Monday, 28 September 2009

Intellectual Copyright & the GW legal demons

In the mythology of WH40K, set in the year 40,000 (a mindboggling idea to me as a 12 yr old) and the human faction consists of several military organisations. The Dallas-like yarn of the story goes that the Emperor was mortally wounded during a kind of civil war with his possessed demonic adopted son Horus, who he in turn slew around the year 30,000. The Imperium from then on turned into a Gothic Orwellian nightmare (if it wasn't already) and the WH40K game has humanity pitted against a series of alien races including the demonic 'chaos' forces. The Imperial Army upon the death of the Emperor split into two, so the story goes, the Imperial Guard and the Imperial Navy.

Now although the Imperial Guard has been at the forefront of the Games Workshop mythology and product lines since the early '80s only very recently have we seen any Imperial Navy models or figures appear. Since their appearance struck simulataneously with my daydreaming of this project, I took it as a very cool coincidence and something that I should pursue as a writer, mainly commercially. I have since learnt that the Games Workshop do not really take kindly to external submissions, or rather they take rather mercileslly anything sent to them via email or post automatically by law becomes their intellectual property.


Any notes, e-mails, online messages or bulletin board postings, ideas, suggestions, concepts, designs, or other material submitted to any physical GW company address or to any web site owned or controlled by GW and/or to any e-mail addresses contained in or on those web sites ("GW Web Sites") will become the property of GW throughout the world and GW shall be entitled to use the material for any type of use forever, including in any media whether now known or hereafter devised. When you submit any material to any physical GW company address or any GW Web Sites, you agree, offer, warrant, and represent, both explicitly and tacitly (and GW accepts) that you are assigning all intellectual property rights in that material to GW and that GW has the right to use that material at any time entirely in its own discretion for whatsoever purpose including for commercial, promotional, and advertising purposes without any obligation (including any financial obligation) to you now or at any time in the future. You waive and relinquish any rights, including "moral rights," that may exist in any content to the furthest extent permissible by law and agree not to assert any rights over that content. We are afraid that in order to protect ourselves legally, this is the only way we can operate. If you are unhappy with this policy, then please do not post or send any material to GW.

As an aspiring author that leaves me pretty screwed. I cannot present them my ideas without losing them, but I cannot introduce my ideas without giving something away. After designing this new product line and working with several professional graphic artists from afar a field as China and the US to achieve it, I decided I would make my work public to gain interest so it wasn't just an intellectual dead-end, but at the same time retain my own claims and rights on my creativity. Read on for the fluff...

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