As many of you know, Blizzard has recently taken Valve to court over who should own the rights to the name DotA. Valve filed a copyright claim to just the name ‘DOTA’ in 2010. This was a smart move on Valve’s part.
If they had laid claim to the name ‘Defense of the Ancients’ Blizzard would have had more of a case, considering Ancients are a part of Warcraft lore.
However, I’m not convinced Valve should have filed a copyright claim on the name ‘DOTA’ at all. DotA has always been what basically amounts to public property. Many different developers and teams have all worked on DotA over the years.
It’s hard to even say who owns it from an intellectual property standpoint anymore. Eul created it, but IceFrog has put in substantially more time into the game. He is also arguably the reason DotA is where it is today. However, if it wasn’t for Guinsoo, IceFrog never would have had access to DotA.
Luckily, for Valve, both Eul and IceFrog are working on DOTA 2, while Guinsoo is off at Riot, working on League of Legends. So that may give Valve some leeway in court. Which is just as well, seeing as how they ought to be the ones making DOTA 2?
Blizzard had seven years to do something with DotA. All they did was neglect the community. Blizzard has even publicly stated, at Blizzcon, that they think DotA is a poorly made game fraught with bad mechanics.
Which makes me wonder what Blizzard’s motivations are. Do they just want to reduce DOTA 2’s sales? Are their intentions purely malicious? Does it really matter if Valve copyrights the name ‘DOTA’? They intentionally didn’t try to claim the name ‘Defense of the Ancients’, so couldn’t Blizzard just use that name for their new game?
Everyone who knows what DotA is, knows what it stands for. So I can’t imagine Blizzard would lose out on any sales, using the full name, over the acronym.
It all seems to come full circle. If Valve hadn’t filed for copyright claims, would any of this occurred? ‘DOTA’ shouldn’t be owned by anyone. It was made by the community, for the community. Ironically, we’re the ones that stand to lose the most.
It’s no secret that the success of this genre, is in large part due to its dedicated fan base. So if either Valve or Blizzard loses out on the recognizable title that is ‘DOTA’, then it’s the community that loses out on dedicated players.
It’s the community that loses out on important feedback, suggestions, ideas, and voices that keep this genre so fresh. The real shame, is that this will be decided by the judicial system and not us.