licenses for RPGs

Ken Arromdee arromdee at
Wed Mar 21 17:43:19 UTC 2001

On Wed, 21 Mar 2001, Ryan S. Dancey wrote:
> The OGL framework, when applied to the System Reference Document, provides a
> way to make D&D compatible content that is far, far more extensive than the
> basic rights you might have as they relate to the public domain status of
> the game rules of D&D.  And there's no grey area.  Both conditions which
> make it possible to bring to market a commercial product without having to
> provide for a substantial threat of litigation.

That's where the extortion comes in.  "If you submit to our conditions,
you can do something which is legal anyway, but which we'll otherwise
sue you into bankruptcy for".

> And it's furthermore quite silly to point at the former TSR (now Wizards of
> the Coast) business and say that the climate of litigation is fostered by
> one company.  Every commerical hobby game publisher has taken the exact same
> position for 25 years - that the mere game rule content in an RPG is the
> least part of the copyrighted work of an RPG, and that derivative works
> based on such a product are infringing.

Ryan, the problem is that TSR has bizarre ideas of what constitutes a
derivative work, as well as bizarre ideas that the company owns all
derivative works, which together amounts to a threat, not only to sue, but to
take other people's works without compensation.

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