Gaming corporations are obviously profit-making entities.
But it happens a lot that those who come to control such corporations come to the mistaken notion that they are simply profit-making entities.
What they forget is that gaming, in all its various forms, is a big part of modern life. It can inspire passionate devotion and dedication, connected as it is with imagination and camaraderie. And when a significant financial investment is added in, it intensifies.
That devotion creates a great deal of goodwill.
Which can be thrown away in a stupid fit of border policing.
Games Workshop, maker of the soaring Warhammer series of tabletop games, is giving its goodwill the Old Yeller treatment.
Short version: With few exceptions, fan creations are IP violations.
That includes my favorite, the If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device parody series. The creator is putting it on the shelf--he does not feel like a legal battle.
I'm the furthest thing from an intellectual property expert, so I cannot speak to how enforceable the new policy is. Parody protects some things, but to what extent I can't say. Certainly, companies have to defend their IPs or risk losing them. But it's also true that fan creations are free advertising, bringing people to the brand. In the endlessly-memed Warhammer universe, this is particularly the case.
GW right now reminds me of the end of the Lorraine Williams era at TSR (1985-1997). Williams came on board when Gary Gygax was dumped. It is true that Gygax was an uneven business mind and had too much on his plate. Unfortunately, he was given the heave-ho entirely, and Williams was brought on to impose disciplined business practices.
Amongst these practices in the early internet era was a dogged policy of policing fan sites for any trademarked material and ordering their removal. This only ended with the rescue of the company from the brink of bankruptcy by Wizards of the Coast. A more relaxed, unite-the-fans approach followed, and worked.
Hopefully, GW will wake to how counterproductive the hyper-strict policy is. But it will probably take years and priceless goodwill run through the shredder first.