This is unlawful for a couple of reasons. First, copyrights limit a user's
right to reproduce information. It is implicit in any copyright statement
that it's unlawful to copy information from a book to a machine readable
form. This means that anyone using the software as it would be intended
be in copyright violation.
The person who writes the software would be guilty of "contributory
infringement." Basically, this means that it's also unlawful to provide
people with tools created for the sole purpose of violating a copyright.
can't legally enable someone to infringe a copyright.
We DO still require licenses for any creation that uses one of our
copyrighted properties. We have to do this, or we'd lose the rights to
properties. The law says that if we allow people to use our properties
specific use, we lose the right to claim ownership of that property for
use. That would mean that, unless we move to protect our copyrights on
we want to use in books, modules, software, etc., we can't claim
TSR needs to protect the way in which it derives revenue, or we'll have to
learn to get things done without the benefit of offices, electricity,
We ARE aware of the fact that people want to be able to share their
efforts with others, and we're trying to find a way to manage licenses to
allow this without giving it all away.. In the meantime, any software,
etc. which uses TSR copyrighted names, material, etc. is unlawful.
Thanks for your interest.
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
>We ARE aware of the fact that people want to be able to share their
>efforts with others, and we're trying to find a way to manage licenses to
>allow this without giving it all away.. In the meantime, any software,
>etc. which uses TSR copyrighted names, material, etc. is unlawful.
While I don't begrudge TSR its rights, I do have a concern/question. As
we all know, there are numerous netbooks out there, many of which use TSR
copyrighted names--I won't mention any names :-) except the one I edit,
the DARK SUN Net Handbook. And what about discussion lists that take the
names of TSR worlds? Taken to the extreme, how about directories on ftp
sites that have TSR names or even PBeM (play by e-mail) campaigns, which
translate descriptions into text? Am I to understand that DARK SUN (a
copyrighted name, I assume) cannot be used in any of them? How are these
different from a DM photocopying parts of a map for his "real world" game,
spells for a "real world" spell book, or lending a TSR product to a
player? Taken to an extreme, how about a newspaper publishing the words
DARK SUN in a product review?
I make no money from my efforts editing the DARK SUN Net Handbook. The
DSNHB has been well-recieved by DARK SUN enthusiasts. The authors retain
all the rights to the material, so they can submit it to TSR publications
if they desire (at which point, they would probably turn their rights over
to TSR). I don't scan in TSR material. I refer readers to the proper TSR
materials when necessary (e.g., I wrote some paraelemental spells,
refering the reader to the Earth, Air, Fire, & Water supplement for a
description of the paraelemental spheres in DS). I'm even considering
writing a brief review of each of the DS supplements for the next edition
(which vary from good to excellent, IMHO).
While I can see your concerns about software, I do not see them about
netbooks (assuming that they contain original material and aren't simply
scanned versions of TSR products). I think you risk stomping on a LOT of
free advertising and creativity that fuel a growing game/setting, such as
DARK SUN. I can only assume that the DSNHB helps feed interest in DS
products--it even includes an extensive bibliography of DS-relevant
publications (i.e., modules, supplements, DRAGON articles, DUNGEON
articles)--I know it does mine; I religiously purchase any new DS
novel/supplement because I want to stay on top of the setting (I only buy
the "epic" modules because I've found the modules a bit too expensive and
not a match for the high quality of the supplements).
>Thanks for your interest.
* John M. Martz: Psychology Dept, UNC-CH * *
| CB# 3270, Davie Hall | B = f(P,E) |
| Chapel Hill, NC 27599 | --Kurt Lewin |
* JOHN_...@UNC.EDU * *
If I own a particular book (say the Players Handbook) and found that I
continually used a section of it (say the first three wizard spell levels).
Is it illegal for me to photocopy this section of the book for my own personal
use, in an effort to keep my book in good shape? What if I just copy it out
If that is not illegal, then is it illegal for me to type it into a word
processor (again, assuming that I will not share it with anyone else)?
> Well, we finnaly heard from someone FROM Tsr. What a shock.
Cut them some slack! It is typically in their best interest not to get
involved in the daily shenanigens of this board. I for one appreciate his
comments. Who else on this group has access to a legal department that they
could ask such questions? And if you do, why don't you? And I'm not talking
about any so-called pseudo-intellectual trying to pass off their understanding
of the law.
From the way people around here respond to the mention of TSR (I guess
actually you folks prefer T$R) I wouldn't choose to subject myself to that
kind of personal assault either. And by the way, no matter what anybody else
thinks, I believe that money has to come before any other motivation for any
company. If you can't make a reasonable profit from it, then you shouldn't be
In article <30gp6e$a...@bigblue.oit.unc.edu> John Michael Martz,
I'm going to run your message by our legal department, and I'll get back
you as soon as I can with the reply.
Thanks for your response.
No. Not if it's like music, anyway. You are permitted to make copies
for your own, personal use.
>If that is not illegal, then is it illegal for me to type it into a word
>processor (again, assuming that I will not share it with anyone else)?
Again, I doubt it. But who knows, lawyers can get you for just about
>>we're trying to find a way to manage licenses to
>>allow this without giving it all away.. In the meantime, any software,
>>etc. which uses TSR copyrighted names, material, etc. is unlawful.
>While I don't begrudge TSR its rights, I do have a concern/question. As
>we all know, there are numerous netbooks out there, many of which use TSR
>copyrighted names--I won't mention any names :-)
This is NOT a copyright issue, folks. Names cannot be copyrighted. They
*can* be trademarks, but trademark law does not forbid *mentioning* a
Patrick M. Berry | Maybe we'd better talk out here. The Observation
Cary, North Carolina, USA | Lounge has turned into a swamp.
-=- Team OS/2 -=- | -- Commander Riker, "Masks"
> Well, we finnaly heard from someone FROM Tsr. What a shock.
Not to me. I've been seeing Mr. Repp's posts here for weeks.
I think TSR might disagree. See another post I just made to the list.
According to TSR, "elements" of the gaming system are protected.
If this is true, then why did TSR get into trouble from the Tolkein estate
for using the name hobbit for a race (they had to change it to halfling).
They also got in trouble for putting in the Melnibonian (sp?) and Cuthulu
(sp?) deities/creatures into their Deities & Demi-Gods book. They just
used the names (and invented their own stats) and put them in their
game world, but still had to change them. Why?
As always any opinions I may have written above are mine and mine alone.
He's got a point...as someone running a business, one of my main objectives
is to make profit (lots of it, because I'm greedy ;) ) and TSR/T$R is no
different. And I hope everyone remembers that the common worker at TSR/T$R
is not some evil trogladyte. They're people like you and I, just doing what
they're bosses tell them to do. So, I try to keep that in mind when I
correspond with TSR employees as I probably most everyone else should as well.
Because, if you piss off the little people, you won't get to the big people
who make big decisions.
Hmm... why is it that Gary Gygax uses different terms like "Heroic Persona"
in Dangerous Journeys? It sounded like he was deliberately using new terms
just to avoid TSR complaints about copyright violation.
Of course, defending oneself against even frivolous lawsuits is expensive,
which could explain it....
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
What I think some people may forget it that TSR sells a product that for
the most part is not TANGIBLE. that is you cannot hold it your hands. All
you buy from TSR are the tools. That's why they take copywright rules
very succesfully. I for one have never had a major problem or complaint
with TSR. I started playign D&D back in the late '70's and I think its
one of the best rules systems around. I also realize that some poeple
enjoy making money off of other peoples toils, that if TSR did not
strringently enfore their copy protection, then we may not have TSR to
I feel thet the products that TSR are releasing now are of a much better
quality than they were 15 odd years ago
> In article <KxdLuA5...@berry.Cary.NC.US>
> p...@berry.Cary.NC.US (Pat Berry) writes:
> >This is NOT a copyright issue, folks. Names cannot be copyrighted. They
> >*can* be trademarks, but trademark law does not forbid *mentioning* a
> >trademarked name.
> Neither are the rules of a game protected by copyright. Only the text of the
> rulebook is covered by copyright law.
Huh? The text of the rulebook *is* the rules. What other form do you
think they exist in?
>I hope everyone remembers that the common worker at TSR/T$R
>is not some evil trogladyte. They're people like you and I, just doing what
>they're bosses tell them to do. So, I try to keep that in mind when I
>correspond with TSR employees as I probably most everyone else should as well.
>Because, if you piss off the little people, you won't get to the big people
>who make big decisions.
Well said. But there's another, more basic reason. If you contact someone
at TSR, they have never heard of you before, and there is no particular
reason why they should automatically listen to you and consider what you say.
The first thing you have to do is convince them that your ideas are worth
hearing. If you don't do that, you've blown your chance before you even
Now, suppose your approach is to be rude, insulting, and arrogant from the
moment you open your mouth. Do you really think that you have *any* chance
of getting your message across? Of course not. The folks at TSR will
immediately dismiss you as a jerk. They don't have time to waste listening
to someone who can't even be civil.
If you want people to take you seriously, act like you deserve it.
> > Neither are the rules of a game protected by copyright. Only the text of the
> > rulebook is covered by copyright law.
> Huh? The text of the rulebook *is* the rules. What other form do you
> think they exist in?
The rules can be expressed in a different way without copying from the
rules. Many of the rules of AD&D also exist in the form of the various SSI AD&D
computer games. These games do not have a huge text file containing the
text of the PHB and DMG which is read and interpreted by the program. The
rules therein are represented therein by various procedures, functions and
tables. The programs are copyright SSI not TSR unless SSI have signed
something specifically handing copyright over to TSR. TSR still hold the
Trademark on the name AD&D which SSI payed to use.
If I wanted to explain the rules of scrabble to you I wouldn't necessarily
have to quote the 17 clauses exactly as written on the inside of the box
BTW, any lawyers out there like to comment?
Jason Stephenson (JJST...@ukcc.uky.edu) wrote:
: I read the portions of the T$R policy statement that appeared here on the net
>Huh? The text of the rulebook *is* the rules. What other form do you
>think they exist in?
Under US Copyright law, if I were to pick up a copy of the Dungeon Master's
Guide and paraphrase every sentence in it, the result would _not_ be a
copyright violation. It _would_ be plaigerism, but plaigerism is not copy-
right violation. TSR claims copyright on the tables to be found in the rules,
but this has not been shown to be viable in the courts, to my knowledge.
Copyright does not, and is not intended, to protect an idea, only the
expression of it. The rules are an idea, the text of the rules - mine or TSR's,
the expression of that idea.
That _used_to_be_ the right answer. It is still the _official_ answer.
Copyrights were set up under the theory that _ideas_ were cheap, but the
expression of them was real work and needed to be protected from being
stolen. Otherwise, someone could just "copyright" an idea in a few paragraphs
then sue anyone for using that idea - even inadvertantly - in another work.
As if I were to copyright the phrase "game where people play roles of fictional
characters" and then sued TSR because D&D was based on the same idea.
Sadly, the courts are now thrashing out the idea of "intellectual property",
where people are trying to do exactly that - copyright the idea, not the
expression - so copyrights are now settled by ruling a favor of the company
with the most expensive lawyers. Your "rights" in the United States are
whatever you can convince a judge to give you, and they have _wide_ latitude,
especially in cases where the gray areas have expanded to fill the entire
issue, as they have with copyrights.
Bottom Line: _NO_body knows what copyrights are, or what they protect,
not even lawyers, not even courts until one gets to rule on a specific
issue, and then only until the appeal, unless someone runs out of money.
So let this thread die.
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.
I do not understand this point. Could you clarify this, perhaps with an example?