Here is a great article on the latest lawsuit Blizzard is deffending against, the copyright laws and the selling of strategy guides online. Ars-Technica writer Jeremy Reimer sits down and goes over the facts and the standpoints from both sides, then in a very common sense way offers a solution. For n00bs or veterans alike, please take a look and try and decide for yourself, who is correct.

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."

Kopp wrote his guide, entitled "The Ultimate World of Warcraft Leveling & Gold Guide," and began selling copies of it on eBay on August 18, 2005. The guide contains tips on how to play the game, but does not contain any copyrighted text or storyline. After he began selling the guide, Blizzard, Vivendi, and the ESA filed notice against eBay under the DMCA, and eBay terminated his auctions. After a certain number of auctions were terminated, eBay suspended Kopp's account in accordance with their stated policy.

Kopp is still selling the guide from his web site using direct payment through PayPal, although he claims that Blizzard and Vivendi have threatened to sue him for copyright infringement if he sells the guide at all.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.