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  1. #1

    Default Support a Games-Workshop Competitor

    I'm not sure if this is in the right place, but here it is:


    I am a huge Warhammer 40K fan, but Iíve become rather disgusted with the companyís management and litigation practices. In several threads on these boards Iíve mentioned the need to do something about it, but I havenít yet done anything other than generally limit the amount of money I spend on GW products and donate to Chapterhouse's legal defense. I want to send GW the message that I donít approve of the companyís management and litigation practices, but how do I make that message clear?

    My answer is this. Instead of making a specific, planned purchase of a GW product, I am instead going to spend that money on products from a Games-Workshop competitor. I am clearly stating that choice and my reasons for it.

    Instead of purchasing a Cadian Command Squad box set that I need in order to build a few more conversions before WarGames Con, Iíve purchased a Cryx Plastic Battlegroup.

    I encourage anyone else that feels the same way to make a similar choice. If you are planning to spend money on a Games-Workshop product, spend it on another companyís wargaming products and let us and Games-Workshop know about it. Try a new system, expand an existing collection, or maybe even introduce someone new to a game you already enjoy.

    Iíve started this thread for anybody that wants to make their own choices as a consumer known. I am also sending an e-mail to Games-Workshop describing my choice and the reasons for it. I encourage you to do the same.

  2. #2

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    I have done so already. I made a decision some time last year that I was going to abandon several planned GW projects.
    This was totally down to cost, they were IMO extracting the urine with prices rising for less product, it started with the new IG tanks for me, more money with less content.

    Having said that I have never been a fan of their attitude toward the hobby, and recently Ive become totally fed up with them throwing their legal weight around.
    To a New Yorker like you a hero is some kinda weird sandwich, not some nut who takes on three Tigers!

  3. #3

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    Y'know, I've always fancied getting into historical models. I don't play games so much nowadays, so if it's all about aesthetics, and honouring a friend's memory... hrm.

    I think I honestly will start something new, Napoleonic wars, Anglo-Zulu war... ♥

  4. #4
    Chapter-Master
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    Default

    There's a word for people who use indiscriminate actions to get their way against the establishment irrespective of who gets hurt - terrorists.

    Please buy other company's gear - because there is a viable economic sense-making alternative. Not purely because you want to hurt GW - that is immature and I doubt it will work.

    Ach well, some children.
    I'M RATHER DEFINATELY SURE FEMALE SPACE MARINES DEFINERTLEY DON'T EXIST.

  5. #5

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    There's a word for people who use indiscriminate actions to get their way against the establishment irrespective of who gets hurt - terrorists.

    Please buy other company's gear - because there is a viable economic sense-making alternative. Not purely because you want to hurt GW - that is immature and I doubt it will work.

    Ach well, some children.

    I both agree and disagree with this statement. And this is also a comment for the original OP.

    Firstly. Chapterhouse studios were in the wrong. There is no good guy or bad guy in the situation. They like GW are a profit making organisation. Yes the stuff CHS made was nice, but it was also using imagery and terminology from GW IP's. GW cannot afford to allow them to continue as then 100's of people would do the same, and their legal standing in defending their IP would be weakened. So this would in turn further harm a company which is already making cuts across the board. But by all means support CHS, but it is not a case of GW being the big bad bully. It is simply stopping someone stealing their Property.

    Secondly other gaming systems are actually just, if not more expensive than GW.

    Hordes and Warmachine for example, although played at small points costs, Cost similar/more individually compared to GW products.

    There are some gaming systems which are cheaper, but they are also not as well organised, or have such a strong historical background as well as a continued support and update of ranges etc.

    And then there are those gaming systems which are cheaper. If you wish to play these, then by all means do. But do so because you want to play them not to put your middle finger up at a company or because they legally defended their property.

    Gw are not a perfect company, but one or a few people dropping from their range isn't going to make them change their policy. If anything they are better off without the support of someone who doesn't support them.

    Writing letters to GW voicing your thoughts would be a better and more constructive answer to your current situation. They may read it they may not, but dropping from their range won't be noticed. People leave the hobby all the time as well as people join the hobby.
    Last edited by addamsfamily36; 01-06-2011 at 07:37 PM.

  6. #6

    Default

    I appreciate your comments addamsfamily36, but I'm going to disagree with you a bit and I'd also like to point out a few things that were probably not clear in my original post.

    My suggestion is not to drop from Games-Workshop's range in its entirety. I'm suggesting that Games-Workshop's customers refrain from making a single purchase and use the money that was intended for that purchase to buy something from one of Games-Workshop's competitors. Additionally, I'm suggesting that if such a choice is made, the individual should make the choice and the reasons for it clear to Games-Workshop and the wargaming community.

    This sort of action would be a symbolic gesture that communicates the message to Games-Workshop that it should not take the goodwill of its customers for granted. The point of deliberately spending the money on a competitor's product is that a customer has made a conscious choice to spend a certain budgeted amount of hobby money on a competitor's product. It represents Games-Workshop losing market share by not cultivating the goodwill of its customers.

    This symbolic gesture does not necessarily have anything to do with price point, value, artwork, etc. It has to do with the way that Games-Workshop treats its customers.

    Now I'm going to disagree with some of your comments regarding the Chapterhouse Litigation.

    You've said that Chapterhouse Studios is in the wrong. I disagree with that and this is why:

    There's several ways to fairly use a registered trademark. Two are called "descriptive use" and "nominative use." The only actual trademarks that Chapterhouse Studios used on its website were as either nominative or descriptive use, both of which are perfectly legal. In the case of a descriptive use of a trademark, the mark can be used when you are comparing your product to a different one, such as Coke is better than Pepsi. In the case of nominative use, the mark can be used in order to identify compatibility with another product, such as this cell phone case works with the Apple iPod.

    In all cases of actual trademark use, even when using the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 marks, Chapterhouse Studios identified the mark as a registered trademark and every page of the website included a disclaimer indicating that the company is in no way affiliated with Games-Workshop. That's way more than enough to avoid trademark infringement. I will repeat this for emphasis: That's way more than enough to avoid trademark infringement. To wit: Chapterhouse Studios might not have infringed upon Games-Workshop's marks even if the website had no disclaimer and had not identified the marks as registered.

    Games-Workshop's trademark infringement claims are theoretically the strongest and easiest to prove of the complaint. That's because it is very easy to defend words that are registered as trademarks. Unfortunately for Games-Workshop, the trademark infringement claims won't hold up because Chapterhouse Studios used the marks in a very correct, very legal manner.

    Of course, Games-Workshop also made claims of copyright infringement. This is an area where, in a counterintuitive way, Games-Workshop has a stronger case. Games-Workshop should have a stronger trademark infringement case because words registered as trademarks are theoretically much easier to defend, but Chapterhouse Studios has a rather airtight defense against those claims.

    Copyright infringement is classically very difficult to prove and any rulings regarding it will place definitive boundaries around the intellectual property. Many of Games-Workshop's copyright infringement claims have to do with shape and appearance, even a "style," which is incredibly difficult to defend because nobody is allowed to copyright something that is already in the public domain. In order to, say, prove that Chapterhouse's super heavy walker infringes the copyrighted "style" of the Tau, Games-Workshop would not only have to specifically describe, and place implicit boundaries around, the Tau "style" but would also have to differentiate the Tau "style" from anything already in the public domain when making that specific description.

    The argument would go something like this:

    Allegedly infringing thing A looks like our copyrighted thing B which is different from public domain thing C.

    The question for the judge or jury is not "How similar is A to B," but "How similar is A to B considering that B is only defensible insomuch as it is different from C."

    Imagine that Games-Workshop sued someone for copying the sculptural form of the Leman Russ tank. In order to determine what aspects of the Leman Russ tank are unique, you would have to take into account what makes the Leman Russ tank distinct from the WWI tanks that it is designed to emulate. The images and forms of WWI tanks are in the public domain and anyone can copy them. So the allegedly infringing tank model would not merely have to look like a WWI tank, but it would also have to look like what makes the Leman Russ tank distinct from WWI tanks. And beyond that, it would have to also look like what makes the Leman Russ tank distinct from anything else in the public domain, which includes basically any tanks.

    The Leman Russ tank is a very weak piece of intellectual property because in order to prove that a sculpted model infringed it, Games-Workshop would basically have to show that it was the exact same model in virtually all dimensions. But the really sad story for Games-Workshop would be that going into court and accusing someone of copying the Leman Russ tank would force Games-Workshop to sit down and define what the intellectual property is. Once that's done, anyone in the world knows specifically what is and is not a Leman Russ tank, and it becomes very easy to make similar models.

    Games-Workshop does not want to go there because the company's business model and its pitch to investors is that Games-Workshop's intellectual property is very strong and very defensible. In point of fact nobody knows how strong Games-Workshop's intellectual property really is and Games-Workshop has gone to exceedingly great lengths to scare the hobby community into believing that the intellectual property is very broad and virtually ironclad.

    That's why this lawsuit versus Chapterhouse was filed. Games-Workshop wants to continue to intimidate the hobby community into believing that its intellectual property is strong and broad without actually testing the strength of the intellectual property because in all likelihood it would wind up being very narrow or very weak.

    By promoting this type of fear and filing lawsuits that it does not expect to litigate in order to drive small competitors out of the market, Games-Workshop is not only using egregious intimidation to limit fair competition, but it is also effectively stealing intellectual property from the public domain by preventing others from using it.

    You said that Chapterhouse was stealing Games-Workshop's property. I respectfully disagree and argue that Games-Workshop is stealing property belonging to everyone.

    You have also said that Games-Workshop must defend its intellectual property in order to maintain it. In this you are technically correct, but your implication is that the only way to do this is though a lawsuit. I do not believe that this implication is correct. There are many ways for Games-Workshop, and any other company, to defend its intellectual property without resorting to intimidating litigation. One method, for example, is to negotiate a license. Having someone pay for a license, even if it is for a token fee, is in fact a very strong way to protect intellectual property. Games-Workshop has found that it gets more results by frightening people into believing that its intellectual property is extremely broad. It has also found that filing intimidating lawsuits is an effective way to eliminate smaller, legitimate companies. Unfortunately for Games-Workshop, this activity is amoral and potentially illegal in America.

    You've said that Games-Workshop is not a bully. Although it is only my opinion, I very strongly disagree with you about this. Because it is bigger, Games-Workshop uses the threat of potentially costly litigation to intimidate smaller companies and drive them out of business. In reality, these threats that Games-Workshop makes are quite hollow, for the reasons I've described above. I feel that this is precisely the nature of a bully. Games-Workshop wants everyone in the community to be afraid of it and works to maintain that facade by using blatant and egregious intimidation.

  7. #7

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    My suggestion is not to drop from Games-Workshop's range in its entirety. I'm suggesting that Games-Workshop's customers refrain from making a single purchase and use the money that was intended for that purchase to buy something from one of Games-Workshop's competitors. Additionally, I'm suggesting that if such a choice is made, the individual should make the choice and the reasons for it clear to Games-Workshop and the wargaming community.
    How are you going to tell Gw?

    Not enough people will do this for them to even notice.

    This symbolic gesture does not necessarily have anything to do with price point, value, artwork, etc. It has to do with the way that Games-Workshop treats its customers.

    You talk about goodwill etc, but at the end of the day a customer is a customer. Gw owes you nothing. Yes it needs to maintain brand loyalty, but why should they give you anything for free?

    Also my personal experiences of GW have varied across the years, but i judge the individuals not the company on those experiences. Currently Our local GW has a fantastic manager and he is the only member of staff. Me and a few of the veterans frequently socialise outside of the GW environment. Im curious to which treatment you speak of. If its store related then thats a poor way to judge an entire company.

    You can argue the CHS case back and forth but heres a prime example:

    http://chapterhousestudios.com/websh...category_id=31

    http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/ca...Id=prod550012a

    I do not care what fancy words you use to explain this one, but this is not a case of providing a product that doesn't already exist. It is not a case of making a leather case that fits an ipad etc, it is a direct infringement of both shoulder pad design as well as the fleshtearers symbol, which for all purposes is effectively a logo.

    t has also found that filing intimidating lawsuits is an effective way to eliminate smaller, legitimate companies. Unfortunately for Games-Workshop, this activity is amoral and potentially illegal in America.
    How is it illegal to defend your property? also GW is a UK based company any infringement on its IP is filed through our legal system.

    You said that Chapterhouse was stealing Games-Workshop's property. I respectfully disagree and argue that Games-Workshop is stealing property belonging to everyone.
    When did you gain the propoerty of GW? did you design for them? write for them? No so what right can you claim that their property is yours or the publics?

    You question GW's morals, but your effectively wanting things for free.

    you argue that Gw could issue a license to CHS, and they have done so in the past to other companies, but they have no reason to in this case.

    CHS could have started a new system. they could have approached GW from the start. But they didn't. Plenty of competitors exist with alternative universes, races etc and GW has no claim to these and it is why they exist.

    CHS produced products clearly copied from current products (which i don't need to say is illegal). How is GW preventing this being a bully? Its more like a home owner protecting their property from a Thief.

  8. #8

    Default

    How is it illegal to defend your property? also GW is a UK based company any infringement on its IP is filed through our legal system.

    No. Chapter House Studios are a US company and the lawsuit will be filed in the US. Why would a US company based in the US be bound by the decisions of a British Court?
    To a New Yorker like you a hero is some kinda weird sandwich, not some nut who takes on three Tigers!

  9. #9

    Default

    I've explained my position on this matter very clearly. You will find the answers to most of your questions in my previous post.

    These are answers to some of your questions that you cannot find direct answers to in my previous post.

    You mentioned that Games-Workshop is not beholden to American law because it is a British company.

    This is patently incorrect. Not only does Games-Workshop have an American corporate presence, but Games-Workshop sued an American company in America whose sales are predominantly to American customers. If Games-Workshop did not file a suit in the American court system, it would not have been able to file a suit. The complaint was filed in the US federal court district of northern Illinois. It claims venue in the northern district of Illinois. It claims that venue because one of the named defendants is a resident of Chicago, Illinois. It states, as part of its arguments, that Games-Workshop has a significant presence in the Chicago area, including several Games-Workshop Hobby Centers and Adepticon.

    You mentioned that Chapterhouse Studios produces a product that already exists and that this constitutes clear and indefensible (copyright) infringement. While my previous post addresses this issue indirectly, I will provide you with a more direct answer.

    Games-Workshop cannot enforce a copyright on something that is in the public domain. Games-Workshop is fully able to claim copyright infringement on anything, but in order to have that infringement legally enforced, the claimed intellectual property must implicitly be tested. This means that Games-Workshop must prove that the designs you referenced are uniquely its own and that the accused product directly copies that which makes the designs unique. In virtually all cases, this means that the entirety of the claimed copyright, be it a drawing, sculpture, or whatever, is really what is enforceable.

    For example, if I had a design that consisted of a skull, a sword, eagle wings, and a teardrop shape, none of those symbols is individually copyrighted. Only the totality of the specific arrangement of those images is enforceable, especially considering that the individual symbols are quite clearly in the public domain. So, in order for me to enforce the copyright against an accused image, the totality of both images must be considered. If the accused image did not have a skull, for example, there would be an extremely weak case for infringement. There would also be a difficult case if the arrangement of those symbols was slightly different in the accused image. There would even be a difficult case if the arrangement was the same, but the size and shape of the images was subtly different.

    A case gets stronger the more unique the copyright is, the more clearly defined it is, and the more clearly it is associated with a specific product, company, service, etc. This is why words are typically easier to enforce. Words are usually very clear arrangements of symbols that have specific meanings, so the step of comparing the form of the copyright and the accused product is much more simple. If I have a claimed copyright on "Death Killers" and someone uses the words "Death Killers," it is quite clear that the words are the same. However, the use of the words and the strength of the market's identification of the copyright with a single specific product, company, service, etc. must be considered. Again, this is because no one is allowed to claim ownership of something in the public domain. That is what claiming a copyright constitutes, which is why I argued that Games-Workshop was attempting to "steal" things that did not belong to it. If you claim a copyright on something, you are saying that you own exclusive rights to it.

    I can't claim to own the words "Death" and "Killers." I cannot even claim to own the phrase "Death Killers" unless I claim ownership of a single, specific use of the words "Death Killers" that no one else uses and that everyone recognizes as belonging to me. So, if I had a video game called "Death Killers," I could attempt to enforce the copyright against someone else that made a video game called "Death Killers." My case would be much stronger if the accused video game was similar to my own, but the case would be weaker if the video game was nothing like my own.

    Again, anyone can claim a copyright on anything, but we have a legal system that protects the rights of individuals to use that which is in the public domain. Games-Workshop can claim a copyright on anything, but what I am arguing is that Chapterhouse Studios did not violate what would be considered the realistic boundaries of any of Games-Workshop's copyrights.

    You asked how it could be illegal for someone to defend their property. I have addressed this indirectly in my previous post, but I will give you a more direct answer here.

    First of all, we're not talking about British law. We're talking about American law because the context is the Chapterhouse Studios case. I hope that we can agree on this point and I will proceed with that assumption.

    It is not illegal for Games-Workshop to defend its property. Games-Workshop can claim any copyright it wants to until those copyrights are tested in court as I've explained above. However, the salient consideration with regard to the legality of Games-Workshop's established pattern of behavior is fair competition in the marketplace. One could likely build a case against Games-Workshop with the allegation that the company's pattern of egregious intimidation constitutes unfair competition. Simply put, the idea is that it is unfair for Games-Workshop to deliberately drive competitors out of the market through intimidation. To reiterate: in the American legal system which Games-Workshop is beholden to while doing business in America it is theoretically illegal to drive out competition in this manner. The American legal system is, in this regard, somewhat different from the British legal system if I am remembering correctly. My knowledge of the differences between these legal systems is quite minimal, but it seems to me that there might be a difference of this sort.

  10. #10

    Default

    Ill rephrase.

    I said filed "through". GW Could file the lawsuit via our legal system but to an american court. I was not saying that the hearing/court procedure would be uk based.

    Or Gw could file it directly.

    But iv'e seen no statement to how it was done. Legal action can be taken in a variety of ways through different routes.

    Besides it would not be the first time a case is judged in one country even though the accused is based in another. (of which both the uk and the U.S are guilty)

    In regards to CHS i stand by what i said. I can see clear infringement of copyright. Thats my view. Thats GW's view, and i support them in it.


    As to big companies pushing their weight around, i could name hundreds of American companies that do exactly the same thing.

 

 
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