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I know theres already a topic about this, but I want this to move in a different direction than a simple case of "ZOMG THEY HAS BANNED MY FILMZ!" type attitude with associated sign-this-petition bandwaggonry.
Slashdot | Games Workshop Forbids Warhammer Fan Films
Instead id like to discuss the knock-on effects of this mixed bag of news for Games Workshop in general.
AS most of you should know, they staked a lot of capital on the LOTR franchise a few years ago and when the expected returns failed to materialise instead of saying "How can we expand in light of this?" it was more "Who can we punish for ****ing up?"
To an extent they did revert to the initial option, and made a concerted effort on their base line, promoting 40k to an obscene extent and simplifying it as much as possible (although this was already being done) and in turn watered down the background of the game, and effectively palmed off the fluff side of things to Black Library.
So with this view in mind, im very surprised that GW effectively closed that avenue for fans.
For years, people have been saying that a 40k film would be SO ****ING COOL, and so (since the most prominent example is Damnatus, ill use their example) when Damnatus started doing, effectively, all the work for GW, it makes no sense whatsoever for them to put a roadblock in place.
On the other hand, it could be some kind of indicator that an official film is in the works, as I would think with the amount of branching out from mere tabletop gaming, what with the successful release of DOW and two expansion packs, plus other games, they could claim to have a wide enough receptive audience to make such a film viable. So by removing fan competition, they pave the way for their own.
Obviously theres lots of possible reasons/conspiracy theories, so lets hear them all in this thread.
++EDIT: Seems the main culprit is copyright law, and as we all know, GW just LOVE their copyrights.Originally Posted by http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=248677&cid=19828385
Last edited by Phobos; July 12th, 2007 at 19:14.
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The damnatus people should probably have tried to work with GW. While I think GW have screwed up over this, they are trying to protect the integrity of their property.
GW will have to come to terms with fan-created products at some point, like LucasArts and Star Wars. The number of mods turned out of Dawn of War (and others) shows that there is a community of people that can create GW related material on various levels.
So I think both sides screwed up.
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And so they should. To some this may seem like the evil business preventing the little man from making a movie (though for my point, the exact medium being explored is unimortant), but not only should companies protect their intellectual properties, in some cases they simply must. If you owned the rights to something that was a contributing factor behind a lucrative business, you would protect it as well.Seems the main culprit is copyright law, and as we all know, GW just LOVE their copyrights.
Sure, GW can license the rights to certain aspects of their intellectual assets, but there are likely many more reasons why they shouldn't than why they should. It could very well be that by allowing fans to create these movies, it may somehow complicate matters if GW chooses to make a movie of their own (or license a legitimate production studio to do so) later down the road.
I'm not saying GW was in the right here. As Rork said, fault likely lies with both parties - indeed GW has shown some ineptitude in these dealings in the past. One cannot, however, fault them for protecting what is theirs. My heart goes out to the gentlemen who produced this film, but if they pooled money into this venture without a legally-binding license agreement from GW, then the fault is as much theirs as anybody's.
I don't know anything about "Damnatus", perhaps a brief synopsis is in order to clarify its role in the subject at hand.
Not knowing anything, as of this moment, I would have to ask whether or not Damnatus is generating any revenue (profitable or not) for its producers or anyone providing services such as distribution. To generalize, if no revenue is being made, I don't see how this violates any copyright (being ignorant of Damnatus). If Damnatus was produced as a film student's thesis it wouldn't be violating copyright under fair use (education). I'm just grasping for reasons why GW would "clinch" because of a fan film.
Copyrights are important for protecting the assets of a business, don't assume I believe they should be done away with. But does me creating a Space Marine costume for my son this Halloween violate the copyright? At what point is the line drawn?
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Even if GW does have a film in pre-pre (pre) production I doubt that a fan film would have any negative impact on the project. I mean most people outside the hobby won't have heard of it and anyone inside the hobby aren't going to not watch a GW film because some fan film was made.
Seems like GW are mopre concerned with protecting their IP than with taking a risk that the fan film may generate free advertising. This isn't a critisisim, it may be a sound business strategy.
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There is one way that I could see the fan film hindering GW's own film. That would be if the two films have a similar premise which could hurt the films reception. Thus we could be looking at Xenos or Ravenor the movie in a few years. I'm hoping that's why they're slapping the ban on this, because it would also point to a chance of there not being Marines which is something most fans are pulling for.
Then again they could just be pulling an intelligent all or nothing stunt so they don't wind up in another Malal debacle somewhere down the line.
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i think GW is completly on the proper side of the fence here. It's their product, they pay for all marketing and such. As a business you want to decide what happens to the brand.
Any bussiness would respond the same.
And atop of everything i don't really care either way coz i think those movies are a load of amateuristic codswallop.
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Oh well, guess I'll just wait a bit longer and grab the torrent of it
I was hooked on viewing fanfilms from the Star Wars community for a while, and I have to admit, in a lot of them, the quality (meaning writing, costumes, acting and special effects) was, well... questionable.
There was a surprising number of them, however, that were very well done. Not enough to outnumber the crap offerings, but still, many that were more than just "Look at me, daddy! I can be a Jedi too!"
Now, I have no idea which category "Damnatus" fits into, but that's not the point. Way I understand it, as long as the film is a clearly established nonprofit effort, not only does it not violate the copyright, but the copyright holder is virtually powerless to stop it, and rightfully so. In business terms, copyright law is about who's making money off GW. If Damnatus isn't, then how is it endangering GW's profit margin? It's not, plain and simple.
So leave 'em alone already! Sheesh!
Having said that, I'll agree that if the Damnatus people got nothing more than a wink and a nudge from GW before putting "thousands" of dollars into this project, they were asking for this to happen. Hope they have SOMETHING on paper, or their goose is cooked.