Games Workshop, of Warhammer fame, declares war on fan videos

Originally published at: Games Workshop, of Warhammer fame, declares war on fan videos | Boing Boing


Is it politics that is driving this? They may not want their products too closely associated with the grimdark former guy in particular?


It looks like they don’t want public awareness unless they can make money off it, which is a shame, because fan art generally keeps a brand alive LONG past its expiration date. More like stupid, momentary day traders than politicians.


This coming from a company that will license their IP to anyone for anything no matter what. There is something like 5 Warhammer video games coming out THIS year. Never mind the mountain of other games, books, board games, the actual tabletop games… apparently animated shows, this kind of ip bullying will only serve to hurt their brand.


I thought Disney showed the way on embracing fandom, even the weird stuff.

Fan made creations only help advertise a property, and the corporate license holder also holds the “canon.” There is little to no chance of Warhammer fans considering the Grimdark future war between Hello Kitty and Kero-Kero-Pi as canon.

Seems to me Games Workshop and their animator-licensees didn’t get the memo. Which is a shame, because they’re a pretty niche property. There may be baked in current demand for an animated series, and potentially a movie, but I really don’t see them bringing in more fans to the game and miniatures that way, and this move sounds like it may very well erode their fan base.

Conversely, maybe this is toxic fandom from within the company? That would be extra weird.


They have had crazy TOS since 2nd Ed. For a while there they explicitly banned getting a tattoo with any of the IP.


Which are somehow binding on who, exactly?

What they really mean is that they will send gangs of Ork lawyers to beat on you with shootas and chain-clubs if you don’t comply, even if you are engaged in protected expression such as satire.


that’s the public face- the private face of Di$ney is pretty bad if you are a content creator for them. (like stiffing then for royalties because they bought the IP and not the obligations that came with it, direct employees pretty much had to turn over anything they created over to disney, even rule34 stuff, etc.)

I can see where a company would be concerned and send out Legal if a fan created work is sold for profit, but going after someone who’s not making a dime off it? that’s just being dickish. (There’s a reason why AO3 has in it’s terms and conditions that you can’t post links to patreon, Ko-fi, etc. with your MCU fanfic, and it’s because the people running it have seen it happen time and time again in various fandoms. (Just google for Ann Rice and copyright for a prime example.)

Personally, I never got into that flavor of table top gaming, namely because I didn’t have the money to buy into it (them minis ain’t cheap!), but for other reasons as well.

I understand that it’s a fine line between ‘hey, free advertising’ and Corporate Greed, but GW is just being dickish about this, which is in line with their previous behavior.


Games Workshop has always bungled their IP and generally handled it very hamfistedly. They’ve always regarded their fans with mild disdain, licensed the IP freely for garbage, while also failing to defend it from actual threats like Blizzard’s Warcraft. I love the games, but I don’t love the company (especially the engineered-to-force-you-to-buy-more-miniatures tournament rules they keep adding).


Every time you think Games Workshop can’t behave with any more contempt towards the people who enjoy their products, they come out with something speciffically designed to prove you wrong.

I quit their stuff in 1991, when they replaced their lovely knowledgeable shop staff with gaggles of teenaged boys, hired on horrible contracts and made to live in GW communal accommodation if I remember correctly. Long gone are the days of wandering in, choosing individual metal minis from trays open in the shop, looking at a vast range of games of different styles (everything from Call of Cthulhu to Talisman to the game I can never remember the name of with the super-cute town and village minis), and buying model paints from a comprehensive but sensible range, all while being able to chat about everything and anything with the shop staff. I used to spend a bloody fortune in there. They’ve not had a penny piece since 1991.


I just don’t get it. Game’s Workshop have been universal, 100% total assholes to their fanbase for- not years- decades now. Every time they have an opportunity to descend lower into the “shitty company” pool, they dive right in. Long ago I decided that regardles of how much fun Bloodbowl was I was never giving them another dollar unless they wisened up. So why is anyone else at this point? Is there really no other good miniature-based combat system left?


Just 3D print them. (Kidding, but that has to be seriously worrying GW. Have they started sending inspectors to tournaments to check if the figs are all legit?)


The quality of their miniatures isn’t better than some others and they are massively overpriced, so that can’t be their competitive edge. Their world building though is pretty much unmatched I would say.


Yeah, Di$ney is a rapacious company, for sure, and their treatment of artists is horrible. (I use them as an example in our IP trainings, especially when we are a subcontractor.) But they’ve figured out what side their bread is buttered on.

It’s not a good look siccing the lawyers on a bunch of kids and adults who are making loving tributes to your properties. They don’t even really go after the small-time princess impersonators for kid’s birthday parties, figuring the money they could get from royalties is much less than the free advertising they’re getting in exchange.

American Girl is similar. I haven’t heard of them going after any of the youtube American Girl content producers (and much of that content is pretty good!). People getting each other excited over your content is a good way to, as @MonkeyT12 perfectly sums it up:

keeps a brand alive LONG past its expiration date


No, just the worst control-freak greedpig impulses of the late-stage capitalist, combined with the myopic MBA’s incompetence. Of course they’re going to make the erroneous distinction between fanbase and customer base and then self-destructively choose the latter.

As I recall, in the late 1980s GW positioned itself as an alternative to the “FLGS” (which frequently didn’t live up to that title). The company opened bricks-and-mortar retail locations that weren’t dusty museums and exclusive social clubs for white male neckbeards and grognards with questionable hygiene practises. For a while it worked and brought a more diverse group of people into gaming, but the priorities of the money men took hold within a few years. That’s been the situation for decades now.

I date the change from the point when their magazine White Dwarf stopped covering any games except the in-house ones that supported the sales of the miniatures. At that time, they pretty much cleared any products featuring non-GW IP from the stores and stopped doing their well-regarded licensed products and UK editions for games like Call of Cthulhu.


I don’t get this. Even a non-WH person like me knows about GW’s attitude and blunders. Some fan art can be excellent! Some time ago an impressive 5-part animation titled “Astartes” appeared on YT, it was way better than many regular SF movies.
Let me wax philofrenological: our brains must have an “entrenched interest” node, which after some years of owning and exploiting a property, makes us take terrible decisions all the time, against our own best interests.
Must be around there somewhere…



Our current “buy tons of minis and paint armies” is Iron Kingdoms, although it’s fantasy steampunk-ish rather than grimdark sci-fi. We may use the basic rules, but until 40K controls teh Intarweebs, Thingiverse and a cheap 3d printer rules all.


The only reason I know anything at all about the Warhammer 40k universe is thanks to the “If the Emperor had a Text-To-Speech” video series on youtube.
That series is basically dead now, and I am saddened.


It really shouldn’t be surprising that GW slaps down on fan films that are making a lot of money to their makers. (IIRC, Alfabusa, the guy behind “If the Emperor had Text-To-Speech”, drew in $10k a month via Patreon.)

The first rule of fan works is to never monetize them, as that draws the attention of the IP holders, and gives them both a reason to crack down on you, and an excellent legal excuse to do so.


My art skills are moderate at best, but I’m VERY tempted to create and upload satirical rule 34 art now (never having been involved with GamesWorkshop properties really in any form prior).