Is my Web site legal? - Page 2




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  1. #11
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    ° Ignore DM Magic
    Quote Originally Posted by Kesh
    Regarding races: it's like some of the stuff in the SRD. While you can't use the title Mordenkeinen's faithful hound, you can use the faithful hound spell. One uses Product Identity in its name, the other does not.

    From what I undersand (and IANAL), you can use the mojh statistics and possibly physical description, but the name and historic background are PI and not open.
    Your description makes sense. However, Monte Cook and I had a conversation about it and he said my use of Mojh, Akashic, Magister, Unfettered, Warmain, Verrik, Akashic Node, and Collective Memory are "not considered to be either Product Identity or Closed Content. If all you've taken is the names, and you use the OGL properly, you're OK."

    I kept the e-mail and that's a direct quote.

    You're right, though--according to his own PI and Closed Content declarations, they should be closed, no?

    Anyway, back to me. Anyone see anything on the site that's just screaming "ILLEGAL!"

 

  • #12
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    ° Ignore DanMcS
    Quote Originally Posted by DM Magic
    Anything to support this theroy? I think they're Open Content because of the DRAGON Magazine issue that contains spell templates. But does that automatically make Monte's spell templates open?
    The spell templates from Dragon were open content. You can use those, or derive from them, in an OGL product if you want. That doesn't make the ones from Arcana Unearthed open content.

    I'm going to go the other way from some people on this thread. You're not an OGL publisher, therefore the specifics of the open game license and the open content declarations shouldn't matter to you at all. Putting up a webpage doesn't make you an OGL publisher. If it did, I couldn't legally mention Sigil in this comment, because it's declared to be product identity in the SRD. Piratecat couldn't talk about Mind Flayers in his story hour, because they're closed content. Luckily for all three of us, those types of things don't qualify as OGL products.

    You are still bound by traditional copyright and trademark law. So you couldn't, for instance, copy a big section of the description of "Mojhes" from AU. But mentioning them is fine. I don't have acrobat on this computer, but if those "akashic.pdf", "magister.pdf", etc, are copied from the AU book, you're in the wrong there, copyright wise.

    Whether or not "heightened" or "diminished" is closed content matters not a whit to you, because the words can't be copyrighted, and concepts and game mechanics can't be copyrighted, only specific texts thereof. And small quotes for reference are fine even from that. If you're not pasting big sections of the book onto your website, you're fine.

    Really, I think publishers using technicalities of license law against small fan sites is mean-spirited, and if you're going to get the law used against you, use it right back. It's only fair.

  • #13
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    ° Ignore DM Magic
    Quote Originally Posted by DanMcS
    I don't have acrobat on this computer, but if those "akashic.pdf", "magister.pdf", etc, are copied from the AU book, you're in the wrong there, copyright wise.
    They're not. You should get Adobe! I'd love to hear your opnion.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanMcS
    Whether or not "heightened" or "diminished" is closed content matters not a whit to you, because the words can't be copyrighted, and concepts and game mechanics can't be copyrighted, only specific texts thereof. And small quotes for reference are fine even from that.
    It matters to me because I don't just "mention" those words or concepts--I reprint the mechanics behind those words for my players. You see, not all of my players have the money to buy Arcana Unearthed. In fact, I wouldn't want them to! (Unless they just wanted a copy because it's such a DAMN COOL setting!) You see, I use a bit from here, a bit from there--nothing really worth buying the book over. So instead, I reprint the mechanics I use. In most instances, I tweak it or change it to fit my setting. I even change the wording so that it's easier to read for me and my players! So clearly, we're talking about "derivative works" here.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanMcS
    If you're not pasting big sections of the book onto your website, you're fine.
    In some cases, I am--if I know it's Open Content. Which is what this is all about. What is Open, and what do I have to change so I won't get into trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanMcS
    Really, I think publishers using technicalities of license law against small fan sites is mean-spirited, and if you're going to get the law used against you, use it right back. It's only fair.
    That's what I'm trying to avoid.


  • #14
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    ° Ignore s/LaSH
    Some things are quite definitely public domain. How many people, for example, know that the Akashic (or Akasic) is in fact an old element of real-world psychic culture (possibly dating back to the 19th century)? And is possibly based on an ancient Hindu element ('atmosphere, ether')? (I'd give dates and figures, but the Oxford has failed me this day.)

    The implementation thereof, however, is the author's perogative. Words are cheap (normally free). Strings of words are not.
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  • #15
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    ° Ignore DM Magic
    Quote Originally Posted by s/LaSH
    Some things are quite definitely public domain. How many people, for example, know that the Akashic (or Akasic) is in fact an old element of real-world psychic culture...
    I did!

    Quote Originally Posted by s/LaSH
    The implementation thereof, however, is the author's perogative.
    The classes are designated as Open Content, just their respective descriptive text is not. Which I replaced with my own world-specific material anyway.


  • #16
    Well since your using the d20 system logo that means your site must conform to the D20 System License and D20 System Guide, which among other things means you need to have an OGL statement declaring whats OGC and whats not on your site. Once you have declared in your OGL statement what material on your site is OGC/PI belonging to you and what is OGC from other publishers you might have a better time of figuring out what your legal with and not. You have a link to a legal information page but it currently is not in conformation with itself. You have a couple of copyright notcies but no declarations of your own OGC and PI, nor what material is OGC from other publishers on your site. None of your PDF's have conforming OGL statements either.

    I think Monte had the right of it, untill you can fix it and conform to the D20 SL/SG and OGL you need to lock the site up.

    If you had not used the d20 SL/SG and OGL you could have simply done up your site under normal copyright laws dealing with games. Which would give you more flexibility in some things and less flexibility in others in what you could or couldnt display from Arcana Unearthed for your campaign setting. Meaning you could use all the names and statistical information along with stat formatting(template/stat blocks), of races, classes,skills,feats,spells,powers but none of the descriptive text for those things which is literary and falls under normal copyright laws. Also you mention derivitive works which if your not using the D20 SL/SG and OGL does not apply to game mechanics or blocks of stats for the game but only to the literary text.


    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ31.html
    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ34.html
    http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html

    Anyhow, the way you got it setup now your a lawsuit thats already happened, just that nobodies filed against you yet. Because your most assurredly not in compliance with the D20 SL/SG and OGL.
    Last edited by rpgHQ; Monday, 3rd November, 2003 at 12:18 AM.

  • #17
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    ° Ignore DM Magic
    Quote Originally Posted by rpgHQ
    You have a link to a legal information page but it currently is not in conformation with itself. You have a couple of copyright notcies but no declarations of your own OGC and PI, nor what material is OGC from other publishers on your site. None of your PDF's have conforming OGL statements either.
    You didn't look hard enough. But that's okay--it's a large site!



    Every PDF has a copy of the OGL. As far as the declarations, they can be found here: http://www.3rdedition.org/dungeonmag...variations.pdf

    As far as I know, I don't have to include a "declaration" on EVERY document--just the title page. When you print out the PDFs, the above link goes to the title page. The only thing that every PDF needs to have is a copy of the OGL.

    Am I right or wrong? Now's the time to correct me if I'm wrong!

    Quote Originally Posted by rpgHQ
    I think Monte had the right of it, untill you can fix it and conform to the D20 SL/SG and OGL you need to lock the site up.
    As far as I know, I am conforming to the d20 System License when the above is taken into account.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpgHQ
    Anyhow, the way you got it setup now your a lawsuit thats already happened, just that nobodies filed against you yet. Because your most assurredly not in compliance with the D20 SL/SG and OGL.
    I'm assuming that this harsh comment is in err because you didn't realize that I am in compliance with the OGL. Unless there's something I'm missing that you failed to mention?
    Last edited by DM Magic; Monday, 3rd November, 2003 at 01:37 AM.

  • #18
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    ° Ignore heimdall
    Some things are quite definitely public domain. How many people, for example, know that the Akashic (or Akasic) is in fact an old element of real-world psychic culture (possibly dating back to the 19th century)? And is possibly based on an ancient Hindu element ('atmosphere, ether')? (I'd give dates and figures, but the Oxford has failed me this day.)
    Akashic also appears in other game content that predates Monte's work. The Akashic Brotherhood from Mage: the Ascension is an example of the use of the word. However, the work Akashic comes from the Hindu word Akasha which did represent the fifth element (spirit) In M:tA, the Akashic Brotherhood's primary sphere is Mind, not Spirit, and are based more on the Shaolin then anything else. Go figure.
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  • #19
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    ° Ignore kenjib
    Quote Originally Posted by DM Magic
    Another example--Monte apparently makes "Spell Templates" Closed Content. But then DRAGON Magazine released a bunch of Spell Templates--same format and everything. In fact, then even go as far as making use of Ceremony feats! That must mean they're Open Content... right?
    I have a question about this. Can Monte Cook even make spell templates closed content and remain in compliance with the d20 and OGL licenses? I thought that anything derivative of the SRD is automatically open content, thus any new rules based on the SRD rules must therefore be open - no? Maybe someone who understands the licenses better knows.

  • #20
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    ° Ignore DM Magic
    Quote Originally Posted by kenjib
    I have a question about this. Can Monte Cook even make spell templates closed content and remain in compliance with the d20 and OGL licenses? I thought that anything derivative of the SRD is automatically open content, thus any new rules based on the SRD rules must therefore be open - no? Maybe someone who understands the licenses better knows.
    This is a good point. However, it's a little vague. Wouldnĺt anything made for d20 be a derivative of the SRD? If not, where does the SRD end and new material begin?

    I posted a thread over at Monte's forums, hoping to get help straight from the horse's mouth. Guess what they did? They locked the thread.

    That's the second time I've asked for help and been shut down over there.


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