One of the things that I always wondered about was just precisely what you could and couldn't get away with in regards to making films using World of Warcraft. After all, the characters on my account are Blizzard's IP. I could argue about not being paid for it, but I've always been curious about the larger legal issues involved.
Blizzard has finally put out what they consider to be their acceptable use policies in regards to machinima created using Blizzard's IP. After listening to the talk that Matt Kelland and Clint Hackleman gave during the Machinima 101 panel at Dragon*Con, I'm pretty happy to see that Blizzard has taken such a step to reach out to the community. This open letter lets artists know they have the potential ability to get licenses to show their work, and just how much commercial "sponsorship" is acceptable. It also defines where many of the boundaries are (for example their edict that movie/video content remain consistent with World of Warcraft's "T" rating) that I feel will hopefully help to clear some things up on where the artists stand in all of this legally.
For those of you who are budding machinimators, check out Blizzard's open letter. It's fairly straightforward reading, and they've gone so far as to put a contact email address in for specific concerns not outlined in their letter. With these guidelines in hand, hopefully artists will feel free to go in even more creative directions in the future.
[via Hugh "Nomad" Hancock, author of Machinima for Dummies]