Brian Kopp of Florida, USA wants to sell copies of his online strategy guide he has written for World of Warcraft. Is he infringing Blizzard's copyright? Or are Blizzard infringing on his rights under the First Amendment?
A consumer advocate group known as Public Citizen has filed a lawsuit against Blizzard Entertainment, makers of the popular massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, seeks to restore the right of Brian Kopp of Bronson, Florida, to sell his online strategy guide on eBay. Previously, eBay had blocked auctions of the strategy guide after Blizzard invoked the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), claiming that the guide violated the game maker's copyright laws.
"Copyright laws are designed to promote creativity and innovation, not squelch it," said Greg Beck, the Public Citizen attorney representing Kopp. "A video game is copyrightable just like a book, and just like a book you should be able to comment on it, create new works inspired by it, teach about it in classes, write newspaper articles about it and so on. It is this kind of innovation and open discussion that the copyright laws are supposed to foster. By claiming that mere publication of a how-to book about its game infringes its copyright, Blizzard has interpreted its intellectual property rights in a way that would prohibit legitimate commentary that is protected by the First Amendment."
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