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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 64 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: How much "inspiration" is legal?  (Read 7540 times)
Veritas Games
Member

Posts: 171


« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2006, 06:03:03 PM »

If you look on

http://www.veritasgames.net

in the Game Design section you will find glossary entries on copyright, patent, and trademark.  These have links at the end of each to U.S. government sources concerning copyright and patents.  There are lots of great resources on the net.  I think the smartest thing is to ask a question, hear the answers, ask for official case law citations and government publications, and then make up your own mind whether that's enough or whether you need a lawyer.

NOLO makes a great line of self-help books on law that can help you with the basics of the law.  Not everything requires a lawyer.  Spend money on a lawyer when you are going to take a potentially expensive action.  Don't spend money on a lawyer just for an initial inquiry if you can find the same exact answer in a NOLO book or on a government website for free or for a fraction of the cost.

Others may disagree with this.  In my experience, it is a sound way to operate my business, by bringing in the lawyers for the stuff I need them for, and not for every little thing.

If you want to read some case law, let me know.  It'll let you form your own opinion on the issues.
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Regards,
Lee Valentine
President
Veritas Games
Justin D. Jacobson
Member

Posts: 186


WWW
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2006, 03:59:39 AM »

You would be astounded at how many OGL-based games possibly directly infringe elements of the Open Gaming Licence : Spycraft 2, Mutants & Masterminds and many others infringe it by mentioning copyrighted works (e.g. D20 compatibility),
Ironically, this statement is wrong.
So long you attribute your inspiration and don't seek to make money from it, I think you could produce it for fun.,
And this one is a minefield waiting for a false step.

I think the internet is fine for asking general questions and looking for general information. But when you've got a specific question about a specific project, there's really no substitute for inquiring with a genuine IP attorney. In most locales, it's not too hard to find one who will answer a few basic questions free of charge (in the hopes that you might ultimately become a client).
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Facing off against Captain Ahab, Dr. Fu Manchu, and Prof. Moriarty? Sure!

Passages - Victorian era, literary-based high adventure!
Veritas Games
Member

Posts: 171


« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2006, 05:48:48 AM »

You would be astounded at how many OGL-based games possibly directly infringe elements of the Open Gaming Licence : Spycraft 2, Mutants & Masterminds and many others infringe it by mentioning copyrighted works (e.g. D20 compatibility),
Ironically, this statement is wrong.

He's referring to the fact that M&M v. 1 used the phrase "d20-based" (I think that was the phrase).  I would argue that phrases like "d6-based", "d10-based", and "d20-based" refer to the core die used, typically, and not to a specifical system.  When I say a d6 based system I mean something like Champions, not the West End Games "D6 System".  I think that M&M does not say "D20 System-based products", and so is arguably not referring to a trademark.  However, I did a double take when I first saw that phrase too.  So, I'd say that even if the claim is wrong, it is because Green Ronin chose a phrase which is probably not a trademark to refer indirectly to a trademark to skirt the OGL's prohibitions about claiming compatibility with other products.

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Regards,
Lee Valentine
President
Veritas Games
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
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Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2006, 03:36:55 PM »

All right, with Lee's post above, which gives an excellent resource for all of us, this thread has served its purpose.

I'm not especially pleased with the line-by-line nitpicknig and one-up-manship I'm continuing to see.

Given both of these points, I have decided to close this thread.

Best, Ron
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