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
to
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
to

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

unread,
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

unread,
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

Chris Bourne

unread,
Oct 28, 1994, 3:17:51 PM10/28/94
to
>
> 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
>

UK copyright law will not allow you to produce a version of Krynn with
the spellings of names slightly changed - this is called 'passing off' and
would be sat on.

My experience of UK copyright is based on working as a journalist, not a
novelist or game designer, but I am sure that TSR would find it impossible
to claim 'Armour Class' 'Hit Points' and similar short phrases, even if they
retrospectively tried to trademark them.

The situation in the US is probably different in one important respect to
that in Europe, which is nothing to do with laws but everything to do with
social mores. Basically, we call lawyers 'lawyers' but we don't use them
with anything like the frequency you guys seem to. A game company suing
its own customers for infringing copyright by suggesting new ways of playing
it to other customers is going to look very stupid in the press - they'd
probably make it to the national press if they tried hard enough <g>

Awards are liable to be much smaller, and if TSR wanted to sue a private
individual such as myself for creating a fantasy world as a setting for
their game and giving out information about it, the negative publicity would
far outweigh any small benefit they might obtain. It might be a different
matter if I were publishing material for profit.

Incidentally, if TSR really want to look like idiots in the UK, they might
care to have a go at Terry Pratchett, best-selling author of the Discworld
series. Terry's on record (I should know, I did the interview) as saying
that Discworld started as an AD&D campaign he played with his friends, and
then decided to work into a series of novels. There are plenty
of elements in the novels deriving from his campaign, which in turn TSR
would claim as a derivative work.



--
Chris Bourne

Chris Bourne

unread,
Oct 27, 1994, 11:49:11 AM10/27/94
to
In article <Cy0tL...@festival.ed.ac.uk>
n...@festival.ed.ac.uk "N Benson" writes:

> 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?
>

As far as TSR's interpretation is concerned, if you are setting your game
in Krynn, you're breaching their copyright. I imagine that TSR will also
regard a game specifically designed to be compatible with AD&D as derivative
of AD&D.

That's if TSR's interpretation is correct. If it isn't, then we are in a
different game - and rather than worry about what TSR thinks it can enforce
legally, we should be deciding, in true Net-anarchy fashion, what is
reasonable in their position and what is not.

I think their problem is partly down to the increased emphasis they are
placing on campaign settings in their marketing. After all, if you buy the
core rules and then create your own settings, you don't buy any of their
settings. They know how irritating it is for all their customers when they
go on revising rules, and trying to get us to buy new rulebooks. So to sell
new product, they have vastly expanded the settings material.

I think it's reasonable - to an extent - for TSR to want to retain rights
over their fictional campaign settings. The more Forgotten Realms material
I can download, the less I have to buy. They own their own worlds.

But when it comes to my world, that belongs to me. TSR encouraged me to
create it, and do not support it with products. If I wish to distribute
information about my own world to other people, I should be allowed to do so
without losing MY rights to the work I've done. As we all know, the original
work that has to be done in constructing a large campaign setting is far
greater than the work that has to be done in constructing the 'hooks' that
tie it in to one or other game system.

I think the best response to TSR's threats are to ignore them. A position
which says that handing your DM a character sheet is an illegal act ('but we
won't sue you over it') is not tenable. They are ignoring 'fair use' and
their own instructions in their own rulebooks to break their own interp-
retation of the law.

I live in the UK, and while International Copyright Law applies, a suit
brought under International law, instead of relying on the local laws and
precedents applying, would make even TSR's war chest look puny. The floating
crap game strategy is not necessarily a bad one to follow, and some countries
such as Israel are notorious for their refusal to acknowledge International
Copyright agreements (at least, Israel was not so long ago - anybody know if
they've come in from the cold yet?).

But in any event, we might start by deciding for ourselves what it is fair
and just for TSR to protect, and where we think they are over-stepping the
bounds of natural justice. Let's not get bogged down in a discussion of
US law or any other law, which was not designed with electronic media in
mind. The question of freedom of information vs intellectual property rights
is at the heart of the new world we're developing through the Net, and we
are the citizens of that world, and we are the experts on what the proper
principles governing our world should be.

Not TSR. Yet. Though, Rob Repp, the moment your company (and unlike some
here, I don't assume you agree 100% with the policy it's your job to promote)
is willing to come back on track (it recognised the potential of the Net as a
medium to promote its products earlier than most) and take a leading role
in developing the sorts of principles which should apply, I am sure you will
get a positive response from the Net. At the moment you are fire-fighting,
with a mailbox full of unstructured flames, talk of boycotts, and confront-
ational test cases. Wouldn't it be nicer for you, and more productive, to be
hosting a discussion on how TSR and the electronic community can work
together, instead of acting as an apparently inanimate punchbag for our
frustrations and abuse?



--
Chris Bourne

Anthony J. Greene

unread,
Oct 30, 1994, 7:37:09 AM10/30/94
to
In article <381mpc$b...@mozo.cc.purdue.edu> jac...@sonata.cc.purdue.edu (Bryan J. Maloney) writes:
>From: jac...@sonata.cc.purdue.edu (Bryan J. Maloney)
>Subject: A solution to all of this copyright crap
>Date: 18 Oct 1994 23:46:52 GMT

>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.

You're forgetting Palladium FRPG. I don't think there's any fantasy
game (despite what my Palladium-fan friends tell me) that's moer
of a AD@D ripoff. Okay, ripoff has bad connotations which I don't mean.
(it is a good system, really, I'm not lying, honest)

>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.

Only for those who are SERIOUS about roleplaying. I wouldn't even
consider it an alternative to AD@D. It's an ENTIRELY different genre,
a different kind of roleplay. (Could be wrong, but I figure it's the biggest
inovation in roleplaying technique the 1980s saw--too innovative, maybe).


>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.

You're neglecting probably the best AD@D alternative: Warhammer FRP.
FAST rules. Interesting character design. GORY combat. Few
rule exceptions (from what little I know). Problem is it's very
, very rigid. Shit-hard to be a spell caster, too.


I probably overstated the case in an earlier post, but the FRP
AD@D alternative that I recommend the most is FASA's Earthdawn.
(I already bored people with my analysis of the game, so
I won't repeat myself).


Of course, the best alternative is to take 6 six years and totally,
from the ground up, design your own role playing game. Hah!
Yah, right. I recommend this to everyone (snicker). I'm
not embitered by my own feeble attempts. Not at all. Honest.


All of these alternatives seem to be missing the point. I've
spent years tearing to pieces the AD@D game. I don't think
I've ever met any playing group in my life that is actually
satisfied with the rules as they are in the book and haven't
over the course of years rewritten about half the material.
(hell, the very fact this newsgroup exists proves that point).
Despite all of this bitchin, bickering, and complaining, though,
AD@D still, by some grace of God no doubt, survives. None
of the above games can somehow capture a wierd, elusive
essence which AD@D seems to have. I haven't played it in
three years (took a personal vow not to run another AD@D game),
and in that time figured that hell, by now everyone must have
moved on to other games. Guess I was dead wrong.
So no. Despite any technical superiorities (and there MANY) the
above games have over AD@D (first or second ed.), AD@D
still has something that hasn't been replaced. (not sure about
this last point, it seems Whitewolf's World of Darkness campaign
has caught on to this level, maybe). Anyway, T$R totally
realizes this, and uses it to the most profitable means.
(T$R's games lost all integrity when Gygax left, possibily before).

resp.
anthony greene

Rob Repp

unread,
Oct 31, 1994, 11:31:37 AM10/31/94
to
In article <783372...@treehome.demon.co.uk>,
Shu...@treehome.demon.co.uk wrote:

> 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?

We certainly do not. Saving up all the moves, however, and republishing
them as a separate work would probably be an infringement. Playing by any
means is fine.

>
> 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?

Good question. I think it would br a problem, because you'd have to
reproduce the book to pass it along the net, whereas the book never gets
duplicated when you pass it by hand to someone.

>
> 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.

Of course not. We're only concerned about republication issues, not game play.

>
>
> --
> Chris Bourne

Rob Repp | InterNet: tsr...@aol.com
Manager, Digital Projects Group | InterNet: mob...@mercury.mcs.com
TSR, Inc. | CIS: 76217,761 eWorld: TSR Inc
__________________________________ | GEnie: TSR.Online AOL: TSR Inc
All opinions are my own, not TSR's | 414-248-3625 Fax 414-248-0389

Guy Robinson

unread,
Oct 31, 1994, 3:42:54 AM10/31/94
to
Jared Thaler (ez04...@bullwinkle.ucdavis.edu) wrote:

: 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??

Anyway lets see if we can take the heat out of this debate. We are in
danger of agreeing too much with ourselves and dissenting voices do have
value as we publically debate the next possible steps.

: : : 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.

Out of frustration one of the steps people could take is to transfer to
another gaming system and this is a fair step to take. I am not at that
point at the moment but I am prepared to display readiness to undertake
this course of action.

And beside has not everybody got a pet game other than the (A)D&D line?

In my 16 years of gaming I have played widely and sunk money into the
products of other companies than TSR. I could wax lyrical about any
number of other companies and yes, these posts would look like some
sort of recruiting drive.

: : 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.

This is a worthy thing to dislike.

: 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.

If you feel that something is incorrect then feel free to correct
someone, thats the nature of the net. Apart from debating copyright and
the interactions between free and commercial work with TSR I have asked
Rob Repp one question about TSR products and he failed to answer it.

One of TSR's direct reply suggested that posters might consider themselves
to be 'hero-wizards' and I am not making this up.

: 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.)

So why do they seek to strongly associate themselves with fan material
which may choose to centre itself on material stronger than that which
they would choose to print. Besides how strong was that language? Have
you verified this with the author?

: : 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.

Every one mis-spells at time. I get angry about mis-spellings when I buy
something riddled with them. Otherwise, as long as I can understand the
meaning, I have no complaints.

: : 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.

Agreed.

: 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.

This one, true sight concept has a few holes that I have pointed out
before. If their intent is to defend their trademarks and copyrights,
even though most people agree that copyrights do not have to be
defended, then they will have to cast their net wider than a single
FTP site. Any FTP site could harbouring such TSR-defined violations.

: : 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.

In America not even the lawyers know what will stand up in court I am
lead to believe but this does not stop people reasoning with the
knowledge they possess about any legal system.

: 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.

This is not the most common attitude taken by those who dissent with TSR's
current copyright stance. Please do not feel that just because we
complain about one company's interpretation of copyright that I have no
respect for this concept. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I do not want to steal from TSR but play their game and share information
about the sessions that I play in the manner that TSR's own products
have lead me to believe was possible. Is this an unacceptable goal?

Yours sincerely,

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

[implied disclaimer]

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

Paul Culotta

unread,
Oct 31, 1994, 10:39:23 PM10/31/94
to
<1994Oct31.0...@news.wrc.xerox.com>



Hello all!
I am three days old to this newsgroup. My hope was to find
inspiring ideas from fellow d&d/ad&d players and dms on campaign play,
magic items, roleplaying, etc. Good news: I found all of this. Bad
news: I also found the spirited, raging, and sometimes amusing,
intellectual property law debate.
After reading a ton of this "legal" stuff, I took it all to heart
and timidly went to my gaming group on Saturday, fearful that the TSR
tarrasque would impinge on our fun and destroy our game. Much to our
amazement, despite all the venom on the newsgroup, our group had the
usual great time.
Really, is there any surprise here? For all you folks who are
anti-TSR/anti-d&d and are venting your spleen all over the world, it may
come to sad, sad news to you that there are THOUSANDS of us players/DMs
who are going to ignore all your vitriolic, barracks room lawyer
rhetoric and continue to have a good time. Go ahead and reply to this
and use all the 4 letter words you want....it seems to be your style.
But if you really feel inspired and righteous about what you are
flapping your gums about, consider doing something practical about it
rather than whining all over this newsgroup. Here are some suggestions:
1. There is a suggestion to boycott on the table. Fine, go ahead, it
is your absolute right to do so. Please note that one complainer mused
that he had been boycotting TSR for 3 years and woefully it did not seem
to have an effect. Hmmmm, I wonder if there is a message there. In
any event, if you anti-TSR types amount to significant numbers, well go
ahead, the Company will sure take note....sure.
In that regard, if you believe a boycott is effective, I challenge
you to check your convictions down to the core level. Make it a total
boycott! Don't buy any more D&D stuff! Don't play D&D anymore! (You
won't be missed at my table). And then don't even think about D&D any
more for the rest of your life.....BTW, this also means that you should
no longer have any interest in this newsgroup, right? I mean are you
serious in your convictions? Well, are you? Then make my (and many
others') day and take your arguments elsewhere.
2. Take a shot of expresso (preferably double) and consider the
following: I know it is hard to realize, but TSR is in the business of
making money. To make money, it has to protect its intellectual
property rights, and it will do so. BTW, I see nothing but anti-TSR
stuff here, but the cold facts are that FASA, WOTC, SJG, ICE, Mayfair,
and WW are going to do the same thing.....guaranteed. Hmmmm....who are
you guys complaining so much? Do you have any affiliations with other
gaming companies/interests?
BTW, I am not an employee of TSR or any gaming company. Just so
that the record is clear, however, I am a freelance writer and I have
sold some of my material to TSR and others. Oh yes, I am also an
attorney but I am NOT going to get into all the merits of the debate:
that would be legal advice and that does not come free or cheap. And
no, I have not been retained by TSR or any other gaming company or
publisher.
3. If you want change, do something positive instead of whining on
this newsgroup. If you seriously believe that you have rights infringed
and/or are the victim of some "monopoly power" of the TSR tarrasque, thn
report it to the solars of the federal government charged with the duty
of protecting consumeres from grim monsters. Specifically, I am talking
about the antitrust division of the Attorney General's office or the
Federal Trade Commission. They have cohorts of attorneys who will look
your complaints over and take appropriate action (don't be surprised if
they decide you don't have a case, but that's their call).
4. Once you hear that a federal agency won't do anything for you, let
me tell you another secret: we live in a democracy and each of us have
elected Congressmen and Senators to whom we can write and suggest
changes in the current laws, if you believe them to be so unjust. BTW,
you really need to be prepared to convince them that the TSR monster
definitely deserves a place on the national agenda, and where it fits in
with other items such as AIDS, the deficit, the restructuring of our
military, gun control, GATT, S.Hussein's latest gambit, etc.
5. If your elected representatives won't hear you out, then you can
form a nonprofit lobby group (be sure to dot the i's and cross the t's
on all the requirements) and work on other members of Congress and the
administration. Why not? There are enough kooky pressure groups in the
DC area; one more won't hurt anything.
6. Earlier I challenged all of you "antis" to get off the
newsgroup. I still do so, but I of course believe in your right to
voice your opinion. May I suggest that you take your version of the
Blood War to the plane entitled rec.games.frp.advocacy? There anybody
who wants to read your stuff can do so and have a great time. And those
of us who enjoy the game can enjoy this newsgroup for its intended
purposes.
7. BTW, please do not construe this as my love or use of every
rule in ADD (who does, anyway). Nor do I like all of TSR's products;
some are quite shoddy, but others, frankly, are well done and contribute
a lot to the fun of my campaigns. Isn't that what it's all about after
all?

Guy Robinson

unread,
Nov 1, 1994, 3:21:09 AM11/1/94
to
Rob Repp (mob...@Mercury.mcs.com) wrote:
: In article <783372...@treehome.demon.co.uk>,
: Shu...@treehome.demon.co.uk wrote:

: > 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 statement.
: >
: > 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?

: We certainly do not. Saving up all the moves, however, and republishing
: them as a separate work would probably be an infringement. Playing by any
: means is fine.

This is new concept, the Secret Game. So TSR believes it is OK to play a
game with their products but we must not reveal or inform people about what
occurred during the game. What a reasonable perspective.

: > 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?

: Good question. I think it would br a problem, because you'd have to
: reproduce the book to pass it along the net, whereas the book never gets
: duplicated when you pass it by hand to someone.

: > people who don't own any of the play materials? Because I'm sure we've ALL
: > done that.

: Of course not. We're only concerned about republication issues, not game play.

So the Secret Game remains. When you play a game of D&D you have violated
TSR`s copyrights so deeply that you have no right to the publishing of
your own experiences. That part of your life remains forever TSR's.

Of course I am over-writing this but I hope that people can see my concerns.

--

Remmelt de Haan

unread,
Nov 1, 1994, 9:51:52 AM11/1/94
to
Paul Culotta (gar...@eskimo.com) wrote:
: Really, is there any surprise here? For all you folks who are

: anti-TSR/anti-d&d and are venting your spleen all over the world, it may
: come to sad, sad news to you that there are THOUSANDS of us players/DMs
: who are going to ignore all your vitriolic, barracks room lawyer
: rhetoric and continue to have a good time.

We think this is about setting a precedent, and having T$R moving in
on the internet to get more power and more money out of it is not the
way we like it. It moves towards a commercial internet.
And I am not anti-d&d. I am now firmly becoming anti-T$R. I believe that
the D&D system is a brilliant piece of work, and that the people currently
on the board of T$R did not design this, but some writer they hired.
That is why I think anti-d&d and anti-T$R are not the same things.

: But if you really feel inspired and righteous about what you are


: flapping your gums about, consider doing something practical about it
: rather than whining all over this newsgroup. Here are some suggestions:

Thanks for the suggestions, but we're gathering thoughts and crystallizing
our arguments against T$R here. We do not intend to whine. Ideas are
flowing here (look for carefully for them, for good ones are rare :)

: you guys complaining so much? Do you have any affiliations with other
: gaming companies/interests?

No.

: BTW, I am not an employee of TSR or any gaming company.

Well, neither is any of us, but I'm uncertain about Lizard. :)

: Oh yes, I am also an attorney

..

: about the antitrust division of the Attorney General's office or the


: Federal Trade Commission. They have cohorts of attorneys who will look
: your complaints over and take appropriate action (don't be surprised if
: they decide you don't have a case, but that's their call).

You wouldn't happen to be one of *those* attorneys, would you?
Anyway, this might be something. I'm sure Jeff is reading too, and otherwise
I'll mail him. Thanks for the suggestion.

: each of us have elected Congressmen and Senators to whom we can write

: and suggest changes in the current laws, if you believe them to be so
: unjust.

Last time I looked, I don't have one. I am Dutch.

: 6. Earlier I challenged all of you "antis" to get off the


: newsgroup. I still do so, but I of course believe in your right to
: voice your opinion. May I suggest that you take your version of the
: Blood War to the plane entitled rec.games.frp.advocacy? There anybody

You may of course, because it's a democracy, but frp.advocacy is about
comparisons of various game systems.


Remmelt
Disclaimer: I am Dutch. I am excused. I am not a native English speaker. :)
--
Remmelt de Haan | http://prairienet.org/mud/remmelt.html
za...@rugrcx.rug.nl | "But in 1954, the world was just not ready for
phone: +31 50 736321 | Sonny and Cher. As a matter fact, the world was
Groningen State University | *never* ready for Sonny and Cher."
The Netherlands | --Al, Memphis Melody

Remmelt de Haan

unread,
Nov 1, 1994, 9:29:18 AM11/1/94
to
Rob Repp (mob...@Mercury.mcs.com) wrote:

: All opinions are my own, not TSR's | 414-248-3625 Fax 414-248-0389

Hello Mr Repp, if that disclaimer in your .signature is true, how
can you be speaking for T$R ?

Have a nice day.

Mike Suzio

unread,
Nov 1, 1994, 10:55:47 AM11/1/94
to
mob...@Mercury.mcs.com (Rob Repp) writes:

>>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?

>We certainly do not. Saving up all the moves, however, and republishing
>them as a separate work would probably be an infringement. Playing by any
>means is fine.

This is a ridiculous point of view. There is nothing to stop me from
releasing a complete transcript move-by-move of a Monopoly game. There is
no reason to believe this case is anything different.

>> 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?

>Good question. I think it would br a problem, because you'd have to
>reproduce the book to pass it along the net, whereas the book never gets
>duplicated when you pass it by hand to someone.

This is a more reasonable point. Rob is correct here, it would be a
violation of reasonable copyright rules. However, T$R is never, ever,
going to go after anyone who does this on a small scale, so I'd say go for
it. And make sure to rip off all the tags on your furniture that say "Do
Not Remove This Tag", too. :-)

>> 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.

>Of course not. We're only concerned about republication issues, not game play.

No Rob, your company is concerned about placing unneeded restrictions on
what people do with your materials, that you sell to that and already make
hordes of money on. But T$R wants more, so now they have put you in the
unenviable position of being the bad guy who tells people to stop being
creative.
So Rob, when will T$R wise up and find a way to allow *unlimited*
distribution of materials that contain the disclaimer? No matter how many
Internet mirrors you have, you are still cutting out Fidonet and friends.

--
|+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++|
| Michael J. Suzio msu...@umich.edu |
| Marketing Director - Friday Knight Games |
| aka "That F*K*G company!" |
|+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++|

S. Keith Graham

unread,
Nov 1, 1994, 11:46:04 AM11/1/94
to
In <CyKKt...@eskimo.com> gar...@eskimo.com (Paul Culotta) writes:

><1994Oct31.0...@news.wrc.xerox.com>


>
> For all you folks who are
>anti-TSR/anti-d&d and are venting your spleen all over the world, it may
>come to sad, sad news to you that there are THOUSANDS of us players/DMs
>who are going to ignore all your vitriolic, barracks room lawyer
>rhetoric and continue to have a good time. Go ahead and reply to this
>and use all the 4 letter words you want....it seems to be your style.

I play AD&D, though I'm not exactly a TSR fan.

And yes, thousands of players/DMs are going to ignore all of our
rhetoric. However, I think that the net community at large is
best served by having as wide of a variety of material available
as is legal; from as many sites as choose to carry it.

> But if you really feel inspired and righteous about what you are
>flapping your gums about, consider doing something practical about it
>rather than whining all over this newsgroup.

>[Many suggestions deleted, many involving changing the law]

Right now, IMHO TSR is claiming more than the law provides,
in terms of their intellectual property rights.

I have been researching cases that appear to this layman to be
relevant, as well as reading higher level discussions of copyright
law.

The best approach, based on my reading, would be to float a trial
case rather than attempting to get the laws changed/clarified
by Congress. (That may be a second approach.)

Anti-trust action may also be a valid course to follow, but that
takes the actions against TSR out of the hands of the complaintants
to a large degree, and the results may not be beneficial or desirable
to anyone involved.



> 2. Take a shot of expresso (preferably double) and consider the
>following: I know it is hard to realize, but TSR is in the business of
>making money. To make money, it has to protect its intellectual
>property rights, and it will do so. BTW, I see nothing but anti-TSR
>stuff here, but the cold facts are that FASA, WOTC, SJG, ICE, Mayfair,
>and WW are going to do the same thing.....guaranteed. Hmmmm....who are
>you guys complaining so much? Do you have any affiliations with other
>gaming companies/interests?

For the record:

I am not affiliated, except as a customer, with any gaming company
or interest.

Also, FASA, WotC, SJG, ICE, and WW have all given disclaimers to be
added to documents that allow unlimited free distribution. (The
exact details vary, and some may only specify free electronic distribution,
rather than including paper, but the thrust of their disclaimers are
much more lenient than TSRs.)

The only companies that I am familiar with that have similiar policies
are TFG/ADB (who publish Star Fleet Battles), and the publishers of
Palladium.

> BTW, I am not an employee of TSR or any gaming company. Just so
>that the record is clear, however, I am a freelance writer and I have
>sold some of my material to TSR and others. Oh yes, I am also an
>attorney but I am NOT going to get into all the merits of the debate:
>that would be legal advice and that does not come free or cheap.

Well, on the net, modules, rules expansions, NPCs etc. all come
free or cheap. :-) And if you really want me to shut up, feel
free to post 4 or 6 case precedents that dispute our claims that:

A) Game mechanics aren't copyrightable. Terms probably aren't either.
(Such as Str, Dex, HP, etc.)

B) A "System of measurement" such as "1 turn = 10 minutes, 1 inch =
10 feet, INT = IQ / 10" isn't copyrightable.

C) Character sheets aren't copyrightable.

D) Fair use and competition would allow you to refer to copyrighted
elements of TSR's works to make your module compatible with their
game system. (Nintendo vs. Atari comes to mind in favor of this
position.)

If you are willing to provide evidence that TSR is, almost without
a doubt, within their rights to insist on control of the net.books,
then I'm sure most of us will quiet down. (Although I'm sure
that a few diehards will then pressure TSR to back down from claiming
some of their legal rights through boycott, etc., but I think most of
us are more resonable.)

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

David P. Summers

unread,
Nov 1, 1994, 5:02:39 PM11/1/94
to
In article <941101135...@alpha.zk3.dec.com>, lar...@zk3.dec.com wrote:
> >>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
> >>Hero
> >>See GURPS, except with less detail.
>
> I've not looked at Hero, perhaps, from this thumbnail, I should. GURPS is
> the best-supported alternative to AD&D but the complexity of the point system
> is stupifying to behold. No one runs a "normal" human being, in my
experience,
> it seems to really reward rules-lawyers. Still, this is the one _I'd_
> recommend, if only because of the plethora of support material and the
> enthusiasm of the vendor, not to mention their net-wise savvy. I wish they'd
> do a version with _less_ detail, but that's just me. It is skill-based, not
> level-based, and may be a problem in that regard.

A few comments from a veteran GURPS player. I must admit that I don't see
how the point system is complex. Unless it's the number of choices you
have. You buy stats and skills seperately and, additionally, can by
limitations and enhancements to the characters (advantages and
disadvantages).

I would also say that if you find this "complex" you won't be any better
off with Hero (which is similar in this regard). I personally find Hero
to be more complex (but this all depends on what you call complex).

As far as "normal" human beings. There has been some debate as to whether
40 points in disads (a common number) is a "normal person" (my experience
is yes). While that question is certainly open to debate, the fact
remains that you can always just decrease the disad limit to push for more
"normal" characters (or, conversely, raise it for more "quirky"
characters).
________________________
(Disclaimer: If NASA had any position on any of this do you


think they would have ME give it?)

David Summers - Sum...@Ethyl-the-Frog.ARC.NASA.Gov

lar...@zk3.dec.com

unread,
Nov 1, 1994, 8:51:12 AM11/1/94
to

In article <ajgrn.4....@mailserv.mta.ca>,

Anthony J. Greene <aj...@mailserv.mta.ca> wrote:
>In article <381mpc$b...@mozo.cc.purdue.edu> jac...@sonata.cc.purdue.edu (Bryan
J. Maloney) writes:
>>Change your game system.
>
>>RuneQuest

>You're forgetting Palladium FRPG. I don't think there's any fantasy
>game (despite what my Palladium-fan friends tell me) that's moer
>of a AD@D ripoff. Okay, ripoff has bad connotations which I don't mean.

The problem with Palladium is that it is a product of virtually the only
other company in the market that is trying to out-obnoxious TSR with
spurious copyright claims. Yes, it's close to AD&D. But given the
recent WotC vs. Palladium ruckus and what that portends, no, rotten
choice, even if it is an interesting system.

RuneQuest is very mature and easy to play, but the look & feel are very
different from AD&D and the system is skill-based, not level-based.

>>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.
>
>Only for those who are SERIOUS about roleplaying. I wouldn't even
>consider it an alternative to AD@D. It's an ENTIRELY different genre,

On this I tend to agree. If your group is really into spell-casters to
the exclusion of all else, and you like a medieval European look and feel
in your campaign, this is a good choice, but as a generic replacement, no,
I don't think so.

>>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).

Rolemaster has always reminded of what would happen if Arduin Grimoire really
had rules instead of compendiums of miscellaneous detail. It is just way too
top heavy. Better to just get a legal degree, law school is easier to master,
much faster in actual use, and you can sue people like TSR in real life...

>>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
>>Hero
>>See GURPS, except with less detail.

I've not looked at Hero, perhaps, from this thumbnail, I should. GURPS is
the best-supported alternative to AD&D but the complexity of the point system
is stupifying to behold. No one runs a "normal" human being, in my experience,
it seems to really reward rules-lawyers. Still, this is the one _I'd_
recommend, if only because of the plethora of support material and the
enthusiasm of the vendor, not to mention their net-wise savvy. I wish they'd
do a version with _less_ detail, but that's just me. It is skill-based, not
level-based, and may be a problem in that regard.

>You're neglecting probably the best AD@D alternative: Warhammer FRP.

This one I do not know.

>AD@D alternative that I recommend the most is FASA's Earthdawn.

Dunno this one, neither.

>Of course, the best alternative is to take 6 six years and totally,
>from the ground up, design your own role playing game. Hah!

Nah. Take FUDGE and add a level-based skill system. Glom all
the actions possible at each level into one "skill" and require
that lower-level skills in a given class always rate higher than
those in a higher class. Use the level skill for any action
glommed into that level. This emulates AD&D surprisingly well.
Steffen includes a 3-18 conversion into his word-based levels,
and you just use the normal AD&D stats.

>AD@D still, by some grace of God no doubt, survives. None
>of the above games can somehow capture a wierd, elusive
>essence which AD@D seems to have. I haven't played it in

AD&D has, at it's core, a simplicity about it's basic systems that
makes it faster to bootstrap into a game and get underway in a
minimum of mucking about. FUDGE, as modified above, and my own
system (yet to see the light of day) both project very similar
look & feel to AD&D in this respect. I urge you to try the above
suggestion with FUDGE and see if it works for you.

AD&D is to gaming what MS-DOS is to operating systems. Not the best,
nor the fastest, but the firstest with the mostest, and now the most-
heavily-supported by virtue of that. It will someday change, and
someday there will stand in its place something _called_ AD&D that
is internally in no way similar to the AD&D we have today, but in
the meantime, we must lay the groundwork to encourage that change.
--
Larry Smith - My opinions only.
lar...@zk3.dec.com/thes...@mv.mv.com/lar...@io.com

Jeff Kesselman

unread,
Nov 1, 1994, 6:46:52 PM11/1/94
to
In article <CyLFy...@rug.nl>, Remmelt de Haan <za...@rugrcx.rug.nl> wrote:

>(The Lizard wrote)


>: Oh yes, I am also an attorney

IMO WARING:

I believe this one about as much as I believe in Santa Clause.
PARTICULARLY since the writer goes on to say "but I'm not going to say
anything legal" and doesnt. All in all, given the style and content of
his post, to be a Lawyer, I think Lizard would have to be Doogie Howser's
(younger) brother.

>
>..
>
>: about the antitrust division of the Attorney General's office or the
>: Federal Trade Commission. They have cohorts of attorneys who will look
>: your complaints over and take appropriate action (don't be surprised if
>: they decide you don't have a case, but that's their call).
>
>You wouldn't happen to be one of *those* attorneys, would you?
>Anyway, this might be something. I'm sure Jeff is reading too, and otherwise
>I'll mail him. Thanks for the suggestion.
>

Oh yes, I'm listening. Lizard's post was SO off subject (IMO) that it
wasn't worth even repsonding to on my part (IMO).

I'm also trying to hang back now and give some of the other members of
our group some 'air-time'.

For what its worth, as I mentioned QUITE awhiel back (stuff I'm sure the
green-one hasn't bothered going back to read) I have alread contaced my
best contact in Washington-- my best friend in High School (WAY back
when) who is now a Director to the President's National Economic Council
and a policy expert on the National Information Infrastructre.

>: each of us have elected Congressmen and Senators to whom we can write
>: and suggest changes in the current laws, if you believe them to be so
>: unjust.
>
>Last time I looked, I don't have one. I am Dutch.

He also missed the point. Mosty of us consider the current law EXTREMELY
just, we just ALSO consider TSR to be abusing, if not outright ignoring,
what the laws actually have to say.

Jeff Kesselman

Christian M Lavin

unread,
Nov 1, 1994, 10:08:57 PM11/1/94
to
: Really, is there any surprise here? For all you folks who are

: anti-TSR/anti-d&d and are venting your spleen all over the world, it may
: come to sad, sad news to you that there are THOUSANDS of us players/DMs
: who are going to ignore all your vitriolic, barracks room lawyer
: rhetoric and continue to have a good time. Go ahead and reply to this
: and use all the 4 letter words you want....it seems to be your style.

If you think that we are going to be disappointed by the fact that people
still enjoy ADnD, you are having a definite problem understanding the
motivations behind this. I'm sure many of the people on here complaining
about T$R still enjoy the game....

: But if you really feel inspired and righteous about what you are


: flapping your gums about, consider doing something practical about it
: rather than whining all over this newsgroup. Here are some suggestions:

Wow, neat how you consider airing of concerns in public debate whining.
That's an interpretation I haven't heard before...

: 4. Once you hear that a federal agency won't do anything for you, let


: me tell you another secret: we live in a democracy and each of us have
: elected Congressmen and Senators to whom we can write and suggest
: changes in the current laws, if you believe them to be so unjust. BTW,
: you really need to be prepared to convince them that the TSR monster
: definitely deserves a place on the national agenda, and where it fits in
: with other items such as AIDS, the deficit, the restructuring of our
: military, gun control, GATT, S.Hussein's latest gambit, etc.

This isn't T$R specifically that we have a vendetta of sorts again, as
you seem to imply. My concern is also for the precedent that this sort
of behavior could set and the carryover it could have into other areas of
society.

Chris
cla...@student.umass.edu or
cla...@titan.ucs.umass.edu

Jeff Kesselman

unread,
Nov 2, 1994, 8:21:44 PM11/2/94
to
In article <Summers-0211...@ethyl-the-frog.arc.nasa.gov>,
David P. Summers <Sum...@Ethyl-the-Frog.arc.nasa.gov> wrote:

>In article <CyKKt...@eskimo.com>, gar...@eskimo.com (Paul Culotta) wrote:
>> I see nothing but anti-TSR
>> stuff here, but the cold facts are that FASA, WOTC, SJG, ICE, Mayfair,
>> and WW are going to do the same thing.....guaranteed.
>
>Actually I've seen the official comments on these issue posted by SJG and
>FASA. SJG position is much more reasonable and even FASA doesn't go as far.
>________________________

Also, although they don't have an officially stated policy yet, I've been
in touch with Hero Games abotu a project of mine. They are checking
outthe legal ramificatiosn but they've told me in principle they have no
problem with it-- a project I'm SURE TSR would object to and is already
illegal in their eyes, given their statements. (Its a MUD based on the
Fantasy hero rules and using some aprts of their sampel campaign-- "The
Western Shores." It was going to be AD&D and FR, but this TSR
announcement convinced me I'ld rathr switch then fight, as least as far
as my MUD goes.)

Maybe as a lawyer (and yes, having seen later things out of him, I know
believe this claim, I was confused by multipe, threads earlier) Mr.
Culotta is unused to the idea of a COOPERATIVE effort between vendor and
purchaser, but this is how the industry grew to where it is today and
many companies still practice such principles.

Lord help us if RPG becomes an actual 'segment of the market' ;)
(Or Lord help them-- its the hobby nature of the industry that keeps it
thriving.)

Jeff Kesselman

Larry Smith

unread,
Nov 3, 1994, 9:24:49 AM11/3/94
to
In article <CyKKt...@eskimo.com>, Paul Culotta <gar...@eskimo.com> wrote:
><1994Oct31.0...@news.wrc.xerox.com>

> I am three days old to this newsgroup. My hope was to find

But capable of posting flame-bait like a veteran.

Nobody cares if you want to play AD&D by TSR's legal rules. The rest
of us think the Constitution seems to have missed a saving throw or two.

>[...]To make money, it has to protect its intellectual
>property rights [...]

Unproven.

>stuff here, but the cold facts are that FASA, WOTC, SJG, ICE, Mayfair,
>and WW are going to do the same thing.....guaranteed. Hmmmm....who are

Already proven wrong in every stated case. Palladium, alone, seems to
share TSR's mutant interpretation.

> 6. Earlier I challenged all of you "antis" to get off the
>newsgroup. I still do so, but I of course believe in your right to
>voice your opinion. May I suggest that you take your version of the
>Blood War to the plane entitled rec.games.frp.advocacy? There anybody

This is _not_ an "advocacy" issue. This is _strictly_ a TSR issue, and
as such belongs in _this_ newsgroup and no other. A lawyer should know
about venues.

--
Larry Smith - My opinions alone. lar...@io.com/thes...@mv.mv.com

Jared Thomas Thaler

unread,
Nov 3, 1994, 6:08:54 PM11/3/94
to
Rob Miracle (r...@Central.KeyWest.MPGN.COM) wrote:
: guy....@rx.xerox.com (Guy Robinson) writes:

[Lines deleted as they reference a dispute I'd rather not resserect(sp?)]

: No one is charged for access to ftp.mpgn.com. It is a free service that we
: provide to the Internet. I have had several people ask why the service is
: free. They can't see what a company could possibly gain from offering this
: service free of charge.

Thank you for reiterating that point Rob.

: Well here is the reason:

: Many of the employees at MPG-Net are gamers. When greyhawk.stanford.edu
: went belly up, we (the gamers) didn't want to see the wealth of information
: at greyhawk to go into the bit bucket. Since we are a company dedicated to
: games, it seemed a logical thing for us to try to provide that service. "But
: it has to eat a lot of resources?" Not really, the archive is less than
: 100 megabytes, and easily fit into avaiable resources. So we are doing this
: because we like it, its fun and we want to.

I think the current question about cost refers to whether TSR is charging YOU for
the license, (i.e. how can you afford to give us free access if you are paying
TSR for the access). I'm not saying this is MY question (I'm on the side that
is guessing that TSR isn't charging you.) But it is a major point of contention
in the sometimes heated discusion between Jeff and myself. We, and a large
number of other people ont the internet, would apreciate it if you would answer this
simple questions which has so many implications.

Is TSR charging you for the license, or is the purpose of the license mearly
to limit distribution to one site so that it can be more easily monitered for
copyright violations(sp?).

: >: 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.)

: We have not rejected a single submission due to language. An author wanted to
: submit something with one very offensive word and we asked that it be modified
: to the comix form of *#&$. The most frequent reason for rejection (which is
: very rare) has been corrupt archives.

I appologize, I may have drawn some erronious conclusions from one of the posts.

: Rob Miracle
: co-admin ftp.mpgn.com
: --
: Rob Miracle = Email: r...@mpgn.com
: Tantalus Inc. = Alt: Lewe...@aol.com
: Key West, Florida =
: "You have a problem? I have a plan!" -- Anton Devious

Jared Thaler

Jeff Kesselman

unread,
Nov 3, 1994, 10:11:39 PM11/3/94
to
In article <rwm.78...@central.keywest.mpgn.com>,

Rob Miracle <r...@Central.KeyWest.MPGN.COM> wrote:
>guy....@rx.xerox.com (Guy Robinson) writes:
>
>>Jared Thaler (ez04...@bullwinkle.ucdavis.edu) wrote:
>>: 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

For the record (and i know Jared knows all this because we had a very
complete, and I though productive, email converstion, but perhapse this
is a reponse to an old post of his, before our talk...)

1) I never stated that mpgn charged for anonymous ftp. What I said was:
"MPGN is a for-pay service, like AOL. It woudl not suprise me if they
did not allow anonymous ftp."

That was a true statement. Frankly, I'm still a little suprised, but
pleasently so, and I've said so in posts in response to Rob's post.

The onyl thing I have 'spread aroudn the net' was the information
provided to me, that mpgn only allows 6 anonymous ftp conenctiosn at this
time. I have seen noone dispute thsi so far. If it is wrong, then somone
correct me. Meanwhile I would appreciate it if the above mis-information
about me were spread no further. (As someone pointed out a little while
back, there ARE libel laws. Stating an opinion is never libelous, as I
understand it, stating as facts misinformation about someone else or their
statements DEFINATELY can be.)

2) I have expressed the opinion, and contiue to express the opinion, that
from what I know TSR never gave away a liscense in their coproate
existance, and I doubt that they have done so now. I HAVE sent repeated
attempts to get clarifications on this point both to TSR and MPGN. My
initial attempts went unanswerd (I would assuem purposely on TSR's part,
as I mailed then to Rob repp at TSR...@aol.com, the mpgn mail I had to
send to root not havign any other address-- i am perfectly willing to
believe that these just got lost.) When MPGN WAS nice enough to answer
my questiosn though, the only answer I have recieved on this point was
"We are not at liberty to discuss our liscense arrangement with TSR."
While this may be true, it does nothing to change my opinion on the matter.

As long as we are telling tales out of school abotu our email
discussions, I woudl point out that I sugegsted Mr. Thaler try asking Rob
repp to clarify, since he might get a warmer reception then myself. To
date, he tells me he has not had time.

I apologize for this long package of bytes. I really think it shoudl have
been unnecessary, but as this seems to be the
rumor-about-me-that-wont-die, i felt I had to say something.

Jeff Kesselman

David P. Summers

unread,
Nov 2, 1994, 7:07:21 PM11/2/94
to
In article <CyKKt...@eskimo.com>, gar...@eskimo.com (Paul Culotta) wrote:
> I see nothing but anti-TSR
> stuff here, but the cold facts are that FASA, WOTC, SJG, ICE, Mayfair,
> and WW are going to do the same thing.....guaranteed.

Actually I've seen the official comments on these issue posted by SJG and


FASA. SJG position is much more reasonable and even FASA doesn't go as far.
________________________

David P. Murphy

unread,
Nov 2, 1994, 7:49:18 PM11/2/94
to
In <CyKKt...@eskimo.com> gar...@eskimo.com (Paul Culotta) writes:

> 2. Take a shot of expresso (preferably double) and consider the
>following: I know it is hard to realize, but TSR is in the business of
>making money. To make money, it has to protect its intellectual
>property rights, and it will do so. BTW, I see nothing but anti-TSR
>stuff here, but the cold facts are that FASA, WOTC, SJG, ICE, Mayfair,
>and WW are going to do the same thing.....guaranteed. Hmmmm....who are
>you guys complaining so much? Do you have any affiliations with other
>gaming companies/interests?

for someone with a snotty attitude, you are claiming a vast expanse
of "certain" knowledge --- all of which is probably your NSH opinion.
just who are you to speak for these gaming companies? do you have any
"cold facts" or are you just barking at the moon? i've seen the
recent r.g.frp.dnd post containing an email message from SJ himself,
so i'm inclined to believe you're only another grandstander who likes
to bully people around by demanding they go to another newsgroup.
since you weren't very polite or reasonable, you'll be ignored.

in other words, skip over these threads if you don't want to read them.

ok
dpm
--
David P. Murphy When every one is dead
(systems programmer at large) the Great Game is finished
d...@access.digex.net not before.
a personal account COGITO, ERGO DISCLAIMUM --- Hurree Babu, "Kim"

Jared Thomas Thaler

unread,
Nov 4, 1994, 12:06:55 AM11/4/94
to
Jeff Kesselman (jef...@netcom.com) wrote:
: In article <rwm.78...@central.keywest.mpgn.com>,

: Rob Miracle <r...@Central.KeyWest.MPGN.COM> wrote:
: >guy....@rx.xerox.com (Guy Robinson) writes:
: >

: For the record (and i know Jared knows all this because we had a very

: complete, and I though productive, email converstion, but perhapse this
: is a reponse to an old post of his, before our talk...)

Sorry, Rob Miracles post was in response to a VERY old article of mine,
I probably should have deleted it, it was a little hotter than nessisary
:) (I think it was the article that STARTED our talk)

: 1) I never stated that mpgn charged for anonymous ftp. What I said was:


: "MPGN is a for-pay service, like AOL. It woudl not suprise me if they
: did not allow anonymous ftp."

: That was a true statement. Frankly, I'm still a little suprised, but
: pleasently so, and I've said so in posts in response to Rob's post.

: The onyl thing I have 'spread aroudn the net' was the information
: provided to me, that mpgn only allows 6 anonymous ftp conenctiosn at this
: time. I have seen noo