Activision’s Call of Duty series is one of the best selling franchises of all time, but not everyone’s a fan.
When Infinity Ward introduced Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007, the world was smitten. Fast-forward to 2011, some 30 Infinity Ward employees fired later, and you have a near coup on the cusp of boiling over. Activision senses this, and is now learning the hard way the importance of being the early bird.
“Modern Warfare 3 is an copy and paste experience that looks exactly like Modern Warfare 2,” reads an excerpt from ModernWarfare3.com. Wait, what? Is this some sort of new promotional gimmick Activision’s cooked up? Not exactly, as the anti-Modern Warfare site is not controlled by Activision and was registered in March…of 2009. The impending release of Modern Warfare 3 has caused anticipation to soar, and with it so have the page views of ModernWarfare3.com, home to more than a few choice words for the current champion of first-person shooters.
The site urges visitors to “forgettabout Modern Warfare 3” and to “buy Battlefield 3 instead.” Not one to take things lying down (just ask Bobby Kotick’s “friends” Jason West and Vince Zampella), Activision filed a complaint against the website and hopes to take control of the domain.
“Warning: This website is under siege,” reads the ModernWarfare3.com homepage in reference to Activision’s recent action. The complaint makes a case for Activision by citing the company’s prominent promotion and its franchise’s volume of sales to build the Modern Warfare brand into a “highly distinctive and famous trademark.” The document suggests such extensive use of the brand entitles the company to exclusive rights of Modern Warfare promotional properties.
Activision first approached the site with a take down notice, causing ModernWarfare3.com to retaliate by directing the site to Electronic Art’s Battlefield 3 instead. “Such use of the domain name in connection with a site devoted exclusively to promoting a competitive product is an even more egregious infringement of Complainant’s [Activision’s] Mark,” the complaint reads.
I can’t help but think Activision is wasting their time and hurting themselves by this action. Call of Duty is a multi-billion dollar franchise, and one tiny website probably won’t even put a chink in their armor; especially when the website doesn’t try to hide its bias and unprofessionalism with poorly written attacks on the Modern Warfare brand. Mr. Kotick would do well to learn the meaning of “haters gon’ hate.”
Complaint Transmittal Cover Sheet
IGN PC; Activision Wants ModernWarfare3.com; Jim Reilly; July 2011