Committed Hero said:What irks me the most about Chaosium's claim to a license is that it contradicts Lovecraft's collaborative vision.
I don't think Chaosium claims to be under a license anymore to use Lovecraft's work, and when they did, it wasn't their fault. I recall reading that in the beginning they paid a license fee to Arkham House for using Lovecraft's work, but a lawyer pointed out to them that Lovecraft's work was already in the public domain and they stopped paying it. I assume they still have to pay licensing fees to living authors like Block, Cambell and Lumley whose works are presumably still under copyright. I also assume there are works by other Mythos writers that were contemporaries of Lovecraft that also fall in the public domain now too. So if anything, Arkham House was the impediment to Lovecraft's collaborative vision, not Chaosium.
Call of Cthulhu is, however, a registered trademark of Chaosium when used in conjunction with "rules book and supplements for playing a fantasy roleplaying game" as per the listing with the US Patent and Trademark office. But there's nothing to stop someone from creating a new Lovecraft inspired roleplaying game with a different name. I'd love to see someone pick up the d20 ball that Chaosium dropped.
Some interesting "legal tests" I'd like to see: Including the complete text of Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" in a new Lovecraftian RPG work, as well as including the sanity rules found in Unearthed Arcana.
But then again I like to stir up trouble like Wilbur Whately in a library.
If anyone does take on a project like this, I'd like to see character creation more in line with Inspector Legrasse and Professor Henry Armitage - you know, the heroes of the Mythos who didn't go insane and/or die that CoC BRP fans seemed to forget all about when they were criticizing d20 CoC for not being truly Lovecraftian.