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Marvel Comics sues makers of City of Heroes (1 Viewer)

Wayne Bundrick

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Marvel Comics is suing NC-Soft and Cryptic Studios, makers of the popular City of Heroes MMORPG, for trademark violations on the grounds that the game's character creator allows players to create an oversized hero with green skin and purple pants, although the game's EULA specifically tells players not to create trademarked characters and the GMs actively remove violations as they are discovered.

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/20...-avatars_x.htm

As a matter of principle I've canceled my Spiderman 2 DVD preorder.
 

Marshall W. Carter

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Let's hope that the courts throw this one out due to idiocy. I guess that means Marvel will be suing the players next...ugh.

And I was looking forward to the Iron Man movie...
 

Chris Bardon

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While I really do have IP lawsuits, I have to say that from everything I've read on this, Marvel does have some legitamate beefs with the game. Sure, you can't name your character "Hulk" or "Wolverine", but you can make a big green strong guy, who is obviously supposed to be the Hulk... Marvel's point is that people are trying to ape their creations, and that if they don't protect their copyright, then that copyright is open to be defeated. I agree that marvel should be able to protect their characters-the problem is with the copyright law.

Really, the ideal case would have been that Marvel would partner with the CoH developers to allow licensed content. At that point, who really loses? People can use Marvel trademarks, and one company promotes the other for common interest? CoH sells more comics, and Marvel sells more CoH accounts. Everyone wins!
 

Kain_C

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Protect their content? Maybe I would buy that, if there wasn't the rumor that MARVEL MAY RELEASE THEIR OWN MMORPG WITH COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS!! Remember, Marvel has been doing well in the video game department as well as movie department.
 

Romier S

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Freedom Force allowed for modders to create exact replicas of Marvels/DC characters and use them to play the game offline and online. Irrational games released a hero creation tool for the very purpose of allowing players to create the content they wanted. No lawsuits came about when that game was released. Are Marvel going to sue Photoshop or Maya for allowing people to create virtual versions of thier IP? To quote a friend: "When will they begin to sue six year olds for drawing Wolverine or Spiderman on paper? Really, where does this end?"

Marvel's point IMHO, is that another developer and publisher beat them to the market with a Superhero MMO and this is the action they chose to take to try and save part of that market for themselves. The frightening part is that this lawsuit, if taken seriously, will set a legal precedent that could very well find the developer/publisher responsible for player-created content. I don't see how that could be a good thing.
 

Chris Bardon

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Actually, there was a case where marvel shut down a website that was making marvel skins available for Freedom Force, so there is a precedent there.

The problem is this-Marvel has no case against NC-Soft or Cryptic because they aren't actually infringing on anything. They're just providing tools with which users can do what they want. Users on the other hand, are technically using copyrighted material in their character creations, which by all reasonable thoughts should fall under the domain of fair use. Of course, since fair use doesn't seem to exist in this new world order, there's a lawsuit. Rather than try to chase down individual infractors, Marvel has tried to intimidate the publisher of the game.
 

Tony Whalen

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Marvel actually shut down several Freedom Force websites that were hosting skins of their characters. Sucked, IMHO.

This is just plain silly though. If I draw a picture of The Hulk, is Marvel going to go after the folks that made my pencil? I understand having to protect one's copyright, but come on...
 

Romier S

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I question the motives behind the move. Why intimidate the publisher/developer in this scenario unless you have something to gain? I believe there is an ulterior motive here and it has very little to do with protecting thier IP and more to do with wanting to enter the MMO market with thier own Superhero game.
 

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