LARPing Company Sued Then Silenced

In the past, there have been cases where people have attempted to use the law to manipulate and control people’s choices. From the recent case of the hoverboard company raided at CES only to then have the case dropped before it appeared at court, we can see that some companies may be using the very same law we rely on to protect us against their competitors. This was something Jordan Gwyther found out the hard way when he opened up the website Larping.org.

Larping, short for live-action role playing, is an event where people dress up to a theme and act out battles or events in character. From a medieval village (with modern day toilets) to a battle scene between elves and knights, larping is enjoyed by hundreds. Gwyther founded larping.org to act as a communications hub for larping fans everywhere, with the ability to talk to other LARPers and find events the site proved popular. Gwyther started to use the site to sell popular items amongst LARPers, such as armour or latex/foam weapons.

In order to sell the foam arrows, Gwyther imports them from a german company, selling them on in the U.S. for just over $2,000. That was until Global Archery, an Indiana-based company who also sell foam arrows under the name Archery tag, decided to sue Gwyther for patent and trademark infringement.

Gwyther went to court only to find that Global Archery bragged about having a $150,000 budget for the litigation, a fund that father of two Gwyther could not match without help. In order to combat the lawsuit, Gwyther started up a GoFundMe campaign titled “Save LARP Archery”. Seems this didn’t go down too well either as Global Archery have now requested that his pleas for help be silenced in the form of a restraining order.

The restraining order states that Gwyther would have to “cease issuing any press releases, advertisements, letters, promotional materials, articles, and oral or other written statements including posts on social media sites such as Gofundme, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, that falsely… imply that this action was initiated and is being prosecuted to interfere with the general public’s ability to engage in live action role playing (LARP)”. The reason for this clause is that in his video for the GoFundMe Campaign, Gwyther explains that if the lawsuit is accepted, foam arrows sold by distributors in the U.S. could be stopped by everyone but resellers of Global Archery’s products.

The end result has been that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has become involved. Known for protecting people;s rights when it comes to the law and technology, the EFF have come forward saying that “the first amendment guarantees that even patent owners are subject to the slings and arrows of public criticism”.

LEGO Assembly Line Folds Perfect Paper Aeroplanes

LEGO creator extraordinaire Arthur Sacek has built an amazingly intricate assembly line for making paper aeroplanes from the humble toy brick. Sacek, based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was inspired as a child by his school’s LEGO robotics lab, triggering a lifelong love affair that yielded a host of amazing projects, including a PinPoint Animator and the littleBits Spinning Replicator.

Sacek was commissioned to build his latest LEGO contraption by Elevation Digital Media, on behalf of Arrow Electronics. This LEGO paper aeroplane manufacturer may not be the first of its kind ever created, but it is certainly the most impressive, finishing its folding process by launching the resulting plane into the air.

The machine is powered by several LEGO Mindstorms intelligent bricks and custom code written by Sacek.

The video is part of Arrow’s ‘Five Years Out’ advertising campaign, which pitches innovation as something that should never be limited to the far-future.

“Five Years Out isn’t that far off. It’s in the tangible future. The people who live and work there know that new technologies, new materials, new ideas and new electronics will make life not only different, but better. Not just cheaper, but smarter. Not just easier, but more inspired,” Arrow’s website reads. “Five Years Out is an exciting place to be. So exciting that, once you’ve been there, it’s hard to look back. We know what’s coming is going to be so much better.”

Arrow has also released a fascinating behind-the-scenes video, detailing the development and construction of the contraption.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV3Slsu_mRE