Bioware Getting It Bass Ackwards

Over at Kill Ten Rats, Ravious has a post up discussing the recent Bioware emails sent out to SW:TOR fan sites. Apparently, the legal boffins are saying that Bioware cannot promote fan sites if those sites are making money, if it’s just enough to pay for hosting and on-going costs. While the emails aren’t a legal threat, they’re simply saying that Bioware would like to promote the fan sites, but won’t if there’s money being made.

But hang on.

Last I heard, a fan site is set up because the owner is a fan, and wants to let everyone else know about the game.

You’ve got to wonder about the mentality present in a company if they’re worried that the  free publicity for the game they’ve lovingly labored over for the last umpteen years is making someone else a few dollars.

After all, they are happy to give the commercial MMORPG blogs like Ten Ton Hammer, Massively, and interviews and lots of beta keys; and these sites are making a vast amount more than a little old fan site. Why do they care if the owner of a fan site makes something on the side?


  1. matt

    When Bioware gives out SWTOR for free without a monthly subscription, then they can tell people to stop adding ads to their fansites. Only fair.

  2. Genda

    I’ve run a fan site. I didn’t make a nickel the entire 5 years, unless you count lunches with the dev teams. And those lunches were after I got myself there, no one sent for me.

    If you make a nickel operating the average fan site you’ve had a good year. Unless you are independently wealthy a fan site isn’t something most people would be able to do for a living. Unfortunately, lawyers are involved and Lucas is involved and I suspect that has as much to do with this as anything. I DO understand the need to protect your assets but there may have been a better way to couch this.

  3. Stropp (Post author)

    The issue I have isn’t whether a fan site operator is making money or not, I know the likelihood falls into the “or not” category. It’s that a company that in many ways relies on the goodwill of fans and the publicity provided by fan sites, would begrudge a fan site the ability to at least cover hosting costs in the first place.

    Genda, regardless of the contractual side of things, there’s a much better way than getting the lawyers involved.

    And, it’s kind of ironic given how much Lucas owes to fans in the first place.

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