Despite painfully obvious licensing qualms, the amusement park Joyland recently opened its ironclad gates to the fantasy fans of Changzhou, China. As large as they are unauthorized, the colorful theme park features towering statues, depicting the heroes and legends of the World of Warcraft, a fantasy universe that falls squarely within the intellectual property rights of Blizzard, an American games developer.
Yet, the 60-square-kilometer IP infraction is safe from the reprisals of U.S. law; for now, gamers can safely wander around Joyland without fear of arrest. But how can that be?
Well, the managers of the park deceptively renamed all of the mythical characters; World of Warcraft is now the 'Terrain of Magic' and Starcraft is ostensibly known as 'Universe of Starship.' It may not be enough to trick you, but it's enough to stave off the lawyers for now.
It's fascinating to see a $31 million investment built atop such shaky legal ground, an observation which leads me to believe that Joyland probably won't be shut down anytime soon.