A Fallout fansite has been sued by Bethesda for distributing free Fallout posters, or something like that. Yes, we can’t believe it. Law firms usually operate separate of the entities that hire them, so this shouldn’t be a surprise to many.
Earlier Bethesda had sued Mojang for using “scrolls” in their game title. It wasn’t settled with a Quake 3 game and this won’t be as well.
So far, so good. I made some free posters, set up a quick one-page site and leaned back to enjoy the fact that I was helping Fallout-fans around the globe.
But suddenly, after a few weeks, I got an email: What’s this in my inbox? A legal letter from the global law firm DLA Piper on behalf of Bethesda?
Now, I’m not out looking for trouble. I set up the website out of pure “fandom”, and the last thing I wanted – or expected – was to be threatened with a lawsuit by Bethesda. What pisses me off isn’t the fact that they’re looking out for their trademark – as they have every right to do so. What I’m pissed about are large companies abusing their monetary power, hiring global law firms to go after a fan online, immediately threating with a lawsuit.
Had they had the slighest bit of PR-savyness, they would have shot me a quick personal mail asking me to remove the (supposed) infringing content – and preferrably sent me some nice Fallout-swag as a nice gesture (yes, I am that corrupt).
But no, they had to bring DLA Piper into the picture. You know what? I’m tired of behaviour like that. I’m tired of intellectual rights holders – be it RIAA, MPAA or in this case Bethesda – going after little guys like myself and threatening them into obedience. Some people doesn’t have the intellectual capacity or money to fight their cause, so they just fold after receiving a letter like that. But just because you can’t afford to fight, doesn’t mean your oponent is right.
You can read the whole thing here, including the lawsuit papers.
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