EverQuest Fan Fiction Controversy

Verant bans a player from EverQuest for fan fiction that allegedly infringed on its intellectual property rights. Look for an interview with Verant here on Monday.

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A controversy has been brewing in the EverQuest community since Verant banned a player from the online role-playing game early this week for a story based on the EverQuest mythos. The player, who goes by "Mystere" in EverQuest, posted the fiction three months ago to an EQVault message board where users often contribute stories set in EverQuest's world of Norrath. EQVault, one of IGN's affiliates, has since pulled Mystere's fiction, although it has been reposted elsewhere.

In an official statement, a legal counsel to Sony Online stated that the issue is "about infringement of our intellectual property rights in a patently offensive manner that tarnishes the Sony, Verant, and EverQuest brands." The fan fiction is said to violate copyrights for the game, and Verant acted on this to initiate its banning procedure, which is used in cases of in-game cheating and misconduct. This is the first case where a fan-written story has drawn such a response from Verant, which reacted to the mature content of the story, describing the rape and subsequent escape of a young dark elf. Verant's actions have drawn an outcry from the EverQuest community, who charge that this is an excessive form of censorship, although Verant says this is not a First Amendment issue.

We have discussed the controversy with Verant and Sony Online, and Monday we will post an interview with the EverQuest team on the subject.

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