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  Marvel Sues for Infringement Potential  
Posted 2004-11-15 by Tony Walsh
Gamasutra reports that Marvel Enterprises (Spider Man, X-Men, The Hulk, Daredevil, The Punisher, etc.) is suing the makers of City of Heroes, a massively-multiplayer online game that allows its players to customize the names and appearances of their superhero characters.

The gist of the suit is that since it's possible for players to name their characters after Marvel trademarks; since it's possible to give one's character similar powers; and since it's possible to create a similar look as Marvel trademarked characters, then City of Heroes facilitates trademark infringement. This is a similar concept to America's Induce Act, which would basically make any technology capable of trademark infringement illegal--interpreted broadly, this could mean such items as Minidisk recorders, iPods, and printers. Or a pencil, I guess.

If the suit is successful, it opens the door for widespread litigation against operators of massively-multiuser environments such as Second Life, where trademark and copyright infringements are rampant, but not policed. The idea in these cases is that the service provider (like any internet service provider) is not responsible for the actions of its users outside of warning them not to break the law.
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Comment posted by [-]oo|igan
November 15, 2004 @ 10:35 am
My fav past time in COH was to screen cap all the CRI toons in COH. Wonder Women would never stop for a photo op tho. That Bit*h.

While I disagree with Marvel on the "powers" aspect of infringement (who has a monopoly on lazer eyes), "appearance" infringement is poorly policed on the COH servers and they deserve a KaPow in the pocket books.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 15, 2004 @ 12:20 pm
Terra Nova has an expanded look at this issue. What I found most interesting is that NCSoft (makers of City of Heroes) apparently declares ownership over user creations in their EULA. So in trying to capitalize on their users' creative powers, they've opened themselves up to a lawsuit like this.

Second Life is one of the few worlds that allows users the ability to keep their own creations.
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