Anyway, I understand why GW is hurling out cease and desist letters like Pez out of a cartoon character's trachea, but I was really surprised to find out how far they were going.
About a year or so ago, I ordered some parts from a guy who used Shapeways to print his products. I gave them a favorable review on this blog, exchanged a few pleasantries with the designer, and that was that. He's a totally nice guy, and he's just into the hobby; he's no Scibor or Chapterhouse.
I'm being super general here because I don't want to bother him to get permission to post the whole story, but he very recently messaged me to tell me that he was taking these pieces offline because he had received a friendly Cease and Desist:
Just wanted to you to know that I will remove my [REDACTED], the ones you reviewed last year. I got a friendly letter from GW asking me politely to remove it. They write it is to similar to [their version]. I wanted to build [them] but I think I created something new. It's just a hobby project. I like GW and are not looking for a fight so I'll remove it shortly.You'll have to trust me on this one, but I assure you that they looked nothing like the ones on Forgeworld. This is, in my opinion, a true candidate for anti-SLAPP. But I'm not an attorney, and I'm sure this genuinely nice guy just doesn't want the hassle. I don't blame him for just discontinuing them.
As a musician, I can tell you that I despise pirates whether they are recasting or torrenting mp3s, but by carpet bombing the community with C&Ds - and that must be what's happening for someone with this small of a product line to get hassled - I think they are really harming themselves. That's really the shame of this whole wave of legal action. There's really no easy way to protect your ip "gently". Creative Commons doesn't really apply here, so it's all or nothing. At least they've given tacit approval to the Lord Inquisitor project, but we'll see where that leads.
And to the unnamed designer: Thanks for a well-designed product. I will use them to crush my enemies, but with a bittersweet tinge of regret. :)