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Ockbald

What about the RPG license?

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"Patented" is the wrong word here. It would be either copyright or trademark, and the system is definitely copyrighted; I don't know whether it's been trademarked as well. Using R&K (in modified form or otherwise) would definitely constitute a derivative work under copyright law, and the odds of it counting as fair use are pretty low. Unless R&K was included in the sale, we'll be looking at a new system.

 

(My previous message got buried in the earlier part of the thread because it had to wait for mod approval, so: <waves hi to everyone>)

 

 

Hey!

 

 

I thought "dice systems" were a grey area in the law -- or did we end up with everyone and their brother using d20 derivatives because of aftereffects of the "open gaming license" ? 

 

I'm prety sure that mechanical bits and pieces like "percentile dice", "roll under" / "roll over", target numbers, dice pools, and such, aren't really considered protected IP. 

 

Has there ever been a court case involving RPG mechanics?   :huh:

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"Patented" is the wrong word here. It would be either copyright or trademark, and the system is definitely copyrighted; I don't know whether it's been trademarked as well. Using R&K (in modified form or otherwise) would definitely constitute a derivative work under copyright law, and the odds of it counting as fair use are pretty low. Unless R&K was included in the sale, we'll be looking at a new system.

 

(My previous message got buried in the earlier part of the thread because it had to wait for mod approval, so: <waves hi to everyone>)

I do not see why AEG would not sell the R&K system along with the L5R IP, especially if they are getting out of the CCG / RPG market to focus primarily on the board game market. The real question is whether or not FFG cares to buy it, which will likely come down to how much AEG wants to charge for it.

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"Patented" is the wrong word here. It would be either copyright or trademark, and the system is definitely copyrighted; I don't know whether it's been trademarked as well. Using R&K (in modified form or otherwise) would definitely constitute a derivative work under copyright law, and the odds of it counting as fair use are pretty low. Unless R&K was included in the sale, we'll be looking at a new system.

 

(My previous message got buried in the earlier part of the thread because it had to wait for mod approval, so: <waves hi to everyone>)

 

 

Has there ever been a court case involving RPG mechanics?   :huh:

 

Not quite but there is one involving  CCGs: http://www.quietspeculation.com/2014/05/understanding-the-wizards-v-hex-lawsuit-in-plain-english/

Depending on the outcome this might have huge implications on the gaming industry.

 

However I also want to point out that especially copyright is a complicated thing especially if you enter international grounds since European copyright laws work very different from US copyright laws. 

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"Patented" is the wrong word here. It would be either copyright or trademark, and the system is definitely copyrighted; I don't know whether it's been trademarked as well. Using R&K (in modified form or otherwise) would definitely constitute a derivative work under copyright law, and the odds of it counting as fair use are pretty low. Unless R&K was included in the sale, we'll be looking at a new system.

 

(My previous message got buried in the earlier part of the thread because it had to wait for mod approval, so: <waves hi to everyone>)

I do not see why AEG would not sell the R&K system along with the L5R IP, especially if they are getting out of the CCG / RPG market to focus primarily on the board game market. The real question is whether or not FFG cares to buy it, which will likely come down to how much AEG wants to charge for it.

 

 

Things like that are usually not itemized in IP deals, though they can gain specific value by being a haggling point. "You keep the system, how much does that knock off the price?" That sort of thing.

 

I'm not sure it would be part of the package in any case, since it's also tangled up with 7th Sea. (Note that 7th Sea is still for sale on drivethrurpg; L5R is not, which I assume to be a result of the sale.)

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"Patented" is the wrong word here. It would be either copyright or trademark, and the system is definitely copyrighted; I don't know whether it's been trademarked as well. Using R&K (in modified form or otherwise) would definitely constitute a derivative work under copyright law, and the odds of it counting as fair use are pretty low. Unless R&K was included in the sale, we'll be looking at a new system.

 

(My previous message got buried in the earlier part of the thread because it had to wait for mod approval, so: <waves hi to everyone>)

I do not see why AEG would not sell the R&K system along with the L5R IP, especially if they are getting out of the CCG / RPG market to focus primarily on the board game market. The real question is whether or not FFG cares to buy it, which will likely come down to how much AEG wants to charge for it.

 

 

I'm not sure it would be part of the package in any case, since it's also tangled up with 7th Sea. (Note that 7th Sea is still for sale on drivethrurpg; L5R is not, which I assume to be a result of the sale.)

That...suuuuuuuuuuucks. I much prefer PDF rulebooks, as it is easier to transport a tablet than a stack of books.

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I do not see why AEG would not sell the R&K system along with the L5R IP, especially if they are getting out of the CCG / RPG market to focus primarily on the board game market. The real question is whether or not FFG cares to buy it, which will likely come down to how much AEG wants to charge for it.

 

 

Things like that are usually not itemized in IP deals, though they can gain specific value by being a haggling point. "You keep the system, how much does that knock off the price?" That sort of thing.

 

I'm not sure it would be part of the package in any case, since it's also tangled up with 7th Sea. (Note that 7th Sea is still for sale on drivethrurpg; L5R is not, which I assume to be a result of the sale.)

 

 

I would think that, if the folks at the table know what they're doing, that's exactly the sort of thing that would be itemized in a deal like this. If you buy a brand that includes an RPG, and the deal doesn't specify whether the purchase includes some sort of rights to use the RPG system, that would strike me as pretty foolish. It's a pretty obvious and significant point for an RPG (even where, as here, the RPG is of significantly less relevance than the card game). And FFG is a sophisticated party in licensing in general, and the exact scope of licenses in particular (for example, so far as we know, they can make card, miniature, and roleplaying games set in the Star Wars universe, but not board games).

 

Note that AEG still having RnK does not mean that FFG does not. Included with the brand could have been a license to use the system, either in reprinting past works or in making new ones.

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I do not see why AEG would not sell the R&K system along with the L5R IP, especially if they are getting out of the CCG / RPG market to focus primarily on the board game market. The real question is whether or not FFG cares to buy it, which will likely come down to how much AEG wants to charge for it.

 

 

Things like that are usually not itemized in IP deals, though they can gain specific value by being a haggling point. "You keep the system, how much does that knock off the price?" That sort of thing.

 

I'm not sure it would be part of the package in any case, since it's also tangled up with 7th Sea. (Note that 7th Sea is still for sale on drivethrurpg; L5R is not, which I assume to be a result of the sale.)

 

 

I would think that, if the folks at the table know what they're doing, that's exactly the sort of thing that would be itemized in a deal like this. If you buy a brand that includes an RPG, and the deal doesn't specify whether the purchase includes some sort of rights to use the RPG system, that would strike me as pretty foolish. It's a pretty obvious and significant point for an RPG (even where, as here, the RPG is of significantly less relevance than the card game). And FFG is a sophisticated party in licensing in general, and the exact scope of licenses in particular (for example, so far as we know, they can make card, miniature, and roleplaying games set in the Star Wars universe, but not board games).

 

Note that AEG still having RnK does not mean that FFG does not. Included with the brand could have been a license to use the system, either in reprinting past works or in making new ones.

 

 

I mean in terms of price, not whether it's included. Look at it this way: When Fox licensed the X-Men, it was certainly indicated what was included in that deal (although even there, specific characters weren't always itemized), but it's not like they broke it down to, "Okay, Wolverine is $XX out of that. Cyclops is only $YY." Did those things gain specific value during the course of negotiation? Quite possibly, in the horse trading. But in the final contract, specific aspects of the deal wouldn't be assigned specific dollar values. The general deal covers the whole shebang.

 

Likewise, it would certainly be stated in AEG and FFG's deal whether or not FFG gets roll and keep. But it isn't going to be specified that (for example) 25% percent of the IP purchase price is specifically for roll and keep.

 

I agree that AEG still publishing RnK doesn't necessarily mean RnK wasn't included, but I do rather doubt AEG would bother licensing it back unless the terms were very favorable. They're not really in the RPG business anymore, and I'm skeptical that pdfs of 7th Sea books really provide enough income to make it worthwhile.

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From what I'm seeing here, L5R is still for sale on DriveThruRPG: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/83945/Legend-of-the-Five-Rings-4th-Edition

 

huh, nothing came up when I searched. Apologies.

 

I'm...actually a little bit surprised at that. Wonder how long it'll last, and if it's covered by the same deal that allows AEG to sell CCG product for a little while yet.

Edited by BD Flory

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Well, it isn't available here. So I'll have to Amazon it. Or...does anyone know if it's available in one of shops in Zurich? I'm going to visit Switzerland for a week, and it would be probably better to buy it there than to Amazon order it.

EDIT

 

Sorry, this item can't be shipped to your selected address. Learn more. You may either change the shipping address or delete the item from your order. You can also see if this item is available to ship to your address from another seller.

 

So much for Amazon.

Edited by WHW

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Copyright certainly applies to RPGs if patents don't. The thing is that copyrights protect the original author in cases of their text being copied directly. It's not hard to take the basic idea of a dice system and write new and slightly different rules that use it. It wouldn't be infringement. It happens all the time. It's actually the main method by which new stuff is coming out "compatible with the 5th edition of your favorite roleplaying game." *cough* D&D *cough*

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Copyright is broader than just direct copying of exactly the same words.

 

There's also a difference between "here is a supplement that is compatible with D&D" and "I'm going to print my own fantasy RPG that uses D&D's systems." I can guarantee you that the latter is going to bring WotC legal down on you like a ton of bricks.

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Copyright is broader than just direct copying of exactly the same words.

 

There's also a difference between "here is a supplement that is compatible with D&D" and "I'm going to print my own fantasy RPG that uses D&D's systems." I can guarantee you that the latter is going to bring WotC legal down on you like a ton of bricks.

 

It depends on the version of D&D, and whether it matters.  Judging from the abundance of D&D "retroclones" of all editions and stripes, it doesn't really matter much at all, at least for any iteration not resembling 4e; I don't imagine anyone has felt a need to attempt 5e yet.  ;) 

 

And then there is Pathfinder, nicknamed "D&D 3.75" for a reason.

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Wizards of the Coast actually opened up the DnD core mechanics making it open license, in hope that making d20 a free mechanic will make people go an create their own settings, supplements and third party materials. This was supposed to make d20 THE RPG mechanic. Which, in turn, was supposed to make DnD The King of RPG.

In general, this was a very successful scheme, and only recently it backfired because they didn't have enough foresight to see Pathfinder happening. So overall, I don't think that using DnD is useful in this argument; it's also worth noting that Wizards *do* have copyrighted stuff for RPG (namely, setting elements; they won't care if you are using d20 mechanics, but will care if you are using their iconic monsters and names. Brand recognition and such.)

 

edit

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/oglfaq/20040123f

Edited by WHW

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Yes, I am aware of the OGL for the d20 system. But that kind of reinforces my point - Wizards created a license (one that Pathfinder publishes under). One that did not require monetary payment, but that did require certain terms and conditions to be met. The existence of the OGL does not mean that Wizards does not care if you use their system.

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Even if there hasn't been a court case directly touching on this issue, most companies aren't going to do anything that might create a court case -- not unless there's a huge profit potential in it. Which, let's be real, is not the case here.

 

Could you do something like R&K? Sure. But the more it looks like R&K, the less stable the ground you're treading on becomes. Using d10s, no problem. d10 dice pools consisting of Trait + Skill (or equivalent terms): go for it. Roll over: that's how the majority of dice systems do it. d10 dice pools where you keep your Trait and add the numbers together to see if you surpass something that happens to be called your Target Number? At that point, arguing that your work is original will probably not fly. The "keep" part of R&K is fairly distinctive, and you could get in trouble by copying it.

 

But this is all speculation when we don't know what the terms of the deal were. All we can say for sure is that AEG continuing to sell PDFs of old 7th Sea and L5R books in no way precludes FFG from using the R&K system going forward: they could license the concept to FFG, or sell it outright under terms that allow AEG to go on using it. The real determinant is likely to have been whether FFG's people were keen to try out the L5R concept on a new basic system or not.

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