Can anyone write Cthulhu Mythos material?

S'mon

Legend
On the other hand, I'm not a trademark (or any kind of) lawyer. But one could assume if it was a registered trademark in the US, it would be in the database of US trademarks maintained by the US government.
Yes, but - in US law, unregistered brands can be protected as "Unregistered Trade Marks" - which is what (TM) means in the US, with (R) for registered marks.

In the UK (TM) means a Registered Trade Mark, we have Passing Off law which functions similarly to US unregistered marks.

Basically what that means is that even if you don't use Chaosium's lone registered mark; if customers look at your product and think it comes from Chaosium or is licensed by them, you may have committed a tort. A disclaimer may be helpful.
 

S'mon

Legend
A
It appears, then, as long as your role-playing game material does not build upon work copyrighted by Chaosium (which would include original fiction and game text, etc.) or use the phrase "The Call of Cthulhu" there would be no conflict.
You can use the term descriptively - you can publish the public domain story "The Call of Cthulu" and call it that. You should avoid publishing an RPG titled "Call of Cthulu" though. :)
 

deadplayer

Visitor
Depends what you use and who you ask. Some folks will argue all of the HPL material is fair use. BUT that's only the HPL material. Individual authors that wrote on in the mythos may easily fall under their own rights and Chaosium can lay claim to anything they expounded on themselves.

Chambers "yellow sign" stuff predates even HPL's works so it has a great chance of lying in public domain.
Right.
 

Steely Dan

Visitor
It's really kind of a shame that this is such a complicated issue... From what I understand, Lovecraft was quite open with his creations and in fact actively encouraged others to use them and expand the mythos.
Yeah, didn't he correspond with Robert E Howard?
 

Belorin

Explorer
As to the OP, did you mean actual Cthulhu Mythos elements or merely writing in a Lovecraftian style?

Bel
 

JohnRTroy

Visitor
Much of the Lovecraft work is public domain, and could be adapted. I think any studio could make an adaptation of one of Lovecraft's novels. There was an episode of The Real Ghostbusters that was named "The Collect Call of Cthullu" and used the character.

The big problem is that you can't grab the whole Mythos, because others have contributed to it. Brian Lumley, for instance, has stated that his contributions to the Mythos in his stories still belong to him and will sue to make sure his copyright isn't violated.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
As to the OP, did you mean actual Cthulhu Mythos elements or merely writing in a Lovecraftian style?
The former. Nobody can copyright or otherwise claim that something as ephemeral as a style of writing can be protected.
 
The former. Nobody can copyright or otherwise claim that something as ephemeral as a style of writing can be protected.
Sure they can. That was the whole basis of White Wolf's lawsuit against Sony for that Underworld movie. It was "thematically similar" and had Vampires fighting Werewolves. I'm surprised they haven't tried to sue Stephenie Meyer yet.

I mean, one of their copyright claims was that in Vampire: The Masquerade Vampires and Werewolves hide their existence from humans, so that's theirs, Oh, and they have a woman who's an excellent assassin and warrior... man, they should sue the Weinstiens for Kill Bill, too.

They stopped making press releases in 2003, though, so... I would assume they didn't win, because they would have bragged about it, and there wouldn't have been a sequel to Underworld... and certainly not a third film in the works, which there is.

Claiming something and bringing suit about it is one thing, winning is another. It depends on how litigious someone is, and what they think they're entitled to based on their existing IP.
 

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