GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENT

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Rob Repp

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Sep 6, 1994, 4:57:59 PM9/6/94
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OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION - PLEASE REPOST

Recently, TSR, Inc. issued a policy statement regarding the unlicensed use
of TSR owned trademarks and copyrights in several cretive efforts
published on the Internet. TSRąs policy remains unchanged regarding these
infringements. We generally ask that you do not publish materials which
incorporate our trademarks and copyrights. However, we believe we have a
working solution for gamers who wish to exchange via the Internet any
gaming material they have created.

TSR is pleased to annouce a licensed Internet FTP file server. MPGNetąs
site (ftp to ftp.mpgn.com) will carry a license that allows your creations
to be shared with the world via the Internet. In order to distribute your
texts, software and message digests via this server, you must include the
following disclaimer:

__________________________________________________________________________________________
This item incorporates or is based on or derived from copyrighted material
of TSR, Inc. and may contain trademarks of TSR. The item is made available
by MPGNet under license from TSR, but is not authorized or endorsed by
TSR. The item is for personal use only and may not be published or
distributed except through MPGNet or TSR.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

In text files, this text must be placed at the top of the file where it
will be seen immediately. In message logs from list servers, a file
containing this text should be added to the archive file with the message
texts, or be placed at the top of a compiled text file. For software
distribution, a file containing this text should be added to the archive
file with the software if the software has already been compiled, or added
during development to a prominent display seen by the user when the
software is launched.

If you add this text to your work and upload it to ftp.mpgn.com, you can
share your effort with the rest of the Internet. It does not give you
permission to upload your creative effort to any unlicensed sites. Please
note that you are not assigning any property rights to TSR, Inc. by
uploading your work to this site.

At this time, there is only one licensed site for distribution of these
materials on the Internet. Presently, there are no mirrors being made
available. We are aware of several requests for overseas and duplicate
domestic sites. We are working to fulfill these requests. Also, several of
the commercial online service providers are working with us to develop
online forums which can carry these files.

Thanks for your continued interest in our games.


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


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

S. Keith Graham

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Sep 6, 1994, 5:29:30 PM9/6/94
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>OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION - PLEASE REPOST

>__________________________________________________________________________________________


>This item incorporates or is based on or derived from copyrighted material
>of TSR, Inc. and may contain trademarks of TSR. The item is made available
>by MPGNet under license from TSR, but is not authorized or endorsed by
>TSR. The item is for personal use only and may not be published or
>distributed except through MPGNet or TSR.
>__________________________________________________________________________________________


The material "may be published or distributed by TSR." Period. By
including this disclaimer, you are giving TSR publishing rights.

>If you add this text to your work and upload it to ftp.mpgn.com, you can
>share your effort with the rest of the Internet. It does not give you
>permission to upload your creative effort to any unlicensed sites. Please
>note that you are not assigning any property rights to TSR, Inc. by
>uploading your work to this site.

Right, but you are if you include this license, yes?

It says so, right there in the license.

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

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ So this is all a joke, right?

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

Jesse Ephraim

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Sep 6, 1994, 8:15:19 PM9/6/94
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Let's cut to the chase here:

1) What is T$R proposing to do if netters DON'T follow these mandates?
2) Why are y'all REALLY doing this? What problem has arisen that has
you running scared (or is it just pure greed/love of power)?
3) Do y'all really understand that the people you're alienating are
your CUSTOMERS?!? What are you hoping to gain from this?
4) Are you the OFFICIAL spokesman? If not, who is? If so, please answer
these questions (before you say it, NO - I do NOT think that any
of your prior posts have addressed these question, including the
"official announcement."


--
Jesse Ephraim | But what is truth?
j...@metronet.com | Is truth unchanging law?
| We both have truths...
| Are mine the same as yours? - Pontius Pilate,"JCSS"

Socrates1

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Sep 6, 1994, 8:35:05 PM9/6/94
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In article <34imvq$a...@cae.cad.gatech.edu>, vap...@cad.gatech.edu (S.
Keith Graham) writes:


>>OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION - PLEASE >>REPOST

>>________________________________________________________________________
___


>>>This item incorporates or is based on or derived from copyrighted
material
>>of TSR, Inc. and may contain trademarks of TSR. The item is made
>>available
>>by MPGNet under license from TSR, but is not authorized or endorsed by
>>TSR. The item is for personal use only and may not be published or
>>distributed except through MPGNet or TSR.
>>________________________________________________________________________
__________________


>The material "may be published or distributed by TSR." Period. By
>including this disclaimer, you are giving TSR publishing rights.

How do you get a positive from a negative? The disclaimers says items "may
*not* be published or distributed except through MPGNet or TSR." Saying it
cannot be published except through this manner does not equate to the
calim that TSR may publish it in whatever fashion it desires-- especially
given the disclaimer made later in Rob's statements.

Joseph Delisle

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Sep 6, 1994, 8:45:17 PM9/6/94
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Rob Repp (mob...@Mercury.mcs.com) wrote:
> TSR is pleased to annouce a licensed Internet FTP file server. MPGNet零

> site (ftp to ftp.mpgn.com) will carry a license that allows your creations
> to be shared with the world via the Internet. In order to distribute your
> texts, software and message digests via this server, you must include the
> following disclaimer: [snip]

Rob, I have a couple questions for you (and everyone else involved in the
TSR/Internet project):

1. What guarantee does the net community have that MPGNet will
not simply "close" some time in the future, or cease to allow free
anonymous FTP access? To be honest, we have been given no guarantee (or
even acknoldgement) that this will _not_ happen, and (since I'm being
honest), I fully expect this to happen without any legalese in the
disclaimer. With the policy that all uploads can only go to MPGNet,
TSR would make a considerable profit, leaving the net.community out in
the cold.

2. The README.SUBMISSIONS file at ftp.mpgn.com explicity states:
"Submissions for AD&D or other TSR gaming systems must include the
following disclaimer" and later on goes on to say:
"All submissions are required to fill out a submission form -- We
have no recourse but to ignore and purge entries without a valid
submission form."
Since this is the case, _WHY_ are previous submissions that had
neither the disclaimer nor the submissions from still available? Although
I have asked for my submissions to be deleted from the archive, I am
confused as to the policy regarding these submissions. Are they immune
to the disclaimer (due to some type of grandfather clause), or is there
something else going on?

Thanks for your time,
Joe

--
---------------------------------
Joe Delisle
j...@clark.net
By sending me private mail, you grant permission for it to be posted to a
public forum.

Mike Pelarski

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Sep 6, 1994, 10:08:28 PM9/6/94
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S. Keith Graham (vap...@cad.gatech.edu) wrote:

: In <mobius-0609...@mobius.pr.mcs.net> mob...@Mercury.mcs.com (Rob Repp) writes:
: >OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION - PLEASE REPOST
: >__________________________________________________________________________________________
: >This item incorporates or is based on or derived from copyrighted material
: >of TSR, Inc. and may contain trademarks of TSR. The item is made available
: >by MPGNet under license from TSR, but is not authorized or endorsed by
: >TSR. The item is for personal use only and may not be published or
: >distributed except through MPGNet or TSR.
: >__________________________________________________________________________________________


: The material "may be published or distributed by TSR." Period. By
: including this disclaimer, you are giving TSR publishing rights.

: >If you add this text to your work and upload it to ftp.mpgn.com, you can
: >share your effort with the rest of the Internet. It does not give you
: >permission to upload your creative effort to any unlicensed sites. Please
: >note that you are not assigning any property rights to TSR, Inc. by
: >uploading your work to this site.

: Right, but you are if you include this license, yes?
: It says so, right there in the license.

Yup, which leads to the question:

If I include a "Copyright 1994 Mike Pelarski" under the disclaimer,
did I still give TSR rights, or do I hold them myself? I.E. Would
TSR need to pay me before publishing? They cannot ignore my
copyright, just because it said "_may_ be published..."
Could they?

Irresistable force and immovable object. Someone (who _really_
knows the laws, not an "I suppose it would be..." post, pleeze)
should clear this up. Mr. Repp? Another lawyer/law student type?

The help would be appreciated.

Mike.

WinningerR

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Sep 7, 1994, 2:14:02 AM9/7/94
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In article <34imvq$a...@cae.cad.gatech.edu>, vap...@cad.gatech.edu (S.
Keith Graham) writes:

>>>The material "may be published or distributed by TSR." Period. By
including this disclaimer, you are giving TSR publishing rights.<<<

No, you're not and you've misquoted the disclaimer. The actual quote is


"The item is for personal use only and may not be published or distributed

except through MPGNet or TSR." This means that ONLY TSR and its licensee
(MPGNet) can publish (ie. offer) said material. Nowhere does the
disclaimer say that you are relinquishing ANY rights to the work, meaning
that TSR, MPGNet, or anybody else cannot publish the work (keep it on
their server, put it in a book, whatever) without your permission. The
"TSR" bit was included in order to allow the sites that can carry the
files to be expanded later. In other words, these files can appear on
MPGNet and anywhere else TSR allows them -- America On-Line, Compuserve,
wherever.

Under this disclaimer and the copyright laws, you DO have the right to
force someone to CEASE distributing your file. In other words, if TSR
allows AOL to mirror all the net.books, but you don't like AOL and don't
want it carrying your work, you can stop them.

WinningerR

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Sep 7, 1994, 2:18:08 AM9/7/94
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In article <34j7as$l...@agassiz.cas.und.NoDak.edu>,
pela...@cs.UND.NoDak.Edu (Mike Pelarski) writes:

>>>If I include a "Copyright 1994 Mike Pelarski" under the disclaimer,
did I still give TSR rights, or do I hold them myself? I.E. Would
TSR need to pay me before publishing? They cannot ignore my
copyright, just because it said "_may_ be published..."
Could they?<<<

TSR CANNOT PUBLISH YOUR MATERIAL IN ANY FORMAT WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION.
The copyright laws are very clear about this.

Presumably, when you upload your file to MPGNet, you are giving implied
permission for the file to be distributed in that arena. Nothing else can
be done to the file without your approval and TSR's disclaimer does
nothing to change this.

I urge everyone to put a (C) symbol, the date, and the author's name on
all files they upload -- even those that contain TSR's disclaimer. Any
professional writer or artist will tell you that this is a good habit to
form.

HENDERSON

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Sep 7, 1994, 10:28:04 AM9/7/94
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WinningerR (winni...@aol.com) wrote:

: I urge everyone to put a (C) symbol, the date, and the author's name on


: all files they upload -- even those that contain TSR's disclaimer. Any
: professional writer or artist will tell you that this is a good habit to
: form.

Ray Winninger's advice is good, but I must add one caveat. The "(c)"
symbol is not a legally acceptible substitute for the "circle-C"
copyright symbol. For ascii purposes, it it bettert to write out the
word "copyright."

For example: "Copyright 1994 by James Carl Henderson" (Note that I am
not claiming copyright protection for this posting; this is an example only.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carl Henderson "I will fear not C'thulhu, for Elvis
jch...@inxs.uta.edu walks with me."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rob Repp

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Sep 7, 1994, 11:55:14 AM9/7/94
to
Keith Graham) wrote:

> In <mobius-0609...@mobius.pr.mcs.net> mob...@Mercury.mcs.com
(Rob Repp) writes:
>
>
> >OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION - PLEASE REPOST
>
>
>__________________________________________________________________________________________
> >This item incorporates or is based on or derived from copyrighted material
> >of TSR, Inc. and may contain trademarks of TSR. The item is made available
> >by MPGNet under license from TSR, but is not authorized or endorsed by
> >TSR. The item is for personal use only and may not be published or
> >distributed except through MPGNet or TSR.
>
>__________________________________________________________________________________________
>
>
> The material "may be published or distributed by TSR." Period. By

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

This sentence does not appear in the above paragraph. This sentence has a
unique legal meaning, distinct from that of the above paragraph. I'm not
sure how you're making this logical leap, but you'd better talk to your
lawyer before you make any more.


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


Rob Repp | InterNet: tsr...@aol.com
Manager, Digital Projects Group | InterNet: mob...@mercury.mcs.com
TSR, Inc. | CompuServe: 76217,761
__________________________________ | GEnie: TSR.Online AOL: TSR Inc

Rob Repp

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Sep 7, 1994, 11:56:16 AM9/7/94
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In article <34jlv0$2...@search01.news.aol.com>, winni...@aol.com
(WinningerR) wrote:

This is an excellent idea.

Rob Repp

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Sep 7, 1994, 11:59:02 AM9/7/94
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In article <34j7as$l...@agassiz.cas.und.NoDak.edu>,
pela...@cs.UND.NoDak.Edu (Mike Pelarski) wrote:

This question is based on the precept that you own what you're trying to
copyright. Assuming that you're trying to copyright something with one of
our trademarks or copyrights in it, your copyright is void. You might
never have had any rights to those properties in the first place. On the
other hand, if you wish to trademark something that doesn't contain any of
our trademarks or copyrights, you don't need our permission, do you? :)

>
> The help would be appreciated.
>
> Mike.

Rob Repp | InterNet: tsr...@aol.com
Manager, Digital Projects Group | InterNet: mob...@mercury.mcs.com
TSR, Inc. | CompuServe: 76217,761
__________________________________ | GEnie: TSR.Online AOL: TSR Inc

Geof...@yvax.byu.edu

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Sep 7, 1994, 2:56:39 PM9/7/94
to
In article <mobius-0609...@mobius.pr.mcs.net> mob...@Mercury.mcs.com

(Rob Repp) writes:
>OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION - PLEASE REPOST
>
>At this time, there is only one licensed site for distribution of these
>materials on the Internet. Presently, there are no mirrors being made
>available. We are aware of several requests for overseas and duplicate
>domestic sites. We are working to fulfill these requests. Also, several of
>the commercial online service providers are working with us to develop
>online forums which can carry these files.
>

All roads lead to Rome. So much for freedom.

HENDERSON

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Sep 7, 1994, 5:12:06 PM9/7/94
to
Rob Repp (mob...@Mercury.mcs.com) wrote:

: This question is based on the precept that you own what you're trying to


: copyright. Assuming that you're trying to copyright something with one of
: our trademarks or copyrights in it, your copyright is void. You might
: never have had any rights to those properties in the first place. On the
: other hand, if you wish to trademark something that doesn't contain any of
: our trademarks or copyrights, you don't need our permission, do you? :)

Rob, I think your statement is a bit overbroad. If someone creates a
true derivitive work (such as setting a novel in a TSR world) that well
might be uncopyrightable.

As for material designed to be compatible with the AD&D system (new
spells, monsters, adventures, etc.) the subject is open for debate.
TSR's lawyers have their opinion, based upon their understanding of the
law, and other people looking at the same law and other precedents, have
reached different conclusions.

However, saying that if one tries to "copyright something with one of our
[TSR's] trademarks or copyrights in it, your copyright is void" is
obviously incorrect. For example, I could write a review of Planescape
[TM], including trademarked and copyrighted terms in that review, and
would retain all rights to that review. Or I could write an article
about RPGs for the NCATV and quote out of context a choice passage such
as "players can also choose to be assassins" (Alright, I know I've
misquoted the 1st Ed. Player's Handbook, but that never bothered the
NCATV or BADD). Even though I included a direct quote from a TSR
copyrighted source, my pressure group could easily still get copyright to
that article.

The law concerning intellectual property is tricky and evolving, but the
"fair use" exemption still applies.

Wayne J. Rasmussen

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Sep 7, 1994, 5:57:10 PM9/7/94
to
Rob Repp (mob...@Mercury.mcs.com) wrote:

: OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION - PLEASE REPOST

: Recently, TSR, Inc. issued a policy statement regarding the unlicensed use
: of TSR owned trademarks and copyrights in several cretive efforts

: published on the Internet. TSR零 policy remains unchanged regarding these


: infringements. We generally ask that you do not publish materials which
: incorporate our trademarks and copyrights. However, we believe we have a
: working solution for gamers who wish to exchange via the Internet any
: gaming material they have created.

: TSR is pleased to annouce a licensed Internet FTP file server. MPGNet零
: site (ftp to ftp.mpgn.com) will carry a license that allows your creations

: All opinions are my own, not TSR零 | 414-248-3625 Fax 414-248-0389


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

I assume there is nothing here to prevent anyone from adding their own
terms and conditions to any work they upload to the official site. Is
this true? If so you could just copyright your work and add your own
disclaimer.

Any opinions?

Peter Maranci

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Sep 7, 1994, 6:08:44 PM9/7/94
to
In article <34jlv0$2...@search01.news.aol.com>,
WinningerR <winni...@aol.com> wrote:

>I urge everyone to put a (C) symbol, the date, and the author's name on
>all files they upload -- even those that contain TSR's disclaimer. Any
>professional writer or artist will tell you that this is a good habit to
>form.

I've been informed by a lawyer that the (C) and (c) "symbols" ARE
NOT VALID DESIGNATIONS of copyright. The proper format is:

Copyright (Your Name) (Date)

...without the parentheses, of course. The actual copyright
symbol (c in a circle) IS acceptable, but two parentheses surrounding a
"c" is not.

And yes, it's a very good idea to copyright anything original you
write. Except for email. 8^>}

-->Pete
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Peter Maranci Malden, Massachusetts
Editor, Interregnum RPG/science fantasy APA magazine -- email for info.
mar...@max.tiac.net pe...@slough.mit.edu ru...@trystero.com

Peter Maranci

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Sep 7, 1994, 6:38:02 PM9/7/94
to
In article <1994Sep7.2...@news.uta.edu>,
HENDERSON <jch...@inxs.uta.edu> wrote:

>Rob, I think your statement is a bit overbroad. If someone creates a
>true derivitive work (such as setting a novel in a TSR world) that well
>might be uncopyrightable.

In fact, the implications of Rob Repp's statement are rather
broad (I'm not quoting his statement because he did, after all, copyright
it). He says that any work which includes anything copyrighted or
trademarked by TSR cannot by copyrighted by the author -- that such a
copyright would be "void".

It would seem that TSR considers any work -- including those
already posted on the Net -- which includes anything they claim to have
copyrighted to be up for grabs. If the copyright is "void", they can
simply appropriate it at will, and perhaps copyright the work for
themselves.

I'm not suggesting that they'd actually *do* this -- but the
possibility is there. It would seem that their legal department, at
least, believes they have a right to simply take any work that
includes a TSR reference. An author could create a 200 page module, and
if he were to include just one reference to a TSR-copyrighted racial
type, for example, TSR could take the whole thing.

They probably wouldn't do that. But given the history of TSR, I
wouldn't entirely rule it out, either.

-->Pete
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Peter Maranci Malden, Massachusetts
Editor, Interregnum RPG/science fantasy APA magazine -- email for info.

mar...@max.tiac.net ru...@trystero.com

Thomas Farrell

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Sep 7, 1994, 8:22:37 PM9/7/94
to
In article <mobius-0709...@mobius.pr.mcs.net>,

Rob Repp <mob...@Mercury.mcs.com> wrote:
>In article <34imvq$a...@cae.cad.gatech.edu>, vap...@cad.gatech.edu (S.
>Keith Graham) wrote:
>>Rob Repp wrote:
>> >TSR. The item is for personal use only and may not be published or
>> >distributed except through MPGNet or TSR.
>>
>>__________________________________________________________________________________________
>>
>>
>> The material "may be published or distributed by TSR." Period. By
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
>This sentence does not appear in the above paragraph. This sentence has a
>unique legal meaning, distinct from that of the above paragraph. I'm not
>sure how you're making this logical leap, but you'd better talk to your
>lawyer before you make any more.

That is an ugly and un-called-for threat, and very rude of you. Since
you seem to have a comprehension problem, please allow me to clarify,
since I understood what Mr. Grahm meant right off the bat. (I would have
pointed it out myself, but I thought it was too obvious.)

"may not be published or distributed except through MPGNet or TSR" is a
phrase with two meanings. One is, (to paraphrase,) "If you're not MPGNet
or TSR, you can't distribute this." The other is, "MPGNet and TSR may
distribute this." While the second may or may not have been the intent
of the statement, it is a prerequesite to the first based on the
phrasing.

As a member of the Internet community I suggest that you, as a
spokesperson for TSR, take some time to study Internet ettiquette. Yours
is definately lacking.
Tom

--
Chastity is the most unnatural of all the sexual perversions.
-Remy de Gourmont

S. Keith Graham

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Sep 7, 1994, 10:39:15 PM9/7/94
to
>In article <mobius-0709...@mobius.pr.mcs.net>,
>Rob Repp <mob...@Mercury.mcs.com> wrote:
>>In article <34imvq$a...@cae.cad.gatech.edu>, vap...@cad.gatech.edu (S.
>>Keith Graham) wrote:
>>>Rob Repp wrote:
>>> >TSR. The item is for personal use only and may not be published or
>>> >distributed except through MPGNet or TSR.
>>>
>>>__________________________________________________________________________________________
>>>
>>>
>>> The material "may be published or distributed by TSR." Period. By
>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>>
>>This sentence does not appear in the above paragraph. This sentence has a
>>unique legal meaning, distinct from that of the above paragraph. I'm not
>>sure how you're making this logical leap, but you'd better talk to your
>>lawyer before you make any more.

My rephrasing does not appear in the above paragraph. The meaning
of my rephrasing is unique, in that it did not mean exactly the
same thing that the original paragraph stated. For example, the
original paragraph also gave rights to MPGNet, which was excluded
from my statement.

I read that original sentance as being legally and lexically equivilant to:

The item is for personal use only and may only be published or
distributed by MPGNet or TSR.

If this statement is not identical in meaning to the original sentence,
please correct the new version, pointing out logical differences. If
TSR didn't intend for this meaning to be extrapolated, then a different
phrasing of the disclaimer might be in order.

Further, if the disclaimer does not allow TSR (and MPGNet) to distribute or
publish the material, then what additional release is TSR requiring
to allow this to occur? After all, by uploading it, I've given MPGNet
the right to use it for "personal use", but I have not given the
right to distribute it. Then MPGNet could be sued for allowing copies
to be distributed, since that is not "Personal Use" by MPGNet staff.

The disclaimer does not limit the publication and distribution to
Internet access, nor even to electronic media. MPGNet, under the
terms of the disclaimer, (but perhaps not the license with TSR which
has not been made public) could publish or distribute it on paper,
assuming you agree that this gives them rights to distribute
electronically. The disclaimer also does not specify "free"
distribution only.

The same rights granted to MPGNet are granted to TSR, I'm sure you'll
agree. (It does not even specify "and licensed agents thereof", which
would probably be handy to add in case other sites are added later.)

If TSR does not intend for this to grant any rights to MPGNet or
TSR other than free, ftp distribution on the Internet, then it should
be simple for the disclaimer to be changed to reflect that fact.

Further, most other disclaimers by other gaming companies, are much
more elaborate, and contain more exact legal phrasing than the
short and simple disclaimer you have proposed. Your disclaimer leaves
more room for discussion of what exactly is meant by various phrases,
given the ambiguity of the English Language. I'm sure that this is
undesirable for all parties involved.

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

WinningerR

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Sep 8, 1994, 2:05:02 AM9/8/94
to
In article <34lfca$3...@sundog.tiac.net>, mar...@max.tiac.net (Peter
Maranci) writes:

>>>It would seem that their legal department, at
least, believes they have a right to simply take any work that
includes a TSR reference.<<<

As Rob Repp keeps reminding you, he is not a lawyer and is not TSR's legal
department. I'm sure that TSR's legal department does not believe they
have the right to take your work.

While it's true that you cannot secure a copyright on something that is
already copyrighted or derivative of something copyrighted (without the
original author's permission), TSR couldn't secure a copyright to ANYTHING
you write without your permission (they didn't create the work in
question).

WinningerR

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 2:15:11 AM9/8/94
to
In article <34ltgj$l...@cae.cad.gatech.edu>, vap...@cad.gatech.edu (S.
Keith Graham) writes:

>>>I read that original sentance as being legally and lexically equivilant
to:

The item is for personal use only and may only be published or
distributed by MPGNet or TSR.

If this statement is not identical in meaning to the original sentence,
please correct the new version, pointing out logical differences. If
TSR didn't intend for this meaning to be extrapolated, then a different
phrasing of the disclaimer might be in order. <<<

Yes, it is equivalent to this statement -- but not your original
statement.

The disclaimer says that only MPGNet or TSR can distribute the work.

The copyright laws say that you, as creator, have the sole right to
determine how, when, where, and if your work is distributed.

By including the disclaimer, you forfeit some of your right to determine
where the work is distributed -- ie. it can only be distributed by TSR or
MPGNet. But you do not forfeit your rights to determine when, how, or if
your work is distributed. Both of the following are true:

1) If TSR distributes the work into a forum you don't approve, you can
force them to remove the work from that forum. (Presumably, you are giving
implied permission to distribute the work over MPGNet at the time you
upload it). TSR could not publish your work in book form without gaining
your permission.

2) If you upload some work, but later decide that you no longer want such
work available to the public, you can force the sysops at MPGNet to remove
it.

Truls Parsson

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 5:18:47 AM9/8/94
to
Thomas Farrell writes:

>"may not be published or distributed except through MPGNet or TSR" is a
>phrase with two meanings. One is, (to paraphrase,) "If you're not MPGNet
>or TSR, you can't distribute this." The other is, "MPGNet and TSR may
>distribute this." While the second may or may not have been the intent
>of the statement, it is a prerequesite to the first based on the
>phrasing.

The second meaning is wrong and is not directly implied by the phrase. In common speech this might be a way to say it but it's still not correct (though people will understand you). Remember a negation doesn't always mean an inversion.
Example:
Swedes are not allowed to enter USA.
doesn't mean that everyone else can.

-The Troll

"I'm bored Klytus, what new plaything do you have for me now?"
"A planet called the Earth"

Socrates1

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 5:57:02 AM9/8/94
to
In article <77902062...@clone.his.com>, kendall...@his.com
(Kendall Bullen) writes:

>It doesn't mean they *will*, but that they *can*, which is disturbing; if
I
>upload something there, I don't want to give TSR rights to publish it if
they
>say that I can't either, not even at another net.site.

No, it doesn't say they can. It says you can't publish it anywhere else
other than the places designated by TSR. That doesn't translate into
giving them publishing rights beyond those implicitly given by your
uploading the work to the FTP site in the first place. You seem to think
that the limitation placed on you somehow grants TSR some positive right.
It doesn't work that way-- they can prevent publication, but they cannot
force it. For example, I write a Star Wars novel for fun and sell copies
at conventions. Lucasfilms has a perfect right to shut me down-- but they
can't take a look at my work, decide it's well written, and go to press
with it without my permission. As the author, one does retain some rights
and the disclaimer doesn't obviate those rights.

Kendall Bullen

unread,
Sep 7, 1994, 11:42:08 PM9/7/94
to
vap...@cad.gatech.edu (S. Keith Graham) wrote to All on 9/6/94,

SK> The material "may be published or distributed by TSR." Period. By
SK> including this disclaimer, you are giving TSR publishing rights.

Yup, that's how I read it. Looks like we need a version 1.1 bug-fix release of
that posting, Rob Repp. . . .

Kendall

Kendall Bullen

unread,
Sep 7, 1994, 11:54:21 PM9/7/94
to
socr...@aol.com (Socrates1) wrote to All on 9/6/94,

S1> How do you get a positive from a negative? The disclaimers says items
S1> "may *not* be published or distributed except through MPGNet or TSR."
S1> Saying it cannot be published except through this manner does not
S1> equate to the calim that TSR may publish it in whatever fashion it
S1> desires-- especially given the disclaimer made later in Rob's
S1> statements.

It doesn't mean they *will*, but that they *can*, which is disturbing; if I
upload something there, I don't want to give TSR rights to publish it if they
say that I can't either, not even at another net.site.

Kendall

Kendall Bullen

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 12:37:01 AM9/8/94
to
winni...@aol.com (WinningerR) wrote to All on 9/7/94,

WR> No, you're not and you've misquoted the disclaimer. The actual quote
WR> is "The item is for personal use only and may not be published or
WR> distributed except through MPGNet or TSR."

An interesting distinciton; you're right -they get no rights to it perhaps- but
they get rights to "publish or distribute" the work, which IMHO amounts to the
same thing. (Speaking of effect, not technical or legal definition.)

I don't mind them allowing more sites (heck, even AOL is probably okay ;) ;) ;)
-- however, the disclaimer above, allowing TSR to 'publish or distribute it,'
sounds like it means that they could publish it in printed form and make money
off a netter's idea, which I imagine some people (like me!) don't want to have
happen.

Kendall

Kendall Bullen

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 12:42:50 AM9/8/94
to
winni...@aol.com (WinningerR) wrote to All on 9/7/94,

WR> TSR CANNOT PUBLISH YOUR MATERIAL IN ANY FORMAT WITHOUT YOUR
WR> PERMISSION. The copyright laws are very clear about this.

Stop shouting. And even if you have a disclaimer saying that they may do so?

WR> Presumably, when you upload your file to MPGNet, you are giving
WR> implied permission for the file to be distributed in that arena.
WR> Nothing else can be done to the file without your approval and TSR's
WR> disclaimer does nothing to change this.

I wonder. I wish I had a pet lawyer. ;)

WR> I urge everyone to put a (C) symbol, the date, and the author's name
WR> on all files they upload -- even those that contain TSR's disclaimer.
WR> Any professional writer or artist will tell you that this is a good
WR> habit to form.

Good advice! Something often overlooked my the naive (such as myself).

(But then, I don't want control over my AD&D stuff, I just don't want TSR to
have control over it either. :)

Kendall

S. Keith Graham

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 7:49:24 AM9/8/94
to
In <34ma5f$o...@search01.news.aol.com> winni...@aol.com (WinningerR) writes:

>In article <34ltgj$l...@cae.cad.gatech.edu>, vap...@cad.gatech.edu (S.
>Keith Graham) writes:


>> The item is for personal use only and may only be published or
>> distributed by MPGNet or TSR.

>By including the disclaimer, you forfeit some of your right to determine
>where the work is distributed -- ie. it can only be distributed by TSR or
>MPGNet. But you do not forfeit your rights to determine when, how, or if
>your work is distributed. Both of the following are true:

>1) If TSR distributes the work into a forum you don't approve, you can
>force them to remove the work from that forum. (Presumably, you are giving
>implied permission to distribute the work over MPGNet at the time you
>upload it). TSR could not publish your work in book form without gaining
>your permission.

>2) If you upload some work, but later decide that you no longer want such
>work available to the public, you can force the sysops at MPGNet to remove
>it.

To be on legally solid ground, TSR and MPGNet should probably have
a standard "terms of distribution" to be applied to all works. (And
its up to them to negotiate alternative terms, as needed.)

If they do not, and reupload a work to AOL, a pay service, then they
could be financially liable for actual damages. (Which would be less
or nonexistant in the case for MPGNet, a free service.)

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

]dne Brunborg

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 9:10:47 AM9/8/94
to
In article <34ldlc$2...@sundog.tiac.net>, mar...@max.tiac.net (Peter Maranci) writes:
>
[snip]

>
> And yes, it's a very good idea to copyright anything original you
> write. Except for email. 8^>}

What is required to copyright something? Is it enough to write

copyright 1994, ]dne Brunborg

or does it in any way include the use of a lawyer or similar? NOTE: this posting
is NOT copyrighted.

--
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ o + No matter how subtle the wizard, a +
+ Adne Brunborg + knife in the shoulder blades will +
+ brun...@alkymi.unit.no + seriously cramp his style. +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

David Nalle

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 9:52:28 AM9/8/94
to
>>
This item incorporates or is based on or derived from copyrighted material
of TSR, Inc. and may contain trademarks of TSR. The item is made available
by MPGNet under license from TSR, but is not authorized or endorsed by
TSR. The item is for personal use only and may not be published or

distributed except through MPGNet or TSR.
<<

So I guess by implication that means that everything posted to the MPGnet
site becomes TSR property for them to publish, presumably without pay if
they feel like it?

Guess they want to make SURE no one posts any TSR based stuff on the net.
Even D&Ders aren't that dumb.

Dave

Rob Repp

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 11:02:41 AM9/8/94
to
In article <1994Sep7.2...@news.uta.edu>, jch...@inxs.uta.edu
(HENDERSON) wrote:

> Rob Repp (mob...@Mercury.mcs.com) wrote:
>
> : This question is based on the precept that you own what you're trying to
> : copyright. Assuming that you're trying to copyright something with one of
> : our trademarks or copyrights in it, your copyright is void. You might
> : never have had any rights to those properties in the first place. On the
> : other hand, if you wish to trademark something that doesn't contain any of
> : our trademarks or copyrights, you don't need our permission, do you? :)
>
> Rob, I think your statement is a bit overbroad. If someone creates a
> true derivitive work (such as setting a novel in a TSR world) that well
> might be uncopyrightable.
>
> As for material designed to be compatible with the AD&D system (new
> spells, monsters, adventures, etc.) the subject is open for debate.
> TSR's lawyers have their opinion, based upon their understanding of the
> law, and other people looking at the same law and other precedents, have
> reached different conclusions.

Technically, you're correct. However, the legal people seem pretty
confident, and I know we spent a lot of time on legal research regarding
this question. I'm willing to believe that they know what they're talking
about.

>
> However, saying that if one tries to "copyright something with one of our
> [TSR's] trademarks or copyrights in it, your copyright is void" is
> obviously incorrect. For example, I could write a review of Planescape
> [TM], including trademarked and copyrighted terms in that review, and
> would retain all rights to that review. Or I could write an article
> about RPGs for the NCATV and quote out of context a choice passage such
> as "players can also choose to be assassins" (Alright, I know I've
> misquoted the 1st Ed. Player's Handbook, but that never bothered the
> NCATV or BADD). Even though I included a direct quote from a TSR
> copyrighted source, my pressure group could easily still get copyright to
> that article.

I think you're flogging me for not re-iterating the "fair use" segments of
the copyright statutes. OK, you're right. I didn't re-iterate them.

>
> The law concerning intellectual property is tricky and evolving, but the
> "fair use" exemption still applies.

I don't think you're going to be able to claim fair use for much that's
already out there.

>
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Carl Henderson "I will fear not C'thulhu, for Elvis
> jch...@inxs.uta.edu walks with me."
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------

I (again) am not an attorney, so my phrasing is probably wrong. I'm trying
to paraphrase the understanding I got from a bevy of meetings with our
legal department. If I screw it up from time to time, pleas bear with me.
I know you all have questions, and I'm trying to give you solid answers.

Rob Repp

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 11:13:38 AM9/8/94
to
In article <34ltgj$l...@cae.cad.gatech.edu>, vap...@cad.gatech.edu (S.
Keith Graham) wrote:

If it is, we'll pop one out.

>
> Further, if the disclaimer does not allow TSR (and MPGNet) to distribute or
> publish the material, then what additional release is TSR requiring
> to allow this to occur? After all, by uploading it, I've given MPGNet
> the right to use it for "personal use", but I have not given the
> right to distribute it. Then MPGNet could be sued for allowing copies
> to be distributed, since that is not "Personal Use" by MPGNet staff.

If you upload it, but you don't want it distributed, fine. Include
something in your submission form that says "Here's this file, but don't
distribute it."

>
> The disclaimer does not limit the publication and distribution to
> Internet access, nor even to electronic media. MPGNet, under the
> terms of the disclaimer, (but perhaps not the license with TSR which
> has not been made public) could publish or distribute it on paper,
> assuming you agree that this gives them rights to distribute
> electronically. The disclaimer also does not specify "free"
> distribution only.

I can't comment on the nature of our agreements with other companies. Sorry.

>
> The same rights granted to MPGNet are granted to TSR, I'm sure you'll
> agree. (It does not even specify "and licensed agents thereof", which
> would probably be handy to add in case other sites are added later.)

We chose to avoid getting entangled with licensing a bazillion mirror
sites. Several of you have made persuasive arguments in favor or adding a
limited number of mirrors. We're still working on it.

>
> If TSR does not intend for this to grant any rights to MPGNet or
> TSR other than free, ftp distribution on the Internet, then it should
> be simple for the disclaimer to be changed to reflect that fact.

Why? There's no transfer of property, which a lawyer would tell you must
be explicit in an agreement like this. You never give away the rights to
your efforts. We simply allow you to distribute them from a licensed site,
which abbrogates our concerns over any infringements on our trademarks and
copyrights.

>
> Further, most other disclaimers by other gaming companies, are much
> more elaborate, and contain more exact legal phrasing than the
> short and simple disclaimer you have proposed. Your disclaimer leaves
> more room for discussion of what exactly is meant by various phrases,
> given the ambiguity of the English Language. I'm sure that this is
> undesirable for all parties involved.

It was written by a practicing lawyer. It seems to be pretty clear and
straightforward for the specific situation it applies to. If you have some
concrete suggestions, mail them to me and I'll run them by legal.

Rob Repp

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 11:15:18 AM9/8/94
to
In article <34n4us$q...@dewey.cc.utexas.edu>, d...@dewey.cc.utexas.edu
(David Nalle) wrote:

> >>
> This item incorporates or is based on or derived from copyrighted material
> of TSR, Inc. and may contain trademarks of TSR. The item is made available
> by MPGNet under license from TSR, but is not authorized or endorsed by
> TSR. The item is for personal use only and may not be published or
> distributed except through MPGNet or TSR.
> <<
>
> So I guess by implication that means that everything posted to the MPGnet
> site becomes TSR property for them to publish, presumably without pay if
> they feel like it?

You can't transfer property rights by implication. If you're worried about
it, copyright your stuff before you upload it.


>
> Dave

WinningerR

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 11:45:02 AM9/8/94
to
In article <34n2gn$l...@ugle.unit.no>, brun...@alkymi.unit.no (]dne
Brunborg) writes:

>>>What is required to copyright something? Is it enough to write

copyright 1994, ]dne Brunborg

or does it in any way include the use of a lawyer or similar? NOTE: this
posting
is NOT copyrighted.<<<

Something you write is automatically copyrighted in your name even without
any sort of label. By placing the label on your work (does not require a
lawyer -- simply add "Copyright 1994 by . . . " to the work), you give
yourself more rights in the event that your rights are infringed.

WinningerR

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 11:47:02 AM9/8/94
to
(David Nalle) writes:

>>>So I guess by implication that means that everything posted to the
MPGnet
site becomes TSR property for them to publish, presumably without pay if
they feel like it?<<<

Once again . . . no, that's not what it says OR what it means.

Mark Nockleby

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 12:50:49 PM9/8/94
to
In <34nfg6$a...@thot.u-strasbg.fr> li...@erm2.u-strasbg.fr
(Jean-Marc Libs) writes:

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

>^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>What's it supposed to mean exactly? At the end of "official" posts?

I'll tell you what I think it means. I think it means that when
Rob Repp expresses an opinion, like, "That's a good idea" it means
that TSR may or may not agree with Rob Repp. If Rob Repp posts something
called "OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT" and it is clear he just posted
something TSR's legal department gave him, then that is TSR's.
Sometimes you may have to use judgement whether or not TSR agrees
with a particular sentence of Rob Repp's postings. But, it isn't like
it really matters, most of the time.

-mark.

--
"But I like to think that when something disturbs me that it is important"
-- Steven Jesse Bernstein.
n...@noether.ucsc.edu

Dan'l DanehyOakes

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 12:51:20 PM9/8/94
to
Rob Repp done wrote:

>This question is based on the precept that you own what you're trying to
>copyright. Assuming that you're trying to copyright something with one of
>our trademarks or copyrights in it, your copyright is void. You might
>never have had any rights to those properties in the first place.

It isn't quite that simple.

For example, if I write a novel about college students, and in the course
of the novel one of them plays AD&D -- not as the heart of the novel, mind
you, but as an incident along the way -- the fair-use doctrine would allow
me to have him use the words "advanced," "dungeons," "and," and "dragons,"
even with capitals, in that order, not to mention words like "hit" and
"points," and various other trademarked properties.

Good sense would require me to put, in the forematter to the book --
typically on the copyright page -- some words to the effect that these were
"trademarks of TSR, Inc.," but it is debateable whether I would face any
legal penalties for failing to do so. (Note that McDonald's has never sued
Stephen King, who manages to use a few of their trademarks in pretty much
every book he writes.)

Beyond good sense, good taste and courtesy would dictate writing a letter
to TSR, informing them that I had done this and possibly asking for their
blessing. (Permission may be asked, but it would not be required.)

Things get a bit more complex as content moves toward gaming. If I were
to write a novel entirely about people playing AD&D, TSR would almost
definitely have a case. And a novel that takes place *inside* an AD&D
game, obviously, requires TSR permission.

An interesting border case is this: Suppose someone writes a book about
RPGing -- not about AD&D per say, mind you, but about the general theory
and practice of RPGing. In order to make things concrete, he naturally
wants to give examples, and says near the beginning, "Because TSR, Inc.'s
'Advanced Dungeons & Dragons' system is far and away the best-known such
gaming system, I shall use it as the primary source for my examples. Certain
terms used in this book are trademarks of TSR, Inc., and their use is in
no way intended to challenge their rights to this trademark. These terms
include --" followed by a list of TSR trademarks. Then he goes on to give
a number of detailed examples of how RPGing works, including world-building,
scenario development, character creation and play, etc., not as a "how to
play AD&D," but using AD&D as an exemplar of how FRP works. The author is
in this case very careful not to reproduce any TSR tables, character sheets,
etc., nor to give anywhere near sufficient information that someone could
play AD&D just from having read this book -- thus, not threatening the
essential market value of the DMG/PHB set.

I *THINK* that this would be legal under "fair use." Again, the good sense
and good taste/courtesy remarks above apply -- in spades, doubled and
redoubled. In all cases, good sense/taste/courtesy would probably also
call for autographed copies of the book in question to be sent to Lake
Geneva :*) .

--dithyvulgate dan'l

Jean-Marc Libs

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 12:52:22 PM9/8/94
to

In article <mobius-0609...@mobius.pr.mcs.net>,

Rob Repp <mob...@Mercury.mcs.com> wrote:
>
>OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION - PLEASE REPOST

>__________________________________________________________________________________________


>This item incorporates or is based on or derived from copyrighted material
>of TSR, Inc. and may contain trademarks of TSR.

Due to the vagueness of the above notions, it should read :

This item may incorporate or be based on or derived from copyrighted material


of TSR, Inc. and may contain trademarks of TSR.

Because some useful game aids usable for xD&D do not clearly mention
or derive from copyrighted material of TSR, Inc. as has been repeatedly
pointed out.

> The item is made available
>by MPGNet under license from TSR, but is not authorized or endorsed by
>TSR.

This part looks all right as far as I'm concerned. I can't see a problem.

How do you understand this part:

> The item is for personal use only and may not be published or
>distributed except through MPGNet or TSR.

I don't like it at all.
It does not state that TSR won't sell it afterwards.
I understand that once it's on MPGN.com, the creator can't make it
available in any other way any more, BUT TSR and MPGN retain this right.


I'd replace the sentence by something following the lines:
The item may not be published or distributed for a profit.

Which is, after all, the intent of most of the contributors of
net.material, some of them not on the net any more.
I mean, in what sense could it be legal to load a net.book
on MPGN.com and allow only TSR and MPGN.com to publish it
*without the consent of all writers* ?????

They made it available for free and I believe anything we put
on top of it should reflect that.

> Please
>note that you are not assigning any property rights to TSR, Inc. by
>uploading your work to this site.

This is not clear from the above. Isn't a disclaimer supposed to
be somewhat non-ambiguous?

>At this time, there is only one licensed site for distribution of these
>materials on the Internet. Presently, there are no mirrors being made
>available.

What about the conditions for a site to become mirror or partial
mirror (assuming some sites may be interested in some parts of
the archive only - no, it doesn't cause any technical problem).

>Thanks for your continued interest in our games.

Good point. This is exactly what's at stake.

>Rob Repp | InterNet: tsr...@aol.com
>Manager, Digital Projects Group | InterNet: mob...@mercury.mcs.com
>TSR, Inc. | CompuServe: 76217,761
>__________________________________ | GEnie: TSR.Online AOL: TSR Inc

>All opinions are my own, not TSR9s | 414-248-3625 Fax 414-248-0389


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
What's it supposed to mean exactly? At the end of "official" posts?


J-M

Brandon Gillespie

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 1:58:11 PM9/8/94
to
mob...@Mercury.mcs.com (Rob Repp) writes:
> vap...@cad.gatech.edu (S. Keith Graham) wrote:
>>
>> Further, if the disclaimer does not allow TSR (and MPGNet) to distribute or
>> publish the material, then what additional release is TSR requiring
>> to allow this to occur? After all, by uploading it, I've given MPGNet
>> the right to use it for "personal use", but I have not given the
>> right to distribute it. Then MPGNet could be sued for allowing copies
>> to be distributed, since that is not "Personal Use" by MPGNet staff.
>
> If you upload it, but you don't want it distributed, fine. Include
> something in your submission form that says "Here's this file, but don't
> distribute it."

I believe the big fear is that people are afraid the behemoth TSR and all the
spawn of bad ethics it represents will use the loophole which is very prevelant
and has been pointed out already as a means to gain publishing rights to a
writers work. Whether TSR will do this or not isn't the issue, people are
afraid it will happen. Yes, they can put a copyright in their work as well
explaining their stand, but the threat will still remain. All that has been
asked is to rewrite the copyright to specifically state that submitting
material to the site will only validate it for redistribution in electronic
form FROM THAT SITE (unless the author specifically allows further or different
distribution), but TSR cannot seem to do this?

>> If TSR does not intend for this to grant any rights to MPGNet or
>> TSR other than free, ftp distribution on the Internet, then it should
>> be simple for the disclaimer to be changed to reflect that fact.
>
> Why? There's no transfer of property, which a lawyer would tell you must
> be explicit in an agreement like this. You never give away the rights to
> your efforts. We simply allow you to distribute them from a licensed site,
> which abbrogates our concerns over any infringements on our trademarks and
> copyrights.

But you don't "simply allow [us] to distribute them from a licensed site". You
have a licensed site available which has a copyright saying that by submitting
material you give the right to that site AND to TSR to redistribute said
material in any form! (Any form because the forms were never clarified).



>> Further, most other disclaimers by other gaming companies, are much
>> more elaborate, and contain more exact legal phrasing than the
>> short and simple disclaimer you have proposed. Your disclaimer leaves
>> more room for discussion of what exactly is meant by various phrases,
>> given the ambiguity of the English Language. I'm sure that this is
>> undesirable for all parties involved.
>
> It was written by a practicing lawyer. It seems to be pretty clear and
> straightforward for the specific situation it applies to. If you have some
> concrete suggestions, mail them to me and I'll run them by legal.

Being a practicing lawyer means nothing.

Once again, I will reiterate my question to you Rob. Why is it such a hard
thing to clarify the point of redistribution in the copyright? As it stands
now the act of submitting a document to the sight gives TSR the right to
redistribute the document however they see fit and in any form they wish.

/\ Brandon Gillespie <a href="http://www.usu.edu/~brandon/">me</a> /\
\/ "Luke, at that speed do you think you'll be able to pull out in time?" \/

Ken Arromdee

unread,
Sep 8, 1994, 2:23:55 PM9/8/94
to
In article <mobius-0809...@mobius.pr.mcs.net>,

Rob Repp <mob...@Mercury.mcs.com> wrote:
>Technically, you're correct. However, the legal people seem pretty
>confident, and I know we spent a lot of time on legal research regarding
>this question.

They are pretty confident because they have large amounts of money to
bankrupt people with frivolous lawsuits, not because their claims are based in
law.
--
Ken Arromdee (email: arro...@jyusenkyou.cs.jhu.edu)
ObYouKnowWho Bait: Stuffed Turkey with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

"You, a Decider?" --Romana "I decided not to." --The Doctor

Ken Arromdee

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Sep 8, 1994, 2:26:48 PM9/8/94
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>You can't transfer property rights by implication. If you're worried about
>it, copyright your stuff before you upload it.
>All opinions are my own, not TSR's | 414-248-3625 Fax 414-248-0389
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Is the above opinion yours ot TSR's?

Jim Sisolak

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Sep 8, 1994, 5:31:58 PM9/8/94
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"W" == WinningerR <winni...@aol.com> writes:

W> In article <34n4us$q...@dewey.cc.utexas.edu>, d...@dewey.cc.utexas.edu
W> (David Nalle) writes:

>>>> So I guess by implication that means that everything posted to the
MPGnet
site becomes TSR property for them to publish, presumably without pay if
they feel like it?<<<

W> Once again . . . no, that's not what it says OR what it means.

Don't be so self-assured. It means exactly what a court says it means, no
more and no less.

The disclaimer does not say "this is TSR property," but it might be used to
argue that the author had given MPGnet and TSR limited publication rights
(since MPGnet is, after all, publishing the stuff in an electronic forum).
What the court makes of that is anyone's guess, and it is misleading to
pretend that you, or anyone, has definitive knowledge of how a court would
rule.
--
Jim Sisolak | University of Wisconsin - Madison
http://trans4.neep.wisc.edu/~sisolak | Department of Nuclear Engineering

Jeff Gostin

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Sep 8, 1994, 11:38:13 PM9/8/94
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In article <34llgd$6...@lynx.dac.neu.edu> tfar...@lynx.dac.neu.edu (Thomas
Farrell) writes:

> That is an ugly and un-called-for threat, and very rude of you. Since
> you seem to have a comprehension problem, please allow me to clarify,
> since I understood what Mr. Grahm meant right off the bat. (I would have
> pointed it out myself, but I thought it was too obvious.)

I don't pretend to understand nor defend Mr. Repp. However, I took his
rather pointed comment to mean "Before you speak, know what you are
talking about" rather than "Stop saying these things before we take legal
action." Just another opinion.

> As a member of the Internet community I suggest that you, as a
> spokesperson for TSR, take some time to study Internet ettiquette. Yours
> is definately lacking.

Had TSR bothered, we wouldn't have this mess. No, Rob, this isn't a
slam. It's just another reason why I feel that Corporate America has no
business representing themselves on the net.

--Jeff
--
====== ====== +-----------...@eternal.pha.pa.us----------------+
== == | The new, improved, environmentally safe, bigger, better,|
== == -= | faster, hypo-allergenic, AND politically correct .sig. |
==== ====== | Now with a new fresh lemon scent! |
PGP Key Available +---------------------------------------------------------+

WinningerR

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Sep 9, 1994, 1:42:04 AM9/9/94
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In article <77904966...@clone.his.com>, kendall...@his.com
(Kendall Bullen) writes:

>>>An interesting distinciton; you're right -they get no rights to it
perhaps- but
they get rights to "publish or distribute" the work, which IMHO amounts to
the
same thing. (Speaking of effect, not technical or legal definition.) <<<

No, they don't get the rights to publish or distibute your work -- you
keep those. The disclaimer says that you can only exercise those rights
through TSR or MPGNet.

WinningerR

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Sep 9, 1994, 1:43:08 AM9/9/94
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In article <77904966...@clone.his.com>, kendall...@his.com
(Kendall Bullen) writes:

>>>Stop shouting. And even if you have a disclaimer saying that they may
do so?<<<

Once again, the disclaimer says no such thing.

WinningerR

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Sep 9, 1994, 1:45:02 AM9/9/94
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In article <34nfg6$a...@thot.u-strasbg.fr>, li...@erm2.u-strasbg.fr
(Jean-Marc Libs) writes:

>>>Because some useful game aids usable for xD&D do not clearly mention
or derive from copyrighted material of TSR, Inc. as has been repeatedly
pointed out.<<<

Such game aids should be uploaded without the disclaimer (and to whatever
sites you wish), then -- as has been repeatedly pointed out.

WinningerR

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Sep 9, 1994, 1:49:01 AM9/9/94
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In article <1994Sep8.1...@pbhyc.PacBell.COM>,

djd...@pbhyc.PacBell.COM (Dan'l DanehyOakes) writes:

>>>Good sense would require me to put, in the forematter to the book --
typically on the copyright page -- some words to the effect that these
were
"trademarks of TSR, Inc.," but it is debateable whether I would face any
legal penalties for failing to do so. (Note that McDonald's has never
sued
Stephen King, who manages to use a few of their trademarks in pretty much
every book he writes.)<<<

I think you're right. Here's an interesting story that has floated around
the game industry for years. Supposedly, when Steven Spielberg was making
ET he asked TSR for permission to use D&D in one of the film's scenes, but
was turned down. The TSR representative supposedly asked for too much
money. In the end, Spielberg replaced the game with a "generic" FRP.

If this is true, it's obviously one of the biggest mistakes TSR has ever
made.

WinningerR

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Sep 9, 1994, 1:52:01 AM9/9/94
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In article <1994Sep8.1...@cc.usu.edu>, bra...@cc.usu.edu (Brandon
Gillespie) writes:

>>>I believe the big fear is that people are afraid the behemoth TSR and
all the
spawn of bad ethics it represents will use the loophole which is very
prevelant
and has been pointed out already as a means to gain publishing rights to a
writers work. <<<

This so-called "loophole" cannot be used to gain ownership of the work in
question. The copyright laws are very specific about this. To give TSR
ownership of your work, any agreement you acknowledge must specifically
spell-out the rights you are relinquishing. In this case, you aren't
relinquishing anything except the right to distribute your work through a
channel other than TSR or MPGNet. Neither group could distribute your work
without your permission.

WinningerR

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Sep 9, 1994, 1:55:07 AM9/9/94
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In article <SISOLAK.94...@trans4.neep.wisc.edu>,
sis...@trans4.neep.wisc.edu (Jim Sisolak) writes:

>>>Don't be so self-assured. It means exactly what a court says it means,
no
more and no less.<<<

Normally, yes. But again, the copyright laws are very stringent on this
particular point -- assignment of rights must be stated very specifically
and clearly.

Matthew Hickey

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Sep 9, 1994, 9:48:30 AM9/9/94
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Winninger wrote:

>I think you're right. Here's an interesting story that has floated around
>the game industry for years. Supposedly, when Steven Spielberg was making
>ET he asked TSR for permission to use D&D in one of the film's scenes, but
>was turned down. The TSR representative supposedly asked for too much
>money. In the end, Spielberg replaced the game with a "generic" FRP.
>
>If this is true, it's obviously one of the biggest mistakes TSR has ever
>made.

No, it was the second biddest, this is turning out to be the
biggest. Right up there with selling their catalogue and the Women of
Fantasy calendars.


Nightshade
Prophet of the Anti-T$R
Warmaster of the Revolutionary Army of Mystarra
Leader of the Great Reformation

EMail: MHi...@Academic.STU.StThomasU.Ca

Brandon Gillespie

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Sep 9, 1994, 12:45:50 PM9/9/94
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* You say the loophole cannot be used to gain ownership of the work because
to give ownership you must acknowlege the rights you are relinquishing.

* By submitting your writing to a site you give them the exclusive rights
to distribute your work <in any shape and form>, i.e. _GIVING THEM
PERMISSION_.

Looks like you spelled it out perfectly.

BTW, I'm not saying TSR will or won't do this, I am just stating that the
threat is there (whether it is actual or just perceived doesn't matter, people
see it as one and they see it as a big one).

--

/\ Brandon Gillespie <a href="http://www.usu.edu/~brandon/">me</a> /\

() An Interactive RFC Index: http://www.usu.edu/~brandon/RFC/ ()

Kendall Bullen

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Sep 9, 1994, 7:49:03 AM9/9/94
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mob...@Mercury.mcs.com (Rob Repp) wrote to All on 9/7/94,

RR> This question is based on the precept that you own what you're trying
RR> to copyright. Assuming that you're trying to copyright something with
RR> one of our trademarks or copyrights in it, your copyright is void. You
RR> might never have had any rights to those properties in the first
RR> place. On the other hand, if you wish to trademark something that
RR> doesn't contain any of our trademarks or copyrights, you don't need
RR> our permission, do you? :)

So in other words, Keith Graham (or whatever his name is) is right, and you do
get the power to publish our stuff if we upload it to mpgn. You can't have it
both ways. And you just commended WinningerR's suggestion for putting
copyright notices in stuff uploaded -- if the copyright notice is useless
("void") then what would be the point? Please talk to your lawyers (er, TSR's
lawyers ;) and clarify this.

Kendall

John Urbano

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Sep 9, 1994, 3:08:53 PM9/9/94
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I am a little curious about the last line of Mr. Repp's
signature file. It says:

All opinions are my own, not TSR's

How are we to distinguish what are official TSR policies and
what are Mr. Repp's opinions? Is this a convenient way for
TSR to protect itself in case they overstep their authority?

It seems to me that anything with the heading

OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION

from the

Manager, Digital Projects Group

should be official, and would not need any 'opinions' disclaimer.

Kendall Bullen

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Sep 9, 1994, 9:05:04 AM9/9/94
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tmp...@eua.ericsson.se (Truls Parsson) wrote to All on 9/8/94,

TP> Thomas Farrell writes:

> "may not be published or distributed except through MPGNet or TSR" is a
> phrase with two meanings. One is, (to paraphrase,) "If you're not MPGNet
> or TSR, you can't distribute this." The other is, "MPGNet and TSR may
> distribute this." While the second may or may not have been the intent
> of the statement, it is a prerequesite to the first based on the
> phrasing.

TP> The second meaning is wrong and is not directly implied by the phrase.
TP> In common speech this might be a way to say it but it's still not
TP> correct (though people will understand you). Remember a negation
TP> doesn't always mean an inversion. Example: Swedes are not allowed to
TP> enter USA. doesn't mean that everyone else can.

Your comparison fails miserably. A correct one would be:

If you are not a Swede, you cannot enter the U.S.

And, yes, this does imply that Swedes can enter the U.S., tho' conceivably they
couldn't either (but why on earth you'd phrase it like that, in that case is
beyond me). Why use deliberately confusing language?

(Don't give me a song & dance about how legalese is always deliberately
confusing, or something like that; I don't buy it. It is possible to be
legally sound without being totally misleading. I am relatively sure that the
sentence TSR includes means that they can distribute [i.e., publish] the
stuff.)

Kendall

Jim Sisolak

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Sep 9, 1994, 9:12:30 PM9/9/94
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"W" == WinningerR <winni...@aol.com> writes:

[...]
W> Normally, yes. But again, the copyright laws are very stringent on this
W> particular point -- assignment of rights must be stated very specifically
W> and clearly.

You do not know what will happen until a court rules. There is little case
law dealing with the net, and it is irresponsible to claim that you have
special insight into how a court would rule. Since there is obviously a
strong difference of opinion among reasonable people (some with legal
backgrounds) in this discussion, I submit that the matter is not clear-cut.

One of the primary problems is that by including the disclaimer, you may
help support an argument that you had no rights to begin with -- there is
nothing to "assign" to TSR. As an extreme case, if I compile every table
TSR ever published, I would have no rights to the work, and TSR could
probably take my document and use it at will, since everything in it was
written by them. There are less obvious cases in which the disclaimer
might tip the scales and cause a court to void my copyright, and if I can't
copyright the work, TSR can use it.

Jim Sisolak

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Sep 9, 1994, 9:16:07 PM9/9/94
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"W" == WinningerR <winni...@aol.com> writes:

W> No, they don't get the rights to publish or distibute your work -- you
W> keep those. The disclaimer says that you can only exercise those rights
W> through TSR or MPGNet.

Literally, yes, it says that, but then from whence does MPGN get the right
to distribute it? I haven't seen any authors include a "I hereby grant
permission to MPGN to distribute..." statement.

In another thread you stated that assignment of rights must be specifically
stated. It seems this is not true, or is MPGN breaking the law by running
an ftp site?

Jim Sisolak

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Sep 9, 1994, 9:26:18 PM9/9/94
to
"W" == WinningerR <winni...@aol.com> writes:

W> spell-out the rights you are relinquishing. In this case, you aren't
W> relinquishing anything except the right to distribute your work through a
W> channel other than TSR or MPGNet. Neither group could distribute your work
W> without your permission.

And if MPGNet charges for access? Then, certainly, I can ask that they
remove my work. Have I any right to a share of the profits made between
the time they began charging and the time I request that they remove my
work? I doubt it. They may distribute in any way they choose, and I gave
permission when I uploaded. They can also share the profit with TSR.

Jason Stephenson

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Sep 10, 1994, 9:02:06 AM9/10/94
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It get to be very frustrating reading all these inane and ignorant posts about
the Copyright Law, something very few on here seem to know much about.

First off, Winninger: You suggested to people that they include "the copyright
symbol (C)" int their posts to MPGN. I'm dismayed that someone who claims to
work in the "game industry" (you made this assertion several months ago and I
have no reason to doubt you) could make this suggestion. If you are so
knowledgeable of copyright then you would know that (C) is not legally valid.
The Copyright Law only recognizes three legal statement of copyright ownership
and they are the copyright symbol (a c inside a circle), the word "Copyright"
or the abbreviation "Copyr." all of which must be followed by the year and
the name of the claimant. You would also know that according to the Copyright
Act of 1989 such statements are NOT necessary. A person's work is protected
automatically by copyright the moment it is fixed in tangible form. Putting a
statement of copyright on something is a good idea, especially on the Internet
where people tend to assume stuff is in the Public Domain (which it isn't), as
is registering your copyright claims with the Copyright Office of the Library
of Congress. (For more information, I refer you to Circular 1, available via
gopher at marvel.loc.gov.)

Secondly, Mr. Repp, if we are to accept your claims (presumably on the behalf
of T$R) concering the copyrights and trademarks owned by T$R, then I have a
French, artist friend who might be very interested in your log-in name and
e-mail address. Perhaps, he'd like to sue you about it. (You see how
ridiculous most of your claims are?)

Thirdly, for the rest of you, forget the whole thing and go home. The only
person I know of who has to worry about T$R trying to sue is the guy who does
the net.dark.sun.handbook. Anyone who bases their work on a published setting
or characters created by T$R has created a derivative work and is in danger of
being sued. Since rules are not protected by copyright, you cannot create a
derivative work based on those rules (and this from a lawyer who specializes
in copyright issues and works for my former employer, the University Press of
Kentucky). Therefore, just creating a module or your game world to use with
ADnD does not violate T$R's copyright even if you distribute it on the 'net,
so long as you do not use T$R-created settings and characters and so long as
you do not include large sections of the rule books, such as descriptions
of spells and monsters. (Anyway, we've already gone over the benefit of not
including this information anyway, so that your adventure is more generic and
useful with other game systems with less work.) You could also get in trouble
for using T$R trademarks without permission since in this case, your work
would be in competition with theirs, and there is not a disclaimer in the
world that you could include to cover your ass. Your best bet is just not to
include their trademarks, so instead of saying "suitable for use with ADnD"
try "for use with most fantasy roleplaying games." (BTW: Some of what T$R
claims as trademarks would not hold up in court: Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun,
and Oriental Adventures.) Another thing you should keep in mind is that
trademark and copyright have absolutely nothing at all to do with each other.

Finally, I recommend that all parties in this dispute take a little dungeon
crawl (via gopher) to marvel.loc.gov and check out Circular 1, Circular 31,
Circular 31, and Flyer 102. While you're there, you might as well look at
the other flyers and documents they have available for download. Also, I
suggest a trip to your nearest repository of government documents to look up
the Copyright Act of 1989. One other thing, before I forget, the NII working
group on "Intellectual Property" (how I hate that term) has proposed some
amendments to the Copyright Law to clarify some ambiguous points about
on-line, electronic documents. Basically, these changes guarantee their
protection under the Copyright Law and grants ownership to the author of such
works. (AOL and Compu$teal are naturally upset, since they try to claim
copyright ownership of everything you do through their machines.--Didn't know
that, didya Winnie?) Congress is likely to ratify these amendments, if they
haven't been ratified already. See ya later, T$R.

+----------------------------+-----------------------------+
| Jason Stephenson | "Curiouser and curiouser," |
| jjst...@ukcc.uky.edu | said Alice. |
+----------------------------+-----------------------------+

Norman Mcnerney

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Sep 10, 1994, 1:02:00 PM9/10/94
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