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  1. #1

    ICE/MERP/Copyright, etc...

    [MODERATOR - moved this discussion to its own thread]

    That's a big shame - ICE have produced some good stuff in the past (MERP comes to mind). I've always wondered whether ICE would allow community converted MERP modules to be available on FG, even if it was done freely (no $ involved).
    Last edited by Trenloe; October 27th, 2018 at 17:49.

  2. #2
    When it comes to MERP, ICE is probably the lesser concern compared to Middle Earth Enterprises (formerly Tolkien Enterprises - which has very little to do with the Tolkien family).

  3. #3
    Reading about Middle Earth Enterprises in wiki, it would appear that their business model and main source of income is generated from suing anyone they can, or from selling rights to use content or names from Tolkien's works - they don't seem to produce anything Tolkien related themselves.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Isanti, MN
    ICE no longer has access to the license from Middle Earth Enterprises. So, *none* of the MERP stuff can be distributed legally. It would require permission from both, and they don't work together anymore, plus Middle Earth Enterprises doesn't want to irritate it's current licensee.

  5. #5
    It's sad that such extensive content and work is just sitting there and can no longer be used. SmiteWorks seems to be very good at getting licenses (way ahead of Roll20 for example for D&D 5e) - would SmiteWorks be interested and/or able to do a deal with ICE/MEE for MERP to be converted to FG? FG is great for Rolemaster, but is severely lacking in available adventure modules. MERP content for FG's Rolemaster would be an excellent addition.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Isanti, MN
    The breakup between ICE and MEE was pretty sore on both sides. MEE actually forced ICE to pulp a warehouse full of printed materials that ICE had already paid for but could no longer sell.

  7. #7
    Sounds like MEE are not very nice people.

  8. #8
    The tale of the good professor's intellectual property is pretty tragic. On the one hand, you have MEE wanting to monetize it any way possible, and on the other hand you have the Tolkien family estate who would preserve ONLY the original content like so many fossils. Both extremes are prone to dangers no one between them wants - sand worms in Dale?! And absolutely no games or cinematic productions?!

    Both extremes are contrary to what I interpret as Professor Tolkien's original intent of having other minds and hands continue the tales of middle earth.

  9. #9
    It'll be interesting to see if Cubicle7 encounter similar issues as ICE did with MEE.

    Also, what happens when it hits 2023 (50 years after the good professor's death)? Or is it 70 (as per UK)?

  10. #10
    Here's a discussion of the UK copyright laws as they might apply to Tolkien's literary works:

    I did not search for any discussions regarding MEE and US copyright law. All the game materials and films are derivative works based on the license originally acquired from professor Tolkien by one of MEE's ancestor legal entities, and so the existence of those works and related copyrights likely will muddy the waters even further for a much longer time.

    Given the seminal nature of Tolkien's work, it is my opinion that Sithney will one day acquire MEE, and then none of it will EVER go into the public domain. One mouse to rule them all ...

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