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WWE files lawsuit against PWSE


Guest Ulam
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A few days back, a World Wrestling Entertainment representative e-mailed Stuart Smith of PWSE.net concerning possible copyright infringement.

Professional Wrestling Simulator Enthusiast :: PWSE

Sender's Name: Stacy L. DelPriore

July 22, 2004

Via Email

Re: Unauthorized Use of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Intellectual Property: WWE Images, SMACKDOWN, RAW

Our File: WWEUKIINF112

To Whom It May Concern:

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. ("WWE") is the exclusive owner of numerous trademarks, service marks, and copyrights. WWE as the premier provider of wrestling entertainment services, has through extensive use and promotion of its intellectual property, established substantial and valuable good will in its intellectual property. As such, WWE vigilantly protects its intellectual property rights and does not tolerate any infringement of the same.

We have recently acquired evidence that you are infringing our trademarks specifically by using the WWE DIVA trademark as the name of your Breakout videogame that is available for download on your www.pwse.net website. Your use of WWE's intellectual property constitutes actionable trademark infringement, and dilution in violation of federal trademark and criminal and unfair competition law.

Moreover, your use of a WWE copyrighted images constitutes actionable copyright infringement.

In the interest of resolving this matter amicably, we demand that you:

1. immediately and permanently stop using all WWE trademarks and images on your www.pwse.net website , or any other mark or logo that may be confusingly similar to any of our trademarks, or any WWE copyrighted images, now or in the future;

2. agree to pay WWE damages for your infringing use of its trademarks and copyrighted images;

3. confirm in writing that you have complied with all of WWE's demands by signing and returning a copy of the Acknowledgement included below.

The demands made herein are not made to the exclusion of other remedies to which WWE is entitled and WWE specifically reserves the right to seek all remedies available to it under federal and state law as a result of your infringing activities. In addition, by signing this document in the space provided below, and agreeing to cooperate as set forth herein, you represent that you are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the www.pwse.net domain name.

If we do not hear from you by August 2, 2004 we shall be forced to take further legal action.

Sincerely,

Stacy L. DelPriore

Associate Counsel

Stuart's response...

July 30th 2004

Re: Unauthorized Use of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Intellectual

Property: WWE Images, SMACKDOWN, RAW

Our File: WWEUKIINF112

Dear Miss Del Priore,

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding PWSE copyright infringement to your product. Not being totally aware of your product I must apologise for any problems we have caused. All reference to the below offences have been removed please accept our humble apology.

PWSE.net is the biggest freeware wrestling simulation resource site on the internet today. None of the simulators on the site are property of PWSE and I feel your research seems to be a little inaccurate as to what our site is about.

PWSE provides an alternative to commercial wrestling games that your company distributes. None of the work PWSE does or any of the sims (games) on PWSE are profited for. I must say that I find it appalling a company like WWE threatens its fans with lawsuits simply for making free games.

Maybe you people at WWE should taking a closer interest in its fans and the sort of games we want to see and have to resort making ourselves. You might then truly understand where you go wrong with your gaming products.

If you would like further information on PWSE.net or the sort of work we do please do not hesitate to contact us. I hope this issue has been resolved.

Our apology's once again

Regards

Stuart Smith

Now, as stated above, PWSE is a non-profit organization, and legally owns none of the simulators listed on its database. Now, this matter was resolved in an orderly fashion, but if it was not, the charges pressed by WWE would result in a huge financial problem for PWSE - namely a $80,000 (American) problem. This is not the worst case scenario, though, as I fully expect WWE to follow through with their investigation and nail PWSE for other licensed infringements, regardless if PWSE is responsible for these infringements or not. As long as an "illegal" sim is featured on its website, WWE assuredly thinks that PWSE is to blame on the whole.

I have no idea if this is a rising occurance, but I would suggest that you, the public, take greater care and caution whenever you post WWE copyrighted material in a place where it can be easily accessed and is distributed for free, a great example being a website. Apparently Vince means business, and will go to any lengths necessary to make sure that we can not entertain ourselves with profit-less endeavours featuring anything containing WWE-related content.

Edited by Ulam
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It's been said before, but I just wish the WWE would focus more on the product they're making, and less on what we're doing on the net.

Now I can understand them going after places where you can download PPVs and such, but really, little efeds and freeware games aren't going to hurt them at all. It's not like someone out there is having a really hard time deciding on whether or not they should buy the new Smackdown game or just download EWR...

The WWE should be happy that the fans are interested enough in their characters and products to write efed promos and make small free games. It's not undermining the real WWE product, it's just fans being enthusiastic.

Basically, I'd compare it to Buffy fans writing fanfics. It's not hurting actual Buffy storylines or the Buffy universe in general, it's just letting the fans take part in it.

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2. agree to pay WWE damages for your infringing use of its trademarks and copyrighted images;

If what is said is true and it is up to $80,000 I think this is very harsh by the WWE. PWSE have taken down the material, and no real damage was done to WWE, there is no need to take it that far in my opinion. It's quite pathetic of WWE to try and close down non profit wrestling sims.

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Apparently Vince means business

God, I hate when people say stuff like that. Vince has nothing to do with this, it's the WWE's lawyers. The WWE pays people to look for stuff like this and then they threaten legal action. Jesus, it's like people think Vince is sitting on a throne demanding his troops take down the sim world. Now, the WWE's legal department are assholes, no doubt about it, but I don't see how they can have a leg to stand on when they're not making a profit.

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i don´t see were anny damage to WWE was caused by using thes images sinc you can find them all over the net for free annyway, heck even on the WWEdivas page, that shourly sounds like annyone made ore lost 80.000$ throu it.

I can understand WWEs basic point against free games using their names though.

Edited by Michael Matzat
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WWE: Pissing of their loyal fans on a daily basis.

I don't think it's quite so loyal anymore :P

It's pathetic when WWE is shutting down fansites like this, what harm does it do? Most E-Feds carry the notes saying that the fed isn't related to the WWE in any way and I think PWSE does as well doesn't it? Their is a reason lawyers are hated.

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It's sad, unfortunate, and a bit pathetic that the legal team has resorted to this, but they do have a leg to stand on since ultimately they are distributing games which have the WWE product. Even though they are not making a profit they are still providing links for it for easy resources.

Does anyone know what happened afterwards since it's after August 2nd?

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i don´t see were anny damage to WWE was caused by using thes images sinc you can find them all over the net for free annyway, heck even on the WWEdivas page, that shourly sounds like annyone made ore lost 80.000$ throu it.

I can understand WWEs basic point against free games using their names though.

It's not the pictures, it's the use of the term "WWE Divas" a term that is trademarked by the WWE.

Had they not named the game WWE Divas Breakout, there most likely would not be a problem.

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  • Admin

I'm not sure what to make of this. Over the years I've heard about and been privy to people being contacted by the WWE's "legal team" and being instructed to remove various WWE-related images and references, it always turned out to be a hoax.

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Guest ryan_the_canuck

There's only one possible answer...Adam Ryland's secret project is a booker sim for WWE!

(What? Am I the only one who remembers the "Adam's programming for WWE" rumors that somehow came about because of an EWR RULES sign at RAW?)

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Guest Red Devil

I'm not a whizz on law but i thought if you didn't make a profit from it I.E EWR that you could keep on producing it without being sued, is that wrong?

The WWE are just going to alienate more of the fanbase this way because the people who are doing this are the WWE fans who have enough passion with the product to pay for it and help it along so for me it's just plain stupid.

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  • Admin

I'm not a whizz on law but i thought if you didn't make a profit from it I.E EWR that you could keep on producing it without being sued, is that wrong?

The WWE are just going to alienate more of the fanbase this way because the people who are doing this are the WWE fans who have enough passion with the product to pay for it and help it along so for me it's just plain stupid.

No. Anytime you use copyrighted material without permission from the copyright owner, you're breaking copyright law and you can be sued; whether or not you charge is only relevant when it comes to damages.

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Damages come out to exactly nothing, especially since the WWE didn't know about PWSE's existance since they started bullying websites in order to get their content removed.

Seriously; who's going to take WWE Diva Breakout over WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain, free or not? Rediculous.

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  • Admin

Damages come out to exactly nothing, especially since the WWE didn't know about PWSE's existance since they started bullying websites in order to get their content removed.

Seriously; who's going to take WWE Diva Breakout over WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain, free or not? Rediculous.

This is why I'm inclined to think this is a hoax. There are literally hundreds of sites out there that steal WWE's images and post WWE's media, etc; yet for some reason they're picking on PWSE because they're using the term "WWE Diva" ?

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