So wrong man. Concept art is art and as far as I can think back its not illegal to draw Mario or Sonic as long as you arent claiming it as your own and publishing it. This was obviously not meant to be published but more as a side thing for ideas.
"...as long as you aren't claiming it as your own" - they slapped their logo on it and made it publicly available. Only after they've been called out have they retracted that, and you're assuming that what EA says is true, that it was never meant to be published. If you want to believe that, then fair enough, but I think it's just damage control, especially when you look at how finished those renderings are. Games Workshop, being extremely protective of their IP and and an overly litigious company, would have been well within their right to sue EA had those designs made it into the final game.
Freeride wrote:If this was illegal then concept artists who worked on Skyrim would be sued by all those Viking history books they used to get an idea for armour and weapons from and drew it straight from the book then added onto it. This is exactly the same, it was unintentionally released.
It's not even remotely the same. Nobody owns the rights to Viking armour and weapon designs. GW owns the rights to those tank designs. Do you think Skyrim would get away with having a story about the One Ring that must be destroyed in the fire of Mt Doom by a hobbit? Of course they wouldn't, because LotR is copyrighted. Old Norse legends aren't copyrighted. It's a BIG difference.
Freeride wrote:I would of been sued 20 times over if we went by your standards for stuff I have drawn and things I have copied and made in Garrys mod, its not illegal if it was never meant to be released in the first place and they aren't trying to actually make money from it.
If you were making a commercial game, and ripped off content then perhaps you would have been sued 20 times. That's why "Limbo of the Lost" isn't still a game. Playing with Garrys mod and releasing a commercial game is not the same thing.
Freeride wrote:They could even claim it as fan art or as a homage to all the great games workshop artists and they would be in the clear.
You can't rip off somebodies design, put your logo on it, not have any links or information referencing back to the original and try to claim it as fan art.
Have a read of this: http://waxy.org/2011/06/kind_of_screwed/
It gives a good example of how strong IP laws are and how they can be enforced (I think unfairly in that particular case).TL;DR
: I think it all comes down to your belief that "This was obviously not meant to be published but more as a side thing for ideas.". That's up for debate, but I think if you ask anybody who works in game development, you'll find that it isn't very likely that art would be produced in that manner, to that level of rendering just for inspiration. If they wanted ideas they would just pin original GW art to their walls, not produce their own (very expensive) copies in fully rendered 3d.