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Cepheus General General discussion of Cepheus Engine products.

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  #21  
Old June 20th, 2017, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue Ghost View Post
Mister Watts

I consulted more than three separate attorneys on what I could and could not do in terms of writing for games, including one who knows the field inside and out. And that's the best response I can give you.

Thanks.
All I can say is that I hope you didn't pay these 3+ attorneys very much. They clearly have very little knowledge of this subject and have done you a disservice.
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  #22  
Old June 20th, 2017, 12:45 PM
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Most attorneys do not "know the field inside and out," when the field is the matter of OGL. There are very few attorneys familiar with the ins and outs of RPG licensing. A generic copyright attorney would probably know exactly what to do if you handed them the OGL, the various Traveller licenses, the Cepheus Engine license, and so on, and I cannot imagine any situation in which a competent lawyer would read those licenses and tell someone they cannot publish gaming material based on the licensed material, since literally thousands of other people are doing it every day without legal problems. It's just that most IP lawyers won't know about those licenses. And even if they do, they may not understand what a freaking RPG is at all, so it's hard for them to advise on the topic.

A handful of 3P OGL publishers also happen to be lawyers (like Clark Peterson, I believe) and they're very comfortable publishing material under the OGL for various properties.

(As an aside, it's astounding how poorly people conform with the two or three requirements of the OGL when publishing derivative works that require it. The license is very short, relatively straightforward and simple, and very clear about what you need to do.)
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  #23  
Old June 20th, 2017, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Adam Dray View Post
Most attorneys do not "know the field inside and out," when the field is the matter of OGL. There are very few attorneys familiar with the ins and outs of RPG licensing. A generic copyright attorney would probably know exactly what to do if you handed them the OGL, the various Traveller licenses, the Cepheus Engine license, and so on, and I cannot imagine any situation in which a competent lawyer would read those licenses and tell someone they cannot publish gaming material based on the licensed material, since literally thousands of other people are doing it every day without legal problems. It's just that most IP lawyers won't know about those licenses. And even if they do, they may not understand what a freaking RPG is at all, so it's hard for them to advise on the topic.

A handful of 3P OGL publishers also happen to be lawyers (like Clark Peterson, I believe) and they're very comfortable publishing material under the OGL for various properties.

(As an aside, it's astounding how poorly people conform with the two or three requirements of the OGL when publishing derivative works that require it. The license is very short, relatively straightforward and simple, and very clear about what you need to do.)
THIS! This is why I earlier stated that the attorney didn't know Whiskey Tango Foxtrot he was talking about.
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  #24  
Old June 20th, 2017, 01:51 PM
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There is another important consideration for the OGL. There's no case law.

Until there's case law, the OGL is on its face cannot be taken as viable.

There is some very limited case law about the GNU Public License (GPL), and about some other "Use constitutes acceptance of license terms" in software, but not for boardgames and card games.

Some of the European nations' Creators Rights laws potentially create a minefield for the OGL as well. As in, you cannot force abrogation of those rights even by contract. Been a bit of a deal in the board game industry; further, in France, a games mechanics are covered under creators rights. The Jungle Speed case - same play, totally different wording to the rules; the infringement was in fact upheld and the variant game is now banned in France. (Even tho' it was published outside of france.)

IP law is a bloody minefield, and the only method of mine detection is the Polish Army Version from WW 1: Walk a bunch of people across the field, see who gets blown up.

I am not a lawyer. I am especially not Your Lawyer.
Based upon the case law I've seen, the OGL is likely to hold up once challenged. Likely. Not assured. Any lawyer worth his salary his going to warn you that until there's either blackletter law supporting it or case law upholding it, it's a risk.

And in IP law, if you lose, you don't just lose money, you lose the IP as well.

So any attorney doing his job is going to say, "If you want to be assured of your IP rights, do not use any open license." They might make an exception for the GPL and GNUFDL, as the software industry has those sorted in some case law.
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  #25  
Old June 20th, 2017, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by aramis View Post
There is another important consideration for the OGL. There's no case law.

Until there's case law, the OGL is on its face cannot be taken as viable.

There is some very limited case law about the GNU Public License (GPL), and about some other "Use constitutes acceptance of license terms" in software, but not for boardgames and card games.

...

And in IP law, if you lose, you don't just lose money, you lose the IP as well.

So any attorney doing his job is going to say, "If you want to be assured of your IP rights, do not use any open license." They might make an exception for the GPL and GNUFDL, as the software industry has those sorted in some case law.
Lots of good points, though I have in the past worked for a tech industry giant that banks it's business on GPL (and some other licenses). The good news for the open source industry is that should a court case come up that put the open source community at significant risk, this industry giant would start firing some pretty big guns...

Now I work for a tech industry almost giant that banks it's ENTIRE business on open source.

OGL is certainly a different case, on the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if the Free Software Foundation (and then possibly either of my employers) would stick it's nose into any serious case involving the OGL for fear that a bad precedent there could carry over to the GPL.

But of course with anything involving law, consult your own lawyer. But make sure you pick a lawyer that's actually familiar with this stuff otherwise you will either get an overly conservative recommendation, or a recommendation that is wrong in a way that puts you at risk.

Frank
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  #26  
Old June 20th, 2017, 02:44 PM
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[Caveats: I am not a lawyer. Do not stake your future on the opinions of people on the Internet who you have not retained as your attorney.]

OGL isn't exactly copyright law. It's contract law, and contract law is pretty clearly established territory. Contract law as it applies to copyright is also very well established (subrights in book publishing and media).

Follow the contract, the company sublicenses these copyrights to you to create derivative works.

If you don't follow the contract and create derivative works anyway, then you're in "what does copyright law say about this?" territory, and may God have mercy on your soul. If anyone bothers to sue, since even bringing a case is expensive, but so is defending one.

For the case we're talking about, the OGL isn't anything like a EULA. Not even close. With derivative works, you have zero right to create one if you're not within the Fair Use zone. Zero. If you want that right, you have to negotiate with the copyright owner for it. The OGL just makes that part easy. It is not a contract of adhesion.

A EULA is something that grants you rights you probably thought you had already due to a purchase. Often, by the time you have the product in hand, that's when you notice the EULA (for stuff shipped to you), or maybe you notice at check-out when they spring 50 pages of fine print on you. Often, it's a contract of adhesion, and these get thrown out of court sometimes.

Sure, both a EULA and the OGL put conditions on the use of a product you just paid for. In the case of the OGL, you had no rights to produce derivative works to begin with, except within Fair Use doctrine. In the case of a EULA for, say, a piece of software, they're putting limitations on how you can use that and probably telling you that you don't own it (you're just licensing it), which is essentially you signing AWAY your rights. They're very different because of the direction the rights are going.
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  #27  
Old June 20th, 2017, 02:44 PM
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We're way off topic. I'll stop unless someone has questions. Maybe it should go to PM anyway.
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  #28  
Old June 20th, 2017, 05:30 PM
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Many apologies for getting my own thread off topic. I did not intend to discuss the lagalities of publishing for games. It's merely a facet that's prevented me from doing what I wanted.

However, as of 10AM this morning heading to the store, I was again harassed with a religious bent, and so my strike continues until this abates permanently.

What I really wanted to pose, and how I should have asked, is if an adventure written for one version of Traveller attracts or dis-ways you from looking at it. I do think, however, that I probably answered my own question, and perhaps a better question might be would you purchase a generic "yellow box" brand to incorporate or use in your Traveller game session.

Thanks for the replies. I probably should have posted this in the opinion poll section.

Many apologies and again, many thanks.
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Old June 20th, 2017, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ghost View Post
...What I really wanted to pose, and how I should have asked, is if an adventure written for one version of Traveller attracts or dis-ways you from looking at it. I do think, however, that I probably answered my own question, and perhaps a better question might be would you purchase a generic "yellow box" brand to incorporate or use in your Traveller game session...
To add some specific confirmation for you BG, i did exactly this for my previous campaign, and am doing exactly this for my campaign starting this week. i used the Linkworlds Cluster T20 campaign book but we're playing the game with the Mongoose 2E rules.

I appreciated that Linkworlds was written as traveller version-agnostic as possible, it has stats and some suggestions of dice rolls in the d20 system, but all of that is easily converted to 2d6. my players and i both enjoyed it. especially as a new referee to traveller it was nice to get some background on the worlds of the cluster, history, powerful people and groups, etc. really helped with the worldbuilding.

personally the story material itself is more interesting than what version of traveller or even game it's from. i can add the rules and stats layer. i've also lined up some cyberpunk 2020 adventures for this traveller campaign so go figure.
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Old June 20th, 2017, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ghost View Post
Many apologies for getting my own thread off topic. I did not intend to discuss the lagalities of publishing for games. It's merely a facet that's prevented me from doing what I wanted.

However, as of 10AM this morning heading to the store, I was again harassed with a religious bent, and so my strike continues until this abates permanently.

What I really wanted to pose, and how I should have asked, is if an adventure written for one version of Traveller attracts or dis-ways you from looking at it. I do think, however, that I probably answered my own question, and perhaps a better question might be would you purchase a generic "yellow box" brand to incorporate or use in your Traveller game session.

Thanks for the replies. I probably should have posted this in the opinion poll section.

Many apologies and again, many thanks.
The answer to your real question for me is, if your adventure sparks my interest, yes, I would buy it and potentially use it. If I used it, I would run it under the system I'm using (which conceivably might not even be Traveller or a clone) and I would place it into my setting.

In that vein, the less your adventure depends on specific setting stuff or specific game mechanics the better.

As to worlds, you could write the adventure with a specific world of the 3I in mind, but when you publish, just give the UWP of the world, and if necessary, any details of the world pertinent to your adventure in your own words (that part could be tricky, using the UWP is easy - CE provides your working definition for the UWP).

Frank
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