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  1. #1
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    Default Fun with Lawyers

    Guys,

    While we were off having fun at GDC this week we learned that one of our lawyers put the smack down on a talented individual, Emilio Lopez, who created some cool fan art as a gift for his cousin for Christmas sent him a cease-and-desist letter.

    Oops! (See here for the story)

    I just wanted to share with you an email I sent to the folks at Planet Gears of War this evening:

    Ugh. Our lawyers are trying to do their job and protect our trademarks but I guess they didn't realize this wasn't a commercial project and they fired off a standard form letter. It is unfortunate when this happens but the problem with trademarks is you HAVE to protect them and Emilio's work looks so amazingly professional, right down to a cool package!, that they probably failed to notice this was a one-off gift for non-commercial use. What we need to do is come up with some sort of permission letter for things like these so that we're properly protecting our future commercial rights but not stopping people from doing cool fan art like this.

    On behalf of Epic I apologize to Emilio and anyone who was offended by this.
    Unfortunately there are some unscrupulous folks out there creating works based on our intellectual property and attempting to sell them without a license from us. If we don't defend ourselves from these situations our trademarks ultimately become undefendable so our lawyers are doing what they feel they have to do to protect our rights. Unfortunately in this case an innocent party got caught in the middle and for that we apologize. It probably won't be the last time it happens but we'll try to do the right thing when it does. Our lawyers chase down a surprisingly large number of not-so-innocent people and, in this case, I think the commercial-quality elaborate packaging he created, which looked very authentic, was the reason for this coming to their attention. Emilio did an awesome job on his gift. The truly-unscrupulous thing that happens in a situation like this is people go and take these kinds of pictures and put them up on online auction sites attempting to collect money from folks for articles they've never actually had in their possession in the first place. I know this sounds and improbably but this happens all the time.

  2. #2
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    I figured just as much, and imagined as much.

    But I must say, I opened this thread thinking you were going to talk about chainsawing a lawyer!
    We are all stars of our own movies. Everyone else is just an extra.
    In my movie, you're my redshirt!

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  3. #3
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    I don't blame you for wanting to protect your assets.

  4. #4
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    now you release that patch and youre the best company of the worlds again!

  5. #5
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    Dear Mr Rein,

    I actually got a warm feeling inside when i read your post. I saw the guys work and it was amazing, and can kinda understand why your lawyers did what they did.

    This though is my first experience of a company putting things right.

    Just wanted to say well done!
    Don't hate the game, learn how to play it.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for posting this Mark... I was reading about the legal letter that was sent to Emiliio and I was soooo floored. But it's good to hear that it was just a misunderstanding and the lawyers jumping too quickly all over this before you guys at Epic could make them see otherwise.

    It makes me feel better that fan art can continue as usual.
    "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah... group hug."

  7. #7
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    And I was having fun counting all the "OMG Epic takes legal action on free speech and art!" threads...
    This reponse sounds more like the Epic I know. The sad thing is that people will find any way they can to take advantage of whatever they can. I still remember when a guy got shut down for making Q3 player models based on Doom2 monsters. I just wish it wasn't necessary for legal departments to be that jumpy.
    MAP MIXER 3.00 Final! UT ain't complete without it.
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  8. #8
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    Am I the only one that entered this thread with a thought that Mark was going tell us about chainsawing lawyers on Gears?
    We are all stars of our own movies. Everyone else is just an extra.
    In my movie, you're my redshirt!

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AJFederation View Post
    Am I the only one that entered this thread with a thought that Mark was going tell us about chainsawing lawyers on Gears?
    I came into the thread expecting Mark to say pretty much what he said. The people on that comment page really are ignorant.. They were dying for something to be pissed off at, and got it.. Though, it was only a misunderstanding, but they don't care, as long as they get to trash talk a company.. What else can you expect from the children from XBL?

  10. #10
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    thanks for replying. This should take away some peoples worries about Epic turning into a company that doesnt care.
    Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd
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  11. #11

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    Mark,

    People who flame Epic

  12. #12

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    Hmm sorry to hear that happended to Emillio, but you know i don't blame the lawyers for doing there jobs, just hope it all worked out in a good way, oh and hope you have fun at the gdc.

    Can't say i loved the article you posted, that site had only half the information available, and they said Epic was bad *well not in so many words*, i hope next time that site tries a more subtle way off typing articles.
    Last edited by marcus; 03-10-2007 at 11:31 AM.

  13. #13
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    Mr. Rein, is there any way we can talk about possibly using the intellectual property for a commercial use?

    I'd really appreciate it if we could hold a conversation...I sent a letter to Epic a few weeks ago, but havent heard back.

    Black Asgard
    Travis Knight

  14. #14
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    Subtlety and humor are somewhat lost around here.
    We are all stars of our own movies. Everyone else is just an extra.
    In my movie, you're my redshirt!

    Lieutenant Diet Pepsi says: I Need Weapon Achievements!

    new mottos available when I feel like it
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  15. #15

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    It happens, just have to let it go with the flow however.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apathy View Post
    I came into the thread expecting Mark to say pretty much what he said. The people on that comment page really are ignorant.. They were dying for something to be pissed off at, and got it.. Though, it was only a misunderstanding, but they don't care, as long as they get to trash talk a company.. What else can you expect from the children from XBL?
    What else to expect? More trash talking as per usual.
    --bc

  16. #16

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    Don't your lawyers read before they leap?

    It's a nice excuse and seems to be a sincere apology but for something that has the potential for such a devastating effect on someone's life, I would recommend due diligence in protecting against such mistakes. Maybe if they had taken just a moment and read the text associated with the images they might have avoided this whole mess not to mention the embarrassment they have caused you and epic games.

  17. #17
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    devastating effect on someone's life...what? The guy made one, probably wasnt gonna make another, and has moved on. When he got the letter, he was probably like, "what..oh, that old thing?"

  18. #18
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    So is Pwning Jooz gonna be unbanned now since you guys are apologizing?

    (Flak,I'm looking at you)
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  19. #19

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    I have never played this game (I don't do consoles too much money :-) but I hate when legal crap gets abused like this.

    I went through all the crap to register just to post this :-)

    I am very glad that epic has replied in this manner. not just dropping something since what he did was perfectly legal but for openly making a statement to that effect and respecting your fans and there hard work. It could just be for show or it could be genuine until I see otherwise I will assume it was genuine. :-)

    I applaud epic for taking the morally correct stance on this issue!

    If there is ever a PC version of Gears of War I just might have to give it a shot :-) I like to patronize manufacturers who have a good moral compass and know right from wrong legal or otherwise.

    It would be nice if you sent a memo to your legal department instructing them to be a little more certain a violation has taken place (legally and morally) before sending a legal nasty gram like that in the future :-)

    Keep up the good work!

    Chris Taylor
    http://www.nerys.com/

  20. #20
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    Dude, holy sh*t...I want that Munny. I would pay 50 smackers for tat.
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    Locust...Forever!

  21. #21

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    I wonder if this will be updated in the near future.
    Say no to fake shakes!


 

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