Fan Film, Fan Films

Legendary Banned Warhammer 40,000 Fan Film Damnatus Leaked Online

warhammer 40000After two years stuck in legal limbo, the now-legendary Warhammer 40,000 fan film, Damnatus, has been released online as a Bit Torrent file. The German feature-length film, which reportedly took four years and $15,000 to produce, is based on a popular series of role-playing table-top games, and is one of the most ambitious fan productions ever made. The film was scuttled in November, 2007, however, when Games Workshop, which owns the rights to the property, was legally unable to grant the filmmakers permission to release the film online.

Games Workshop had a history of encouraging fan endeavors, so why was Damnatus so different? Largely, the issue had to do with where the film was made: Germany. Under German copyright law, the filmmakers are given rights to their work that they can’t give away, even if they want to—art is considered to be an extension of the creator him- or herself. As a result, since the movie is based on the Warhammer 40,000 intellectual property, allowing the filmmakers to officially release it would be tantamount to giving them the rights to the game.

None of this was apparent when the filmmakers first approached the company about the movie, however. According to Huan Vu, director and producer of the film, when Games Workshop nixed the production, it was misunderstood to be an approval, and work on the film continued.

When the decision to deny permission was made in late 2007, Andy Jones, legal and licensing head for Games Workshop, explained to the BBC that the company had “admiration” for the fan film, but “To lose control of Warhammer or Warhammer 40,000 is simply unthinkable. So we must be vigilant, and perhaps sometimes seemingly heartless in our decisions to safeguard the IP [intellectual property] for the future success of the business and the hobby.” He later added, “This is perhaps to be regretted, nonetheless in the final analysis we simply have no choice but to say ‘no’.”

Now some enterprising fan has said “yes.” The 684MB torrent file has mysteriously landed online at the notorious P2P site, The Pirate Bay, simply titled Damnatus, with little indication of its relation to Warhammer 40,000. Although it’s a German-language film, both English and German subtitle files are included in the torrent. Production values for the flick are impressive for an amateur film, with intriguing locations, extensive costuming, and low-budget but nonetheless effective CGI.

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2 Responses to “Legendary Banned Warhammer 40,000 Fan Film Damnatus Leaked Online”

  1. Christopher Moshier

    GREAT JOB Clive. I am downloading this sucker right now. Way to scoop. This is BIG for Fan Film geeks like us.

  1. torrent downloads
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