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Question about IP and fan-made material



I'm not sure this is the right forum for this kind of question, but I've got this roleplaying game I made...

In a nutshell, it's a hack of Cubicle 7's The One Ring's (as the roleplaying game) system set in the FFG's Twilight Imperium (as the board game) universe. So basically I'm plagiarizing two distinct IPs belonging to two distinct publishing companies. This game is not intended to leave my basement, so no foul there.

But even if I have no intentions of selling or publishing this game in any shape or form, I wish I could exchange with my peers and have my stuff criticized by a broader community than my immediate friends, like that of these forums. So what's the best way to do that without infringing on intellectual property laws, both legally and morally (or forum rules for that matter).

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Well, that was fun
Staff member
The legal answer to your question: there's no way to legally distribute it without infringing on IP laws, unless you have permission from the IP holder.


Morrus's answer is entirely correct.

I will also note that the sort of hack you describe is quite common in gaming communities, legally dubious or not.

For example, you might see someone hack the Mouse Guard RPG as a system for running 'Star Trek' or 'Harry Potter', and say, "Look, what do you think of this a write up for the TOS bridge staff?"

Whether you'd get a cease and desist over it depends probably on the scale of the content you copy and the scale of the distribution.

Speaking of Harry Potter, consider the problem fan fiction represents to a copyright holder. Do you cease and desist your biggest fans for infringement and create a lot of resentment, or do you ignore fact that you are basically allowing people to write and distribute stories using your IP?

Glad I'm not making that call.


Note that "an IP" in this context is a business term, not a legal term. It is often far from certain what is actually covered by rights holder rights, and it will vary by jurisdiction. However in the US system it is easy to hurt someone without having a strong legal case, and hard to defend without incurring a lot of expense, so people normally err on the side of caution.

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