A solution to all of this copyright crap

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Bryan J. Maloney

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Oct 18, 1994, 7:46:52 PM10/18/94
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I can propose a solution to all of this copyright trouble:

Change your game system.

Stop playing T$R products and you can stop worrying about the biggest asshole
game company in the world breathing down your neck.


What kind of setting and effect are you looking for? There's a game out
there for you.


My recommendations:

RuneQuest
This game is probably one of the closest to AD&D on the market, since it's
one of the oldest RPGs, it's no surprise. Game mechanics are very simple:
Roll percentile under your skill. That's it. No tables. No charts.
Character generation in the third edition is screwy, but it can be fixed.
It's also a more solidly designed game than is AD&D--less stupid exceptions
and less special rules. More seamless operation.

I can offer personal help on this one, including rules for converting AD&D
settings to RuneQuest use.


Ars Magica
This is a game for freewheeling gamers who aren't into anal retentive rules
lawyering. The game is centered around Magi, so it's a more specialized game
than most, but it's still good fun to play. Game systems are very simple.
The magic system may be the best ever written.

RoleMaster
The king of super-rules games. If you want something with more charts than
AD&D and more detail than most any other game on the market, Rolemaster is
for you. At last count there were more than 100 character classes and nearly
that many races. This game has ZILLIONS of spells (okay, around 2,000 in
the basic set with many more in supplements).

GURPS
It may be the ultimate evolution in rules-intensive gaming (Hero contests
this title). If you like rules, rules, and more rules covering everything
from spells to guns to atomic bombs to elves to dragons to psionics to M1A1
Abrams tanks, this is your game. Not everything is 100% compatible with
everything else, but there are rules for nearly everything available for
this game. It's got a fairly simple set of core mechanics and a workable
character generation system.

Hero
See GURPS, except with less detail.

Trent A. Fisher

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Oct 19, 1994, 12:32:31 AM10/19/94
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In article <381mpc$b...@mozo.cc.purdue.edu> jac...@sonata.cc.purdue.edu (Bryan J. Maloney) writes:
>I can propose a solution to all of this copyright trouble:
>Change your game system.
>Stop playing T$R products and you can stop worrying about the biggest asshole
>game company in the world breathing down your neck.

>RuneQuest
>Ars Magica
>RoleMaster
>GURPS
>Hero

Don't forget about FUDGE, and all the other "free" game systems.
If you stick with one of them you will get the benefit of other
players on the net, but little risk of Asshole Game Company Syndrome.

Some free and shareware game systems can be found on
ftp.cs.pdx.edu:/pub/frp.

trent...

Hans M Dykstra

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Oct 19, 1994, 11:24:47 AM10/19/94
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In article <jeffpkCx...@netcom.com>,
Jeff Kesselman <jef...@netcom.com> wrote:
>Well, with the exception of DnD, I agree with you. DnD has 2 advantages
>(neither due to the system which, IMO is archaic and has been patched all
>to hell)
> 1) Its a VERY familiar system. Lost of people who only know 1
> system know it.

Well, as long as people continue to use this for an excuse, it will
remain true, and TSR will continue to have the lion's share of the
market. If you don't want the 800-pound gorilla effect, you've got to
start somewhere.

>(Among other things, Wizardry has been around a LONG time withotu them
>challenging Sir Tech. And wizardry uses a basic-5 3-18 stat system. As
>has been shown by the Xerox v. Apple suit, failure to prosecute in a
>timely manner can be seen as giving up the rights. Also, if there is
>anyone bigger (read 'can afford a lawyer') who is committing the same
>'infringement' and they haven't challenged them, that too can seriosuly
>weaken their case.)

Careful about this. The interpretations are too complex for my
non-legally-trained mind, but keep in mind that there is a big
difference between trademark and copyright.

If you fail to protect your trademark, you can lose all rights
to it and it effectively enters the public domain.

If you fail to protect your copyright, you may lose rights to
sue, but you never lose the copyright as long as you live.
(Or after a certain time limit.) So if they have failed to
challenge someone ELSE for copyright infringement, they might
lose their rights to sue THEM, but it doesn't help you.

In any event, they can't copyright systems. They can't copyright
a 3-18 stat range. They can claim copyright on derivative works.
That would be adventures or campaign materials that contain
references to the copyrighted material. For example, Palladium
sued Wizards of the Coast last year over the conversion notes
in The Primal Order, claiming that they constituted an infringement.

But they can't stop you from producing net.plot.books, as long as
they don't contain stats for AD&D. Naturally, that is a pain, but
such is life. I never use stats straight anyway...they never quite
fit my ideas, so I juggle them around.

***
hmd

mdl...@lhn.gns.cri.nz

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Oct 19, 1994, 4:48:18 PM10/19/94
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>Well, with the exception of DnD, I agree with you. DnD has 2 advantages
>(neither due to the system which, IMO is archaic and has been patched all
>to hell)
> 1) Its a VERY familiar system. Lost of people who only know 1
> system know it.

Dont think it really necessary to "know" a system to be playing very quickly.
Rule lawyers and minimaxer are two undesirable type that know systems very
well and could so with something unfamiliar.


> 2) I personally REALLY like Ed Greenwoods campaign materials.
> In paricular, the combination fo thw Waterdeep boxed set and
> The Volos Guide to Waterdeep is the kind of thing I've been
> waiting a long tim for and, unfortunately, he did all this
> stuff for TSR (whatever they're payign him, it aint enough!)

Its pretty straightforward to massage any campaign material for any other
system. Convert Ed Greenwoods stuff to FUDGE and enjoy.

Mark Hills

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Oct 20, 1994, 12:55:08 PM10/20/94
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In a previous article, piz...@physci.psu.edu (Pizari) says:

>Why don't we try to upload to a site in say Finland or Holland...
>actually I think it's Holland. If I'm correct USA Copywrite laws don't
>apply there.


Pardon me? Ever heard of International Copyrights? And T$R does have
an office in England... If you are all so worried about getting your asses
sued by the Evil Empire-then don't tell anyone that you're doing it.

--
----------------------------The KiD ToKYO------------------------------
----------Let's go commandos, it's howling time----------
-------------------------------------

Jeff Kesselman

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Oct 20, 1994, 2:30:00 AM10/20/94
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In article <384878$f...@hearst.cac.psu.edu>,

Pizari <piz...@physci.psu.edu> wrote:
>Why don't we try to upload to a site in say Finland or Holland...
>actually I think it's Holland. If I'm correct USA Copywrite laws don't
>apply there.

Well, its not a bad idea. I can see only 2 problems:
1) The provider downlaoding thats tuff for you from Finland might be
liable (though i admit awfully hard to catch since its a transitory thing.)
2) Its still doesnt help us with posting homemmade mosnters, etc, to the
newsgroups.

I personally think a more direct approach is just to fight the SOBs. I
don't think they really have realized just what a tiger-by-the-tail the
net can be when aroused. Remember theere are ALOT of us. Independantly
TSR has more money for lawyers then any of us, but collectively....

Anyway, if this line of reasoning makes sense to you, thenplease see my post
"Copyright: Stand up and be counted" in rec.games.frp.advocacy

Jeff Kesselman

Sean Miner

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Oct 21, 1994, 1:50:35 AM10/21/94
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Hans M Dykstra (hdyk...@titan.ucs.umass.edu) wrote:

: In any event, they can't copyright systems. They can't copyright


: a 3-18 stat range. They can claim copyright on derivative works.
: That would be adventures or campaign materials that contain
: references to the copyrighted material. For example, Palladium
: sued Wizards of the Coast last year over the conversion notes
: in The Primal Order, claiming that they constituted an infringement.

: But they can't stop you from producing net.plot.books, as long as
: they don't contain stats for AD&D. Naturally, that is a pain, but
: such is life. I never use stats straight anyway...they never quite
: fit my ideas, so I juggle them around.

Okay, so how about a system i've developed. Uses none of the AD&D stats.
Examples:

Anti-weapon Capacity: let's call it "AC".
How Damageable?: or "HD".
and, related to that, Hurty Parts: or "hp"
Ammoral/moral Leanings: "AL"
INnate Thinking: "INT"
Wonderful Inner Strength: "WIS"
CHArmingness: "CHA"
Dodging EXpertise: "DEX"
STRaining capacity: "STR"
CONdition of health: "CON"
COMbined attractive features: "COM"

Feel free to use these in describing your monsters, spells, characters or
whatever. You have *my* permission, anyway.

- Scuminus

Jeff Kesselman

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Oct 20, 1994, 10:19:24 PM10/20/94
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In article <CxzDn...@freenet.carleton.ca>,

There is no such thing as a true 'international copyright.' There is the
Berne agreement, but it only covers signatories to it and there ARE
countries that didn't sign it. (An ftp site in Korea, maybe? :-) )

More to the point, the point here is not to answer an illegal claim with
illegal action, but to fight the illegal claim itself. Another of our
member has turned up a VERY interesting quote which I will post later
tonight. It seems that as far back as 1878 (and yes, it was stil la
current precedent as of 1987) the American Courts recognized a catagory
of art known as a 'Utilitarian Work'. In a specific decision, the courts
ruled that a Uilitarian work MAY be copied for the purpose of using that
work. Now, all we need to do is find somebody beg enough to play
my-lawyer-is-bigger-than-your-lawyer with TSR. (I'm holding out hope
that the EFF pick this up....)

Jeff Kesselman

Sean Miner

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Oct 18, 1994, 9:53:18 PM10/18/94
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Bryan J. Maloney (jac...@sonata.cc.purdue.edu) wrote:

: I can propose a solution to all of this copyright trouble:

: Change your game system.

: Stop playing T$R products and you can stop worrying about the biggest
: asshole game company in the world breathing down your neck.

: My recommendations:

: RuneQuest


: Ars Magica
: RoleMaster
: GURPS
: Hero

Just wanted to add Palladium, which I figure as an obvious entry. The
fantasy system is a lot like DnD anyway.

However, their policies might be
getting ready to go the way of TSR's, I don't know; I just remember
reading in Challenge magazine that Palladium doesn't want them publishing
any adventures for thweir systems. (Then again, Challenge makes money
off of it, so it's not like the Net).

Also, anyone know of any GURPS newsgroups out there (besides
rec.games.frp.misc)?

- Scuminus

Jeff Kesselman

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Oct 20, 1994, 11:35:21 AM10/20/94
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In article <384nt8$o...@s-cwis.unomaha.edu>,
Barbara F. Crooks <bcr...@cwis.unomaha.edu> wrote:
>
>Personally, I'm fed up. I tried to give TSR the benefit of the doubt,
>hoping that their initial net-entry was just bad manners.
>
>They are still acting like spoiled children.
>
>After reading that jove shut down, and finding a couple of other sites
>I've used also closed, I tried mpgn. I managed to connect, but was unable
>to access ANY of the directories or files.

TSR claimed that MPGN was their first licesnsee. Formy part, i intend to
boycott all the net-liscense licensees as well, as they are the ones
providing TSR with a profit motive to do all this garbage.

>
>The hell with them.
>
>I, personally, will purchase no more TSR products. My group will change
>systems. I have shown the flurry of copyright messages and the TSR letters
>to my players, and they, too, will no longer buy TSR products. They're
>telling the folks in the other gaming groups they are in, and they, too
>will no longer buy TSR products. My brother has just revived his rpg
>habit, and I've convinced him and his friends to buy into a different
>system. So it goes...
>
>If TSR wants to take their ball and go home, all I can say is "Bye."
>
>Anyone else?
>--

I can't argue with your logic. Add me to the ex-dnd player list.
I'ld still like to fight them l;egally however, as i think their actions
seta VERY BAD precedent...


Jeff Kessleman

Jeff Kesselman

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Oct 20, 1994, 11:41:49 AM10/20/94
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In article <383t9c$1...@st-james.comp.vuw.ac.nz>,

The only problem with this is that TSR holds the Copyright on Ed.
Greenwood's stuff (from, the Copyright line it looks like he sold all
rights, which is dumb, but he's a writer and a nice guy, not a businessman.)
They are sure to claim that MY waterdeep is a derivative of their
Copygiht, even though they SODL me the boxed stuff for the expresspurpose
of running my world. This is an especially touchy issue as I want to 3/4
automate my game using a MUD, and the MUD, if it got busy enough, might
have to start charging some kind of monthly dues to keep up with the
needed expansion of equiptmentt.

::sigh::

Well, I guess Ill go talk to my lawyer and see what he says.

Jeff Kesselman

N Benson

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Oct 21, 1994, 7:37:03 AM10/21/94
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Bryan J. Maloney (jac...@sonata.cc.purdue.edu) wrote:


: I can propose a solution to all of this copyright trouble:

: Change your game system.

: Stop playing T$R products and you can stop worrying about the biggest asshole
: game company in the world breathing down your neck.


: What kind of setting and effect are you looking for? There's a game out
: there for you.


: My recommendations:
[snipped: quick reviews of Runequest, Rolemaster, Gurps, Ars Magica,
etc.)


Why don't we (the Netters) write our own AD&D compatible game system. I
know this would be very difficult and a monumental task. But if we were
to put our collective creative talents together we could come up with a
system that is easily convertible to AD&D yet better. The hard bit is
making it compatible, the easy bit is making it better.

The benefits are many fold. We get a game system that we can all use for
free, we are familiar with it and can easily use the masses of campaign
material we have to convert our current campaigns to it, and best of
all, TSR cann't touch us.

I'm currently designing my own system to run as a Play-by-Mail game. It
has to be compatible with AD&D becuase it is set in the world of
DragonLance. It is a lot of work, especially for one person. But
surely we could manage?

If any one is interested. Post your response.

Neil Benson

Simon Gornall

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Oct 22, 1994, 7:58:03 AM10/22/94
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In article <CxzDn...@freenet.carleton.ca>, ag...@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Mark Hills) writes:
! In a previous article, piz...@physci.psu.edu (Pizari) says:
!
! >Why don't we try to upload to a site in say Finland or Holland...
! >actually I think it's Holland. If I'm correct USA Copywrite laws don't
! >apply there.
!
!
! Pardon me? Ever heard of International Copyrights? And T$R does have
! an office in England... If you are all so worried about getting your asses
! sued by the Evil Empire-then don't tell anyone that you're doing it.
!

I'm already mirroring the FTP.MPGN.COM site, and I've responded to
Rob's request for an external (to the US) site. It's not on public
release yet (we may not get permission), but here's hoping :-)

Simon.
--
>>> Simon Gornall - Kings College London. Email: s...@phlem.ph.kcl.ac.uk <<<
> Microsoft is not the answer. Microsoft is the question. NO is the answer <

Jeff Kesselman

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Oct 23, 1994, 1:37:16 AM10/23/94
to
In article <1994Oct22....@bay.cc.kcl.ac.uk>,

MPGN is probobly NOT going to be real happy with you, seeing as how they
are paying TSR for the privilage of being an officially liscensed site.
If you are picking up their stuff and makign it available for free,
expect a letter from them or TSR somtime soon...

<Still, I appluad your actions. One rather obnoxious, and not
particualrly legal solution to this would be teh one found years ago by
illegal gambling operations... ever heard of a 'floating crap-game' :) >

(Note that the above is intended in gest. I am NOT suggesting we actually
do such a thing. Still, its an amusing head-toy. :) )

JK


Mark Hills

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Oct 23, 1994, 1:22:39 PM10/23/94
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In a previous article, marcus....@softconn.iaccess.za (Marcus) says:

>A brilliant idea but it has a slight flaw. The cunning bastards at TSR have
>tricked us into spending large amounts of money on a very incompatible
>gaming system. They know that many people do not want to go to the trouble
>and expense of dumping a lot of our AD&D stuff and converting the rest.

Campaign settings on the oother hand area different setting. You could
adapt Forgotten Realms into Role Master, Chaosium's Rune Quest, Paladium, and
others. Role Master, despite it's billions of tables, is a decent system,
you could also use the Fantasy Hero from the producers of Champions. There
are so many 'other' game systems out there that you do not have to rely on
AD&D if you don't want to.

Jeff Kesselman

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Oct 23, 1994, 6:55:06 PM10/23/94
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In article <Cy4yx...@freenet.carleton.ca>,


AND once you get used to hero-system, converting kits, classes, and races
into hero 'package deals' is not a biggie either...

JK

Jeff Kesselman

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Oct 23, 1994, 7:03:46 PM10/23/94
to
In article <Cy4zC...@freenet.carleton.ca>,
Mark Hills <ag...@FreeNet.Carleton.CA> wrote:

>
>In a previous article, jef...@netcom.com (Jeff Kesselman) says:
>
>>More to the point, the point here is not to answer an illegal claim with
>>illegal action, but to fight the illegal claim itself. Another of our
>>member has turned up a VERY interesting quote which I will post later
>>tonight. It seems that as far back as 1878 (and yes, it was stil la
>>current precedent as of 1987) the American Courts recognized a catagory
>>of art known as a 'Utilitarian Work'. In a specific decision, the courts
>>ruled that a Uilitarian work MAY be copied for the purpose of using that
>>work. Now, all we need to do is find somebody beg enough to play
>>my-lawyer-is-bigger-than-your-lawyer with TSR. (I'm holding out hope
>>that the EFF pick this up....)
>
> I am certainly no whiz at American law and was not aware of the
>above. I have a friend who's AD&D stuff are all photocopies a friend of his
>picked up in Sri Lanka for 10 cents a copy in a hobby store. Look, I don't
>like TSR except for the fact that they seem to have, from time to time, a
>great selection of writers and artists under the same roof. The fact that
>they tend to beat the perverbial dead horse with rehashes of the same products
>and bad modules is what bothers me. Like I said, do it privately. The pirate
>software industry has existed quite well even after thing like Operation
>Sundevil, (Yay! SJG!). What is the difference, really, between a net book
>and a piece of software sitting in a directory on pirate BBS?
>

I'm afraid as much as I'ld like to agree with you, as much as I DO agrre
with you about TSR selling the same old stuff over and oer again., I
cannot agree with your conclusion that this makes it acceptable to steal
by way of pirate copies.

This like my saying "Well, the DelSol is just my CRX with the top off, so
tonight I'm gonan go steal a DelSol (there are Honda cars, incase anyone
did not know.) I supprot TSR's attempts to control distribution of their
works, and frankly thin kthey woudl spend their money better lookign into
such 'professional piracy' as you have mentioned (your friend who bought
illegal copies.)

What i DO NOT support is TSR trying to control OTHER PEOPLE'S creations,
and make money off of them, just beucse they were built using or making
refernce to their game materials. This is a clearly absurd claim. It
would ALMOST make me glad to see tyhem pirated, but i have to keep
reminding myself that the law has to apply equally, if it is to protect
any of us.

Oh, BTW, I think SJG woudl britle at your suggestion that he is invovled
in pirate software activities. He has ALWAYS beena reasonable,
legitimate businessman who respected Copyright law, as far as I know.
One of the reasons Operation Sundevil was so infamous was BECAUSE
of Jackson's innosence. (BTW: IOM Jackson respects Copyright law. He
thus is reasonable abotu such things. TSR does NOT ultimately respect it,
which is why they abuse it. I respect it, which is why both your
friend's actions AND TSR's actions upset me equally.)

Jeff Kesselman


Jeff Kesselman

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Oct 19, 1994, 1:51:05 AM10/19/94
to
In article <381mpc$b...@mozo.cc.purdue.edu>,

Bryan J. Maloney <jac...@sonata.cc.purdue.edu> wrote:
>
>
>I can propose a solution to all of this copyright trouble:
>
>Change your game system.
>
>Stop playing T$R products and you can stop worrying about the biggest asshole
>game company in the world breathing down your neck.
>

Well, with the exception of DnD, I agree with you. DnD has 2 advantages

(neither due to the system which, IMO is archaic and has been patched all
to hell)
1) Its a VERY familiar system. Lost of people who only know 1
system know it.

2) I personally REALLY like Ed Greenwoods campaign materials.
In paricular, the combination fo thw Waterdeep boxed set and
The Volos Guide to Waterdeep is the kind of thing I've been
waiting a long tim for and, unfortunately, he did all this
stuff for TSR (whatever they're payign him, it aint enough!)

I'll tell you, though, this attempt to claim the universe (physcial, not
Ed's) is covered by their Copyright is enough to really make me think
about sayign screw it. OR, since I make alot of money now, and I firmly
believe they are blowing hot air, to go ahead and challenge them....

(Among other things, Wizardry has been around a LONG time withotu them
challenging Sir Tech. And wizardry uses a basic-5 3-18 stat system. As
has been shown by the Xerox v. Apple suit, failure to prosecute in a
timely manner can be seen as giving up the rights. Also, if there is
anyone bigger (read 'can afford a lawyer') who is committing the same
'infringement' and they haven't challenged them, that too can seriosuly
weaken their case.)

Jeff Kesselman

Pizari

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Oct 19, 1994, 6:56:40 PM10/19/94
to
Why don't we try to upload to a site in say Finland or Holland...
actually I think it's Holland. If I'm correct USA Copywrite laws don't
apply there.

Barbara F. Crooks

unread,
Oct 19, 1994, 11:24:24 PM10/19/94
to

Personally, I'm fed up. I tried to give TSR the benefit of the doubt,
hoping that their initial net-entry was just bad manners.

They are still acting like spoiled children.

After reading that jove shut down, and finding a couple of other sites
I've used also closed, I tried mpgn. I managed to connect, but was unable
to access ANY of the directories or files.

The hell with them.

I, personally, will purchase no more TSR products. My group will change
systems. I have shown the flurry of copyright messages and the TSR letters
to my players, and they, too, will no longer buy TSR products. They're
telling the folks in the other gaming groups they are in, and they, too
will no longer buy TSR products. My brother has just revived his rpg
habit, and I've convinced him and his friends to buy into a different
system. So it goes...

If TSR wants to take their ball and go home, all I can say is "Bye."

Anyone else?
--
----------------------------------------------------------------
Barbara Crooks
bcr...@unomaha.edu
Now repeat after me "A clown is my friend, A clown is not a spider."

Mark Hills

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Oct 24, 1994, 8:27:23 AM10/24/94
to

In a previous article, jef...@netcom.com (Jeff Kesselman) says:

>In article <Cy4yx...@freenet.carleton.ca>,

>
>
>AND once you get used to hero-system, converting kits, classes, and races
>into hero 'package deals' is not a biggie either...

Ah yes, kits, K-mart shopping for a PC...

Jared Thaler

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Oct 24, 1994, 1:21:33 PM10/24/94
to
Truls Parsson (tmp...@eua.ericsson.se) wrote:
: In article 7...@netcom.com, jef...@netcom.com (Jeff Kesselman) writes:
: >
: >MPGN is probobly NOT going to be real happy with you, seeing as how they
: >are paying TSR for the privilage of being an officially liscensed site.
: >If you are picking up their stuff and makign it available for free,
: >expect a letter from them or TSR somtime soon...

: >JK

: Jeff if you read his article it's he is mirroring FTP.MPGN.COM but it's not
: on public release which means he is just copying everything from MPGN for
: himself. This totally
: acceptable and no one is going to do anything unless he lets it go
: public without permission.

: -The Troll (a.k.a Truls Pärsson)

: PS. Are MPGN really paying to be the official site?
Jeff is the only person I've seen say that TSR is charging MPGN, and since we
know how carefully he reads posts before replying...

Jared Thaler

--
------------------------------------------------------------
Anything offensive contained above was slipped in there by
somebody else while I was in the restroom. Please ignore it.
------------------------------------------------------------

Larry Smith

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Oct 24, 1994, 1:40:56 PM10/24/94
to
In article <Cy0tL...@festival.ed.ac.uk>,

N Benson <n...@festival.ed.ac.uk> wrote:
>Why don't we (the Netters) write our own AD&D compatible game system. I

When the first round of TSR crap hit the net, fifty or so ticked-off
gamers went off and started the DragonNet mailing list to write a
replacement game with compatible mechanics. They quickly dropped the
compatibility, and after a gang-buster month on rec.games.design,
they either died or retreated to the mailing list, depending on who
you believe. Myself, I think they died.

I still think a new D&D-compatible game would be a worthwhile
exercise, and I'd like to see some discussion on it in rec.games.-
design. Tell you what. Take a stab at the broad parameters of
what you'd want a replacement game to cover. _Not_ the whole
bloody DMG. Just the mechanics, the stats, and so on for a small
fantasy game, class-based, and post that to rec.games.design. I'll
meet you there, and I and the regulars will help thrash it out.
But _somebody_ has to maintain and coordinate the effort, and I've
got my _own_ game to work on. You don't have to please everyone,
in fact, you can't. You might send mail to Steffen O'Sullivan at
s...@io.com and ask him for some advice on how to coordinate the
effort and pick&choose the good ideas and (gently) reject the not-
so-good ones. He successfully ran a discussion/design session in
r.g.d. that lead to FUDGE. FUDGE is skill-based, and would probably
mutate beyond recognition if you tried to use it as a base, but as
a guide for the scope of the project, and how to run it, both it,
and it's creator, would be an invaluable guide.

You might come up with a working title, so we have a shorthand name
to refer to. Adventure Quest. Fortresses and Wyverns. Anything not
derivative or evocative of {A}D&D. You can subtitle it something like
"Adventurous Deeds Nobly Done" as was suggested here many yahrins ago,
but that should not be anywhere but fine print under the "real" name,
or TSR will take you on a trip to some Dangerous Dimensions.

--
Larry Smith - My opinions alone. lar...@io.com/thes...@mv.mv.com
A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take
everything you have. -- Barry Goldwater. Liberty is not the freedom to do
whatever we want, it is the freedom to do whatever we are able. -- Me.

David Summers

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Oct 19, 1994, 9:21:01 PM10/19/94
to
To subscribe to the GURPS mailing list, send the
following command in email to "list...@NETCOM.COM":

subscribe gurpsnet-l <your e-mail address>
--
________________________
(Disclaimer: If NASA had any postion on any of this do you
think they would have ME give it?)
David Summers - Sum...@Max.ARC.NASA.Gov

Marcus

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Oct 21, 1994, 4:04:05 AM10/21/94
to
In article <381mpc$b...@mozo.cc.purdue.edu> jac...@sonata.cc.purdue.edu (Bryan J. Maloney) writes:

>I can propose a solution to all of this copyright trouble:

>Change your game system.

>Stop playing T$R products and you can stop worrying about the biggest asshole
>game company in the world breathing down your neck.

A brilliant idea but it has a slight flaw. The cunning bastards at TSR have

tricked us into spending large amounts of money on a very incompatible
gaming system. They know that many people do not want to go to the trouble
and expense of dumping a lot of our AD&D stuff and converting the rest.

What we need is a system different enough from AD&D to elude the copyright
lawyers at TSR but close enough to make conversion easy and simple.

Kheldar


Guy Robinson

unread,
Oct 25, 1994, 4:23:46 AM10/25/94
to
Larry Smith (lar...@pentagon.io.com) wrote:
: In article <Cy0tL...@festival.ed.ac.uk>,

: N Benson <n...@festival.ed.ac.uk> wrote:
: >Why don't we (the Netters) write our own AD&D compatible game system. I

: When the first round of TSR crap hit the net, fifty or so ticked-off
: gamers went off and started the DragonNet mailing list to write a
: replacement game with compatible mechanics. They quickly dropped the
: compatibility, and after a gang-buster month on rec.games.design,
: they either died or retreated to the mailing list, depending on who
: you believe. Myself, I think they died.

I was involved with the DragonNet, partially out of warning people
that such an approach would be probable not to work, and I felt that
the team and team leader approach would dampen the project too much.

I still wish this revived effort the best of fortune however.

: I still think a new D&D-compatible game would be a worthwhile


: exercise, and I'd like to see some discussion on it in rec.games.-
: design. Tell you what. Take a stab at the broad parameters of
: what you'd want a replacement game to cover. _Not_ the whole
: bloody DMG. Just the mechanics, the stats, and so on for a small
: fantasy game, class-based, and post that to rec.games.design. I'll
: meet you there, and I and the regulars will help thrash it out.
: But _somebody_ has to maintain and coordinate the effort, and I've
: got my _own_ game to work on. You don't have to please everyone,
: in fact, you can't.

My pet solution was to work by myself and build all the concepts
needed up from first principles, ensuring that all writing was
original. It was too large a task for me to accomplish as although
I have written RPGs for my own use, preparing such a work for a
larger public is a lot more work and was ultimately beyond the
scope of what I can easily accomplish in my spare time.

I found that I was producing fragmentary material but nothing that
I could compile into a greater whole, especially writing using a
80 character per line writing style which few word processors
support. My private style is not too suitable as backs of
envelopes are not too suitable a medium for placing on FTP sites.

Based on this I would be moved to suggest that prephaps people
could suggest and post their fragmentary, compatible material and
people compile as they see fit. Anything I compile might be too
dark for other people's tastes after all and the fights over what
is adopted into any given "canon" version would not be productive.

I would not reject any given base system either (other than GURPS ,
of course :-) and I must admit that both Fudge or Fantasy Hero
look like good bases to me but each to his or her own.

But the rec.games.design comment is a good one. I treasure that
group as, although I am not always moved to comment, it can be
a rich source of critique and suggested design alternatives.

[Talk to Stephen O'Sullivan]

Sound advice. He is one of the better net authors of RPGs about and
one that has managed to complete and develop his work. There are
other good ones out there as well and many read rec.games.design.

: You might come up with a working title, so we have a shorthand name


: to refer to. Adventure Quest. Fortresses and Wyverns. Anything not
: derivative or evocative of {A}D&D. You can subtitle it something like
: "Adventurous Deeds Nobly Done" as was suggested here many yahrins ago,
: but that should not be anywhere but fine print under the "real" name,
: or TSR will take you on a trip to some Dangerous Dimensions.

My modest working title was Generic and Generic or GnG. This was based
on Reb Repp`s comments that you could write and publish material you
have written for the D&D game and it's kin but you have to make it
generic first. People are welcome to use this name.

--
Guy Robinson guy....@rx.xerox.com

[implied disclaimer]

The real meaning of Christmas is a Mid-Winter feast.

S. Keith Graham

unread,
Oct 25, 1994, 11:04:21 AM10/25/94
to


>What is the difference, really, between a net book
>and a piece of software sitting in a directory on pirate BBS?

There are some net.books that are copyright violations of TSRs material.

In some cases, they might include tables and charts that are property
of TSR.

In other cases, they might include sections of text from TSR material.

In both these cases, TSR has every right to sue the pants off the individual
who wrote it, and the individuals who distributed it.

However, many of the net.books are more akin to an Excel Spreadsheet, or
a Paradox database, or a "Windows" Program. People aren't distributing
copies of Excel, or Paradox, or Windows, but they are distributing things
to be used with them. (And then it wouldn't be a "pirate BBS", but an
"Excel Support BBS", though they'd have to use a different name to
prevent trademark violation.)

TSR wants to stop distribution of this material. I think that's ethically
wrong, and I think they will get little, if any, copyright protection
in the legal arena.

But someone has to take them to court, so...

Keith Graham
vap...@cad.gatech.edu

Jeff Kesselman

unread,
Oct 26, 1994, 12:26:17 AM10/26/94
to
In article <Cy8n2...@festival.ed.ac.uk>,
N Benson <n...@festival.ed.ac.uk> wrote:
>What chances have I of surviving a lawsuit when I publish my new
>campaign world for my AD&D compatible system. It's called DragonLands.
>It's about a world called Crinn, which becomes infested by an onslaught
>of dragon armies. You play the role of heroes, such as Gold-Moon,
>Tannis, Raystlin, Karamon, Taselhof, etc.
>
>I haven't used any of TSR's trademarks (unless I call it AD&D
>compatible), and I have violated the use of any of their characters from
>the novels.
>

Are you asking are you legal, or will they sue you? There is a BIG
difference. Whether you are in teh right or in the wrong does not matter
unless you are willign to face off with them in court should they sue
(and take the expense of lawyers, and the risk of losing and incurring
penalties and additional legal costs.)

Chances are TSR WILL sue you if you use any of their 'terminology' (ARMOR
CLASS, HIT POINTS, etc.) as right or wrong, they claim this is part of
what their copyright protectes. Personally, i think they're full of shit
BUT I am not a lawyer and you shoudl NOT base any decisions on my
impressions!

I will mail you the TSR Official Net policy. Its consistent with their
hard-copy publication policy. Ever wonder where all those great old 3third
party publisher went to? After you read it, youll know.

You have four options:

1) Hire a lawyer NOW and follow his or her instructions to the letter,
and THEN expect to have to fight it in court.

2) Take out ALL references to ANYTHING AD&D related (which of course means
all of the real info).

3) Submit it to TSR and take what every they are willing to pay you IF
they decide to publish it.

4) Just say no to legal intimidation and convert it to another system
whose publishers are more reasonable. (There are alot of publishers outu
there who would WELCOME more third party materials for their games. You
can find out exactly what their policy is with a phone call or two.)

Jeff Kesselman

S. Keith Graham

unread,
Oct 26, 1994, 8:33:37 AM10/26/94
to

>What chances have I of surviving a lawsuit when I publish my new
>campaign world for my AD&D compatible system. It's called DragonLands.
>It's about a world called Crinn, which becomes infested by an onslaught
>of dragon armies. You play the role of heroes, such as Gold-Moon,
>Tannis, Raystlin, Karamon, Taselhof, etc.

>I haven't used any of TSR's trademarks (unless I call it AD&D
>compatible), and I have violated the use of any of their characters from
>the novels.

>So I'm in the clear?

>Right?

Characters can be copyrighted, as can plotlines and "universes".

If their characters are "recognizable" and "unique", then they can sue
you if you copy them. (Similiar or the identical names significantly
increase similiarity, but don't guarantee it; you can call a character
"Scarlet O'Hara" if she doesn't act quite like the famous southern belle.)

Now trademark is a different kettle of fish entirely, which doesn't
apply, as long as the "cover" of your work doesn't mention AD&D.

Note also that Britain's copyright laws are enforced much differently
than the U.S.'s and I have no intention of researching them in detail.
I'd suggest doing some research on your own, and/or consulting with
a lawyer (or whatever you guys call them. :-)

Keith Graham
vap...@cad.gatech.edu

Guy Robinson

unread,
Oct 27, 1994, 6:05:40 AM10/27/94
to
Jared Thaler (ez04...@bullwinkle.ucdavis.edu) wrote:
[...]

: Jeff's long overly serious reply deleted. Jeff, did you see the smiley down
: there, do you know what it means??? Did you notice that his world is a
: blatent rip off of Dragonlance (Crinn = Krinn and so on.) I think it was
: a joke. Calm down.

Why did his you feel his note was anything but calm?

: Out of curiosity, why do you care what TSR does any way.

Although I can not answer for Jeff I will answer for myself.

a) 16 years of investment in TSR products,
b) the problem of a precident being establishs that strain the credibility
of copyright and the more valid issue of intellectual property and
c) the fact that I still have a fond spot for the game of D&D in most of
it's higher quality incarnations.

The quality has dropped recently though and with it the quality with
which TSR has treated their customers. Hopefull TSR will get itself
back on it's feet.

Why do *you*, "Jared Thaler", care through?

You jumped into this debate half way through, made some astoundingly
inaccurate guesses about the copyright situation and carried on to
taunt someone who might actually be dyslexic to some degree. Now
you seem to be hell bent on justify TSR's every decision.

A strange step to make for someone who acknowledged that TSR's
copyright stances, the basis and justification for this current
situation, is invalid. Very strange indeed.

--
Guy Robinson guy....@rx.xerox.com

[implied disclaimer]

On the internet you can find someone to support *any* view.

Jeff Kesselman

unread,
Oct 27, 1994, 7:32:54 PM10/27/94
to
In article <38m4oa$f...@mark.ucdavis.edu>,
Jared Thaler <ez04...@bullwinkle.ucdavis.edu> wrote:
>Jeff Kesselman (jef...@netcom.com) wrote:
>: In article <Cy8n2...@festival.ed.ac.uk>,

>: N Benson <n...@festival.ed.ac.uk> wrote:
>: >What chances have I of surviving a lawsuit when I publish my new
>: >campaign world for my AD&D compatible system. It's called DragonLands.
>: >It's about a world called Crinn, which becomes infested by an onslaught
>: >of dragon armies. You play the role of heroes, such as Gold-Moon,
>: >Tannis, Raystlin, Karamon, Taselhof, etc.
>: >
>: >I haven't used any of TSR's trademarks (unless I call it AD&D
>: >compatible), and I have violated the use of any of their characters from
>: >the novels.
>: >
>
>Jeff's long overly serious reply deleted. Jeff, did you see the smiley down
>there, do you know what it means??? Did you notice that his world is a
>blatent rip off of Dragonlance (Crinn = Krinn and so on.) I think it was
>a joke. Calm down.

never having played Dragon lance or read ANY TSr novel, this was lost on me.

>
>Out of curiosity, why do you care what TSR does any way.

>You have stated that you are swithching game systems to anouther company,
>so they certainly aren't going to bother you. I think you have stated you
>are no longer buying their stuff, so you are totally dissociated from them.
>Why do you have this vendeta against TSR, or are you just trying to keep the
>debate alive, (after all, every other post i've seen on the subject is by
>you.
>

BECAUSE IT IS WRONG!

Does that suprise you? I was raised to hate injustice, and despise
bullies, and TSR is acting as both. Why did my father risk his life in
the freedom marches down south during the freedom movement? After all he
was white and middle class....

If everyone thought this way, we would have a world that I wouldn't want
to live in.

There is ALSO the issue that TSR is setting a BAD precedent of bully-boy
tactics on the net. I happen to consider the net one of the few open and
(mostly) intellectual debate palces left in our society. I do NOT want to
see it shut down because of corporate greed. If we let TSR do this, then
there will be many MORE to come, i assure you. Allow me to quote you a
famous quote:

"First they came for the insane, and I was nto insane, so I said nothing,
Then they came for the homosexuals, and I was not homosexual, so I said
nothing,
Then they came for the Gypsies, and I was not a gypsy, so I said nothing,
Then they came for the Jews, and I was not a Jew, so I said nothing,
Then they came for me,
and I looked around,
and saw that there was noone left to say anything"
A German Catholic priest on the subject of The Holocaust.

You will probobly miss the point, though.

(BTW: If you have only seen my posts then you have missed ALOt of GOOD
stuff! Page back, there is alot of good stuff there. In particular Keith
Grahm makes excellent points.)

>Jared Thaler
>

Jeff Kesselman


P.S. Heard from Rob Repp yet about the MPGN liscense???


Jared Thaler

unread,
Oct 27, 1994, 9:11:01 PM10/27/94
to
Guy Robinson (guy....@rx.xerox.com) wrote:

: Jared Thaler (ez04...@bullwinkle.ucdavis.edu) wrote:
: [...]

: : Jeff's long overly serious reply deleted. Jeff, did you see the smiley down
: : there, do you know what it means??? Did you notice that his world is a
: : blatent rip off of Dragonlance (Crinn = Krinn and so on.) I think it was
: : a joke. Calm down.

: Why did his you feel his note was anything but calm?

Oh, I don't know why I felt that his note wasn't calm,
Maybe the fact that he seemed to seriously be suggesting that the
guy hire a Lawyer??
: : Out of curiosity, why do you care what TSR does any way.

: Although I can not answer for Jeff I will answer for myself.

: a) 16 years of investment in TSR products,
: b) the problem of a precident being establishs that strain the credibility
: of copyright and the more valid issue of intellectual property and
: c) the fact that I still have a fond spot for the game of D&D in most of
: it's higher quality incarnations.

I was refering to the fact that Jeff has made many statements dissociateing
himself from the D&D game, including several that read very much like
recruiting(sp?) drives for other companies games.
: The quality has dropped recently though and with it the quality with


: which TSR has treated their customers. Hopefull TSR will get itself
: back on it's feet.

: Why do *you*, "Jared Thaler", care through?

Because I do not like people distributing rumors world wide without
verifing them. for example, he has repeatedly implied that MPGN charged
for downloads, when he could easily have verified the fact for himself.
However, rather than checking his assumptions, he instead spread the rumor
over the net. He assumed from reading the policy statement that MPGN
was being charged on the licence. When I pointed out to him that he
had misread the statement, and that the basis for his arguement was non-
existent, he told me that he "read in between the lines" and although
he distributed this assumption to the net as fact, he never sought to
verify it by coming out and asking TSR or MPGN. All of you keep complaining
about the net works that have been lost from non licensed sites, no one has
tried uploading it to MPGN to see if it would be accepted. (and while I am
sorry that they turned down *Adeventures* because of vulgar language, I can
understand if TSR,who are trying to market themselves to a younger crowd,
did not want to be assosiated with that type of story.)


: You jumped into this debate half way through, made some astoundingly


: inaccurate guesses about the copyright situation and carried on to
: taunt someone who might actually be dyslexic to some degree. Now

First of all, I don't see what his being dislecsic has to do with it. I made
thoise comments (about his reading posts more carefully.) because his only
defence to my arguements was that I wasn't reading the posts carefully.
: you seem to be hell bent on justify TSR's every decision.
Actually, I think some of their decisions and published statements
were poorly done. What I am looking at, is their actions. I have not seen
them remove anything from MPGN except stuff that contains word for word
text out of their manuals. Someone said they were steering clear of MPGN,
I dont see why, they have done their best to maintain everything they could.
Remember, when Greyhawk went down, they took its place as the "main" D&D
archive. It only makes sence that TSR would choose to give them the license
if they wanted to choose just one site to moniter.
: A strange step to make for someone who acknowledged that TSR's


: copyright stances, the basis and justification for this current
: situation, is invalid. Very strange indeed.

Actually, I acknowledged that it was questionable, but that I don't have
the practical experience to know for sure. I am not a lawyer, and I have
never been sued for copyright violations, so I don't know what would
stand up in court. My origional post was a response to hte charge of
hippocrisy. As some one some where once said "to steal from one person
is plagiarism; to steal from many is research. The person I responded to
was equating TSR's reaserch of Legends and Lore as plagiarism, and seemed
to be trying to use that as justification for any plagiarism they commited.

Jared Thaler

: --
: Guy Robinson guy....@rx.xerox.com

: [implied disclaimer]

: On the internet you can find someone to support *any* view.

--

Ed Taychert

unread,
Oct 28, 1994, 9:39:21 AM10/28/94
to
In article <Cy0tL...@festival.ed.ac.uk>,
N Benson <n...@festival.ed.ac.uk> wrote:
>[...]

>
>Why don't we (the Netters) write our own AD&D compatible game system. I
>know this would be very difficult and a monumental task. But if we were
>to put our collective creative talents together we could come up with a
>system that is easily convertible to AD&D yet better. The hard bit is
>making it compatible, the easy bit is making it better.
[...]
>Neil Benson
>

Several people are. The networld mailing list is dedicated to this,
and has been at it for a while but it is going very slowly.

The networld idea is make a large world with cities, character backgrounds,
local histories, etc. The entire world would be copyrighted under a GNU-ish
freely distributable motif. While no playing system is defined for it, stat's
are described reasonbly by WOC's Envoy system. I believe that Envoy stat's
are easily converted to the AD&D and other systems for _playing_. The world
as it will be _distributed_, will have no TSR copyrights. How you play it
is up to you.

I don't speak for the ml, I'm just one of the people way behind on their
project.

- Ed.

--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ed Taychert | No plants or animals were killed to create this message.
e...@irony.com | It is composed entirely of recycled computer bits.

Joe Savino

unread,
Oct 28, 1994, 2:19:06 PM10/28/94
to
: BECAUSE IT IS WRONG!

: Does that suprise you? I was raised to hate injustice, and despise
: bullies, and TSR is acting as both. Why did my father risk his life in
: the freedom marches down south during the freedom movement? After all he
: was white and middle class....

: If everyone thought this way, we would have a world that I wouldn't want
: to live in.

: There is ALSO the issue that TSR is setting a BAD precedent of bully-boy
: tactics on the net. I happen to consider the net one of the few open and
: (mostly) intellectual debate palces left in our society. I do NOT want to
: see it shut down because of corporate greed. If we let TSR do this, then
: there will be many MORE to come, i assure you. Allow me to quote you a
: famous quote:

: "First they came for the insane, and I was nto insane, so I said nothing,
: Then they came for the homosexuals, and I was not homosexual, so I said
: nothing,
: Then they came for the Gypsies, and I was not a gypsy, so I said nothing,
: Then they came for the Jews, and I was not a Jew, so I said nothing,
: Then they came for me,
: and I looked around,
: and saw that there was noone left to say anything"
: A German Catholic priest on the subject of The Holocaust.

: You will probobly miss the point, though.

: Jeff Kesselman

Amen to that!... good point. Somebody (actually, alot of
somebodies) need to stand up to TSR, or else just make our own system
(As it's been said before), and say to hell with TSR.... well, just
wanted to say I agreed....

Joe Savino
Jsa...@gate.net

Chris Bourne

unread,
Oct 28, 1994, 3:24:23 PM10/28/94
to
Incidentally, and Rob, do please reply if you are reading this...

I am currently running a PBEM AD&D game here. This involves sending out posts
which may or may not breach TSR copyrights as defined in their policy state-
ment.

Does TSR regard it as illegal to play AD&D with a dozen or so people over the
Net, as opposed to playing it with a dozen or so people in my living room?

Does TSR regard it as illegal to send rules information to players who might
not have a particular rulebook to hand, as opposed to just handing them the
rulebook to look at while they are sitting around the gaming table?

Indeed, does TSR regard it as illegal to play the game in your own home with
people who don't own any of the play materials? Because I'm sure we've ALL
done that.


--
Chris Bourne