What you can and can't do with Games Workshop's intellectual property
Unlike many companies, here at Games Workshop we usually only stop people from using our intellectual property if we must do so in order to protect it (provided that use is by and for hobbyists). For example, the law requires us to protect our trademarks in certain ways - and if we do not - we might lose them. As you can imagine, we do not want to lose our trademarks as we would no longer be able to create the great miniatures and table top hobby wargames that we pride ourselves on!
Games Workshop is a tabletop hobby wargames company however, so we want people to enjoy our IP as much as we do. For example, whilst most companies would not allow you to convert their products, we think that conversions are an integral part of the hobby, so we love them!
Accordingly, you can do quite a lot of things with our intellectual property without having a formal license with us (see the Specific Examples section below for more details on what you can do with our intellectual property), but there are also some general principles that you need to keep in mind, and then there are the things that you definitely cannot do.
PLEASE NOTE that any work you create using our intellectual property is not "owned" by you. It is called a "derivative work" and those parts based upon our IP do not give rise to their own copyright. Please bear this in mind when using our IP.
- Please make it clear that your use is unofficial by including some wording to the effect that, for example, "This website is completely unofficial and in no way endorsed by Games Workshop Limited." Are people likely to be confused as to whether your web site or any material was produced by Games Workshop just by looking at it? If so, then you need to alter it. In other words, do not try to make your material look "official."
- Please do not change our trademarks in any way (e.g., stretch or deform them)
- Include an appropriate disclaimer on your web site from the list on the following webpage
- Please make the origins of the intellectual property very clear, in other words, make sure that from a brief review of your material people know that you are unofficially using Games Workshop's intellectual property (and not your own IP or the IP of a third party).
WHAT YOU CANNOT DO WITH GAMES WORKSHOP'S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Please read the following in conjunction with the What you can do section above and the Specific Examples section below. Other than a few exemptions, Games Workshop is not obliged to let anyone use its IP at all (for example, it's a widely held misconception that you can freely make use of someone else's copyrights, without their permission, as long as it's for your own private use - this is currently not an automatic exemption to copyright), and accordingly we always insist that our IP is treated with the respect that we feel that it deserves.
So, If you are using or want to use our intellectual property and you do not have a written license with us, you must not:
- Use Games Workshop's intellectual property in relation to any commercial activity this includes, for example, paying a printer to print some flyers for you, obtaining sponsorship, or selling non-Games Workshop materials using our trademarks.
- Make any direct copies and/or scans of Games Workshop publications, images, or other materials. This includes any Out-o- Production materials, web site materials, and White Dwarf articles. We would however suggest that you produce your own materials (as long as you follow the other requirements of this policy).
- Use our trademarks in respect of your domain name.
- Use our intellectual property in relation to any third party products or third party intellectual property.
- Alter our trademarks in any way.
- Use any of our IP without appropriately crediting the IP and using the appropriate disclaimers in accordance with this policy (see below).
- Create, distribute, or use any material that is not consistent with the functionality, atmosphere, and parameters of the Warhammer universe as created and owned by Games Workshop
- State that anything that you create using Games Workshop's intellectual property is "official."
- Create, distribute, or use any material that is derogatory, obscene, or offensive.
- Create, distribute, or use any material that devalues any Games Workshop product in any way.
In addition to the above rules, we have additional rules for specific uses of our IP. The following is a definitive list of activities and uses that Games Workshop will usually not take active steps to prevent. If your proposed use is not on the list, it is highly likely that we will not permit it. This list may change from time to time so please check it regularly.
Please don't use one of our trademarks to directly identify your web sit (e.g., "The Space Hulk Home Page"). This right is reserved for GW companies and formal licensees only.
This doesn't mean that you can't use our trademarks to talk about our stuff, it just means you need to make it clear that description is the reason why you are using them (e.g., "Cleanse and Burn - my web page dedicated to Games Workshop's Space Hulk game") is fine because you're using our trademarks to simply describe what your web page is about and because it identifies us as the publishers of the game.
Also, please do not use any material from the official Games Workshop websites. Instead, we suggest that you make your own.
Please don't use one of our registered trademarks as part of your web domain name. This right is reserved for GW companies and formal licensees only.
Unfortunately, we currently cannot give official "permission" for students to use our IP in relation to their studies for reasons of possible licensing conflicts. Unofficial permission would be governed by the remainder of this document and the specific use of the IP. We would point you in the direction of the "fair use" (US) or "fair dealing" (UK) rules in relation to copyright protected materials and research/educational usage. Be aware that there is not an equivalent doctrine for trademark usage.
We would ask you not to take direct scans or copies of our maps. We suggest that you create your own equivalents. Again, please avoid reproducing our trademarks.
If you simply make the terrain for yourself and you have no intention of selling it, any use of our IP in relation to your terrain will probably be okay. Do not reproduce our trademarks. However, as always, you cannot use our intellectual property in relation to a commercial activity - if you make and sell terrain, please avoid using any Games Workshop intellectual property in or in relation to that terrain. For example, do not sell it on Ebay as "Warhammer terrain," as it is not Warhammer terrain. Indeed, only Games Workshop could produce Warhammer Terrain.
Bandwidth Theft and Mirroring Resources
We do not tolerate deep linking to the pictures, images, PDFs or other downloads on our website. Such activity is bandwidth theft. Also, do not mirror the resources that we have on our websites. So, if you want other people to see the materials that we have produced, please use a simple HTML link to the relevant web page.
While we are likely to be happy for you to create your own desktop themes based upon our IP, please do not use our trademarks in those themes. In other words, do not use our logos and symbols, but please do draw your own version of a Wood Elf or Tyranid.
Photos of Painted Models
We encourage fellow hobbyists to show off their painting skills by taking photos of their miniatures and putting the on the site. Please remember to correctly credit the IP - "miniature © Games Workshop 2003. All rights reserved. Used without permission - model painted by xxxxxxx"
Background text is a major part of the hobby and writing your own is almost as much fun as reading it. Please remember to use the correct trademark disclaimer somewhere on your site, zip file and/or document. We would also ask that at the top of the material you state something equivalent to the following: "Death Ravine" an unofficial story by K. Roundtree derived, without permission, upon the Warhammer intellectual property owned by Games Workshop Ltd." Please note that we consider any background material you write to be a work which is derivative of our intellectual property. As such, you should refrain from putting any notice claiming that anyone other than Games Workshop Ltd has any right over Games Workshop-owned intellectual property or derivatives thereof.
We encourage fellow hobbyists to invent rules that work for them. There is no need to stick precisely to the published rules. However, if you are thinking about making your own Codex for your Space Marine chapter (in addition to following the other guidelines in this policy), please avoid making it look official as this may confuse gamers and amount to a challenge to our trademarks. Also, do not copy our official publications or documents.
Conversions are a major aspect of the hobby, although in intellectual property terms, they also constitute a major infringement. However, we are certainly not about to stop people making cool conversions of our products, although, there are certain things to keep in mind:
Please do not combine our intellectual properties with IP owned by any third parties.
Your conversions should be one-time, unique masterpieces of hobby goodness. Do not create a production run of conversions for sale. Whilst infringing our IP, this is also simply not hobby.
Do not cast any materials that are based upon Games Workshop material. Games Workshop has to maintain a strict policy on this to fight counterfeiters. We would also remind you that reproduction for personal use is NOT an automatic exclusion in respect of copyright protection in many territories worldwide.
While we know that it is always cool to see new material before it arrives on the shelves, we would ask you not to publish, or link to other sites that publish, any material that has not been officially reported or released by Games Workshop. This does not apply to small pieces of conjecture written in your "rumors" section (unless of course said "rumors" are akin to publishing unreleased material).
We have no problem with people using forums to express their love (or even hate) of the hobby. We would, however, ask people to bear in mind that the hobby is for people all ages. Please be careful of the language used and the topics discussed. We would strongly recommend that you avoid any discussion of illegal behavior.
The video games that our licensing partners have created have done an incredible job of bringing the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 games to life, and we appreciate that hobbyists may even want to make movies based upon our intellectual property. Unfortunately, due to the nuances of the law in some territories, we cannot allow any unlicensed movies to be created which are based upon our intellectual property.
Modifications, Total Conversions, and Games
Unfortunately, GW cannot allow thirds parties to use our IP without properly crediting our ownership. It is not possible to credit ownership with skins and accordingly we do not allow their creation.
Do not use our trademarks in relation to products that are not owned by or originate from Games Workshop (see Making Terrain above).
Do not associate our products or IP with any third party products or IP.
We would encourage you to use digital photographs of any materials that you are planning on selling. Do not use any materials from any GW website to sell the product.
We cannot allow users to make and or sell derivatives of our copyright protected material or our trademarks on the café press or any similar websites.
We would probably not take issue with anyone creating a web comic based upon our intellectual property - but as with forums, keep in mind that the hobby is for people of all ages. Please be careful of the language used and the topics discussed. We would strongly recommend that you avoid any topics concerning illegal behavior, obscenity, or libel.
Unfortunately, GW cannot allow third parties to use our trademarks without properly crediting our ownership, lest they be damaged. With fonts, it is difficult, if not impossible, to use the marks and credit Games Workshop as rightful owners. Accordingly, do not use our IP in relation to fonts.
As is the case with fonts, GW cannot allow third parties to use our trademarks without properly crediting our ownership, lest they be damaged. You may only create screen savers if it properly credits our IP. We would also remind you that you cannot alter or change our trademarks in any way.
We would probably not have a problem with anyone creating animations based upon our intellectual property - as long as there is no commercial connection to that creation. Again, please be careful of the language used and the topics discussed.
Club Names and Trademarks
We actively encourage hobbyists to begin their own clubs connected with the hobby. In fact, in most territories, we have an employee tasked with helping people set up and run their clubs. However, we would advise anyone with a club or starting a club to avoid directly using our trademarks (do not, for example call the club, "The Warhammer Club"). Instead, create your own names, such as "The Hellfire Hunters," "Da Narsty Boarz," or other, far more creative names than these pathetic examples.
Fanzines are a great way to immerse yourself in the hobby. However, if you are thinking about starting a fanzine, please do not use our trademarks. Again, we would remind you that the main principles set out at the head of this page apply to fanzines, as they do to all of the specific examples herein. Importantly, if you are creating a solely GW-focused fanzine, do not sell your fanzine and do not obtain any sponsorship.
Please do not scan, copy, or republish any out-of-print (OOP) materials. It may be that in the future we reuse or license out the use of this material.
Out of Production Games
We frequently get requests from the older hobbyists out there to make computer versions of our old games - some of you out there will remember games like Blockmania, Chainsaw Warrior and indeed Talisman from many years ago, and a lot of those that do remember them very fondly indeed. There are three good reasons why we cannot allow this - one of which is simply that it will necessarily make use of our copyright in ways that are not permitted anywhere else in this document. Secondly, providing a system for playing the game on the internet effectively means that you could play the game without having ever bought it originally, which therefore devalues Games Workshop products as outlined above. Finally, as with Talisman, it may be that we decide to revisit some of these games at some time in the future to create a better, updated version for all.
Avatars and similar monikers are now commonplace on nearly every forum or chat program that you come across. As cool as they may be, they can cause problems if the use our trademarks since we need to maintain the distinctiveness of our trademarks in relation to their origin.
If you want to use avatars and similar monikers, create them yourself and credit the origins of the IP in your message sign off.
T-shirts, Clothes, Tatoos and the Like
As always, we cannot allow third parties to obtain money from our intellectual property.
This effectively means that you would either have to buy Games Workshop T-shirts or clothes or make them yourself. You would not be able to sell any t-shirts or clothes that you make.
This also means that we cannot allow tattoos as an acceptable use of our IP as a third party necessarily has to perform the "service."
Costume Play / Live Role-Play (LRP)
We frequently get requests from the hobbyists out there that love our game worlds so much that they want to make costumes so as to bring them to life even more. To this end, this section does not contain special rules for costumes or live role-play - it is only to say that provided you comply with all the contents of this policy, it is something we are unlikely to object to.
Cardboard or Paper Conversions
Unfortunately, we cannot allow the printing or publishing of such conversions- such action devalues existing GW products.
If you have a web site or gaming club and you want to create something special for that club, it will have to be handmade. You cannot pay third parties to produce any materials using our intellectual property, and "using" is very broadly defined. Also, you should not make a production run of such materials.
We often get e-mails from hobbyists regarding our position on providing painting services for third parties. As always, we do not allow third parties to make money from our IP. Accordingly, any "painting service" must be entirely generic, i.e., it cannot state that it is a Games Workshop, 'Eavy Metal, or Golden Demon painting service. The service must not be based on the intellectual property, i.e., using the intellectual property (images, trademarks etc.) to "sell" itself. Nor must you exclusively paint Games Workshop's miniatures. The same would be true of any painting companion or guide - you must not make money from Games Workshop intellectual property without a license.
Model Conversion Kits
We do not allow unlicensed third parties to manufacture or produce conversion kits for our models. We need to be able to control our products and all derivatives thereto in order that we produce quality products for years to come.
Placing scans or copies of any Games Workshop material on an e-mail list or news group is a violation of our rights and amounts to a serious infringement. Please do not participate in this activity, and if you are aware of it, please write to the legal department on the following email address: email@example.com
Thank you very much for your compliance with the above policies. We know that there is a lot here and appreciate that you have taken the time to read it all.