IGDA members yesterday received an email, purportedly from an IGDA address, asking them to vote on removing Tim Langdell from the association's board. Today, the organization denied any official connection and said it was investigating.
Yesterday's email, listed in the reply-to as from the spoofed "Concerned_Members_of_the_IGDA@IGDA.org" address, and was signed "Concerned Members of the IGDA." It documented Langdell's history of suing and harassing game developers - his latest target is Mobigames - who use the word "Edge" anywhere in their products, a word he trademarked some two decades ago. The email also criticized Langdell for making "gross misrepresentations" of both the IGDA's influence and his position on its board.
It concluded by asking recipients to vote in a petition held at a non-IGDA site. The link was a petition brought up last July on the same subject. Some in the IGDA are trying to find a way to get the organization at large to officially consider Langdell's removal from the board.
This morning, the IGDA emailed its members to distance itself from the e-mail and the movement behind it.
Recently an email went out that appeared to have originated from IGDA. The return address of this email appeared as: "Concerned_Members_of_the_IGDA@IGDA.org."
That email address was spoofed and the communication was not an official IGDA communication. We are currently reviewing the methods by which it was sent to see if this was sent out by people ignorant of proper use of the IGDA website or if there was malicious actions involved. We are also reviewing the method by which your email addresses were obtained and if that was done ethically or not. It is my hope that this was done by someone simply overzealous about their cause and not for destructive reasons.
Please be aware IGDA was not responsible for this email and does not have anything to do with the content or the links provided. You should read and use such links at your own risk.
We will investigate this issue and provide you with information on our findings as they are confirmed.
I emailed the petition's creator, IGDA member Michael Lubker, to ask if the mailing was his doing. Lubker said he was not involved. Asked if this dented the anti-Langdell movement's credibility within the IGDA, Lubker said:
I am not worried that credibility or ability has been affected, if anything there have been more posts about it since the IGDA's response. However, I do feel that the IGDA is discrediting its members right to communicate freely with each other about the status of the organization.
According to the IGDA's bylaws, 10 percent of the membership can force an association-wide vote on such a question. Of course, that would presumably need to be done through some official means. And the chances of it recognizing the legitimacy of a third-party petition site definitely went down after today.
We've asked for comment from both Langdell and the IGDA. If they wish to make any, we'll update it here. Meantime, for an excellent read on Langdell's history, see this piece by Eurogamer (thanks, Morris).
Update: Tim Langdell has released a statement comprehensively defending himself in the Mobigame matter, and against other accusations leveled at him in the gaming press.