If you’re going to give users the Starcraft II Galaxy Editor, a map creating tool that Activision-Blizzard encouraged players to toy around with, then why threaten creators with copyright infringement when someone actually programs something interesting?
Rock, Paper, Shotgun managed to make a really cool mod that turned the game into an MMO, complete with a character creation screen and fighting and experience-gaining for the Ghost class. Awesome, right? I’d love to show you a clip, but Activision-Blizzard slapped the guys with a copyright infringement notice via YouTube where they uploaded the video. Ouch. All you get is this screenshot.
Okay, so Rock, Paper, Shotgun writer Alec Meer recognizes that calling the game World of Starcraft was a bit brash and probably drew the attention of the authorities, but still, they played by the rules and created the mod using the tools given to them by the company that owns the property. In a blog post about the incident Meer writes:
It’s incredibly important to note that, at this stage, we don’t know exactly why this has happened. Obviously people are going to want to leap to certain dramatic conclusions (i.e. ‘OMG they’re making their own World of StarCraft!’), but I’d be very, very wary of making such presumptions until we hear more. I’d be much more willing to bet this is a precautionary measure rather than some great revelation – after all, letting anything bear that name means Blizzard essentially couldn’t ever use it themselves, whether or not they have current plans to. It’s never nice to see megacorps wielding this kind of muscle instead of allowing fans to celebrate and promote their products, but it’s hardly unprecedented.
Ryan, however, a more poignant letter to Activision-Blizzard. Here’s his main argument:
You created a tool that allowed us to do anything with your assets. You encouraged us to use your assets and were eager to see what we might come up with. You had to have seen this coming?
I know it’s hard to trust someone you’ve never met to piggyback on your own legacy. The brilliance of StarCraft combined with the multiplayer focus of World of Warcraft. You might be a little worried about your lore being butchered… or even more-so worried about a guy with no supervision tainting the name of your company with poor product.
Let me assure you that I am in no way shape or form going to deliver anything less than complete perfection. I’ve been following your work since Warcraft. I’ve worked with every editor you’ve put out since I was 13 years old.
If you have a problem with what I am doing… or would like to talk about it. I’m all ears. But please don’t send me some messenger with a cease and desist letter.
Do you think Activision-Blizzard is overreacting or do they have a right to act upon this mod?
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