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Baby Takes Stand, Leaves Puddle In Witness Box

April 1, 2014

But not just any baby. I’m referring to Baby Murloc. Or one of them anyway.

If you’re not an online gamer, you may not be familiar with Baby M.

Baby Murlocs are aquatic humanoid creatures in World of Warcraft. They first came to my attention back in 2012, when I was doing a wacky lawsuits feature for Inside Counsel Magazine. I first mentioned Baby M’s in this post.

What does a Baby Murloc look like? That’s one on the witness stand below. The judge, prosecutor, and jury are all WoW characters, too.

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courtroom scene for lawsuit involving the online game World of Warcraft and voice and song for aquatic creature called Baby Murloc

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What was the lawsuit all about? I knew you were going to ask me that.

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World of Warcraft is owned by Blizzard Entertainment. An employee (now ex-employee) sued the company for copyright infringement and misappropriation of her voice.

The employee developed the voice and created an original song for the Baby Murloc character. However,  she claimed that her role at the company (“game master”) was a customer service position, and that providing creative content was not part of her job description.

Hence, she deserved additional compensation for her contribution. The company disagreed with that scenario. She sued.

So was the above illustration for Inside Counsel Magazine? No. The commission came from a surprising source.

Here’s a detail showing the main characters in our little drama.

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detail image for courtroom scene for lawsuit involving the online game World of Warcraft and voice and song for aquatic creature called Baby Murloc

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When I did my original Strange Suits post back in May, 2012, I noted that the Baby Murloc case was one of four contenders for the Inside Counsel feature that month. But
it was not selected by the editors. It only got as far as the “rough sketch” stage.

Then a funny thing happened.

The case dragged on for more than a year. The company finally won– the court ruled the ex-employee was not entitled to additional compensation.

At some point, the lead attorney for the company sat down and googled “Baby Murloc lawsuit” to see if the case was sparking any commentary online. That’s how he came across my rather messy rough sketch.

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sketch for a courtroom legal cartoon about someone who is suing Blizzard Entertainment which owns electronic game World of Warcraft, plaintiff says Blizzard stole the voice and song of the Warcraft game's Baby Murloc character

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The case was still pending at that point. After he won, he contacted me and commissioned the illustration. I sent him the digital file, and two printed copies. He planned to hang one on his wall and present the other to his client, Blizzard Entertainment, as a momento of their hard-fought victory.

Here’s the final again.

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courtroom scene for lawsuit involving the online game World of Warcraft and voice and song for aquatic creature called Baby Murloc

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Are you a gamer? Ever heard of a Baby Murloc before?

Do you have any oddities hanging on your wall to commemorate special “wins”?

Ever had a guest leave a puddle in your living room witness box??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2014 5:54 PM

    You realize of course that the real winner in this case is you, my friend. Winner of our hearts! Case closed! 🙂

    Like

    • April 2, 2014 9:57 AM

      Dear Marina!! Could I possibly hope for a better advocate to plead my case?? No, no, and no!! You have put a tremulous smile on my face, and reduced me to an absolute puddle of appreciation… : )

      Heartfelt thanks from a grateful heart!! : )

      Like

  2. April 2, 2014 10:47 PM

    Baby Murloc is so cute. I’m surprised she didn’t win the hearts and minds of the jurors. Intriguing case, Mark, and an excellent illustration. No wonder the company’s attorney sought you out. Case closed. You’re the illustrator I’d want working for me. 😉

    Like

    • April 7, 2014 9:58 AM

      Ah, my dear Judy!! Baby Murloc is singing your praises, and so am I!! Thank you for that lovely comment. When it comes to kindness and being supportive, the verdict is unanimous: you are The Best!! : )

      Like

  3. soul . to . earth permalink
    April 3, 2014 9:57 AM

    Ah! If only the company had sung in a righteous, brotherly tone to Gee Am Gonna Sue Baby to pacify and not rattle the case:

    You’re trying hard not to show it, (baby).
    But baby, baby we know it…😠
    You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling,
    Whoa, that lovin’ feeling,
    You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling,
    Now it’s gone…gone…gone…waaah, waaah, waaah. 😭
    Now there’s no welcome look in your eyes when we reach for you.
    And girl you’re starting to criticize little things we do.
    It makes us just feel like crying, (baby).
    ‘Cause baby, something beautiful’s dyin’.
    💔

    [Question to the Universe aka nobody in particular: Is copyright-ousness valid for fair share of both profit AND loss? Ah! Naïve, simple-minded, silly me.]
    —————————————————————————
    Mark, your work and humour are a cut above the rest. Hee, hee, pun recycled from previous post. 😀 Happy spring to you, mon ami!

    Like

    • April 7, 2014 12:02 PM

      Whoa, whoa, whoa!! This amazingly melodious comment knocked me for a Little Latin Lupe Loop!!

      When I read “sung in a righteous brotherly tone,” I laughed so hard, I knocked over my box of Ebb Tide detergent!!

      My dear Radhika!! I think you’ve created a new art form: Performance Commentary!! I used to love the song parodies in Mad Magazine whenever they’d parody a musical of some kind. I can see it’s another of your many talents. Too bad we can’t put a virtual guitar case next to your lyrics so visitors could toss in bitcoins!!

      “Copyright-ousness” also made me laugh. Yes, funny how no one ever seems particularly “copyright-ous” when there’s no money to be gained from it… : )

      Your wonderful comment and support have caused daffodils to sprout up all around me– merci beaucoup mon petit renoncule!! : )

      Like

  4. soul . to . earth permalink
    April 7, 2014 5:09 PM

    Thanks for making me laugh so much! This Reno-cool soul wishes you a Wordsworth-ian dance with unchained, melodious daffodils.

    Whoa! I’d totally forgotten that as a kid, I lived on Mad Magazine humour (another feather in my Dad’s cap). Since they weren’t available in India (’twas the early 80s), my Mom used to buy them secondhand at a recycling store. Thanks for that flashbulb of self-realization……you dazzle me, Sir/Guru LOL.

    [Remember how in MM, the cartoon character walked outta the strip saying, I refuse to return until this story makes sense? :D]

    Like

    • April 10, 2014 1:01 PM

      Unchained Daffodils… Walt a concept!! The petals, my friend, are blowin’ in the wind… yup, that’s what happens when you unchain daffodils… : )

      My dear Radhika–! I’m not a bit surprised you grew up on Mad. You definitely exhibit that Mad sensibility– and that’s, well, a righteous thing… : )

      I don’t recall a specific character walking out of a Mad story, refusing to return until it started making sense. However, it sure sounds like the work of Will Elder, perhaps the maddest artist who ever worked for Mad. He was justifiably famous for trying to squeeze every possible gag into a panel. His stuff always reduced me to tears, and probably accounts for the pronounced warp in my own sense of humor… : )

      Keep acting out, you Reno-cool soul, you!! : )

      Like

  5. April 9, 2014 6:03 PM

    Are you a gamer?

    I am, through and through. I married into a gaming family that started back in the early years of Dungeons & Dragons– Basic Set and 1st ed.

    I played Blizzard’s Diablo titles (save the newest one), but know little of Warcraft (World of Warcraft is based on their earlier titles simply titled “Warcraft”, which had three parts).

    Like

    • April 10, 2014 2:28 PM

      I always knew you were a “game guy,” Jak, but now I see it goes further– you’re also a gamer guy… : )

      The idea of marrying into a gaming family makes me smile. I wonder if there’s a plot line there, for a book or a movie. Non-gamer marries into gamer family, finds himself in an epic battle to save the world!! A riff on the old Bewitched television series, I suppose, but it might have possibilities. Please start work on it tonight, and let’s plan for at least 10 books in the series… : )

      Always good to see you, keep fightin’ them dragons! : )

      Like

      • April 10, 2014 5:35 PM

        Oh, we’ve already got that, Mark. Check out Wil Wheaton (well known from Star Trek: TNG) and Felicia Day in “The Guild.” You can find it on YouTube.

        I very much enjoyed this story about this unusual commission, Mark. Anything that will bring us gamers good PR 🙂

        Like

        • April 14, 2014 9:11 AM

          The Guild… dear me, Jak, I seem to be behind the curve (again!)– thanks for catching me up. I always liked Wesley Crusher, good to know he’s doing well… : )

          Many thanks for your good-humored support, sir! : )

          Like

        • April 14, 2014 11:34 AM

          You’re quite welcome– Wil Wheaton loves and appreciates his fans, and it’s not too tough to find out what he’s doing.

          (He blogs on TypePad, however; shame, that.)

          Like

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