Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Blizzard Response Regarding Screen Grabs For Webcomic With Advertising

I received the following response from Blizzard when I posed a hypothetical question to them regarding the use of screen grabs to create a webcomic on a page one sells advertising for:

To: Kevin Huxford
Date: Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 8:01 PM
Subject: RE: Fair Use Question

Greetings Kevin,

Thank you for your patience! I am afraid that this is against our current policies and I apologize for any inconvenience this causes. We do wish you luck with future projects and take care.

From: Kevin Huxford
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 12:00 AM
Subject: Re: Fair Use Question

Still hoping to get an answer on this. Thanks!

On Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 5:07 PM, Kevin Huxford wrote:

What is Blizzard's policy on screen shots being used to create a webcomic and then selling advertisement on the webcomic site? I'm worried that compensation for ads on the same page as the webcomic would constitute commercial use.

Kevin Huxford

Folks, Blizzard owns the images. Using screen grabs for 100% of a comic that you profit on without any licensing fees paid to the owner of the images is a violation of copyright. Doing it rarely might be able to skate on parody exceptions; doing it in perpetuity will not.

Pwned, indeed!


  1. It's pretty cool that you only stated your side of the story to some level one email peon with no legal knowledge outside of their not-so-common sense.

  2. Cause it's 'so' difficult to fake an email discussion, right? I'd suggest maybe getting off your ass, as opposed to "sitting on [your] ass", and actually doing something with your life. On a serious note though, if you have to go to this extent to further your "asshattery" you REALLY need to get out and actually DO something productive.

    Reason for me being provocative is simply the childish way you insinuate your blog, "Pwned indeed!". What are you? A thirty-three year old with a mental capacity of 10 year old that has some in-your-face attitude? Grow the fuck up.

  3. "some level one email peon with no legal knowledge outside of their not-so-common sense." unfortunately very true. they don't evaluate, weigh and take things into consideration, they just take what's written in the firm policy, copy and paste, or say if it's write or wrong and write apologetically. if it comes down to an actual legal case with a judge and jury perhaps, they would probably not use the same guy and would probably not make a big deal out of it. for several reasons such as maybe enjoying the comic and not considering it worth the trouble, or don't want bad publicity.

  4. Anon 1: Ummm, what side was I supposed to state? It's a pretty neutral statement. I asked about making a webcomic using screen grabs of the content of their game, with advertising on the same page. I didn't get into the fan service drawings or the crude humor that would put it past a T rating.

    Snarf: Ah, to wander into the discussion without having read it all and make an ignorant statement. Such is the internet!

    The "pwned, indeed" was in response to a comment on the original blog that stated I had been "pwnd". So, I put that there to indicate the author of that comment was apparently incorrect.

    Anon 2: If it is Blizzard's firm policy, it is for a reason. That policy is put together by people far more important than a "peon".

    It should be noted that the address is the designated contact point for anyone with questions about composing videos using game content for displaying on the web or entering into contests of some sort.

  5. ........ You seriously wrote that...... THAN waited 4 days with no response (wonder why that was!?)...... Just to email again, probably forwarding the old question........ And got a response hours later.

    Why do you think they did not respond over 4 days previous?

    Unless your answer is something simple, your wrong.

    This is how chain of command works in real life and anon poster is correct when he says "some level one email peon with no legal knowledge outside of their not-so-common sense." First you get your 1st wrung of the ladder employee, and more than likely is a person who does not care about their job, or has no stake in the company, or is simply a temp/new hire. Unless you ask any more questions, or complain, or do something stupid, it stops there.

    The person who FINALLY responded to you was probably one of the employees that cares about the job, or was forced to respond based on the ignoring, you received, not working out as planned. Short answer, you forced a response with a second email to something no one wanted to answer. The safest answer is no, because if they say yes and it's truly not ok, than they are now liable and have hurt themselves later if a case is made against your fake webcomic. If they say no than you wont do anything will you? Lets say you did, well now they have a actually letter saying they told you no and no legal liability. Now lets say they were wrong, well than they won't take legal action, and guess what? NO PROBLEM because they can't get sued, or be held liable for lieing to you in this fashion.

    Honestly what did you think they would choose out of those choices, and by all means post a new response that would not POSSIBLY put them between a rock and a hard place if they are WRONG.

    Don't believe me? Go into a busy store on a weekend and ask 5 random employees about their return policy about a single item that is expensive like a computer, tv, or appliance. here is a hint, the information for returns of specific items is usually located behind the customer service desk/returns exchange area. Look at it, choose a item with a restocking fee, and ask 5 random employees in the store, and two in the department that sells the item. Those two may be right or wrong, but you know the answer, the other 5 will probably not know, but if you FORCE them to answer they will probably give a general return policy in response and not give a damn if you take it as the word of the almighty truth because someone spoke it, or someone wrote it.

    You sir are seriously acting like that email is some mythical sword of justice. but you are frankly absurd in this notion because your assuming no one can lie, not even accidentally.....

    Good job proving the old adage about the word assume.....

  6. After e-mailing them back, I realized it was a little silly to have pressed for a response. You see...I had e-mailed them on Friday and then simply didn't hear back after one business day. That's kind of a short time to have passed before following up.

    I'm not going to wade through the rest of your response fully. I skimmed enough to see the flawed logic that having a response from someone specifically tasked to answer this particular type of question somehow works out to be proof of the OPPOSITE of exactly what they said.

    Seriously. You suggest that it is more probable that they lied (not on purpose, mind you, which flies in the face of the definition of the word) than their answer accurately represents the position of the company that they're employed by.

    That about sums up how much sense the argument of Sean F and his readers have made in debating the merits of my claim that he is infringing on the Blizzard copyright.

    Once more with feeling: is the designated point of contact for questions regarding their fair use policy.

    It is not the same as wandering up to some random low level employee.

    You can say all you want about assumptions, especially since your fictional, uninformed account of what happened on the other end of that e-mail involves so many of them.

  7. What's this all for? To be a general douchebag? Does this gain you anything? You basically picked a fight with a group of people who read some webcomic, and then you proceed to bait them over several blog posts. You believe you've made your point, but you haven't really, the webcomic is still there. Somebody in Blizzard's legal department probably knows about the comic if it's of any moment at all. The guy's not going to stop making it just because you looked at him funny. So really, what's the point? You were a prick to a bunch of people you don't know, congratulations, you are something new and exciting on the internets.

  8. Anon (if that IS your real name): Haven't proven anything? The "creator" said he was within Blizzard's fair use policy and that has been demonstrated to be incorrect. What he's putting out twice a week is copyright infringement for small profit.

    I picked a fight? Are you even paying attention?

    Posted my blog on September 25th.
    It went uncommented on until Sean F responded in the comments on October 3rd.
    It had no comments other than ours until he tried to set his readers on me.

    If I was picking a fight with his readers, I'd have posted some sort of comment over at Cru the Dwarf or on some forums where his comic has been discussed.

    Just another example of how those defending Sean F don't have a grip on the reality of the situation.

  9. I don't give you much credit for intelligence, because you don't deserve much. However, you had to know what would happen when you picked a specific webcomic and linked to it. Then you responded to any and all comments with a rude snarky attitude. And those first comments that came through were hardly insulting or attacking you. That shows your lack of research and reading comprehension. I wasn't defending the Cru the Dwarf thing. I was dogging you for being a douchebag about the whole thing.
    You should be happy for the hits, right?

  10. You're still creating a work of fiction there.

    All the attention given to the blog about Cru came as a result of the "creator" deciding to send people over here. If I was trying to stir things up with the readers, I'd have probably don't something to attract attention to it in the week after it ran.

    My responses to Sean F were snarky? Hardly. Beyond that, when I receive snark, I return snark.

  11. Nah, you're the one with the reputation for fabrication, sir. Me, I'm just an anonymous bystander. The question is, do thse Cru guys know about the beef you created with Dan Slott. Or how about the time you made up a reason to get all pissy and report Guggenheim to the Writer's Guild? You've been a wannabe toady for The Man for quite some time haven't you? I guess it's time now for you to go running for your buddies to show up and vouch for your character. Them being totally oblivious to the fact that your character is questioned so much because you have none. God day, sir!

  12. Dayum Mr Huxford... The interwebz is serious business...

    I honestly have nothing to add to the whole argument except this does give some insight into personal endeavors. But as I hate to do this cause it's so been done before but...

    Why So Serious internet?


    Repeating the invalid argument that it's against Blizzard's policy and therefore illegal makes you an Idiot.

    Stating that it using someone else's work makes it illegal makes you both gullible and a moron. That's what the RIAA and the MPAA WANT you think.

    There are provisions in copyright law that allow for works using copyrighted material, even when the work is 100% copyrighted material(which Cru is not. WoW doesn't have nipples, breasts of that size, several of those poses (IE: Eye popping ogre), objects(the sign on top of the goldshire inn declaring it 'club nub'), enviroments (a dark strip club based on a standard 'inn' model), creatures(red-eyed demon squirrels), or many many other things(dwarf on fire, the giant cannon Cru destroys Karazhan with, headless Van Kleef, dwarf on goes on and on)...

    Your complete and total ignorance on the subject has led to you committing libel, and were Sean F. rich and mean you could find yourself in real trouble for posting this crap, Kevin.

  14. Tiron,

    Blizzard's fair use policy was introduced into the conversation by Sean F. He contended that his webcomic was within their fair use policy, while it clearly is not. It was what he used as evidence that his webcomic couldn't be copyright infringement.

    Your RIAA diatribe is nonsense. You and I are going round and round on this and not getting anywhere. I believe you're detached from reality, you believe I'm an idiot.

    Anon: Fabricated nothing of the Guggenheim situation. I reported what he actually said and allowed them to handle it however they wanted to. I don't see how reporting a writer/PRODUCER to the Writer's Guild of America for making public statements contrary to their strike position (a strike against PRODUCERS and CORPORATIONS, mind you) is being a toady for The Man.

    And as far as my character? I think I'll go by the assessment of the people I've actually met. Those friends that sometimes feel the desire to defend me do so because they know the content of my character and feel like speaking up on the subject.

    You, on the other hand, are anonymous and obsessive. Which is why I'll kindly pass on accepting your assessment of my character.

  15. So I really do have something to add this time. I am not gonna start pissing about this or that but I do intend to try and be civil about my comments and opinion.

    Would this be a different situation say it was the red vs blue guys, I mean now they are all cool with bungie, even having RVB do promo's for them. But how much of a turn around was it when they first started throwing up there halo 1 vids to the point where they started selling DVD's? I know bungie is pretty cool with people using it to create machinma so they could be very diffrent, then again at the time they we're backed by m-soft so the RVB guys must have jumped through a lot of hoops.

    I don't really know how much one can get for ad space on there website but to the ammount that blizzard brings in MONTHLY. Is it really going to effect them? Now if he busts out a collected book of all the web comics then I mean really he should look into the legality cause say it hits big beyond just the readers of the site, Blizzard could have a web comic in the making and this could put a dent in it.

    Also he idea of parody is very vague these days, look at what I think it's Fox bringing up a suit against some bollywood studio for naming a movie they we're making called "Hary Putar Saves the World" or something to that effect and it's a parody of the Harry Potter films. But say The Simpsons do a parody it's fine cause they are established so it's cool for them.

    In personal endeavors with my friends in film making most of our stuff is comedy and when we try and parody something we try and make it overly done so people can't argue the fact that we are copying, It's especially difficult when we want to do musical cues and we can't, we have to even parody the music which over all comes out to add a lot. Me and my friends will parody till we can license the music rights to the songs we want to use or musical cues we want and we would hate to use the music of say Bear McCreary for a BSG parody cause he is genuinely a good guy and we would hate to cross him cause we find his music particularity good. So we will parody to the point of ridiculousness because we don't want to lose our houses and because good parody is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Just my two cents. I don't know Kevin Huxford personaly, I read his blog and I don't always agree on things but he is honest about his opinions and I respect that, so I'm no fan boy but this is a good conversation that has merit and should not be broken down to a pissing contest of calling someone dumb or stupid and whining about being snitched out to by fan boys of the web comic. Cause really seems like these new "anonymous" people don't tend to be the usual anonymous who post on here. Just my two cents.

  16. You know that kid in high school English class who rats on the other kids for cheating? You know that coworker who tells the boss that the guy in the cube next to him is making personal calls on his phone? You know that kid on the playground who tells the teacher that the other kids are swearing?

    That's you man. On the Interwebs.

    Seriously, what were you hoping to gain from this? The smug satisfaction of being "right?" "Pwning" someone on the 'web?

    All this time you spend worrying about what the fuck everyone else is doing on the Internet is going to come back & bite you in the ass my friend.

  17. Sorry, Zod, but I've kind of answered the "why" question several times already. If you're too lazy to read through the comments, that's on you.

  18. No, you haven't, but I don't suspect you're going to. You've answered the "why you're right" question a bunch of times, but you haven't really touched on why you went out of your way to piss in someone else's Internet again.

    What was the point behind the original blog, if not to stir up controversy? That's even more true for this blog, which is basically you saying "Nyah, nyah I'm write because I have an email."

    Aside from that, playing the victim card because Sean responded unfavorably when you attacked the legality of Cru is pretty hypocritical. What sort of a response were you expecting? A hearty "Thanks Khux, I hadn't thought of that. Thanks for showing me the error of my ways."

    C'mon man, be honest here. What was your intent with this blog? What sort of discussion were you hoping to generate?

  19. Zod: I'm not "playing the victim".

    I've only brought up Sean F's participation here and then his sending of his readers to counter the idea that I did this for hits.

    Of course I don't expect Sean F to be happy that I'm pointing out his copyright violation passed off as a webcomic. But I'm not going to sit here and accept people saying I did it just for the controversy and hits when the facts don't support that.

    It was a dead entry for a week and a day. Sean F brought it all of this attention and all of the hits. If I was doing it for the hits and controversy, I wouldn't have relied on the "creator" stumbling on to the blog 8 days later to get it going.

    I pointed it out because the guy was advertising his copyright theft on my page and his webcomic is hosted on a Platinum Studios site (a rather notorious comic book company, I'm sure you're aware). That made it worth mentioning here. That makes it NOT going out of my way to "piss in someone's internet".

    This blog was "nyah nyah"? I sent out the original e-mail to Blizzard when it was just Sean F and I talking. I figured the answer would resolve the disagreement to some extent. Believe it or not, I intended to run the response regardless of the answer...and apologize and retract if Blizzard indicated it was within fair use.

    And Zod? You and I disagree strongly on whether reporting someone's publicly doing something wrong is a good or bad thing. You seem to be one of those people who'd be prone to saying, "I didn't see nothing," to the cops if asked whether you witnessed something. As long as it isn't directly effecting you, I get the sense that you don't really give a shit about anything.

    Unless, of course, it's something I do...then you're all about "pissing in someone's internet", it appears. ;)

  20. You're playing the victim card in that you can't fathom why oh why people are picking on you. I don't think you did it for the controversy or the hits - but I certainly think that fueled your second go-round, which involves what I would call "pissing in someone's Internet." Emailing Blizzard's customer service IS going out of your way, especially when you don't really have a dog in the race. It's also pretty tacky to blog about it.

    You're also playing the role of self-righteous martyr. "I don't expect Sean F to be happy I'm pointing out his copyright violation passed off as a webcomic" & then your tirade about how we disagree on reporting someone for doing something wrong - c'mon man, quit thumping your chest.

    You want to report Sean to Blizzard & let them handle it, then go for it man. If that's the particular wrong you want to right, have it.

    But don't start a blog thumping your chest about it. That's asking for trouble.

    To use your analogy, that's like calling the police to report that your neighbor's house is being broken into, & then running over & yelling at the robbers, "Hey, I just called the cops on you, so there" & THEN telling the whole neighborhood about it.

    Like I said, I'm not going to debate whether it's infringement or not - neither of us are experts on the subject, & there are varying shades of gray with this issue. The email you posted isn't the veritable smoking gun you're making it out to be.

    I like how you finished up your response with another scarecrow though - suggesting that I must just not give a shit about anything simply because I'm not reporting the dire injustice of copyright infringment to the parent company. Quite the leap you made you there. I'm not going to bother to respond, 'cause it's a bullshit argument & I'm not falling into your little trap.

    Oh, & you'd have more "hits" & "cred" if you'd stop deleting blog comments that you don't like. There was a comment posted after mine calling you a prima donna that you deleted. That's pretty chicken-shit man, & it begs the question - what else are you editing 'round here?

  21. It said "drama queen", Zod...and I've made no attempts to hide my policy that shots at me that have nothing to do with the subject of the blog are to be taken to the Haters Blog.

    If you're not adding ANYTHING to the discussion of the topic, put it somewhere else.

    And I'm not going to bother trying to correct your misinterpretation of the facts and my statements. We'd just keep going in circles, so it isn't worth it.

  22. Oh, and Zod? By seeing what I have left up on the blog, I think it is pretty self-evident that I don't delete harsh or dissenting opinion. Just the unrelated or loosely related potshots that are to be taken to the Haters Blog.

  23. All you anonymous posters need to get an identity so people can tell you apart. Obviously, you don't have to use your real name. And you don't even have to sign up for an account. Simply put your name or screen name at the bottom of your post. I'll even demonstrate that for you.
    Calling Kevin a general douche is an insult to all other general douches. Kevin is High Class, dammit!
    If I see that my co-worker has 2 staplers and I have none, then I take one home with me, am I not a thief? Certainly I am.

    If I take art from Adam Hughes, alter it slightly, and sell it as original product, have I not stolen potential money from Adam Hughes? Certainly.

    If Sean F is taking art from a site, altering it, then presenting it on a page where he makes money for it, is he not profiting from the work of others? Certainly he is.

    Theft is theft, whether it is a stapler or a Mercedes Benz.

    Alan Coil

  24. Pretty well said..

    wow gold

    Yes that is a nice idea but have you ever thought of going up to the biggest guy on the subway and telling him your thoughts on this. I wonder what he might do, or would you even do it.


It is preferred that you sign some sort of name to your posts, rather than remain completely anonymous. Even if it is just an internet nickname/alias, it makes it easier to get to know the people that post here. I hope you all will give it some consideration. Thank you.