says:

    LoL?

    …I’ll show myself to the door.

  14. Tori says:

    When the MOD Black Mesa was first annouced, it was called “Black Mesa: Source”.
    Valve contacted them, and ASKED if they could drop the “source” part, to avoid confusion with a official product.
    Why can Valve in a similar situation do things nice, and Blizzard can’t?

    • Zephro says:

      You would think that their legal team would have been made aware/have policy in place for Mods. As guess what, if you give out your assets and engine for people to mod they will inevitably create mods that relate to your IP. Murrrrrr.

      It’d be like Media Molecule going mental at anyone who uses the words “Little Big” in their LBP game designs. Or as mentioned Valve.

    • Dominic White says:

      Really, this is what needs to be brought up here. Whether BlizzActivision are within their legal rights is another issue entirely. The more pressing question is why go for the imposing corporatist stance first, when a friendly request is all that is required?

    • Wulf says:

      That’s essentially what I was saying, Dominic. It just seems uncalled for. My original point wasn’t that I hate ActiBlizzard (though so many people paint me that way that I’ve just ceased to fight it) but that Blizzard’s legal team is doing it wrong. If that is the case, then perhaps it’s time for the people in charge to step in and tell them to calm down a bit. I think that’s what this amounts to – Blizzard’s legal team are being overbearing and going a little too nuts, which is going to create enemies for them.

      I think the reason that Valve’s legal team doesn’t have bots trawling the ‘net for things to pull down is because Valve likely purposefully hired a legal team that knew what it was doing. Thus you get friendly letters sent instead of just bot responses which look really hostile. Again, this is Blizzard’s legal team doing it wrong.

    • Starky says:

      Wulf, you’ve painted yourself that way with your insane ranting in any Blizzard topic and refusal to listen to any form of reason… I’ve never seen you take anything but a hardline Anti-Blizzard product stance in any story on RPS. hell I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Blizzard based story without you posting at least 1 comment against Blizzard as a company.

      Anyway, as I’ve said, blizzard probably didn’t react to this, their lawyers probably acted automatically – you speak like Blizzard is some kind of hive mind and that the Board members and higher up Devs know what the hell the Activision law team are doing every day.
      Not to mention there is no evidence at all that Activision actually sent that takedown notice – it was just a youtube notice, not a legal letter, or anything even close to official.

      Finally assuming the worst, that someone at Blizzard HQ did this knowingly, and I’d agree if that was the case it is a pretty assholish thing to do – the guy (modder) should have sodding known better. You have to be a fairly large friggin idiot to think calling your mod, game, website or any product/thing “World of Starcraft” is asking for a takedown notice.
      Then ranting about it like a petulant manchild oppressed by the big scary “man” didn’t do him any favours – well it did, actually it got him a job offer, so maybe he’s a fucking genius.

  15. Mavvvy says:

    Speaking of Valve could this whole escapade be a knee-jerk post of the copyright of Dota?

    • Starky says:

      Nope, this is the result of a on-staff legal team who’s job it is to search this kind of stuff and do it automatically. I’d wager no one at blizzard even knew bout this until they read it on RPS.

      Their legal team will do this 20 times a day for all kinds of things/websites, remember it’s just a sodding DMCA takedown that happened – they take all of 5 minutes to do, and are nothing more than a formal warning.

      I have a friend who used to work for Sony BMG as an intern doing takedowns and notices all day every day when he was studying law.

      Or hell as has been mentioned above, the you tube copyright notice may never have even come from Blizzard/Activision – ANYONE can fill in a youtube copyright notice, and youtube don’t check them, or care if the reporting source is valid and has permission to act on behalf of the rights holder.

    • Alec Meer says:

      They knew several hours before it was first covered here, because I mailed them about it. No reply, alas.

    • Starky says:

      Alec, no offence but how many Emails do you think Blizzard get a day? You covered it at midnight last night, so if you sent it a few hours before hand (8, 9pm?) it would have been 12-1pm in California.

      So unless they are very fast reading and answering email or you have a special contact at Blizzard, chances are everyone who would read your email went home for the day, and even if they did read it, they probably didn’t have enough time to look into it, get an official answer and reply.

      It takes several hours in any office/workplace for that kind of thing – to find out what happened, who did it, then report it to someone who has authority to make a statement about it, wait for them to make a statement, check and write up that statement, so on and so forth…
      By which time the internet has already made up it’s mind, and it’s a lose-lose for blizzard to say anything, innocent or not.

      Their only response possible now is to ignore the whole thing, because no matter the truth – and I still think it is highly probable the entire thing is bull, anyone could have filled in that youtube takedown request using Activisions details – they will only make it worse.

    • Flappybat says:

      Starky is bang on. All he got is a DMCA notice which is a total non issue, its been misrepresented by the press and forum posters who somehow interpreted it as a C&D.

    • Wulf says:

      I know I’m going to get insulted for this, but let’s just try anyway. I’m just trying to see whether there’s any worth left in this community at all.

      Starky – I think the point of the opposition isn’t that this is evil, but rather that Blizzard are doing it wrong. Instead of having the bots issue DMCA notices, have those bots report back to the legal team, then have the legal team write nice letters asking the people responsible to change their name. This is how Valve does it. But Blizzard’s legal team is doing it wrong, which makes them look incredibly hostile.

      They don’t need to do this, and not ever wanting to fix this is kind of questionable both on part of Blizzard and their supporters. You didn’t see Bethesda/Zenimax issuing DMCA notices at Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul, did you? So why is Blizzard issuing a DMCA notice at World of Starcraft? The only difference is that one legal team is doing it wrong, and the other isn’t.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “You didn’t see Bethesda/Zenimax issuing DMCA notices at Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul, did you?”

      No, you saw them send C&D notices to replacementdocs for hosting the manuals to games they released for free previously. That’s a lot more sensible, obviously.

    • Starky says:

      Wulf, you know what that is one of the first things you’ve said that I agree with “I think the point of the opposition isn’t that this is evil, but rather that Blizzard are doing it wrong.” if they indeed did it – I’d agree with that.

      If blizzard did this, it was a dumb and dickish move.

      See above why using the overhaul mod is a bad example though…

      As the man says above, Bethesda, valve and many others have issues DMCA’s against all kinds of other things, so have Valve, so have basically every games published with a few trademarks under their belt – they have too.

      I still think people are massively over reacting to what is the tiniest of stupid issues, one that was bloody obvious to everyone who saw the guy call the mod that – he was basically baiting Blizzard’s lawyers. Hell by his reaction I’d wager he did it on purpose from the start.

    • Shadram says:

      There’s a big difference between a mod calling itself “Oscurro’s Oblivion Overhaul” and one calling itself “World of Starcraft”, though.

      The title of one clearly states it’s the work of an individual (Oscurro) implementing an overhaul of its parent game.

      The title of the other is a phrase that’s been used for years by the media when discussing a potential future Blizzard product, and nowhere does it seek to distance itself from Blizzard’s work at all.

      If you were to Google “World of Starcraft”, with knowledge only of Blizzard’s work and not of the mod, and you came across the YouTube vids of the mod, it’d be quite easy to believe that this is something being developed by Blizzard. Blizzard don’t want this confusion, so released their hounds.

      They’d have wanted this done quickly, since the videos were widely reported about on sites like this and it’d be easy for some unknowing person to believe that the news was about Blizzard’s announcing of World of Starcraft, and the fastest way to get it done was to contact YouTube directly.

      There’s nothing sinister or “evil” here, it’s simply business. Note that Blizz haven’t told him he can’t make the mod, only that he can’t advertise it as “World of Starcraft”.

  16. DrazharLn says:

    Anyone else think Riot Games are just offering him a job as a publicity stunt? Maybe I’m just too cynical, or maybe his work was really fantastic (did not see videos) :/

    • Eversor says:

      Thinking that Riot does this completely out of the good of their heart is rather naive indeed. It’s free publicity, and they get more “good guys” points by saving this “poor soul” from “bad guys”, when this whole thing is nothing more than an elephant blown out of a fly. This really doesn’t deserve the attention it has gotten.

    • 1stGear says:

      The cynic in me is amused that Riot Games wants to hire somebody who, as far as I know, has no game development qualifications beyond using the Starcraft II editor (admittedly, to do something fairly impressive).

      The Tinfoil Hatter in me says that Riot Games is doing it to build publicity and Internet goodwill if they ever decide to get in a legal fight with Valve over the DotA trademark.

    • arccos says:

      In the end, the tool/language isn’t as important as the creativity or ability of the person using it. It’s not that hard to learn a new design tool, but you can’t really “learn” creativity.

      This guy has what most (good) game companies want: talent, passion, and an eye for fun.

    • Butler says:

      @1stGear and what the hell is a “game development qualification”?

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Funny that you use the word creativity there, since we’re talking about a guy who came up with a cross between two existing games, which has been talked about as such for years, joining a company making one of many DOTA-clones…

    • 1stGear says:

      @Butler, proof that you know what you’re doing beyond using someone else’s engine to make a combination of two other games.

    • Wulf says:

      They want someone on board who understands what makes Blizzard products popular with Blizzard fans, I think that’s what it’s about more than anything, and more than technical proficiency. I don’t like Blizzard products (I don’t have to like everything!), but some people do, and it’s good to understand and properly target your demographic. I think it’s just more about that than anything else, really. Since the LoL folks have a product which is targeted at the Blizzard demographic, IMHO.

  17. MadTinkerer says:

    I am mildly disappointed because I was looking forward to the non-copyright-infringing version and if he’s working on a project for Riot Games full time it won’t be a Starcraft II Mod but something new. Which I guess isn’t bad, but the SC2 version looked pretty cool.

  18. Daniel Klein says:

    Makes me happy to be a part of Riot Games myself :) I can also confirm that that’s a legitimate email address. This is one of our awesome HR people reaching out to this modder. We are hiring like crazy.

    Here’s hoping he’ll be a good fit, because let me tell you, this company is one of the most amazing places to work.

  19. gwathdring says:

    What is this piece of legal code people keep mentioning obliquely that requires one to perform legal action against offenders in order to maintain a trademark? Is this a UK thing? For US marks, I think that as long as a trademark is registered in either the Primary or Supplemental Register, it is an official registered trademark. If it goes unopposed as a registered trademark for five years, it gains additional legal weight as an “incontestable” mark. “Opposition” in this case means legal action involving legitimate claims to the mark or claims that the mark is inconsistent with current rules on what can or cannot be registered as a trademark. I don’t remember reading anything that requires one to go on the legal attack or be faced with losing their rights. And I’m fairly sure World of Warcraft is incontestable as a trademark, simply by common law regardless of registration (unregistered trademarks being granted legal protection may be a US thing … but surely the UK has at least some common law trademarking? The UK is responsible for our common law tradition …)

    Choosing not to sue an entity for using copyrighted or trademarked material is not synonymous with giving up the copyright or trademark. The most I can turn up, is that this may have only been the case since some international standard was agreed to in the 1980s. But I know from looking into statutes before publishing music that currently in the United States, I don’t even have to register a copyright or trademark as long as it is fixed in some sort of physical form; I am fairly certain I am not required to protect my claim legally to retain ownership as of today. I print out lyrics, burn recordings to a CD and mail them to myself so as to have a government approved date stamp without paying $35 to register a copyright. This is all that is necessary to hold a copyright, though I think you need to register to sue for infringement except in exceedingly obviouos instances of copying. Or maybe you always need to register to sue …

    • Torgen says:

      “Choosing not to sue an entity for using copyrighted or trademarked material is not synonymous with giving up the copyright or trademark.”

      This is false. There are decades of case law showing that this statement is false, copiously documented and easy to find. A company has to ether stop the infringement, or come to a legal agreement with the offending party.

      One other reason to prosecute is for damage to the brand name. This is why companies sue people selling crappy Tshirts with their logos on them, for one example.

      Also, the “mailing to yourself to establish copyright” is also a false belief, as demonstrated in case law.

    • gwathdring says:

      Writing it down technically establishes copyright. I didn’t say it gives the right to sue. That usually requires registered copyright, it depends on the jurisdiction invoked in the case. As of the 1980s, simply having the item in a tangible form constitutes legal right to the innovation. Writing a story constitutes legal right to the materials you wrote. If you can prove that you wrote the material at a certain time (such as before the material someone claims you copied) you can’t be sued for infringement as that shows independent creation. Using the mail simply gives you additional paperwork to back up the date claim. Ideally, I pay for some sort of notary signifying that I have the paper on a certain date before a public official. It’s fairly easy to get things notarized and, again, it simply substantiates a time frame for creation. I couldn’t necessarily sue someone ELSE though. It would be way too easy to claim independent creation on something that doesn’t even have a registered copyright for you to find even if you were to laboriously go through every copyright filed looking for something that conflicts.

      P.S. I’m digging around in the US copyright code, and I’m not finding anything like what you’re describing. It would be great if you could point me to the section of code or a specific precedent.

      As I said, this was merely my understanding of U.S. law. If you have counter examples I would love to see them as I like learning about law. I won’t claim to have performed an extensive search, but a cursory google search turned up no obvious examples in which a company lost a trademark simply by not pursuing infringement. For starters, that would imply that companies are expected to be aware of every single infringement; responsibility for policing your own copyright does not necessarily imply rigid need to do so. If the courts have ruled as such, I would be rather disappointed, but I’m upset with a lot of things about patent law at the moment. I also don’t see what the bit about brand damage has to do with it; I know that’s grounds for a suit, but you still haven’t given a good example of precedent for revoking copyright for not suing everyone who damaged the brand. It’s so terribly subjective; I’m damn sure the only way to oppose a copyright or trademark is to wait for it to run down the timer or battle it in court. I simply don’t believe that you can destroy a copyright by default simply by infringing and avoiding a lawsuit … that doesn’t make sense. I’ll poke around in more depth, though, if you insist that it’s true. One more reason to gripe about the state of patent law.

    • gwathdring says:

      I’ve been reading the Berne Convention, and it seems to support what I said. Any country that joined the convention (I double checked, it’s still valid US law) acknowledges the right to claim authorship of a work even in the even that they have lost or given away any economic rights to a work. It goes on to explain that authorship gives you the final say in a lot of things to due with permissions for work use, even in such a case as you get no royalties and do not directly control the marketing and publishing of your work. Of course, publishing deals often contractually avoid a lot of permissions issues to facilitate the business side of things, but without some sort of signed agreement … simply authoring a work and having it in a “tangible” form is sufficient to be considered, from a copyright law perspective, the author/owner of the work.

      Also: Title 17, Chapter 2, Section 201:

      “(a) Initial Ownership. — Copyright in a work protected under this title vests initially in the author or authors of the work. The authors of a joint work are coowners of copyright in the work.”

      And back a bit, Chapter 1, Section 102:

      “(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.”

      So having a CD of a song you’ve produced, with notarized evidence of the date the envelope containing said CD was sealed is sufficient to establish copyright. If you have evidence to the contrary, I would really like to see it, disregarding even the discussion that started this, as it may well be worth the paperwork and money of filing if this is not in fact sufficient to establish a copyright. But from reading various parts of Title 17, it seems pretty clear that what I’ve done is plenty. It probably wouldn’t be enough to substantiate lawsuit filed by me (because as far as I can tell having your copyright on file with the patent office is a pre-requisite for interstate patent claims), but it’s enough to protect me in the opposite case.

      P.S. Sorry for the enormous posts … but I am starting to find things relating to what you claim as far as losing trademarks goes. But only when the trademarks become generalized to the point that they no longer pertain to the original product or mark for example, Kleenex is heading squarely down this route. But the requirement is loose enough that simply failing to prosecute doesn’t seem to lose you the trademark.

      P.P.S. I’ve learned some rather interesting things, but short of pouring through all of the case law on the subject, I’m going to call it a wash. I can’t find the cases you speak of. Unless Warcraft or Starcraft become generalized terms for … (mmo and rts games I guess …) something, the trademark is not in any danger regardless of legal action taken by Blizzard. And in such a case as the above, Blizzard has legal recourse left to them and can quite easily win back commercial control of their product. Furthermore, derivative works require permission of the copyright holder (so they’re legally justified, regardless of other issues), but do not defer any rights pertaining to the original work or trademark to the deriving person unless explicitly agreed upon; only original material is owned by the deriving person. So while they have every right to attack the mod project, they also don’t need to defend their copyright from dangerous dilution since they are sort of treated like coauthors of the derivative work, only with explicit license to particular pieces, trademark among them.

  20. Xocrates says:

    By the way, it seems the guy has been in contact with Blizzard:

    http://www.worldofstarcraft.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=visit&thread=70&page=1#337

    The sum of it seems to be as follows: Some folk at Blizzard apparently believed this to be developed outside SC2 and apparently they DO have a copyright on World of Starcraft.
    Though by all accounts the project won’t be shut down.

    • Wulf says:

      Yep, and there’s the evidence that it was Blizzard who issued the DMCA notices. And in that case I still think that their legal team is doing it wrong.

  21. pipman3000 says:

    they better not take down world of porncraft or porn of warcraft or porn of warporn porn of pornporn arrgggh!

  22. Xercies says:

    To be honest did anyone really think the game had a hope in chance of being completed even if he was able to stick with the name? I have to say this has been a blow up of nothing, I’m glad he has got a job offer but to be honest i don’t think he deserves it. He was being wildly ambitious like most Mod people and he had no chance of actually finishing anything i don’t think. Sure he made the thing look like the start of WoW but how easy is that to make?

  23. Horza says:

    http://techland.time.com/2011/01/19/starcraft-ii-modders-use-editor-to-create-mmo-activison-blizzard-not-pleased/

    “Rock, Paper, Shotgun managed to make a really cool mod that turned the game into an MMO”

    So it was RPS behind the mod all along! (that, or someone has to improve her reading)

    • Hybrid says:

      Wait, what?! The author of that article seems a bit confused.

    • Bob Lewis says:

      Yeah, this seems to be popping up all over. Just now saw a notice on HardOCP saying that Alec Meer is the evil mastermind behind all this. I’m not really surprised.

    • Alec Meer says:

      I also invented bread, and ended World War II.

  24. Froibo says:

    I can’t wait for Blizzard to whine about someone else making a game that they had a shot to create just like DOTA 2.

  25. Navagon says:

    Glad to see there’s a potentially very happy ending to this otherwise unfortunate episode.