Originally Posted by Sam Nordmark
Valve and Blizzard sued developers Lilith and uCool over a pair of games, Dota Legends and Heroes Charge, that they claimed infringed upon the Dota intellectual property. UCool isn't bothering to argue that the games aren't derivative (Dota is used in one game's title, after all). Instead, it's turning the lawsuit on its head, countering with a claim that Valve and Blizzard's copyrights aren't legitimate in the first place, according to a report in Ars Technica.
But what's really fascinating is Judge Breyer's summary.
It is interesting, for me at least, to see modding history filtered through the lens of the copyright court system, giving us such paragraphs as:
The various video games at issue in this copyright case take players to fantastical worlds populated by elves, demons, and at least one elf-demon. The earliest of these games, Plaintiff Blizzard Entertainment’s “Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos,” lets them build their own fantastical worlds populated by custom characters. Playing off the word modification, players call this process “modding” and their modding creations “mods.”
Worth a read if you like seeing video game culture intersect with real life.
uCool counters that DotA Allstars is a collective work because Guinsoo and Icefrog—and Meian and Madcow before them—took the most popular DotA heroes and
arranged them into a new game. See MPSJ at 17. But by that logic Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Walt Disney Studios 2015) would be a collective work because it arranged the most popular Star Wars heroes, settings, and one-liners into a new movie. The same might be said of Love Actually (Universal Pictures 2003), given its all-star cast and web of different storylines. But Castaway (20th Century Fox 2000), with its solitary protagonist and even more solitary plot, would presumably be a unitary work.
Btw this is DotA Legends:
And Heroes Charge
You might've seen their advertisements.