World Of WarCraft MMO guide creator Brian Kopp has announced that he is suing the game's creator, Blizzard, after it blocked him selling unofficial game guide 'The Ultimate World of Warcraft Leveling & Gold Guide' on eBay through eBay’s “Verified Rights Owners” program, leading to the banning of his eBay account.
According to a press release from the Public Citizen non-profit group, which has taken up the case on Kopp's behalf, Blizzard invoked the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by claiming that the guide violated its copyright in the game.
However, according to the statement: "The guide book contains tips on how to play the game but does not contain any copyrighted text or storyline from the video game, according to Public Citizen’s lawsuit. Kopp includes disclaimers in the guide stating that it was not an official guide and clearly noting that he was not affiliated with Blizzard Entertainment, the developer and publisher of “World of Warcraft.”"
Vivendi Universal-owned Blizzard is known as an aggressive enforcer of rights surrounding its company's properties, with the unrelated, but also DMCA-based BnetD case a long-time court denizen, and the company aggressively banning players on its multiple games for use of unauthorized third-party add-ons.
The Public Citizen group has concluded: "If the companies’ interpretation of their copyright were allowed to prevail, it would threaten the publication of future how-to guides about any subject and a wide variety of other speech that merely comments on a copyrighted work."
This idea has led to the lawsuit, which seeks to prohibit Blizzard, its parent company Vivendi Universal Games Inc. of Los Angeles, and the Washington, D.C.-based Entertainment Software Association (ESA) from further interfering with the sale of the guide, and to recover damages for lost sales. Blizzard has not yet publicly commented on the suit, according to a CNET News report.