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The Lone Star Meet, greet and socialize with your fellow Travellers in the Lone Star Lounge. Random Topics.

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  #1  
Old March 18th, 2003, 08:35 PM
Loki Loki is offline
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Pertaining to the topic I started earlier today and now find locked:

With twenty-eight years (and still going) as a federal law enforcement officer, I would never condone the use or abuse of the hard work of others without due compensation. They’re innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law. I read over the disclaimers sprinkled over the web site and believed it to cover the author’s rear ends.

“The publications offered here are a result of the kind contributions of others around the world since this site has been up. Additions and updates have been an ongoing process. The aim of this site is to offer as complete a collection of original Universe material as possible while offering updated presentations. Special attention to keeping the original material intact has been the goal. The material presented here is for personal enjoyment, non-profit use only as much of this material has all but disappeared. I welcome communication regarding corrections, additions, contributions and opinions from Universe players, Games Masters and interested parties alike.”

And:

“The aim of these publications is to expand new ideas and life into SPI's Science Fiction Role Playing Game: Universe. The intent of this site does not seek to challenge the copyright, authorship, or lay claim to any form of ownership to the original SPI material.

As editor of this site I fully acknowledge and respect copyright and I will immediately withdraw any content upon receipt of any legitimate request to do so. The material presented here is for personal enjoyment and free circulation for non-profit, non-commercial use.”

Note: If you try to download their .pdf files you are asked to provide a password or join a certain Yahoo group. Does this mean this organization is responsible for attempting to disseminate copyrighted material illegally? Has this author not received any challenges towards the items he has on this site?

Anyway, I apologize if this was an error on my part so please remove the entire topic. Don’t just lock it. As it is written now, even without the link identified, finding it on the internet is too easy!

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old March 18th, 2003, 08:51 PM
hunter hunter is offline
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That's the problem. A lot of folks think that if something is no longer in print they are allowed to then take and do with it what they wish. They also tend to think that if they don't charge for it there is nothing wrong.

Unfortunately they are wrong on both counts. It is illegal.

Hunter
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Old March 18th, 2003, 08:54 PM
hunter hunter is offline
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I prefer not to delete our user's posts unless I find them way out of line. Yours wasn't out of line, just a mistake. I left it for others to see so that maybe they won't do the same in the future. If you prefer I delete it I will.

Hunter
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Old March 18th, 2003, 09:43 PM
Loki Loki is offline
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As long as you think it serves a useful purpose, then please feel free to leave it as written.
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Old March 19th, 2003, 05:13 AM
Gallowglass Gallowglass is offline
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This does raise the legitimate question of whom, exactly owns teh copy right on SPIs games, particularly Universe and Dragonquest. Whilst both are in many ways products of their time they contained many innovative ideas. But they have been out of print for some twenty years.

Now that definetly isn't long enough for them to be public domain (IIRC that's now 70 years after the authors death, and that's for fiction...) but has anyone definitive information that ownership was correctly transferred from SPI to TSR to WotC to Hasbro and that Hasbro are going to sit on them? At the very least, would they be interested in re-releasing them via the ESD program? For a $5 fee I suspect there are enough people sufficiently curious to make it worth while.

I very occasionally see Universe on eBAy UK (Dragonquest is a little more frequent) but the collectors always push the price up beyond what seems reasonable to me. Wish I still had that hardback of DQ my brother had...
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Old March 19th, 2003, 06:33 AM
hunter hunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gallowglass:
This does raise the legitimate question of whom, exactly owns teh copy right on SPIs games, particularly Universe and Dragonquest. Whilst both are in many ways products of their time they contained many innovative ideas. But they have been out of print for some twenty years.

Now that definetly isn't long enough for them to be public domain (IIRC that's now 70 years after the authors death, and that's for fiction...) but has anyone definitive information that ownership was correctly transferred from SPI to TSR to WotC to Hasbro and that Hasbro are going to sit on them? At the very least, would they be interested in re-releasing them via the ESD program? For a $5 fee I suspect there are enough people sufficiently curious to make it worth while.

I very occasionally see Universe on eBAy UK (Dragonquest is a little more frequent) but the collectors always push the price up beyond what seems reasonable to me. Wish I still had that hardback of DQ my brother had...
My bet is Hasbro through WotC.

Hell they might even be willing to let them do it. I know they gave permission for the StarFrontiers website to post copies of all of the original books. This was an unusual situation, but considering the effort that has been put into what I briefly saw, WotC/Hasbro might make another exception.

*shrug* Right now though unless I am mistaken (and I may well be) these folks don't have the authorization to do what they have done.

Me I actually have an original copy from way back, but it is a misprinted copy with pages missing. Go figure! Never liked it anyway.

Hunter
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  #7  
Old March 19th, 2003, 07:53 AM
Gallowglass Gallowglass is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by hunter:
My bet is Hasbro through WotC.

Hell they might even be willing to let them do it. I know they gave permission for the StarFrontiers website to post copies of all of the original books. This was an unusual situation, but considering the effort that has been put into what I briefly saw, WotC/Hasbro might make another exception.

*shrug* Right now though unless I am mistaken (and I may well be) these folks don't have the authorization to do what they have done.

Me I actually have an original copy from way back, but it is a misprinted copy with pages missing. Go figure! Never liked it anyway.

Hunter
Universe I don't know well enough to comment on, but Dragonquest (espeically the magic system) I have good memories of...

It must be said that, all things being equal, it would be safest to proceed on the assumption that the various transaction were all correctly executed so Hasbro (through WotC) do own both; although it is worth noting that this is probably different to Hasbro's ownership of the Runequest game which they had via Avalon Hill and the name/trademark has recently been re-acquired by Greg Stafford/Issaries Inc.

I gather from one web site that some efforts were made to contact Hasbro\WotC, and a former president of SPI is somehow involved but it ain't legal without permission is the bottom line.

Contrast with Atlas Games (definetly one of the good guys) who have recently made Ars Magica 4th editin available in pdf for free from RPGNow!

Cheers,

Nick Middleton
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  #8  
Old March 19th, 2003, 12:55 PM
manley_t manley_t is offline
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Copyrights do expire and after a certain length of time (don't recall the amount) unless they're 'renewed' they revert to Public Domain.

Thus the Estates of many authors keep and maintain the copyrights of the work.

I'm not saying that UNIVERSE is in the public domain now, just tossing in what I remember.

This board in particular seems to be overly concerned about copyright enfringement -- and err on the side of 'not doing anything wrong'.

...not saying that's a bad thing...just making an observation
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Old March 19th, 2003, 01:51 PM
pauldrye pauldrye is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Big Tim:
Copyrights do expire and after a certain length of time (don't recall the amount) unless they're 'renewed' they revert to Public Domain.
That was the system in the United States until the 1970s, but the U.S. always had an oddball system and it's since been reformed to match world standards.

In general, copyright these days is "author's life plus 75 years" -- the clock starts ticking off 75 years after an author has died. You get copyright on an original work automatically, without need to register or renew or anything similar.

In the United States, however, there have been several copyright extension acts pushed through with the backing of your entertainment industry (most notoriously the "Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act") which looks to be making copyright perpetual there.

As a result there are a number of older works (1910s and 20s) which are now in the public domain pretty much everywhere in the world except the U.S. If you browse the web you'll find that many of the sites hosting public domain materials have taken to putting up mirrors in places like Australia, and adding notes to their links that accessing such and such a book from the U.S. is against the law. The penalties are rather steep, if I recall correctly.
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