YouTuber Bruva Alfabusa has announced that the popular fan series If the Emperor had a Text-to-Speech Device will be placed on indefinite hold; following new Games Workshop copyright infringement guidelines.
If the Emperor had a Text-to-Speech Device, often referred to as TTS for short, is a long-running parody series that started in 2013. The series follows the Emperor of Mankind (now given a text-to-speech device to communicate with his subjects) and a whole host of other major Warhammer 40,000 characters in humorous and satirical situations,
The series is often full of in-jokes and references to other popular franchises. It has even spawned several other fan works and spinoffs, all connected to the greater TTS lore and characters.
On July 29th, Alfabusa released a video titled The Fate of TTS where he announced that the series, and its various spinoffs, are on indefinite hiatus due to new policies implemented by Games Workshop. You can find the video below.
The policy change in question is an update on Games Workshop’s official site under the Intellectual Property Guidelines tab. Under the Infringements sections, Games Workshop lists what are considered “zero tolerance” infringements of their intellectual property rights.
Besides the usual and most obvious offenders- such as recasting or 3D printing models, or pirating books- it includes a section noting that fan films and animations must not be created without a license from Games Workshop.
While this initially seems like a bizarre addition alongside the more obvious examples of copyright infringement, the crackdown on fan animations is almost certainly due to the looming release of Warhammer+. This new subscription service launches on August 25th, and part of that subscription includes access to a wide range of upcoming Warhammer animated series.
Many of these animated series are being produced by well-known fan animators that Games Workshop have officially brought onboard to create licensed content for Warhammer+. One of these includes Syama Pedersen, creator of the well-received Astartes fan animation, who is currently working on a sequel for Warhammer+.
As Alfabusa explains in his video, pursuing a license to make TTS “official” is unlikely to ever happen, at least in its current form. Between the satirical tone and numerous references made to other IPs, Alfabusa feels that its unlikely that TTS would work as an officially licensed series without significant reworking.
In the end, Alfabusa has decided that the only realistic option is to preemptively halt the series to avoid legal trouble. The reason the series is put on “indefinite hiatus” instead of outright cancelled is that the team is fully willing to return to TTS, should Games Workshop’s policy ever change in the future.
For the time being, existing TTS content will remain available on YouTube. Alfabusa has decided to distance himself from Warhammer in general and expand to other IP, and plans on gradually creating content similar to TTS based on other franchises that are owned by companies that have given fans explicit permission to create fan works.