View Full Version : Would it be legal to commission someone to build a ruleset

Grey Mage
August 25th, 2011, 01:28
I was wondering if it would be legal to commission someone to build a ruleset of a 3rd party product if it were not for sale or distribution (ie. used only in a private game)?

Has anyone come across something like this before?

For instance, if someone wanted to have a mod created for company XXX's Big Book of Bad Guys (which was copyrighted) could they legally pay a third party to do so?

August 25th, 2011, 04:35
I'm not a lawyer but it might be easier, especially if you are paying for a professional product, to talk to the publisher. Why worry forever if the rights holder will be angry or try to take you to court? A lot of cases never get to court but do you want to worry that yours is going to?

If nobody ever ever hears about it you're probably pretty safe but what happens if a player gets a copy and does something stupid? To get real for a moment its a game. Do you want to be a legal guinea pig?

There are technicalities and qualifications some of the posters here will tell you but they're not lawyers and/or they don't know your case.

Conversely talking to a publisher might be a great thing. They might be flattered. They might be interested in a new market. You'd be much better off if they push a commercial ruleset. Its not your problem then and they will handle updates etc. etc...

I'm ready to bet that any ruleset you buy online is a lot cheaper than paying someone to even seriously consider writing one for you.

I think that's the truth of the thing. Of course, without any encouragement from me, if you want to try it I'd be interested to see how you do.....


August 25th, 2011, 06:54
Yes it would be legal. Lets look at it from a slightly different angle.

Lets say you can only understand German, and you wanted to have GURPS translated to German so you could play the game. Assuming no German translations existed you could purchase an English copy of the game, and then pay someone to translate it to German for you. You could not however sell nor distribute the product once you had it.

The same would be true of the ruleset for FGII. You lack the skills or time required to make the ruleset, fine. You can pay someone else to make it for you, provided it is for personal use only.