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D&D General Critical Role Ending

Parmandur

Legend
What I was objecting to is the theory that CR only uses OGL materials and didn't use a beholder because of legal issues. They use many things that are not in the basic rules and they have used a beholder.

As far as legal obligations, CR does not charge people to view their content. Therefore I don't believe there is not any licensing issue because of the Fan Content Policy [1] [2]. Yes they sell merchandise, but it's not D&D copyrighted merchandise. The CR cartoon will obviously be a different issue, as is the Wildemount guide.

If you are a lawyer, or if you can point to any evidence at all, I will bow to legal expertise. Until then, it's not worth arguing about. 🤷‍♂️
@pemerton is actually a lawyer, and IIRC teaches philosophy in a Lwa School.

They probably haven't received pushback from WotC, but wouldn't they tried to publish an art book with their IP. So, for convenience to prevent needing to asl permission, they use less WotC IP when possible. Keeps thi to clean.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
What I was objecting to is the theory that CR only uses OGL materials and didn't use a beholder because of legal issues. They use many things that are not in the basic rules and they have used a beholder.

As far as legal obligations, CR does not charge people to view their content. Therefore I don't believe there is not any licensing issue because of the Fan Content Policy [1] [2]. Yes they sell merchandise, but it's not D&D copyrighted merchandise. The CR cartoon will obviously be a different issue, as is the Wildemount guide.

If you are a lawyer, or if you can point to any evidence at all, I will bow to legal expertise. Until then, it's not worth arguing about. 🤷‍♂️
I don't think he's a lawyer, but I think he graduated law school and does maybe legal research. It's been a while since it came up.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
What I was objecting to is the theory that CR only uses OGL materials and didn't use a beholder because of legal issues. They use many things that are not in the basic rules and they have used a beholder.
Then you’re objecting to something I never said.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
LOL, this is what I get for waiting until after the weekend to respond.

A total loss of context to my comment.

At the time of the original exchange, I am commenting on the lack of rules-mastery CR still shows after years of play.

Their lack of rules mastery is the 'home game standard' I am referencing.

In replying to a post over 7 pages back, I get how that could get lost.
A high level of rules mastery seems like an unreasonable expectation to me. And wouldn't be nearly as fun to watch.

I mean, I've been playing D&D since 1986. My oldest and longest-lived gaming group has been playing together for over a decade, and we've been playing the 5th Edition rules for the last six years. And our mastery of the rules is nowhere near as good as Critical Role's. Hell, we also play every week and we still struggle with how "flanking" isn't a thing anymore, what triggers Attacks of Opportunity and what doesn't, and how a Shield Bash works.

And it's not like we aren't accustomed to rules and minutiae; three of us are civil engineers, one is a mechanical engineer, and one of us owns his own tech business. We love us some rules, we follow rules for a living. It's just that when you're hanging out and having fun (and maybe a few beers), there comes a point where rules just aren't that important anymore...in fact, they can start getting in the way. "Who cares if that shield bash comes before or after the attack roll, just get on with it!"

Critical Role isn't an acting gig, at least not a traditional one. Sure, they get paid to act in front of a camera but I think that's where the similarities end. Two hours into each episode, they feel like every other group of old friends sitting around a table, getting tipsy and throwing dice and telling stories about magic and dragons. It's not that they don't know the rules; they are letting the rules take a backseat to the story, and I appreciate that.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
@pemerton is actually a lawyer, and IIRC teaches philosophy in a Lwa School.

They probably haven't received pushback from WotC, but wouldn't they tried to publish an art book with their IP. So, for convenience to prevent needing to asl permission, they use less WotC IP when possible. Keeps thi to clean.
My basic objection still stands: Matt is not making up beholder-adjacent monsters to avoid IP conflicts.

Considering the book and cartoon I'm sure their legal department has been talking to WOTC's legal department. But, unless I'm missing something there's not an issue even if they do get ad revenue and donations. You just have to allow people to view it for free:

from the fan content policy:
  1. One word: F-R-E-E. You can use Wizards’ IP (except for the restrictions listed in #3) to make Fan Content that you share with the community for free. Free means FREE:
    • You can’t require payments, surveys, downloads, subscriptions, or email registration to access your Fan Content;
    • You can’t sell or license your Fan Content to any third parties for any type of compensation; and
    • Your Fan Content must be free for others (including Wizards) to view, access, share, and use without paying you anything, obtaining your approval, or giving you credit.
You can, however, subsidize your Fan Content by taking advantage of sponsorships, ad revenue, and donations—so long as it doesn’t interfere with the Community’s access to your Fan Content.​
But, you know what? I don't really give a furry rat's posterior. Just pointing out that as long as people can get the content for free there should be no issue assuming you follow the other guidelines.
 

MarkB

Legend
What I was objecting to is the theory that CR only uses OGL materials and didn't use a beholder because of legal issues. They use many things that are not in the basic rules and they have used a beholder.

As far as legal obligations, CR does not charge people to view their content. Therefore I don't believe there is not any licensing issue because of the Fan Content Policy [1] [2]. Yes they sell merchandise, but it's not D&D copyrighted merchandise. The CR cartoon will obviously be a different issue, as is the Wildemount guide.

If you are a lawyer, or if you can point to any evidence at all, I will bow to legal expertise. Until then, it's not worth arguing about. 🤷‍♂️
They probably have little or no issue using WotC IP in their streamed shows. But streamed shows are no longer the entirety of their product range. They're producing an animated show, they've launched their own boardgames company, and they have other projects on the go that produce commercial products.

It's in these areas that they may run into issues when using WotC IP - but all of these subsidiary lines are fed from the lore, setting elements, storylines and characters established in their main shows. So it would make sense to keep any WotC IP minimised in the main show, and certainly not hang any storylines or character elements off it, to ease the process of adapting those materials for subsidiary products that will be subject to copyright and IP restrictions.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
They probably have little or no issue using WotC IP in their streamed shows. But streamed shows are no longer the entirety of their product range. They're producing an animated show, they've launched their own boardgames company, and they have other projects on the go that produce commercial products.

It's in these areas that they may run into issues when using WotC IP - but all of these subsidiary lines are fed from the lore, setting elements, storylines and characters established in their main shows. So it would make sense to keep any WotC IP minimised in the main show, and certainly not hang any storylines or character elements off it, to ease the process of adapting those materials for subsidiary products that will be subject to copyright and IP restrictions.
Which is what I've been saying. The TV show, the book, any games will obviously require lawyers and probably licensing.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Then you’re objecting to something I never said.

Really?

There's a difference between a troll and a beholder. The troll is generic and not under copyright, the beholder is unique and under copyright. The SRD lists what WotC considers Product Identity. On that list are "proper names (including those used in the names of spells or items)" followed by a long list of specific locations and characters and it finishes off with "beholder, gauth, carrion crawler, tanar’ri, baatezu, displacer beast, githyanki, githzerai, mind flayer, illithid, umber hulk, yuan‑ti." Of that entire list, I think only beholders and illithid / mind flayers appeared in C1. I know displacer beasts and yuan-ti appeared in C2...but I don't remember if either were actually name dropped in the episodes.

There's also a huge difference between the level of scrutiny most DMs have to deal with and what Matt does on Critical Role. You can use whatever you want and call it whatever you want. No matter how much you violate someone's intellectual property, you're not going to get a call from anyone's lawyer. On CR the cast has to drink from unlabeled cups and they have to cover any logos because they're broadcasting to however many millions of viewers on a weekly basis. They have to follow much different IP rules than the rest of us.
 

Parmandur

Legend
My basic objection still stands: Matt is not making up beholder-adjacent monsters to avoid IP conflicts.

Considering the book and cartoon I'm sure their legal department has been talking to WOTC's legal department. But, unless I'm missing something there's not an issue even if they do get ad revenue and donations. You just have to allow people to view it for free:

from the fan content policy:
  1. One word: F-R-E-E. You can use Wizards’ IP (except for the restrictions listed in #3) to make Fan Content that you share with the community for free. Free means FREE:
    • You can’t require payments, surveys, downloads, subscriptions, or email registration to access your Fan Content;
    • You can’t sell or license your Fan Content to any third parties for any type of compensation; and
    • Your Fan Content must be free for others (including Wizards) to view, access, share, and use without paying you anything, obtaining your approval, or giving you credit.
You can, however, subsidize your Fan Content by taking advantage of sponsorships, ad revenue, and donations—so long as it doesn’t interfere with the Community’s access to your Fan Content.​
But, you know what? I don't really give a furry rat's posterior. Just pointing out that as long as people can get the content for free there should be no issue assuming you follow the other guidelines.
I agree with you, so I'm not sure why this post was directed to me?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I agree with you, so I'm not sure why this post was directed to me?
Gah, sorry. :blush:

Too many posts, especially about something I don't really care about much one way or another other than to point out that you don't need a license to stream a D&D game as long as you follow some simple rules.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
    • You can’t sell or license your Fan Content to any third parties for any type of compensation; and
The cartoon is based on their live stream game and has been picked up by Amazon. That means that their content is being sold/licensed to a third party for compensation.

I think they'd need licensing to use trademark/copyright at this point.
 

MarkB

Legend
Which is what I've been saying. The TV show, the book, any games will obviously require lawyers and probably licensing.
And, as I said, all of that content derives from the shows. So anytime a piece of WotC IP is used prominently in the show, it becomes a major stumbling block to any attempt to create other products based upon that element of the show.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Gah, sorry. :blush:

Too many posts, especially about something I don't really care about much one way or another other than to point out that you don't need a license to stream a D&D game as long as you follow some simple rules.
Yeah, I think it has more to do with concious decision on their part to avoid any possible future conflicts, since they actually have a better than average grasp of the possible complications.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The cartoon is based on their live stream game and has been picked up by Amazon. That means that their content is being sold/licensed to a third party for compensation.

I think they'd need licensing to use trademark/copyright at this point.
Yep. Books, cartoons, board games, etc. will all involve lawyers.
 

pemerton

Legend
I am not a lawyer (in the sense that I am not licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction). I am an academic lawyer (ie I work in a university law school). As well as legal research and teaching I research and teach in philosophy.

If I wanted to run a commercial enterprise based around using/performing D&D adventures, I would not rely on the WotC fan policy, as this policy requires the fan content be available for free. That puts obvious limits on commercialisation (eg no sales of books, videos etc).

The OGL deals with some of the copyright issues that might arise. It deliberately excludes use of a wide range of names that WotC asserts to be trademarks and/or product identity.

So it wouldn't surprise me if a commercial streaming show were to minimise its use of these names, as an alternative to seeking a licence from WotC.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yep. Books, cartoons, board games, etc. will all involve lawyers.
Right, but since it's all based on their live stream game, the live stream is part of what's being sold to third parties. They'd need to get licenses for that now as well, where before they started all of this they wouldn't have.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I am not a lawyer (in the sense that I am not licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction). I am an academic lawyer (ie I work in a university law school). As well as legal research and teaching I research and teach in philosophy.
Hah! I remembered correctly. :)
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Right, but since it's all based on their live stream game, the live stream is part of what's being sold to third parties. They'd need to get licenses for that now as well, where before they started all of this they wouldn't have.
I'm sure they've been talking to WOTC for a while, especially once they decided to start selling other products. Considering how big they've gotten I assume they were chatting before that. On the other hand, just because your stream makes money it does not mean you automatically stop using official published material. Which is all I was pointing out. That, and I don't see them going out of their way to avoid monsters or classes not covered under the OGL. Lots of DMs make up their own stuff.
 

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