5E Fan work policy?

pogre

Adventurer
I know there is not an OGL for 5th, but is there some sort of fan work permission available?

I used to post adventures for free for folks during 3rd edition and would do the same for the adventures I am creating for 5th, but could not find a legal way to do it. I looked at the WOTC site, but honestly, I am terrible at navigating it. Heck, I only found the Basic player html rules thanks to this site!

I know Morrus got permission directly to have a 5th edition adventure contest a while ago and was wondering if something wimilar has come out since.

I am not really interested in a license that relies on the 3rd OGL.

Thanks for any help!

pogre
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
There is no policy of any kind, no. That's not stopping fans from doing stuff, though!
 

Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
Has the previous fan site policy been revoked? It simply required including a disclaimer. (I would post it but my Third World internet is being very Third World right now.) My blog - my-realms.blogspot.com - has it on every page.

Edit: Now it's working.

Here's the wording:

This web site is not affiliated with, endorsed, sponsored, or specifically approved by Wizards of the Coast LLC. This web site may use the trademarks and other intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast LLC, which is permitted under Wizards' Fan Site Policy available at their website, www.wizards.com.

Of course, since the website de-organisation (as opposed to re-organisation), the link to the page leading to the fan site rules has been 404ed. It is still implied that it exists in the text of the rules on this page under section 6.

That's good enough for me to continue posting in good faith, but I also live in a country without a functioning legal system and thus no way for WotC to cause me any degree of inconvenience.
 
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pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

I know there is not an OGL for 5th, but is there some sort of fan work permission available?
Yes there is, actually! Here, read up. :)

http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/index.jsp

and

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf


PS: In short, don't copy/paste stuff and don't "Save Image..." of any WotC/D&D logo/title (or recreate one that looks very similar to it so as to confuse someone). If a reasonable person can go to your site, read it, and realize that it's fan work and obviously not part of or sponsored by WotC/Hasbro, you're probably good to go. That said, the US has a seriously messed up, top-heavy legal system now....so even IF there was a "Fan Site OGL" or some such, WotC could still sue you...even if it said in it that they wouldn't. It wouldn't get very far in court, sure, but you are still out days, if not weeks, of work and likely out thousands of dollars for just showing up to defend yourself. Yay US legal system! ....

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

pogre

Adventurer
Hiya!



Yes there is, actually! Here, read up. :)

http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/index.jsp

and

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf


PS: In short, don't copy/paste stuff and don't "Save Image..." of any WotC/D&D logo/title (or recreate one that looks very similar to it so as to confuse someone). If a reasonable person can go to your site, read it, and realize that it's fan work and obviously not part of or sponsored by WotC/Hasbro, you're probably good to go. That said, the US has a seriously messed up, top-heavy legal system now....so even IF there was a "Fan Site OGL" or some such, WotC could still sue you...even if it said in it that they wouldn't. It wouldn't get very far in court, sure, but you are still out days, if not weeks, of work and likely out thousands of dollars for just showing up to defend yourself. Yay US legal system! ....

^_^

Paul L. Ming
Thanks for your efforts. I am actually very familiar with the law as I am a licensed attorney, although I no longer practice. I would like to use certain terms and trade dress that could be construed as violations. That's why I am hoping for specific fan work permission policy.

In other words, I largely understand what I can and cannot publish under the law - I want to be respectful of the company's wishes more than anything.
 
Thanks for your efforts. I am actually very familiar with the law as I am a licensed attorney, although I no longer practice. I would like to use certain terms and trade dress that could be construed as violations. That's why I am hoping for specific fan work permission policy.

In other words, I largely understand what I can and cannot publish under the law - I want to be respectful of the company's wishes more than anything.
The OGL cannot be rescinded or revoked(from previous editions). Many are using the base OGL terms, abiding by them, and feel that covers everything.

You still should not use trade dress or trademarked items such as Beholders, Mind FLayers, etc. And many are not using the 5th Edition logo, but rather saying "Compatible with the 5th edition of the world's best RPG".
 
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The OGL cannot be rescinded or revoked(from previous editions). Many are using the base OGL terms, abiding by them, and feel that covers everything.

You still should not use trade dress or trademarked items such as Beholders, Mind FLayers, etc. And many are not using the 5th Edition logo, but rather saying "Compatible with the 5th edition of the world's best RPG".
BAH!! Fear not. If this is just a work of fan love and not a commercial endeavor I would use beholders, mind flayers, Mordenkainen, Tenser, Bibgy- the whole frikkin enchilada! Set the darn thing in Greyhawk to boot!

The logo and artwork I would avoid. I prefer original art in adventures.
 
BAH!! Fear not. If this is just a work of fan love and not a commercial endeavor I would use beholders, mind flayers, Mordenkainen, Tenser, Bibgy- the whole frikkin enchilada! Set the darn thing in Greyhawk to boot!

The logo and artwork I would avoid. I prefer original art in adventures.

IF you have no intentions of selling, or distributing said content. If you just post a short story of a beholder marrying Bigby then sure. But if you offer it as a PDF, or try to get it in an Ezine, or try to sell it, thats breaking the OGL.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!
[MENTION=6588]pogre[/MENTION] Well you know better than I then. :) If you really want to see what they find "ok" or not, I'd just go straight to the horses mouth and email them. Explain what you want to do with your site and find out. That said, it may actually be best to just look at other fan sites to see what they are doing and not doing and use that as a guideline. If you email them with an "outline" of your site and intentions, they may be forced to say "No", simply because otherwise it may actually look like they are giving you permission to do "what you said"...and unless you are EXTREMELY verbose in laying out what *exactly* will be in it, they may err on the side of "No" just to cover their legal buttocks.

Me? I'd just make the site, going by the law. Leave the company out of it. If they want to get involved later on and say "Hey, love your site, but our legal department has issues with your treatise on Mind Flayers (which are TM to us). Please remove it from public view. Thank you, and game on!" ...then you just take that down and keep on keepin' on. I'd feel that the more corrispondance I actually had with them on what I was doing would slowly creep up into the "Yeah, but they gave me approval to do this...see all the emails where we are talking? That's called a 'relationship'." And that would make me uncomfortable, and probably them as well. Just make a site in good faith and get to it. You, being an ex-lawyer and all that, probably have an excellent grasp of fair use and all that other stuff. Use it. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

trancejeremy

Villager
Bear in mind, at one time, TSR did have a policy against fan works. Places like the house rules forum here would have been hit by a cease & desist notice and/or angry email from Sean Reynolds. Eventually they "compromised" by allowing certain designated places to host such material.

Not charging money for stuff is still copyright infringement. It's just some companies realize that it's not worth hassling their fans over.
 
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pogre

Adventurer
Thanks all!

Morrus largely answered my question.

I am familiar with the legal issues - I promise.

It's not that big of a deal for me. There really is no major benefit to me - I just like putting my stuff out there for others to use and abuse as they see fit. I'll sit tight until WOTC does something official for 5th or chooses not too. ;)
 

Grazzt

Demon Lord
Bear in mind, at one time, TSR did have a policy against fan works. Places like the house rules forum here would have been hit by a cease & desist notice and/or angry email from Sean Reynolds. Eventually they "compromised" by allowing certain designated places to host such material.

Not charging money for stuff is still copyright infringement. It's just some companies realize that it's not worth hassling their fans over.
Actually, SKR was the one that came in and helped fix the TSR internet crap, wasn't he? It was Rob Repp that would've sent the nasty-grams out and stuff (because it was his job not because he enjoyed it I would imagine).
 

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