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Copyright resources

Started by jrs, July 13, 2006, 11:10:24 PM

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Earlier Ron mentioned his interest in a post that consolidates links to copyright resources, see Regarding copyright and intellectual property.  I've taken it upon myself to compile such a post with the hope that it will be deemed worthy of stickification. 

Here are links to resources outside the Forge.

United States Copyright Office, and the Copyright Registration section
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Orphan Works
Tales from the Public Domain: BOUND BY LAW?
Creative Commons
World Intellectual Property Organization

For even more links, go to this topic, Legal Information for Publishers

Here are links to Forge topics that discuss copyright and related issues.  I think I located most of the big ones; they are in chronological order. 

I'm a plagiarizing bastard
Intellectual Property and Dice Mechanics
How protective are you of your game ideas?
Using potentially "trademarked" words of myth?!
Copyright and references to RPGs
Kazaa, Piracy & Your PDF game
Split from Kazaa thread
Copyright and/or Trademark Infringement Horror Stories?
Public Domain
How to deal with a PDF pirate
Should I bother registering my RPG for copyright?
Using public domain art
Treading lightly around a Trademarked term
Copyright Question
how do I find out if a company name is original
Open Licenses and Indie Games
Copyright issues
The world (of rights) is a complicated place
Rights: New Writers, Old Product Line, Not Work-for-Hire
PDF Piracy Revisited
curious about protection
Copyright Law regarding government art
Trademarks and copyrights
Woodcuts (split)
Roleplaying, Free Software & Content and Libre Culture


Andrew Cooper

This is awesome Julie.  I certainly hope it gets stickified, since the forums no longer have "My Topics" that I can save this one to.  Thanks for doing this kind of work.  You da bomb!

Ben Lehman

I've gotten great response at the IntelPropLaw forums.



Well, crap.  You know all those links to past discussions that I list above.  Don't post to them.  Some of them date back to 2001, and even the ones that aren't that old should not be revived.  I assumed folks would know better, and I've already been proven wrong.  Start new discussions.  Or if you have another resource, add it here like Ben did.



This link on games and copyrights from the US Copyright Office is quite interesting.
Ricardo Gladwell
President, Free Roleplaying Community




That's a great resource. Thanks!

I have one comment, though. I have found it fascinating that, while many aspiring writers (as in published writers) are concerned about not infringing other writers' copyrights, and are even more worried about anyone stealing their ideas, many feel quite comfortable stealing software -- i.e. actually advocate for getting software "on the cheap", either by buying an educational license they are no longer entitled to, or simply getting a ripped version via Kazaa or some black market scheme.

(see How to Make Your Own Role-playing Game (Cheap) by Clinton R. Nixon).

In my mind, anyone thinking that pirating software is OK shouldn't get upset when their PDF product they are selling (or hard copy RPG books) are getting photocopied and passed along free of charge. Obviously, anyone posting their RPGs for free online will still not see this as a big issue, but anyone trying to recoup their cost and actually make a bit of money selling their RPGs should.

I am not taking the moral high ground here -- as a student, I couldn't afford to buy these $300 programs either, and we bought "communal" copies. But anyone who is serious about providing advice on publishing shouldn't encourage others to pirate/steal/illegally copy other people's hard work, whether it's books, music, movies or software

I still highly recommend Nixon's article. He does make several good suggestions as to how one can publish legally on the cheap.

Food for thought. Let me know if you think I am out to lunch!


Ron Edwards

Hi there,

If anyone wants to take up that issue, a new thread is probably best, rather than in this sticky.

However, please keep in mind that ethical debates cannot be settled at this site. Those judgments, and their consequences, are yours alone.

Best, Ron

Selene Tan

Dan Rosenthal, a legal adviser for the (video) games industry, just put up an overview of legal issues for game developers, focusing on intellectual property.

It's targeted at video game developers, but is a good intro to intellectual property law for games.
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