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Bruunwald
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The reason Blizzard "got away with everything" is that there's no way to prove they derived anything from GW

 

Except for the fact they admit that's what the original game was intended to be and they were heavily influenced by GW. I don't think Blizzard "got away with" anything, never used those words and my posts were really more for pondering then arguments sake. Also 20 years ago court views on copyright laws were stricter then they are now.

 

If you're wanting to get into what I actually feel was a rip off of Warhammer I'd say Bioware's Dragonage. They didn't even try to hide that the whole first game was just a fight against GW's Chaos and that their spell casters are all way too similar in function to how they behave in the GW RPG games (which is really the only GW stuff I own). Blizzard was inspired artistically, which is common and not really an issue to me, but Dragonage felt like all Bioware did was take a bunch of GW lore and change it the required 20% and called it a day. But then again GW did that with half of 40k as well (Hi Dune). Still Bioware could have at least tried.

 

The same reason, I imagine, why they can't do anything about Avatars of War despite Felix using very Warhammeresque designs.

 

The real reason is that under UK law, so I assume Europe is similar, a miniature is a derivative work if it's inspired by artwork as long as the sculpt isn't 100% the same. Meaning the pose is different or the hair, clothing or anything like that. And if it was it's a civil matter and not a criminal one, plus they'd have to prove damages meaning they or someone with a license from GW was loosing potential sales. Got that from an actual lawyer talking about this kind of stuff over on frothers. US laws aren't quite the same, and said lawyer would go into the differences as he wasn't familiar enough with US law to cover it.

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Sorry, just trying to summarise. What I am saying is that despite the inspiration and failed attempt at a license, there's no overlap Blizzard / GW that isn't GW / TSR / Tolkien / Moorcock / Tunnels and Trolls / etc., all well-established and current at the time GW started working with it. The best GW could say is "those Orcs are more like our Orcs than the dozen other Orcs, all virtually identical in every respect, on the market right now and stretching back to the 70's". At least GW Space Marines don't look, talk and act exactly like a dozen other Space Marines that were dominating the market at GWs inception.

 

And again, Chaos as Supernatural Evil goes to Moorcock and Lovecraft and original D&D; GW lifted it in its entirety. Bioware might have been inspired entirely by GWs sources and it would be literally impossible to tell. Now I share your suspicions and figure they probably did exactly what you said, and yeah... lazy. But lacking an internal email saying "let's rip off GW and not pay them"... well.

 

Just how I see it. Not trying to stomp anybody, including GW in general.

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For reference, since it was mentioned above, the legal advice I have heard is that there is no percentage change/similarity that will result in a work being considered derivative or not in the US. It's purely a jury decision. Various percentages are commonly bandied about, but they have no basis in law. I have no idea whether that is true anywhere else.

 

Note that I am not a lawyer anywhere, so don't take any of that as legal advice anywhere.

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I know for writing it's around 20% but that seams to be what judges look at when they need to decide if something should be brought to court and probably isn't a legal standard. But you're 100% correct that if it goes to the jury then intent seams to be more important. One of the guys in a gaming group of mine is a lawyer, IP one too I think, I should ask him. I haven't because I hate to mix work with fun, also haven't seen him for a month.

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Heck, the original Warrior of Chaos miniatures were by Ral Partha....

 

 

 

 

*puts on sage hat*

 

That lineage may not be so clear, as Partha and Citadel were super chummy back then and some "parthas" were actually Citadel minis, while some "citadel" minis were actually Parthas and who produced what, when is still not fully documented as far as I can tell.

 

Which is how it came to be that Citadel owns some stuff, and some of the IWM molds currently in use were actually used to produce Citadel minis.

 

The real bizarre thing for me, since we're waxing historical, is that a sizable chunk of my mini hobby is actually composed of GW products . . . only they're not GW products anymore, they just used to be. Heck 1/3 of my paint supply is really old-style Citadel Paint.

 

Modern GW can go stuff itself into a razor-lined sarlacc, though.

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I know for writing it's around 20% but that seams to be what judges look at when they need to decide if something should be brought to court and probably isn't a legal standard.

 

 

Depends on the 20%. Basically it's just to let multiple people make stories in the same vein, since it's impossible for a writer to operate if they have to read every book in existence beforehand*. So if I write a story about a serial killer who works as a cop and kills serial killers, that's okay. But if I write about Dexter Morgan, it's not. (Dexter was, in fact, preceded by two novel series featuring the same concept)

 

This sometimes leads to bizarre instances wherein the latecomer becomes more successful and well-known, and its pre-existing competitor is derided by fans as a blatant rip-off.

 

*Mind you, even coming by it honestly can strike awful close . . . says the guy who binned a manuscript after seeing The Matrix. Yeah. I wrote The Matrix before it came out. I didn't call it that, I called it by the lamentably less catchy title God Machine, but gawt-dang was it ever close. It was like 95% of it. Like, what the hell, universe? Why do you play with me so?

 

Also, Robot Chicken stole all my He-Man jokes somehow. Freakiest thing ever was when I made a joke about Mo-Larr, Eternian Dentist and then it was a segment five minutes later. I looked at my cousin, he looked at me, and we both decided my TV was a tool of the devil that was stealing our thoughts.

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I that sarlac with or without giant inexplicable internal duck?

 

Without. In my world Star Wars ended in 1983 and the entirety of Star Wars material exists on three laserdiscs. Everything else does not exist and will never exist. It was never tampered with, there are no prequels, and nobody ever, ever, ever wrote a series of novels about Jedi medics. Also there was no cartoon rabbit sidekick for Han Solo. And no alarmingly waxlike Princess Leia sharing screentime with Bea Arthur.

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The droids that say "Roger roger" are fun. Apart from that everything else was vomited straight from hell.

 

I don't remember R2 or 3P0 ever saying "Roger, Roger". You must be confused with some sort of mirror universe where George Lucas made more Star Wars movies.

 

And I think we both know which of us comes from the Evil Universe now. *squints suspiciously at smokingwreckage*

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