05. Copy Right

Ok, first I would like to apologise for not posting anything last week, unfortunately with Christmas coming up fast, life’s general day to day stuff is catching up with me and I’m not finding a lot of time to do much physical work on this project, even though it is a constant thought in the back of my mind. This may happen again over the next few weeks but I will try my best to put something up on the site so the momentum of the project doesn’t die down.

I did however catch up with the guys who helped with the first play test and was able to get a lot more feedback from them about the game I ran a few weeks back, which will help as they are keen to continue on with the next mission.

Anyway as you are now caught up to speed let’s get stuck into today’s topic Copy Right.One of the things that concerned me the most when I came up with the idea for this blog was a copy right issues i.e. – someone taking what I put up on the net and using it to basically build a knock off version. After considering this for a while I realised that if I was careful about how much I displayed content wise there wasn’t going to be any major risk.
This brings me to my next point, in my quest for knowledge in working out what makes a good campaign settings book, I have come across a couple of things that make me go wow that would fit perfectly in my book. For instance let say I was reading through BOOK A and found a Edge called EDGE B. I really like EDGE B but it was written by someone else and published in there book. But I really want to use it in my book so where do I go from here?Do I:

A) Use it word for word and not state that it was first published in BOOK A
B) Use it word for word and put a disclaimer at the bottom of the page stating that it was first published in BOOK A
C) Re-word it a little bit so it still has the same meaning and goal but is not 100% like it is in BOOK A
D) Not use it at all

Now it’s not like I want to copy a whole chapter or section I just want to use about 2 lines. Something like this.

“ A player with EDGE B can perform EDGE B once per day for free, if a play try’s to perform EDGE B a second time that day the player must make a successful vigour check on a -2 or suffer a fatigue level. The third attempt is at a -4 etc…”

So I’m still not 100% sure what to do with this, because I’m not sure if by law I have to state that it came from another book or I’ll be breaching copy right. I also don’t want to be an ass and not give credit to the writers for their work.

So I guess this little rant is more to ask peoples feedback.

Do I need to quote that this rule came from another book by law; if I don’t have to quote it by law should I still do it or risk being known as the ass that stole the EDGE B from BOOK A, should I reword it or should I just forget about it all together. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I will post a comment when I have come up with a solution to this problem.

Till next time,
Cheers Ray

P.s for an interesting talk on copy right and trademarks in the games industry check out the D6 Generation podcast episode 49

One Response to 05. Copy Right

  1. Nathan says:

    Hey Ray, you raise some interesting issues. The first one, about people stealing your ideas, is a concern that many writers face. The almost universal advice is “don’t stress” – ideas are cheap. It is how you do stuff, the specific wording of your rules that makes your work unique. For instance, I could go away and write a 1950’s zombie game right now, but it would be a very different beast from your own. IMHO keep blogging about your progress and talking about your ideas in general.
    Regarding the second issue, I assume you are talking about Savage Worlds. I am no lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt… All that stuff (even the Fan material) is copyright of the creator. You cannot take it without their permission. Without their permission. See, you could get their permission – send an email and ask, that way you have definitive answer. Most people are going to be polite about it, even if they say no. Give them a brief explanation of your game, tell them if you intend to sell it, and why that edge would be perfect for your game, then politely ask them if you can use it.
    I hope this has helped.

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