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Curse launches oddly familiar WoW database

Eliah Hecht

There are quite a few WoW database sites out there. Thottbot was the first big one that I was aware of; other big sites include Allakhazam, the Goblin Workshop, and of course Wowhead. Then there are some lesser-known contenders (at least to me; it took me a bit to come up with them), like, WarCry (I use their news constantly, but never saw the database), GameAmp, WoW Guru, WoWDigger, and TenTonHammer (again, I know TTH for news, but didn't know they had a DB).

And now Curse, long one of the big names in Add-On and news sites, is throwing their hat into the ring with the very capitalized WOWDB, which appears to be in beta right now. It seems like a pretty complete database; it's got all the items, quests, NPCs, and so on that you would expect from a serious act like Curse. But hold on a minute, doesn't it looks a bit similar to a certain other WoW database site of which Curse doesn't seem to be too fond? (Update: Curse has contacted us to say that the linked article wasn't written by anyone on their staff-- instead, it was posted by a user of their site, and that they have no ill will towards Affinity Media or Wowhead). Ignore the Wrath of the Lich King-esque blues for a second, and...oh. Oh dear. Well, at least it's a good design they're copying from, I suppose. See the gallery below for more comparison screenshots. What do you guys think -- is this within the bounds of inspiration and homage, or a blatant rip-off?

Update: Someone named Kody, who claims to be a representative of Curse, has appeared in our comments, and claims that Curse has obtained an "exclusive content contract" with WoWWiki for the use of their information. An interesting claim, especially since most of the content on WoWWiki (written by users) should be covered under Wikia's terms of use and the GNU Free Documentation License, and thus available for use to anyone who credits and sources it. We've sent requests to both Kody and WoWWiki for more information.

Another update after the jump.

Gallery: Wowhead vs WOWDB | 8 Photos

Update 2: Kevin Van Ness, Content and Community Manager for Curse, has officially responded to us, saying that he recognizes the similarity between the two sites, and says it's the result of the creator, who had previously been working on a Lord of the Rings Online database that was also very similar to Wowhead, creating a design that was "very much inspired by Wowhead." (WoW Insider notes that it is up to Wowhead, the originators of the design, to decide whether it is a result of inspiration or a blatant ripoff.)

Van Ness also points out that the WOWDB design includes a number of unique features, and says that Curse will implement more in the future.

On the subject of WoWWiki, Van Ness says that Curse entered an agreement with WoWWiki to create a portal to the wiki via their site, and it is WoW Insider's belief that their use of WoWWiki content on WOWDB falls not under any "exclusive contract agreement," but under the standard Wikia Terms of Use, which allow any site to reprint Wikia content, as long as it is sourced, credited and licensed appropriately.

Update 3: WoWWiki (and Wikia) have confirmed the information above.

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