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  1. #111
    Myrdin Potter's Avatar
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    I would suggest that you use the OGL. This is what it is for, to avoid legal issues. You can still rewrite or paraphrase, but the OGL is a "get out of jail free card" and considering the revenue and license that is already in existence for FG from the IP owners of the rules, I would avoid an issue. Even if you are right, one letter from a lawyer and it all will have to be pulled and they write letters like that all the time (and they should).
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  2. #112
    Ruleset just released a few minutes ago. However, hard at work on trying to learn the skills to do the first adventure modules for it.

    Regards, OGL or non-OGL. Why not both. It can't hurt to include the OGL, just to cover your rear. Generally speaking, and I'm far far from being an expert on this, but, if you look at some of the OSR adventure modules, they always include the OGL, even if the contents of their module don't use it hardly at all. It's mainly just to show they did due diligence (and I think WOTC loves getting the free publicity).

    I would be very interested on the implications this has on my ruleset. I have thought and still do think that there is a way to legally do a reference manual for it. While it isn't necessary, due to the C&C connection, still it would be nice. Perhaps you will be able to pave that way, much in the same way OSRIC did for the OSR. Before OSRIC, people were terrified to do anything with the old material, because they didn't think it was covered under the OGL. It was that daring point in history that spawned the OSR. Tread carefully, but carry a big stick.
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  3. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myrdin Potter View Post
    I would suggest that you use the OGL. This is what it is for, to avoid legal issues. You can still rewrite or paraphrase, but the OGL is a "get out of jail free card" and considering the revenue and license that is already in existence for FG from the IP owners of the rules, I would avoid an issue. Even if you are right, one letter from a lawyer and it all will have to be pulled and they write letters like that all the time (and they should).
    The law on this has been tested several times recently and sided against the copyright holder. Lawyers should only write letters when they actually have a case. The world needs more GMs not more lawyers
    The OGL is fantastic - but it also imposes restrictions. The OGL is not a get out of jail card. By using the OGL you must comply with it in full and you also give away some of your own rights.
    To me the key advantage of the OGL is time saving. The copyright side in this instance Im not worried about - as in Im confident that the law expressly allows you to do this.
    It is very possible to create a clone of (any version of) D&D and not infringe on copyright.
    Bizarrely simply rewriting flavour text in your own words and not using product identity names (Faerun, Greyhawk, Tenser, Bigby etc) is enough (as tested by several US court cases) to avoid copyright infringement. Patent and Trademark infringement are different things.

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  4. #114
    Myrdin Potter's Avatar
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    You are pretty much correct, in the USA at least, and the recent Bang! case and others over time have shown. Rule mechanics are completely not subject to copyright. They could be patented, but that is expensive and rarely done and prior art will be really hard to disprove in many cases. Adventures have plot and story lines and almost certainly can be copyrighted. Art is also without a doubt protected. The actual rules mechanics are not. So if you went through the Basic D&D rule book and stripped out all the flavor text and all the play examples (story telling) and finally anything trademarked, you probably would win in court if you are sued. You don't quite seem to understand American lawyers and the American corporate legal system if you think they only will take action if they should be able to win. I ran a large internal legal team and spent a lot of money on external lawyers and I assure you that is not the case.

    Smiteworks bends over backwards to protect copyright. Considering the importance of goodwill and cooperation with Hasbro that exists, any takedown request is likely to be immediately respected and complied with. Since WoTC has actually given a pretty liberal license via the OGL, it would seem to be the most prudent course of action. Even if you are probably right and would win if there was a fight.
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  5. #115
    damned's Avatar
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    I too am a fan of protecting peoples IP and I most certainly do not want to create friction for Smiteworks in any case.

    Im really ambivalent about this. On one hand the OGL is an answer, on the other this is a version of the second (or third - the time lines on this are significantly overlapping) oldest version of D&D and the OGL varies significantly being that there are 7 full versions of D&D released between this current OGL and the B/X edition. Ultimately utilising the OGL reduces the amount of work and the amount of brain effort because descriptions can be cut and paste in many cases.

    Thanks for your continued input and I will dwell on it some more.

    The need for lawyers becomes self fulfilling once you let them loose...

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  6. #116
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    PM's sent. If you restrict yourself to a generic character sheet and a spells and monsters data base then you can use the hard work of someone else for spell s and monsters, Basic fantasy RPG for example in OGL and open source so you should be able to lift wholesale all the their spell descriptions and monsters (although they have ascending AC- heretics!) no need to give details exp need per level or class or even class abilities so everyone can use it with the original pdf's or with their favourite retro clone and most DM's in my limited experience house rule old school dnd anyway so the lighter the framework the better

  7. #117
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    Don't confuse the license (OGL) with the base content released under the license (the SRD - System Reference Document).

    The OGL is a license which allows you to re-use other stuff that has been released under the OGL, and others to use your stuff that you release under the OGL. If you release under the OGL you don't have to use anything from the SRD, you can change/modify/ignore as much or as little of it as you want.
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  8. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trenloe View Post
    Don't confuse the license (OGL) with the base content released under the license (the SRD - System Reference Document).

    The OGL is a license which allows you to re-use other stuff that has been released under the OGL, and others to use your stuff that you release under the OGL. If you release under the OGL you don't have to use anything from the SRD, you can change/modify/ignore as much or as little of it as you want.
    Yep - I understand that the OGL and SRD are separate entities and I have misused the OGL above.
    I see no point in using the OGL if you are not using some of (at least one of) the SRD(s) though...
    The OGL allows you to use other peoples material that has been released under the OGL and marked as Open Content. Unfortunately very few publishers, hobbyist or commercial entities, clearly delineate what is and is not Open Game Content and Product Identity as clearly as the Wizards do. Which technically places them in breach of the OGL which means they are not entitled to use it etc.

    Example: Labyrinth Lord do not note what is and is not OGC and PI.
    "Cover illustration and interior illustrations by Steve Zieser􀂡Layout and design by Daniel Proctor􀂡Editing and continuity by Lavanya
    Proctor, Ryan Denison, and Daniel Proctor􀂡Copyright 2007-2009 Daniel Proctor􀂡Cover illustration and interior illustrations
    Copyright 2009 Steve Zieser, used under license􀂡Labyrinth LordTM, Advanced Labyrinth LordTM, Goblinoid GamesTM, and Mutant
    FutureTM are trademarks of Daniel Proctor􀂡This product is released under the terms of the Open Game License Version 1.0a,
    Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc."

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  9. #119
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    If publishers don't specify what is product identity etc. then it defaults to the OGL definitions in section 1, specifically subsections d) and e).
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  10. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by damned View Post

    Example: Labyrinth Lord do not note what is and is not OGC and PI.
    "Cover illustration and interior illustrations by Steve Zieser��Layout and design by Daniel Proctor��Editing and continuity by Lavanya
    Proctor, Ryan Denison, and Daniel Proctor��Copyright 2007-2009 Daniel Proctor��Cover illustration and interior illustrations
    Copyright 2009 Steve Zieser, used under license��Labyrinth LordTM, Advanced Labyrinth LordTM, Goblinoid GamesTM, and Mutant
    FutureTM are trademarks of Daniel Proctor��This product is released under the terms of the Open Game License Version 1.0a,
    Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc."
    The retro clone Basic fantasy Rpg lists its entire text as open content

    <Designation of Open Game Content: The entire text as well as all maps and floorplans incorporated in BFRPG (except the Open Game License, as noted above, and the Product Identity License, below) is Open Game Content, released under the Open Game License, Version 1.0a (reproduced below) as described in Section 1(d) of the License. Artwork (other than maps and floorplans) incorporated in this document is not Open Game Content, and remains the property of the copyright holder.
    Designation of Product Identity: Product identity is not Open Game Content. The following is designated as product identity pursuant to OGL v1.0a(1)(e) and (7): (A) product and product line names, including Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, Basic Fantasy RPG, and BFRPG, as well as the phrases “make mine Basic,” "Adventure Lurks Within," and "The Old School is now in session"; (B) all artwork, logos, symbols, graphic designs, depictions, likenesses, formats, poses, concepts, themes and graphic, photographic and other visual representations, including the “eye” logo, which is the personal mark of Chris Gonnerman for his various products, and which is Copyright 2002 Chris Gonnerman, and the “Scribbled Dragon,” which is Copyright 2005 Erik Wilson; (C) logos and trademarks, including any trademark or registered trademark clearly identified as product identity by the owner of the product identity, and which specifically excludes the open game content."
    i read that as the whole text is usable, Its one of the better written retro clones as well

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