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Of eBay, Infringement and World of Warcraft

24 year-old Brian Kopp of Bronson Florida has taken a page from his personal online gaming guide and attacked a real world behemoth. Kopp authored his own gaming guide entitled The Ultimate World of Warcraft Leveling & Gold Guide.

Kopp began selling the guide on eBay, but eBay repeatedly removed his auctions after complaints from Blizzard Entertainment, its parent company Vivendi Universal, and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), owners of World of Warcraft intellectual property. Kopp responded that his guide did not infringe any intellectual property rights and the auctions were subsequently reinstated. After numerous complaints, however, eBay eventually terminated Kopp’s eBay account.

Kopp responded with a Federal lawsuit , filed yesterday, demanding damages for lost sales, an injunction against any future interference with his auctions and a declaratory judgment that his guide is non-infringing. While it is rare for a small seller to sue such a large company, the lack of any clear rulings on such issues, combined with the relative ease of putting together such lawsuits will undoubtedly lead to more and more such litigation in the future.

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