Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's war: Brand vs Fans. Hmm, I wonder who'll win?

It seems the lessons of mash-up culture are still not being learnt. The desire to control can be crushing. But there always comes a point when the pips squeak. And in a networked world the squeeks are loud, long and globally shared.

How long is it going to be before this film starts to circulate through non-official and entirely out-of-THEIR-control channels? (first one to spot clips on youtube et al, please comment below!)

The row over Damantus, a movie made by German fans of The Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000, centres on German copyright law and who gets to own IP. Read the BBC report. It looks like "it'll never be shown in front of an audience". Maybe not. A community? quite possibly!

If this dispute couldn't be resolved by those 'in charge' I'm willing to place a hefty bet on 'leaks' taking control from them.

And while I'm happy that'll happen, I'm depressed that those who are doing all in their power to prevent that from happening will actually benefit from it.

The Games Workshop and the Warhammer 40,000 brands can only benefit from the exposure and engagement with the brands that this co-created film represents. Watch this.

Hey, come to think of it, maybe this is just a deep-cover viral scam...

By the way, google are thinking of banning my blog. Honest!


  1. Erm.

    Looking at the article in more detail, it seems that Games Workshop are happy for the actual film to appear, but German copyright laws mean that for that to happen, they'd have to give away intellectual property rights to one of their most profitable games.

    "This means that the creators of Damnatus cannot assign their rights to Games Workshop even if they wanted to.

    But by sanctioning the release of the film without this "assignment" Games Workshop would essentially be giving up the title to the Warhammer 40,000 intellectual property. "

    Seems like a failure of German copyright law more than the fault of Games Workshop.

    And if Google are planning to ban you, and you aren't planning to get any adverts, just go to wordpress...

  2. Yes I've read the articles and am still baffled by the complexities of German copyright law.
    But my point is not about legal niceties. It is about the idiocy of laws which prevent a sensible resolution to this.
    And that ultimately despite the best efforts to control this, the army of fans this is dedicated to and created by will take matters into their own hands.
    The law and the channels of distribution will be disintermediated.

  3. I think the issues of copyright tend to be more than simply legal niceties.

    Games Workshop aren't stopping anyone from co-creating, but they are unwilling to grant rights which would lose the intellectual property from which they've had a business for 20-odd years.

    Bearing in mind their business is purely based on concepts which could easily be copied and distributed, their IP and brands are their biggest asset.

    The German law does need changing, but your line "I'm depressed that those who are doing all int heir power to prevent that from happening will actually benefit from it' implies that Games Workshop are actively blocking and fan content.

    Laws always take their time to adapt to new technology, and while we should push for laws to change, they will always hold progress back. And sometimes that's a good thing as the issues of free content and copyright are going to be complex when balancing the need for content to be co-created and published, and the need for companies and individuals to be able to extract some reward to fund future development.

  4. It's essentially the because effect again. Control restricts the growth of an ecology of value creation in which they could play a significant role (think IBM and Linux).



The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?