Even Blizzard was amused by the URL prankster who forwarded Diablo fans to Path of Exile

    
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One of the fun sideshows going on during the whole BlizzCon Diablo Immortal center-ring fiasco was the dude who bought the playdiablo4.com domain and immediately began cheekily forwarding it on to Path of Exile’s website.

Apparently, however, this week Blizzard’s laywers reached out the prankster – Zeiin on Reddit – and requested he take it down and transfer it to Blizzard, saying he was “committing an obvious act of cybersquatting and trademark infringement.” Zeiin says he refused to hand over the domain he was paying for, though he did agree to stop using it to promote Path of Exile. As of right now, it’s redirecting…

to a google search on “phones.” Still snickering over here.

Lest you be tempted to nail Blizzard to the wall over this, the poster himself points out that he has “no malice” towards the company over it. “Please stop attacking Blizzard over this! This is standard procedure,” he says. “GGG owns the POE website and they’re a direct competitor of Blizzard with regards to Diablo. The lawyer clarified that Blizzard did find the joke funny too, but they also needed this done to minimize harm. It’s not their fault.” Of course, we’ll see if he keeps that cheerful attitude if the lawyers try to force a court to give up his URL. Then again, maybe Blizzard could just deal with a little cheek and not risk alienating its customerbase further.

Source: Reddit. Thanks, Pepperzine!
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Polychromantium

Hey check out http://playdiablo5.com

My curiosity struck gold!

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Dug From The Earth

“…its not their (Blizzards) fault”

A company does something that upsets fans, hurting their revenue…. but hey, its not their fault.

Seems like a core problem with the corporate gaming world to me. Seems like if things are going to improve, Blizzard needs to not only admit, but actually believe that the hardships they are facing right now ARE their fault. That way they can work at improving. As long as “its not their fault”, there is nothing that is seen as needing to be improved or fixed.

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James

He should make a game called Playdiablo 4 and stick his fingers up to blizzard.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Amused, maybe.

“Blizzard’s laywers reached out the prankster – Zeiin on Reddit – and requested he take it down and transfer it to Blizzard”

But not that amused.

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Tanek

Does it have any relation to this?

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Utakata

If I could of been a lawyer. One pigtail would work the defendant and the other one for the prosecution. So I would get double the fees, but I am digressing here…

…interesting story though! o.O

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starbuck1771

Only if the person in the middle can handle the conflict of interest lawsuit. 😈

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Utakata

…the Gnome in the middle would already have recused them self from the proceedings. Only to check up on the phat dividends entering my back account. <3

(Although this is making it sound like something my Goblins would do. :( )

Mewmew
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Mewmew

I doubt the defendant has that much money really to go up against a company like Blizzard. I don’t know who he is but it just seems like a joke some average person did.

Though I wouldn’t turn the domain over to them either unless I was really forced to. He thought up the name and purchased it. People know enough about Diablo to know that’s not really a Diablo site and there is no Diablo 4 as of yet. There is no actual confusion taking place. Maybe just put a disclaimer at the bottom of the site or something as extra protection.

I sure wouldn’t hand it over to them though. Maybe if they wanted to pay me enough I would :P I get that companies don’t do that like they once did and they don’t want people making sites they have to pay for left and right, but still if they want it offer some money for it. They didn’t just say to take it down after all, they said to hand it over to them.

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Bryan Correll

From the domain holder’s reddit post:

Did say that if Blizzard planned on using it actively for something that falls under their trademark, I’ll give it up no questions asked, for free. Lawyer guy said he’d get back to me after he talked to Blizzard people again, don’t see why he’d need to though.

So he basically said they could have it back as soon as they were willing to say there was actually going to be a Diablo 4. With that condition in place it would be hard to pursue legal action without stirring up a whole mess of bad PR. As long as he doesn’t use it for commercial reasons, that is. And the phone search is way more funny than the PoE redirect anyway.

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Darthbawl

While it was quite cheeky and humorous, the U.S. Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) is going to run against him. He can whine all he wants about paying to register the domain, doesn’t matter. He needs to just go ahead and release the domain to Blizzard and call it a day.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

unless it falls under Fair Use as satire. I’m not sure, I don’t know if anyone has attempted a Fair Use argument for a URL

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

So it looks like fair-use for parody / satire and nominal use does apply here.

Keep in mind, though, if you register a domain containing a trademark but are using it for a non-commercial purpose like parody or criticism, then you are free to use that trademark. People can refer to trademarks rather freely in their creative work because of the doctrines of fair use and nominal use.

https://www.newmediarights.org/business_models/artist/domain_name_subject_copyright_law

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starbuck1771

Actually it doesn’t because his site doesn’t involve criticism,commentary, or parody.

However it was being used to draw profit for a competing brand until he changed it to phones. That’s where the legal issue is.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

It could be reasonably argued that the parody/criticism was the redirection to both PoE and the phone search. It’s not much of a stretch to claim criticism of the topic at hand with either one of those redirects.

The only way would it wouldn’t qualify for fair use under parody / satire is if the domain owner was getting kick-backs from PoE/ GGG (thereby getting profit), which it would be up to Blizzard . Someone else profiting the parody doesn’t technically violate fair use. Blizzard would have to accuse the domain owner of getting monetary benefit from either the redirection to PoE or the phone sales.

Then the domain owner would be responsible for proving there was no financial gain and therefore falls under Fair Use.

I still think he’s in the clear here.

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starbuck1771

Tell that to Goldieblox who the Beastie Boys had pay $1M to STEM for using a parody of Girls in an unaired advertisement violating Adam Yauch’s final wishes that their music not be used in advertisements.

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Cosmic Cleric

I think where the site sends you to IS the parody, contextually speaking.

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Darthbawl

Looks like if the person does not “have a bad faith intent to profit from the mark” that they might be able to get away with it. I would still personally not push the matter with a company as big as Blizzard though. Point has been made, humor has been had.

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Robert Mann

Yeah, that domain name is just begging for trouble. Sorry, they won’t let that go. Not because this guy is doing something terrible with it, but because if they do there will be 40 trillion versions of websites playing off their IPs based on the precedent.

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Bruno Brito

They were amused that Diablo 4 already exists, and it’s better than any crap they can come up with.