Frylock's Gaming & Geekery Challenges WotC's Copyright Claims

Staffan

Adventurer
I’m sure Paizo’s lawyers would have something to say.

And much as the meme goes that courts side with whoever has the most money, generally they side with whoever is right (assuming nobody has no incompetent representation). The world isn’t actually that much of an evil plutocracy (yet).
I wouldn't say it's a matter of who has the most money, but rather that a rich party can extend legal maneuvering to the point where a poorer party just can't keep up and have to settle in some way. As a gaming-relevant example, see TSR's lawsuit against Gary Gygax and Game Designers' Workshop over Dangerous Journeys/Mythus
 

tomBitonti

Explorer
As I understand the core of the argument, it's that you can't play the game without using/stating/reproducing stat blocks and/or spells, and for many of these there is only a finite and small range of ways of expressing them textually, and there can't be copyright in text that is the mere expression of a game rule, and therefore there can't be copyright in stat blocks and/or spells.
Additional text omitted. I have a problem with the idea that "the mere expression of a game rule cannot be copyrighted". In the argument that is original presented, there is a justification presented, which is that an expression which is not sufficiently creative cannot be copyrighted, which seems possibly true -- working from the idea that expressions constrained by function are inherently less copyrightable -- but I can't recall this being concluded, except that the idea does follow from the handling of recipes, which as simple lists of ingredients and instructions -- are not copyrightable.

My instinct is that expressions of game rules can be copyrighted, but whether a particular expression is actually copyrightable does depend on additional factors.

Thx!
TomB
 
Just a little side note: In old times amongst wargame designers it was considered a sign of respect, if one designer mentioned the works of another designer as an inspiration to his own work. Perhaps copyright was more/less feared/enforced, but certainly those guys held up one aspect, that is lost nowadays: Give respect to those who went before you on that road. Certainly you can't invent the wheel anew each time, and the definition (= written rule) what a ZOC is and its effects are, can´t be rewritten every time anew in such a way, that it doesn´t look similar to the 1564 times that rule was written and published before. Perhaps wargaming is very different in many aspects, but one thing remains constant in that niche aspect of gaming: Nobody simply goes ahead to rewrite this rule and just puts his own copyright stamp on that and then starts arguing, that he is doing okay, since some obscure law decisions may be saying, that he is doing (perhaps) the right thing.
And since I make a bet, that Fyrlock is reading all of this: You may be right or wrong in your argumentation considering copyright aspects in this case. This is not for me to decide, there are better educated/versed people on this subject to do so. Certainly you have more insight into the subject of copyright, IP, PI or whatever part of legal subjects this whole affair is based on than I do, but from one of those guys who were raised on the normal foundations of civilized human conduct:
Personally spokne for me it´s bad behavour from your side in this case.
You may win at court, but what if you lose? Or are you gambling on an agreement outside of the court?
And a question I raised before, I state again: What is your personal reason to "go to war" on this subject?

(Yes personal opinion and rant on that, sorry).
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
I’m sure Paizo’s lawyers would have something to say.

And much as the meme goes that courts side with whoever has the most money, generally they side with whoever is right (assuming nobody has no incompetent representation). The world isn’t actually that much of an evil plutocracy (yet).
I've often wondered that. I mean, its not like Hasbro couldn't just say buy Paizo to resolve the issue if they had to.

On evil plutocracy... I wonder some days Morrus, I wonder.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
You can’t forcibly buy a private company.
True, I've never been entirely clear on the ownership structure of Paizo.

I'm still curious about Frylock's motivation after reading his second post. I can understand the legal principles he's applying to his logical, I just don't understand why. What's is the end game here, because if he's right and was successful in a court battle what does that actually do?
 
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