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Games Workshop aggressively implementing new IP policy.


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So news is going around that GW has started actively implementing their new IP policy. Individuals on Ebay are having listings taken now and warnings issued for using GW keywords on their auctions, any 3rd party models / files that mention that they could be used in GW games are also being shutdown. 

It looks like GW are using their increased financial success to return to their old and extremely aggressive pursuit of anything they don't like the look of.

I wanted to create this thread to offer a warning to anyone who might be impacted and to discuss if this has impacted you personally. 

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30 minutes ago, HollowHills said:

Individuals on Ebay are having listings taken now and warnings issued for using GW keywords on their auctions, any 3rd party models / files that mention that they could be used in GW games are also being shutdown. 

Just to check - Is this for selling second hand models on eBay or people selling 3D printed models which are exact copies or very, very similar to the original file on eBay?
 

Also what’s the source for this? 

 

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I don't really see GW as the bad guy there to be honest. Sellers could even use Warhammer terms if the'd declare them correctly. I'm thinking of universal TV remotes for some reason now where they'd write something like "for Sony, LG, etc. TVs" - if the seller wrote e.g. "unoffical heads usable with 28-32mm miniatures such as blablabla-unit (or manufacturers)" GW couldn't do much about it.

 

image.png.ee5dbb0be701353915ca8fce06711641.png

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Just now, Gaz Taylor said:

Just to check - Is this for selling second hand models on eBay or people selling 3D printed models which are exact copies or very, very similar to the original file on eBay?
 

Also what’s the source for this? 

 

Unofficial stuff/rip-offs.

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Just now, MitGas said:

Unofficial stuff/rip-offs.

I have to say then, GW are just looking out for their business and I would do the same thing in their shoes. It’s like you have mentioned, if you make and sell a product that is labelled up as “Heroic Lighting Warrior Shield” for a shield that you can use with Stormcast and it’s not a direct copy, you will probably be fine. I suspect the tricky area is files for 3D printing and selling those but I don’t think there is a lot they can do about anything you make yourself.

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3 minutes ago, Gaz Taylor said:

Just to check - Is this for selling second hand models on eBay or people selling 3D printed models which are exact copies or very, very similar to the original file on eBay?
 

Also what’s the source for this? 

 

As far as I know it's not for selling original models, but neither is it for recast / knock off models.

An example would be listing a creature Caster demon model as a "daemon prince" under 40k.

I felt it was worth raising as:

1) Many, many people choose to use some proxy models in their armies these days. Daemon prince being a very good example of this. 

2) GW have not chosen to pursue or raise an issue with this previously, so this represents a change in stance.

I think most of us would expect them to pursue a business selling models clearly labeled as for use in their games, but up to now they haven't done so for individuals.

 

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14 minutes ago, HollowHills said:

As far as I know it's not for selling original models, but neither is it for recast / knock off models.

An example would be listing a creature Caster demon model as a "daemon prince" under 40k.

I felt it was worth raising as:

1) Many, many people choose to use some proxy models in their armies these days. Daemon prince being a very good example of this. 

2) GW have not chosen to pursue or raise an issue with this previously, so this represents a change in stance.

I think most of us would expect them to pursue a business selling models clearly labeled as for use in their games, but up to now they haven't done so for individuals.

I don't think "Daemon prince" should be trademarkable.

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51 minutes ago, MitGas said:

I don't really see GW as the bad guy there to be honest.

I also don't understand it.

It starts feeling like people just want to make GW the bad guy for basically EVERYTHING they do. Yes their prices keep increasing, yes the handling of content creators was really really poor and yes the disappearance of free warscrolls sucks, but please stop trying to scandalize absolutely everything. 🙄

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2 minutes ago, Gareth 🍄 said:

Can't they just sell stuff without mentioning GW's IPs?

This would mean people searching for Warhammer stuff would be less likely to come across it, which I'd guess is what GW want to reduce.

People who want to buy Space Elves, Space Crusaders, Golden Angelic Knights, Corrupted Mutant Warriors etc will find them whatever. But I can see why GW wouldn't want me to chance upon the above and give my business to someone else when I search for Eldar, Space Marines etc.

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2 hours ago, HollowHills said:

So news is going around that GW has started actively implementing their new IP policy. Individuals on Ebay are having listings taken now and warnings issued for using GW keywords on their auctions, any 3rd party models / files that mention that they could be used in GW games are also being shutdown. 

It looks like GW are using their increased financial success to return to their old and extremely aggressive pursuit of anything they don't like the look of.

I wanted to create this thread to offer a warning to anyone who might be impacted and to discuss if this has impacted you personally. 

In this particular case, it seem kinda hard to fault GW for taking down the auction in question. I have not seen the auction that was taken down, but here's the name of another auction of that particular seller:

"Painted Miniature Age of Sigmar Goblin Rider Warhammer Squig Hopper Gloomspite"

It's an auction for this particular model from Raging Heroes:

Grotix-Pumpkin-Rider-WEB_5000x.jpg?v=1606474080

So it's patently not an "Age of Sigmar" mini, as per the auction title.

The auction that was taken down was for a Mega-Gargant proxy. If that was listed with a similar title (like "Painted Miniature Age of Sigmar Giant Sons of Behemat"), then GW seems in the right in this case. This really is not any different from shutting down other knock-off sellers. In my mind, that counts as consumer protection if anything.

There is also the additional wrinkle that this particular seller seems to be selling home resin prints of files that come with a "no commercial use" clause, which has nothing to do with GW but is kinda questionable in it's own right.

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6 minutes ago, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

In this particular case, it seem kinda hard to fault GW for taking down the auction in question. I have not seen the auction that was taken down, but here's the name of another auction of that particular seller:

"Painted Miniature Age of Sigmar Goblin Rider Warhammer Squig Hopper Gloomspite"

It's an auction for this particular model from Raging Heroes:

Grotix-Pumpkin-Rider-WEB_5000x.jpg?v=1606474080

So it's patently not an "Age of Sigmar" mini, as per the auction title.

The auction that was taken down was for a Mega-Gargant proxy. If that was listed with a similar title (like "Painted Miniature Age of Sigmar Giant Sons of Behemat"), then GW seems in the right in this case. This really is not any different from shutting down other knock-off sellers. In my mind, that counts as consumer protection if anything.

There is also the additional wrinkle that this particular seller seems to be selling home resin prints of files that come with a "no commercial use" clause, which has nothing to do with GW but is kinda questionable in it's own right.

I think this is something totally different. This is just false advertisement. It is not a "Painted Miniature Age of Sigmar Goblin Rider Warhammer Squig Hopper Gloomspite" and should be removed. Has nothing to do with GW being something imo.

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3 minutes ago, Iksdee said:

I think this is something totally different. This is just false advertisement. It is not a "Painted Miniature Age of Sigmar Goblin Rider Warhammer Squig Hopper Gloomspite" and should be removed. Has nothing to do with GW being something imo.

To be clear the miniature in the actual auction was, of course, painted. But it is not an "Age of Sigmar Squig Hopper", it is a "Raging Heroes Grotix Pumpkin Rider, Goblin". The description makes this clear, but the auction title does not.

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Misleading information can be illegal. Dont know the details though.

Edit: I am not saying GW isnt agressive in protecting their ip in general. But in this case i agree with them.

Edited by Iksdee
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I don't have any problem with them objecting to people listing their miniatures as AOS miniatures when they aren't. On the other hand, there is no reason they shouldn't be able to advertise as AOS complaint, or AOS alternative. I.e. "Painted Miniature Age of Sigmar Goblin Rider Warhammer Squig Hopper Gloomspite" isn't ok, but "Painted Miniature Alternative Model Compatible with Age of Sigmar Goblin Rider Warhammer Squig Hopper Gloomspite" ought to be fine. People have a mistaken impression that you aren't allowed to use someone else's trademarked terms in your advertising, and that just isn't true legally. 

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16 minutes ago, yukishiro1 said:

People have a mistaken impression that you aren't allowed to use someone else's trademarked terms in your advertising, and that just isn't true legally. 

I’m not an legal expert but I suspect it’s between there being lots of different laws around the world, as well as having the money, time and willpower to fight anything. I think generally sticking to common sense and not having carbon copies of things (models and descriptions), sellers will be fine. 

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There are entire 3rd party miniature companies whose livelihood is based on selling products as an alternative to GW's products. It's blatant. It's a large part of why Forgeworld stopped developing Chaos Dwarfs. 

They aren't creating their own ideas most times. It's stuff that's just close enough to squig hoppers, slann priests etc without directly saying they are these things, but no one could deny the intent. If you are going to make goblin spearmen and goblin archers, do it. But if they have hoods, moons, and squigs and fanatics, and they are calling them hoodie goblins worshipping the nasty moon with bitey flesh balls and spinny death whirlers, it's like you know what you are trying to do here.  

Could you imagine a company selling a phone that looks very similar in size, display, and functionality to Iphone and then being marketing as "Cheap Iphones for sale" that is a third of the cost of Iphone and sold on ebay? Would anyone not expect Apple to attack those sales?

I don't know, this makes sense to me.

 

Edited by Lord Veshnakar
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The example posted here isn't an infringing model (describing it as an AOS model rather than AOS compatible is what got the listing pulled). Copyright protects expression, not ideas. You can't copyright the idea of hooded goblins who worship the nasty moon and use flails. The fact that it reminds people of something else isn't copyright infringement, infringement occurs only when you are copying the expression, not the ideas. 

But yes, I do expect GW to follow the law when "attacking" competitors. If what the competitors are doing is legal, GW needs to just suck it up, not abuse the fact that companies like youtube and ebay are notorious for doing the bidding of big corporations without bothering to check whether the takedown requests are actually legally valid. 

Again, to be clear, here it's fine for them to request the listing be amended to make clear it isn't an actual AOS model. That's legitimate, people shouldn't be listing things as AOS models if they aren't. But the model itself is totally fine from an IP perspective and GW isn't being "wronged" by that model existing. 

 

 

Edited by yukishiro1
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29 minutes ago, yukishiro1 said:

describing it as an AOS model rather than AOS compatible is what got the listing pulled

This is basically the issue. You can describe a trademarked product, or even compare to it in an advertisement or listing. You cannot, however, imply connection or relation. 

Which is dumb and nitpicky and GW's a bit of a punk for enforcing it, but that's the law and they're legally allowed to.

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1 hour ago, yukishiro1 said:

The fact that it reminds people of something else isn't copyright infringement,

Well that's a good job for GW or else they'd be in big trouble! If ever I want to choose a sci fi franchise to re watch I can just browse the 40k webstore for inspiration! 😂

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