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  Trademark/Copyright Questions  (Read 2672 times)
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Offline zparticle

Senior Member




Thick As A Brick


« Posted 2005-08-10 16:53:07 »

I'm using the d20 Game System from AD&D to give me ideas for a project. I was wondering if anyone knows if there are legal issues I should be watching out for.

For instance the basic system of die rolls for turn play, can I get in trouble for making a game that works similar to the AD&D system? If I choose to use the races and classes that are described in the AD&D system can I get in trouble? Neverwinter Nights uses a lot of the D&D ideas but I don't see anything stating that they had to license those specific areas of D&D.

Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #1 - Posted 2005-08-10 20:25:10 »

Use google - there's an entire semi-official website that is a FAQ for the legal issues of using the d20 system.

It's pretty liberal, amounting to "don't use our quests, don't use our famous NPC's, don't put the TSR name or WOTC name etc on the box - but otherwise you can use all the rules, etc unmodified"

(but go and check what it really says - it's been 6 months+ since I last looked)

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline zparticle

Senior Member




Thick As A Brick


« Reply #2 - Posted 2005-08-10 20:39:31 »

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/20040121a

thanks

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Offline Tzan

Junior Member





« Reply #3 - Posted 2005-08-10 21:15:12 »

The d20 system is very  open so it gets used and becomes a standard.

The race names and classes are used commonly  in many games and you wont have any trouble with that, except for a few things.
In Ebberon I believe they made some new races like a machine-man, I dont recall the name though. Something like that would be copyrighted.  The race name  "Hobbits" is owned by Tolkien and thats why D&D uses Halflings. GamesWorkshop ownes Skaven and lots of other races that they created.

So any commonly used race name or class is fair game, but any unique name that is in just one product is probably copyrighted/trademarked.
Offline zparticle

Senior Member




Thick As A Brick


« Reply #4 - Posted 2005-08-10 21:22:42 »

Do you know how close the class and race descriptions can be to the D&D text? It would be nice to use basically what they have published.

Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #5 - Posted 2005-08-10 21:48:40 »

Do you know how close the class and race descriptions can be to the D&D text? It would be nice to use basically what they have published.

Simple - sufficiently differnet that no-one would ever confuse one as the other Smiley.

If you want people to confuse one as the other, you are de facto attempting to break the law.

EDIT: that's a facetious answer, in case it weren't obvious. You've got the entire rule system - making up some new races isn't much to ask, is it? Assuming they won't let you re-use the ones you want to.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline zparticle

Senior Member




Thick As A Brick


« Reply #6 - Posted 2005-08-10 22:00:11 »

 Smiley Yeah I can probably do that. I assume that the legal issues still apply even if you aren't planning to charge for something. They probably want to make sure the branding isn't diluted by screwy people like me.

Offline Tzan

Junior Member





« Reply #7 - Posted 2005-08-11 01:37:47 »

What he said.


Imagine Undead Canibalistic Half-Wookie Half-Hobbits. No big deal if its just your friends playing but if it becomes popular, even for free, you might end up being forced to delete chunks of content.

Just as easy to make Undead Canibalistic Morguks, that nobody can understand what they say and like to eat 10 times a day and maintain undead flower gardens.
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