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Modders Make StarCraft MMO Using StarCraft Level Editor, Activison-Blizzard Invokes Copyright Infringement

Yesterday, the gents over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun covered a StarCraft II mod which turned the game into an MMO, obviously named World of StarCraft. The mod was in very early stages, but a video showed it had a mocked-up character creation screen, as well as fighting and experience-gaining working for the Ghost class. The mod was made using StarCraft II’s Galaxy Editor, a powerful level creation tool that Blizzard encouraged modders to use, essentially challenging modders to create unique and complex things. Of course, now that a group of modders began work on a very unique and complex creation, a StarCraft MMO, Activision-Blizzard sent out some copyright infringements to YouTube in order to get the video of the mod taken down.

As of now, the mod’s forums are still up and running, but the mod’s future is uncertain. Modder Ryan makes a good point in a letter he wrote to Blizzard on the mod’s forums:

You created a tool that allowed us to do anything with your assets. You encouraged us to use your assets and were eager to see what we might come up with. You had to have seen this coming?

Considering the mod was made with the assets provided by StarCraft II’s own level editor–you know, the whole purpose of the level editor–one must assume that the copyright issues were based on the name “World of StarCraft” more than the actual mod itself.

The somewhat sketchy thing about all this is Ryan received the copyright infringement notices over YouTube, rather than some polite email from Activision-Blizzard, and the notice didn’t even attempt to let the modders know if the entire mod was under scrutiny, or just the name, thus halting their work until the issue can be cleared up.

Funnily enough, when Rock, Paper, Shotgun covered the mod yesterday, they made the joke, “If it gets taken down really, really quickly that means we’ve got proof Blizzard is working on their own StarCraft MMO after all! Probably. Maybe. Probably not,” only one day before the modders received copyright infringement notices.

Let the speculation begin!

UPDATE: In the wake of this conflict, Ryan was actually offered a job over at Riot Games, developer of one of DotA’s spiritual successors, League of Legends.

(Rock, Paper, Shotgun via Eurogamer)

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