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27

I am not a lawyer. This doesn't constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice in a practical matter, retain a lawyer. Yadda, yadda. However, these are two well-understood parts of game design, so I can comment generally. Rules cannot be copyrighted, as they are procedures and processes. The correct arena of government-granted production monopoly for ...


25

I am a game designer with my own game designs already on the market. My primary system at the moment is currently the number one RPG system on Amazon.com. I'm also a writer with over ten books to my name and dozens of shorter stories. I've read a lot of books with regards to copyright law and checked both the Canadian and U.S. laws concerning copyright, ...


24

Legal issues First, I'm not a lawyer. I've spent the past 15 years paying attention to the shifting landscape of copyright and trademark and other IP law, so I can point you toward a few ideas that might help, but I'm still not a lawyer and can't give you legal advice that's worth a damn when you actually start publishing. Infringing others' IP rights ...


23

In terms of the GURPS part, assuming this is not for sale and just posted publicly on the Web, your use would be dictated by the Steve Jackson Games Online Policy. This allows you to make adventures and stuff but not things that require a restatement of the GURPS rules - so you'd want to be careful that your "fan book" doesn't do that. In addition, the ...


22

Anything you find in the SRD is Open Gaming Licence content and thus free to use so long as you abide by the terms of the OGL. You'll note that it does not contain XP or Wealth-By-Level rules, and you'll also notice that it doesn't really contain fluff; those rules (and the fluff) are still WotC's property and cannot be used. Beyond that, you're perfectly ...


13

I focused on copyright and cyberlaw when I obtained my JD, but I never took the bar because I knew I didn't want to practice law. So this is backround material, not legal advice, and I am not a lawyer. There are two legal areas to pay attention to here: trademark and copyright. Trademark was created to protect businesses from fraudsters trying to masquerade ...


11

It depends on what you want to use and how you want to use it. As Lord_Gareth mentioned, all of the content from the System Reference Documents are available under the Open Game License. If you write your adventure and setting in a sufficiently generic way, you may not need to bother with the OGL. The answers for Copyright of Existing Systems might also be ...


10

Yes, and the law says you don't actually need the Open Game License to do it. But, You probably need to use the OGL anyway because the world is crazy. The OGL is the legal vehicle that most publishers used during the d20 craze, and is what Pathfinder uses, to be "compatible with" D&D 3rd Edition; it was given by Wizards of the Coast during their ...


7

The Law of the Geek podcast has two episodes about the protectability of game systems under copyright law: Warning: System Failure and OMG, it's the OGL. While it is not legal advice, they are lawyers. As an aside, Geoff makes the case that Paizo, from a legal standpoint, should have made Pathfinder without involving the OGL or Wizards of the Coast's ...


5

As the now parent company, you could just try calling or emailing CCP Games directly. The trail stops dead with White Wolf as Richard Thomas did not buy/acquire the license for BESM. So one can assume that with CCP it has remained (as far as the public domain is concerned) and that it is highly likely that it has been moth-balled due to the focus on WoD MMO ...


5

Creative Commons is a nice license to use. For example, Eclipse Phase is using it and has sold a lot of physical copies -- there was a note on their web site but I cannot find it now. This allows you to distribute your book(s) for free with a tip jar. This is an easy way to get noticed but not all publication houses will agree to print the book under that ...


3

Who should I talk to about copyright A lawyer in your country that knows the relevant local, domestic and international laws. What's the best format to put my documents in prior to submitting them I imagine "the best format" will depend per company. Asking the game companies that you are submitting to (which can be found by going to your local ...


2

My simple advice is to contact SJG and ask them, they're likely to have a lot more experience in this area than you are and if you get an all clear from them then it very much simplifies your life. One thing to keep in mind is that it's not just SJG that you have to be happy with but also the copyright holders for the two licenses (WB 3 and HoM&M). If ...


1

I've seen a number of kickstarter campaigns for both new RPGs and RPG supplements -- you might want to try a kickstarter campaign for the initial funds, if you don't have enough out of pocket.



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