Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Marvel lawsuit: 'Unreasonable bullying'?

Wired News weighs in on last week's news of Marvel Enterprises lawsuit against the makers of the popular City of Heroes RPG:
"Considering that defendants own no comic characters themselves, it stands to reason that the comic books to which they refer are those that depict the characters of Marvel and others," wrote Marvel's attorneys in the complaint. "Defendants' Creation Engine facilitates and, indeed, encourages players to create and utilize heroes that are nearly identical in name, appearance and characteristics to characters belonging to Marvel."

That sounds good, but experts contacted by Wired News think Marvel is living in a fantasy:
"Asking City of Heroes to police their users to ensure that they don't replicate Marvel characters is like asking a school to police its students to make sure none of them show up for Halloween in a homemade Spider-Man costume," said Cory Doctorow, a renowned writer and advocate for free speech and fair use. "It's unreasonable bullying, and it is bad corporate citizenship."