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

Parmandur

Adventurer
I should have been more clear. The onus would be on the content creator using the material to report it. DM's Guild could then impose sanctions/penalties for failure to comply.

Back to the original discussion..

I wouldn't be surprised if he wins. If I am not mistaken, wasn't it fairly recently that publishers were handed a defeat in court in that they couldn't copyright game systems?
That's from the 90's, actually: but that doesn't apply to whole sentences of creative text. The true genius of "natural language" now rears its head...
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
He states that precedent is with him; however, having read his post, I do not agree. He stretches several cases to try and make his argument, and sums it up as if there was a case authored by CJ Roberts with a holding of, "Yo, you can rip off stat blocks in RPGs all you want. Hold my beer." Saying that there is a precedent that a collection of un-copyrightable material (like phone numbers) cannot be copyrighted is not binding precedent with regard to stat blocks, and I don't even understand why he thinks it is authoritative since it begs the questions (yes, if you can't copyright stat blocks, then you can't copyright collections of them, but where is the authority regarding copyrighting unique and creative expressions of monster attributes, especially w/r/t the textual parts?).
Thank you for explaining. I never would have understood this on my own.

He can make his argument; after all, nothing keeps you from making any argument you want! That said, I am curious to see if the bluster will continue once a lawsuit is filed. There's a big difference between a solo practitioner talking the big talk ("looka me, ima big boy attorney!") as opposed to weighing the cost/benefit analysis of statutory damages and paying WoTC's legal fees because you got your feelies hurt from a nice email.
I completely agree with all of this!

I can even hear the old Batman '66 announcer in my head:

"Will WotC bring out the big guns? Will Frylock stick to his? Stay tuned to find out!"
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
He can make his argument; after all, nothing keeps you from making any argument you want! That said, I am curious to see if the bluster will continue once a lawsuit is filed. There's a big difference between a solo practitioner talking the big talk ("looka me, ima big boy attorney!") as opposed to weighing the cost/benefit analysis of statutory damages and paying WoTC's legal fees because you got your feelies hurt from a nice email.
I suspect its also feeling he's smarter than Hasbro lawyers and wanting to make a point, or some how end up in front of the Supreme Court. It isn't like lawyers haven't intentionally done something to get a series of appeals going to get the process all the way up the chain because they think they have a novel legal precedent to prove.

There's also the issue of Trade Dress he hasn't really addressed. If you look a the two blocks they're virtually identical in everybody but colour.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Over in Meta in a thread called "The Old Server" Morrus has posted a screenshot of a tweet in which this guy make it very clear what he thinks of ENWorld and its denizens...
He actually wrote that lawyers are "in unanimous agreement[.]"

Now I KNOW he's making stuff up. ;)

(EDIT- cue up the joke about hiring a one-armed attorney, so he won't say, "On the other hand ...")
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I suspect its also feeling he's smarter than Hasbro lawyers and wanting to make a point, or some how end up in front of the Supreme Court. It isn't like lawyers haven't intentionally done something to get a series of appeals going to get the process all the way up the chain because they think they have a novel legal precedent to prove.
Based on the blog and the comment on twitter that he only cares what lawyers think this seems pretty likely to me.

There's also the issue of Trade Dress he hasn't really addressed. If you look a the two blocks they're virtually identical in everybody but colour.
Hadn't thought of this either.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Over in Meta in a thread called "The Old Server" Morrus has posted a screenshot of a tweet in which this guy make it very clear what he thinks of ENWorld and its denizens...
For those who don't feel like hunting up the link:

(someone else to Frylock, on Twitter) "Did you see you made ENWorld?"
(Frylock) "Couldn't care less. ENWorld has too many trolls on it, most of whom don't understand copyright law but are more than willing to lecture on it. I'm more concerned with what lawyers think, and as of this moment, they're in unanimous agreement with me (and they haven't seen it all)."


I'm no lawyer myself, just a troll who doesn't understand copyright law, but he sounds to me like a fellow with a lot more hat than cattle*. (And I'm pretty sure at least some of the folks on this thread who've been tearing into Frylock are lawyers.)

*I visited some friends in Texas a couple weeks ago, it hasn't quite worn off yet.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Then, if its a game rule that cyclops has 22HP, that is not copyrightable.
So, here's the thing - I'm not sure we should/would/do classify a cyclops having 22 HP as a game rule.

The game rules tell us what to do with the hit points of a creature - the rules provide a process. But how tough a creature should be seems more to me like a creative choice than a rule.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I prefer DC's method of dealing with Superman. The S shield is a trademark, good luck telling a Superman story without that symbol.
Shazam! The original publisher (Fawcett Comics) stopped publishing Captain Marvel stories in part because of the threat of copyright infringement on DC - that basically they had stolen Superman and put a new symbol on his chest.
 

Mort

Community Supporter
Over in Meta in a thread called "The Old Server" Morrus has posted a screenshot of a tweet in which this guy make it very clear what he thinks of ENWorld and its denizens...
Having seen his tweet, I'm really curious who he showed this argument to!

His argument seems, very, very, weak. He's relying on the lack of creativity in the original stat blocks (which he seems to have basically cut and paste), yet he feels his are creative enough that he slapped a copyright symbol on them - sure, ok.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Whoever posted the Supreme Court link to Kimble v Marvel, thank you. That was both enlightening and hilarious. Whatever Justice Kagan clearly has wicked sense of humour.
Kagan and Roberts are, by far, the two best writers on the Court (perhaps it is more accurate to say the two best editors of their clerks .... ).

One of my all-time favorite oral arguments (do people have those?) was in Smith v. Cain, when Kagan asked "Did your office [New Orleans prosecutors] ever consider just confessing error in this case?"

When the response was something like, "What?" Kagan continued, "Did your office ever consider just confessing error in this case? You’ve had a bunch of time to think about it. Do you know? We took cert a while ago. I’m just wondering whether you’ve ever considered confessing error."

That might be a career low point.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Shazam! The original publisher (Fawcett Comics) stopped publishing Captain Marvel stories in part because of the threat of copyright infringement on DC - that basically they had stolen Superman and put a new symbol on his chest.
Then DC buys Fawcett and wants to publish Captain Marvel again but now there is Marvel's Captain Marvel so back to the courts!
 
I would tend to agree with this assessment. I’ve met plenty of lawyers absolutely consumed with their own self-importance.

As others have pointed out, his argument is based on the sort of narrow-minded interpretation that would get shredded in court.

But then again, I'm just a troll that doesn't understand patent law (except for, you know, the nine years I spent working for an international law firm [not as a lawyer, admittedly])...

Or is this all instead what I think it is: a potential fiasco being engineered by a narcissistic lawyer with a desire for attention and publicity
 

Fezzwick

Villager
Hi! I am a gamer and a non-practicing attorney. First, Frylock's arguments are tenable. Second, opinions are fine to share, but is the lawyer bashing so necessary? A lot of people on forums like this would be offended by people trolling with nerd and geek stereotypes. If you have a valid contribution to make, I'd like to hear it. But aren't we better than trolling with stereotypical lawyer jokes?
 
If this continues, maybe WotC should bring out the actual employee(s) who wrote the stat blocks in contention and have them countersue for IP theft, since he was so stupid as to slap his copyright on someone else's work.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
Hi! I am a gamer and a non-practicing attorney. First, Frylock's arguments are tenable. Second, opinions are fine to share, but is the lawyer bashing so necessary? A lot of people on forums like this would be offended by people trolling with nerd and geek stereotypes. If you have a valid contribution to make, I'd like to hear it. But aren't we better than trolling with stereotypical lawyer jokes?
You are new here, huh?
 

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