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teknohippy
September 10th, 2005, 21:27
Hi new here, first post and all.

Just bought FG the other day, very impressed with it nice look and feel, and as an ex OpenRPG user, glad to see the shared maps work!

Well I use E-Tools a lot so I started looking for something that would save me and my players some typing and help get E-Tools characters into FG.

I didn't find anything? Did I miss anything?

Don't think I did.

Anyway so I made something.

http://www.teknohippy.com/et2fg/et2fg.zip

It'll take the XML from E-Tools and convert it to a FG character.

Not 100% working yet, but I'd appreciate some feedback from E-Tools users.

There's probably a few bugs so consider it an early beta.

Most major thing missing at the moment is support for spells from two spell using classes. Also each spells level is not yet sorted.

Oh you'll have to have the 2.0 .net framework to run it, sorry about that but it's all I've got on me dev machine here at home at the moment.

You can of course get that easily from microsoft here:

.NET Framework Version 2.0 (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=7ABD8C8F-287E-4C7E-9A4A-A4ECFF40FC8E&displaylang=en)

Of course I spose I could make it run online easily enough, but I don't have any .net 2.0 hosting. I'll see what I can do about that.



Cheers
Iain

CMP Mynex
September 11th, 2005, 04:06
Hi new here, first post and all.

Just bought FG the other day, very impressed with it nice look and feel, and as an ex OpenRPG user, glad to see the shared maps work!

Well I use E-Tools a lot so I started looking for something that would save me and my players some typing and help get E-Tools characters into FG.

I didn't find anything? Did I miss anything?

Don't think I did.

Anyway so I made something.

>snip lots of words<

Cheers
Iain

Iain,

Please don't make this publically available at the moment.

Get with me in email so we can work this bit out... I think it's a great idea, I'm all for it, but we have to watch out for legal issues here.

I'd like to see this get done, it's something we were going to be working on ourselves, but time is short... so, get with me in email and we'll see if we can't get this thing worked out in an official capacity and get it released eh? :)

thank you in advance.

teknohippy
September 11th, 2005, 09:42
Removed for now then.

Steel_Wind
September 12th, 2005, 18:53
Hmmmm. The lawyer in me is narrowing my eyes a little. Given that the data is something your customers bought (and I'd be one of those customers who buys and continues to buy the data); it isn't for WotC or CMP to say how the customer should use that data. That's the customer's purview.

CMP Mynex
September 12th, 2005, 20:38
Hmmmm. The lawyer in me is narrowing my eyes a little. Given that the data is something your customers bought (and I'd be one of those customers who buys and continues to buy the data); it isn't for WotC or CMP to say how the customer should use that data. That's the customer's purview.

Sorry for not answering your email yet Techno, been busy, but this pot will give you an overview of what I was going to put into my email response. :)

Well, let me try to answer this without inciting a flame war... (i.e. a legal war).

Keeping it short...

e-Tools is Wizards proprietary software. The data, the content of said data, is their Intellectual Property. Converting from one format to another _may_ cause issues over that.

So we're just covering bases.

That said, this little project is NOT dead, now will it be 'consumed by the evil monoplostic company that is CMP' (<-- Tongue firmly planted in cheek)... We'd just like to make sure that any utilities like this (which we're ALL for btw) are clear of any issues...

What will likely happen here, I'll get Techno hooked up with one of our coders and/or our output sheet guy to make sure he's got all the tokens he needs to get a 'clean' conversion to FG.

Once it's been set up, tested, beat to death with a dead horse, then we'll get it up onto our files section to make sure any issues over 'legality' are covered (since we're licensee's of WotC's... just avoids potential issues).

So relax there Mr. Lawyer-simian.... we're not trying to 'squeeze the little guy' here... we're trying to prevent that.

ashman
September 13th, 2005, 13:52
as long as it falls under the Free downloads section, its all good. The only better place for it to be available would be here on the fantasy grounds download page..

richvalle
September 13th, 2005, 16:49
as long as it falls under the Free downloads section, its all good. The only better place for it to be available would be here on the fantasy grounds download page..

A link here will be just as nice I think. As long as we have access to it.

rv

CMP Mynex
September 13th, 2005, 18:16
as long as it falls under the Free downloads section, its all good. The only better place for it to be available would be here on the fantasy grounds download page..

A link here will be just as nice I think. As long as we have access to it.

rv

The idea is to host it in our freebies section (thus making WotC happy) and then having the links from here or other places (adventuresome dreams?) to the download.

That work for you simians? :D

richvalle
September 13th, 2005, 20:40
Sounds great!

A link at adventuresomedreams would be very nice.

rv

Snikle
September 13th, 2005, 21:12
Ok, first let it be said that I am a CopyRight NOob.

"It'll take the XML from E-Tools and convert it to a FG character" I am looking at this and I am curious. If a person creates a character in E-Tools(I am assuming here, I do not have E-Tools) and then uses some free converter that someone has made, how is this copyright infringement? Is the XML that E-Tools out-puts copyrighted? Is the XML coding copyrighted, or just the data strings in the XML, or the entire thing? Hypothetically speaking if the entire thing is, then do they own the character that was made? What portion is copyrighted and what is not, I can 'get' the coding is copyrighted, but the output? Makes me wonder if Macromedia or Adobe could somehow claim that all things created with their software is thus theirs.

See, there is a good reason I hate lawyers and would never want to be one. :wink:

Graiskye
September 13th, 2005, 22:25
Yea this is a bit strange if you ask me, how is it any different from someone sending a person the character they created with etools, something that is done everyday all over the net. Or what about all the people using PCGen to convert PCGen characters to OpenRPG,isnt it the same thing??
I wrote teknohippy requesting a copy, something he wouldnt do, cause he swore he wouldnt. And I can understand that no problem, but... sounds like more of a control issue than anything else. I mean a person cant even fart on these forums without insigating a copyright infringement discussion, does WoTC, or CMP sue people regularily over these issues? I understand this is FG's site and they dont want to step on anyones toes, so they have the right to do whatever they choose, understood.
I guess the only real solution to having a community that can say what they want without having to answer to someone else is a private member site.As it is I cant even mention the name of an adventure I plan to run for fear of copyright infringement.
Thats all, not trying to flame, just stating a point, too much red tape make for no fun. I was stoked when I saw that there was a converter, much like the converter for PCGen that works for OpenRPG, which I use all the time for the exact same thing, then I was dissapointed to see that it had been shanghaid, Any idea how long we will have to wait for this exhaustive procedure to run its course.. Grai

Illrigger
September 13th, 2005, 23:14
As Mynex stated, ETools is the IP of WotC. How far their lawyers will push that point is anyone's guess, but WotC's parent company Hasbro has so far been pretty agressive with their policy of sending Cease and Desist notices for just about anything that touches anything they own. Many, many sites making product references to WotC IP have been shut down over the years. That how CMP got started, if you remember, and so they are in a rather unique position of knowing who to talk to the make sure the lawyers don't shut this down. If Mynex sees the need to raise a flag over this, chances are it's better to be safe than sorry else the entire product goes away forever.

CMP Mynex
September 14th, 2005, 00:02
Ok, first let it be said that I am a CopyRight NOob.

"It'll take the XML from E-Tools and convert it to a FG character" I am looking at this and I am curious. If a person creates a character in E-Tools(I am assuming here, I do not have E-Tools) and then uses some free converter that someone has made, how is this copyright infringement? Is the XML that E-Tools out-puts copyrighted? Is the XML coding copyrighted, or just the data strings in the XML, or the entire thing? Hypothetically speaking if the entire thing is, then do they own the character that was made? What portion is copyrighted and what is not, I can 'get' the coding is copyrighted, but the output? Makes me wonder if Macromedia or Adobe could somehow claim that all things created with their software is thus theirs.

See, there is a good reason I hate lawyers and would never want to be one. :wink:

Okay, I'll try to keep this non-lawyerish. :p

It's not the XML that's the issue. XML is an open format that's pretty widely used now for conversion of things left, right, center, up, and down between applications.

What is the issue is the content. And that's what all the IP 'flame fests' and distribution you see pop up are about.

companies MUST make sure that their IP (Intellectual Property) is protected. Whether it be going after Joe bookseller that's ripped the covers off of a book and is reselling it for $1, or images of art, or game rules mechanics for an RPG. It's similiar to trademark/copyright laws, if they don't protect their IP, they can lose rights to it.

Distribution is the main issue, especially with the internet being as open as it is. Joe Bookseller usually has a brick & mortar shop, so it's easier to give them a cease& desist order and follow up on it... that's exceptionally problematic with the internet.. "Oh we got a C&D from joe company about their IP, time to move the site or set up that members only login area".

Let me explain something here, bit of a sidetrack, but also important.

You do NOT own the rights to the content of an RPG book. What you OWN is the paper and ink that went into making that book. What you have is the RIGHT to use that material. A game publisher OWNS that content and is allowing you to use it for personal use.

You own the right to use the content of the paper medium from the publisher. An electronic utility (character generator, GM tools, virtual tabletop, whatever) is a _DIFFERENT_ medium. You do NOT have the right to own an electronic version of a paper product.

Why not? While the content may be the same, the work that goes into producing that medium is not. It's a totally different usage of manpower and material to make a print product versus an electronic product. Sometimes it's cheaper to make that conversion, sometimes it's not. But either way, it is a different media, with different requirements and permissions.

I used this example on EN World, and I think it explains this very well;

If you buy H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds" the original version, you are NOT entitled to;

Free tickets to see the movie
The Audio version

Why? different media, same content. You aren't paying for the content, you're paying for the work and effort to convert it to that media.

Sorry to pattle on about this, but these types of conversations are important for you guys, the end users, to understand...

If you opt not to care, if you opt to download anything and everything because you feel it's your right, or you're broke that month, or you hamster broke it's leg, or whatever other justification you come up with, you are hurting the industry.

How? The RPG utility industry is baby brand spankin new... RPG's have had time to mature... This is new territory for a LOT of publishers... and they're nervous. They might not get the technology, they might be afraid of the technology... whatever the case is, they're VERY keenly keeping an eye on things to protect themselves.

If the see 'too much piracy' going on with their materials, they can very easily pull the plug on programs that 'enable the loss of their IP'.

And by that, I mean programs that have easy import/export features, programs that have tons of fan written software add-ons to make 'life easier for the user'.

So (finally!) getting back to the main concern of "why" here... It's in YOUR best interest that I step in and check this out, to 'take control' if your minded to say it that way... so that we (CMP) can make sure that any publisher we deal with doesn't get 'twitchy' about Smite Works/Fantasy Grounds and pull the plug on support of it.

Something I'd like all of you to think about before responding to this.

CMP _HAD_ to invest in time, monkeypower, and bribery with banana's to get Sunless Citadel for use in FG TO send to WotC for their approval process... BEFORE having permission to go ahead with this project overall.

We took a very large chance on that loss of money in development time & money for this to _SHOW_ WotC how cool this program is and that we want to support it, convincing WotC that THEY want to support it by allowing their material to appear in this program.

Everyone of you that dig on FG, love this program, think it's 'top tits', >insert other cheezie commnt here<, keep that in mind... If you want more support from publishers for SW/FG, you're going to have to keep publishers rights and concerns in mind.

CMP Mynex
September 14th, 2005, 00:06
Yea this is a bit strange if you ask me, how is it any different from someone sending a person the character they created with etools, something that is done everyday all over the net. Or what about all the people using PCGen to convert PCGen characters to OpenRPG,isnt it the same thing??
I wrote teknohippy requesting a copy, something he wouldnt do, cause he swore he wouldnt. And I can understand that no problem, but... sounds like more of a control issue than anything else. I mean a person cant even fart on these forums without insigating a copyright infringement discussion, does WoTC, or CMP sue people regularily over these issues? I understand this is FG's site and they dont want to step on anyones toes, so they have the right to do whatever they choose, understood.
I guess the only real solution to having a community that can say what they want without having to answer to someone else is a private member site.As it is I cant even mention the name of an adventure I plan to run for fear of copyright infringement.
Thats all, not trying to flame, just stating a point, too much red tape make for no fun. I was stoked when I saw that there was a converter, much like the converter for PCGen that works for OpenRPG, which I use all the time for the exact same thing, then I was dissapointed to see that it had been shanghaid, Any idea how long we will have to wait for this exhaustive procedure to run its course.. Grai

I hope my other post was enough to answer most of this... i not, I'll try, try again...

But I responded specifically to address the 'red tape' issue.

OMFG!!!!! You have _NO_ idea how agonizing slow and painfull the approval process can be. :S

I can't go on any rants about this, but suffice it to say I'd MUCH rather have all my teeth pulled with rusty pliers, Lemon Juice, Salt, and a fat naked orc lapdancing on me sometimes.

Okay... so maybe that imagery was a little much, but I hope that got the point across. :|

Graiskye
September 14th, 2005, 01:50
.....all my teeth pulled with rusty pliers, Lemon Juice, Salt, and a fat naked orc lapdancing on me sometimes.

.....no no that works allright. :oops: :? Grai

Snikle
September 14th, 2005, 02:09
OMFG!!!!! You have _NO_ idea how agonizing slow and painfull the approval process can be.

Oh I bet I do, I work for the military.

CMP Mynex
September 14th, 2005, 03:28
OMFG!!!!! You have _NO_ idea how agonizing slow and painfull the approval process can be.

Oh I bet I do, I work for the military.

I was in the Military (Marine Corps) and I'd rather have the military 'process' at times. :S

Snikle
September 14th, 2005, 03:33
HAHA! Not sure I would call it a process! :lol:

ashman
September 14th, 2005, 04:12
whole bunch of stuff :D
I understand what your saying but I think your analogy is flawed.
This utility isnít about IP or content and its not anything like a movie ticket/audio book
Itís a document converterÖthatís it. Itís a utility that takes an existing format and restructures it so it can be read by another program. This is akin a doc to wpd converter, its not like a movie at all.

That said I can appreciate that erring on the side of caution is wise. People are so ignorant to what technology is and isnít that it frightens them, the fear of losing something to the cosmic electrons that is the internet is a very real concern;-).
Executive types usually donít get it, thatís why they have IT people helping them make decisions around technology. Yet they are the ones making the big decisions in the end and if they get scared off we the user end up losing. So baby steps help them thru a transition like this, thatís cool because thatís what it takes.

I think the biggest area of growth potential in PnP Rpg games is the internet. MSN Yahoo all of it is so popular because people do like to interact and connect with others.
As the tools get better and better more and more people will be willing to get involved.
This newest generation feels as comfortable with computers as we did having Electricity..

They have already established long term relationships online. There is a reason that there are 4million active accounts paying monthly to play worlds of warcraft in America alone.
Itís the preferred outlet of entertainment of this generation. And well honestly no one stinks on the internet, hygiene isnít an issue, Sex isnít really an issue, Age isnít that much of an issue, getting 6 people together online to enjoy a game is easier then finding 6 people IRL with busy life schedules to enjoy a game is.. you just have that much bigger of a pool to pull from.

Anyways heres to a great future in Old school gaming via the Net using programs like Fantasy Grounds..
Cheers

Snikle
September 14th, 2005, 05:07
Well here I have a question then maybe you can answer.
Along the lines of this discussion. It is not legal to take the xml character created by E-Tools and use another peice of software to convert it for use in another system. However, someone can take something that is free online, and encode it in XML so that it can be read by another program (FG) and sell it. Isn't that company then using Smiteworks IP (their coding structure for the XML FG stores data in) to their own end and make a profit off of? Has Smiteworks released their API or code structure in a manner approving of users creating add-ons? Since some are selling modules or add-ons for FG, does Smiteworks get approving rights to these add-ons since they are using their IP for it to work?

And yes, I fully understand protecting FG and Smiteworks, I love this program and would not want anything to stop the devleopment of it, hell I talked three other people into purchasing it. Sorry to keep beating a now dead and bloated horse, but this is really confusing me.

Goblin-King
September 14th, 2005, 05:49
Isn't that company then using Smiteworks IP (their coding structure for the XML FG stores data in) to their own end and make a profit off of? Has Smiteworks released their API or code structure in a manner approving of users creating add-ons? Since some are selling modules or add-ons for FG, does Smiteworks get approving rights to these add-ons since they are using their IP for it to work?

I'm not going to dig up the exact phrasing of this, but the basic idea is this: The d20 license allows/requires the party utilizing it to place a part of the content under the open gaming license. Stuff under the open gaming license is free for use by anyone, as long as they comply with the license with the derivative product as well. In FG, the open bit is the XML structure (for the very reason you pointed out). Note though, that it's up to the creators of the derivative product to state which is open content in their product and you should not make assumptions on it based on other similar products or FG itself (FG is about the program, derivatives are about the content).

Snikle
September 14th, 2005, 05:54
Thanks! That cleared it up for me perfectly! As usual Goblin-King, you come through, now where is the next update!?!?! j/k

CMP Mynex
September 14th, 2005, 06:59
whole bunch of stuff :D
I understand what your saying but I think your analogy is flawed.
This utility isnít about IP or content and its not anything like a movie ticket/audio book
Itís a document converterÖthatís it. Itís a utility that takes an existing format and restructures it so it can be read by another program. This is akin a doc to wpd converter, its not like a movie at all.

>snip bunch o words<


Not quite. It IS the content being 'manipulated' from one format to another (e-Tools to FG in this specific instance).

It's really a big long mess for lawyers to play with, suffice it to say, that after 5 years of dealing with this stuff, 3 of which directly with WotC, if I wasn't concerned there was an issue, I wouldn't have stepped in.

Now, you can either accept that, trust me that I'm not out to screw anyone over... over you can join the conspiracy theorists that I like to tweak every now and then... just because it's fun to watch em go into epileptic seizures. :p

(HEY! I _AM_ Evil after all! What's the point in being Evil if you can't enjoy it every so often! :twisted: )

teknohippy
September 14th, 2005, 13:36
I've gone along with M's recommendation, which is after all what we're dealing with here, a recommendation.

If there's potential for crazed wrath like shenanigans from Hasbro I'd rather not be on the receiving end, no matter which side was right.

I don't feel like a bullied or squished little guy, case closed.

And for those of you waiting for a conversion tool, patience, we're gonna get it a little more mint before it sees the light of day again.

*grins*

Cheers

I

Aladane
September 14th, 2005, 18:41
Guess what we are talking about here is that as gamers we want anything that adds to the game, we want more and we want it now. Our concern is, this converter is here now and was free.

Important Note: If we want more things like this we will wait for all the legal stuff (and do not get me wrong we appreciate Mynexís assistance in working through the legal stuff without compensation)

The future of the computer assisted gamer depends on keeping the original IP secure, the only thing that we ask is, if we the users ďcreate IPĒ with WotC IP and wish to distribute our IP to the community and not ask for compensation for ďOUR IPĒ (following copyright law for original WotC IP) our wishes should be respected if we follow copyright law for the original IP.

The future of WotC also depends on itís customers and there appear to be a lot using these online tools with more joining daily. If WotC is smart they will focus on creating this stuff, to sell to us before we create it or even think we need it. Mynex and the monkey shop have the right idea, if WotC are too narrow minded to smell the future and itís profit let them put a stop to all this online use of their material. Look at all the computer games out there that WotC will not get any profit if we switch to that. Besides we have the old pen and paper game Saturday night, with books we purchased over the last 20 years and are sitting on our shelf.

Mynex I support your eTools, having purchased it and lots of the packs and give you my support with WotC to push Fantasy Grounds (I own 2 licenses for 2 computers).
Good Luck.

Illrigger
September 14th, 2005, 19:45
WotC has done more for the RPG community than any company ever has, by releasing a large portion of their IP into the D20 system license. This act alone has allowed the RPG market to reach heights it has never seen. You certainly can't fault them for taking actions to protect the property they have not released into the license, and you can give them a lot of credit for following good-faith practices and not freely incorporating items from their D20 licensees into their products as they could under the terms of the license.

The issue here that I think some people are missing is that no part of Etools is OGL or D20 licensed. It's ENTIRELY proprietary and owned by WotC. You can make add-ons for PCGen with relative ease, as it is OGL/D20 licensed. ETools is NOT, and as such there's no telling where the lawyers will draw the line. Bottom line? If you want to develop tools to plug things into a given program, it's safer to do it for PCGen than it is for ETools.

Steel_Wind
September 15th, 2005, 01:52
The issue here that I think some people are missing is that no part of Etools is OGL or D20 licensed. It's ENTIRELY proprietary and owned by WotC.

Ok. I had resolved to be quiet about this and just let it go and keep it private - but I can't let these comments go by unchallenged, because this is starting to spin off in an unreasonable direction. Worse, a number of posters are now purporting to post in an authoritative tone expressing conclusions of law which are not only misguided - they are just plain wrong.

E-tools data is created under license from WotC. The data published by FG and sold with FG is in the SRD and WotC does not assert IP rights over it other than as is expressed in the OGL

The fact that data can be entered and used by an end user with FG that is not open content does not in any way, shape or form effect the Open Gaming license or the D20 license FG has created its software under or sold to the public.

The actions of a user do not attach to and become the acts of a publisher. Does anyone have any conceptual problem with that conclusion at all?

The suggestion that the acts of a third party effects Smite Works Inc. or is subject to the OGL relied on by a publisher is a leap in logic that is wholly unjustified, specious and just plain wrong. (How's that for leaving weasel words behind and not hedging?)

I was going to go on but I'll leave it there. Whatever the result, it is clear that public discussion of these issues are not helpful. But what has been expressed in this thread - for the most part - however well intended, is inacccurate legal analysis which leads to the wrong conclusion in law.

Thore_Ironrock
September 15th, 2005, 02:49
I'm not going to comment directly for Rob's issue with eTools here, I'll let him do that. As far as Digital Adventures and our stand on copyrights, here is my official statement:

Digital Adventures stands behind CMP in this issue 100% in defense of this and all other claims of copyrights presented in this forum. The fact of the matter is Rob and myself have consulted with publishing copyright attorneys experience in this field, and both the law and every publisher in the RPG industry is behind us.

DA and CMP is desperately trying to get influencial industry publishers involved in Fantasy Grounds, and that is not going to happen as long as publisher's copyright are being violated in this community. The bottom line here is that we're trying to do some very cool things for Fantasy Grounds, and that isn't going to happen if the FG community thinks they can do whatever they want with a publisher's intelectual property with this software. Sorry, but you can't do that in any industry, let alone the RPG Industry.

Regardless of what anyone opposing us in this forums thinks, unless you are a copyright lawyer with experience in this field you basically have no ground to stand on as far as the law is concerned. The hard ball facts of this issue is that if this continues to be a serious problem with Fantasy Ground not only will publishers choose not to deal with us, but it is likely CMP and DA will both abandon this market altogether. Neither of us want that to happen, as we believe that online gaming is the wave of the future.

I hope people here are not forgetting that both Rob and myself have offered to work with people on this and other copyright issues recently rather than play hard ball. In other words, we have decided not to play hard ball at this time because it is clear to the both of us that most gamers are ignorant of the law in this manner. However, it does not help our efforts when people who are uneducated in this type of industry law take a stance against us. Neither of us would make these statements if we were not confident of our positions and industry experience, and we would hope that our customers and our peers would respect our knowledge in thie matter.

If the position of DA and CMP still does not sit with you in this manner despite industry standards to the contrary, then please take your business and your options elsewhere. We do not want to have to take legal actions that are both expensive for everyone involved, and in the end do nothing but harm the Fantasy Grounds community.

Since this whole matter has begun the both of us have answered both forum and personal emails on this matter, and for the most part people have respected our claims and experience here and chose to work with us rather than against us. We have given no one reason to doubt our sincerity in this issue, and we have not tried to mislead or otherwise decieve anyone. I know I can speak for Rob in saying that we hope we can put all of this behind us and work towards a better future for the FG community and it's future in the RPG publishing world -- and along the way respect the copyrights of both publishers and individuals.


Best Regards,

CMP Mynex
September 15th, 2005, 03:11
Okay... this is starting to get heated... so hopefully my post here will defuse this somewhat...

Kevin summed things up on the IP issue, so I'll let that be... Let me give you another thought to consider here...

CMP has released it's first product for Fantasy Grounds and announced another as well. We also shared our booth space at GenCon with SW, helped them as much as we could to get there and get set up.

Digital Adventures has released several products with more announced.

Yes, we are company's trying to make a buck here.

But seriously, if we wanted to 'shaft the little man' (i.e. the gaming community) why would we bother supporting FG at all... if we wanted to make life difficult, we could very realistically make it almost impossible to have any 'official' content from publishers in FG. between Kevin and myself I would hazard a guess that it would be very hard to find many publishers we don't know... and word of mouth, even more so in the RPG industry, is 'make or break'.

We're not interested in shutting down SW/FG, we WANT it to succeed, beyond the coolness factor, beyond the 'wave of the future' rhetoric, there's a simple underlying aspect here... we're both company's trying to make a buck. And the more products we have, the products of other companies we support, the more that products like this become the norm for the gaming industry and the more money we can make for our respective companies.

Simple rules of business here, don't bite the hand that feeds you. _YOU_ the gaming community, the FG community are 'feeding' us. So why the hell would we 'bite you'????

I deal with Wizards day in and day out, and have for the last 5 years... sometimes they're very cool about new ideas, others they're not. Part of my job, for my company AND the community of gamers, is to convince WotC that 'newfangled toys' ARE the wave of the future, and that they, as a company, can stand to make more than just money off of embracing these new toys (good relations are JUST as important as money more often than not).

Kevin worked at TSR/WotC for 4 years, he knows their mindset just as well as I do...

So please, relax on the rhetoric about IP, we have a clue what we're talking about and we're trying to make things better for all kinds of poducts/projects/programs that will benefit everyone, including our companies.

kalmarjan
September 15th, 2005, 04:20
Thank you, and well said Thore and Mynex.

Seriously, this issue was getting boring as hell.

I actually did try this converter in question right after it was just posted, and it still needs some bugs to be worked out. It is a really good thing that we are taking a step back to refine this product, if it were to really go hand in hand with Etools.

'nuff said.

Please, for the love of God, let this issue die, people, so we can use bandwidth discussing pertinate things.

Cheers,

Thore_Ironrock
September 15th, 2005, 04:24
Well said Jason!

teknohippy
September 15th, 2005, 04:29
I actually did try this converter in question right after it was just posted.

:) That's one way to fill your PM inbox *grins*

ashman
September 15th, 2005, 19:52
Kevin and Rob I think there are a couple things you are may not realizing about your posts.
This isnít about the facts of the debates or questions just in presentation of your views.

Perception is everything. Some of your posts and comments within your posts lead me to believe you arenít quite aware of how what you are saying can potentially be perceived.

For one thing you both being the voice of your perspective views on these discussions on another companyís message board can come across as self-serving. Iím not suggesting its your intention, just how when I, and others Iíve asked, read some things, how it comes across. Perhaps a better way is to simply let a SW moderator present the necessary requests.

Some of your comments do come across as being to heavy handed. I suspect due to your own passion for this area and your knowledge and experience with all the legalities, to you it is all black and white and it may be.. but it feels like being dictated too. Something which isnít always the best way to communicate with those whoís cooperation you desire.

Comments like these can be construed as:
Quote
ďThe hard ball facts of this issue is that if this continues to be a serious problem with Fantasy Ground not only will publishers choose not to deal with us, but it is likely CMP and DA will both abandon this market altogetherĒ

ďwe have decided not to play hard ball at this timeĒ

ďWe're not interested in shutting down SW/FGĒ

Threatening.. do as we say or else will never ever win you karma points with your audience. Even if 100% true it just feels wrong.

Quote
ďHowever, it does not help our efforts when people who are uneducated in this type of industry law take a stance against usĒ

Mildly Insulting.. since when is questioning things not been a valid form of debate

ďIf the position of DA and CMP still does not sit with you in this manner despite industry standards to the contrary, then please take your business and your options elsewhere.Ē

Condescending and Presumptuous. this isnít even your companies site yet your dictating terms to users.

Look Iím not saying youíre the devil or the big bad boogey man. Iím honestly sincerely trying to point out some things that are presented a certain way that seems to antagonize and exasperate certain things.
I know ďgive what you getĒ in a perfect world makes sense, but due to the fact your companies are selling products, your perceived attitude and personaís are more critical and harshly judged then the end user. Its not right but it is the reality.

Anyways feel free to summarily ignore everything I posted if you wish.. My intent is to try and be helpful and less reactionary then I would normally be.
Iím really not sure how well I conveyed that though.
Cheers

kalmarjan
September 15th, 2005, 20:37
Please sir.... I think the horse is dead.....

LOL

'nuff said :)

CMP Mynex
September 15th, 2005, 20:51
>snip lots o words<

Ashman,

You do raise some valid points, and yes, debate & questioning is integral to advancing & understanding of >insert anything here<.

The problem stems from the fact so many people are totally unaware of how the D20 and Open Gaming licenses work, what they're designed to do and not do, and confusing things with 'fair use' of copyright.

Yes, both Kevin and I can be very, uhrm, 'strident' on the subject... with good reason... most other publishers have just given up trying to educate people on it. They keep their discussions on private mailing lists, between/for other publishers, and debate/question things there instead of openly...

Simply because some people come out swinging with the "Big bad evil company trying to keep the little man down" messages... Most of them have gotten tired of trying to explain the why's and what's of things...

Kevin and I are tired of it as well, however, because we're both techno-geeks, and all these cool techno toy softwares' are coming out, we have a vested interest in this fight beyond just companies trying to make a buck.

The impressions that some people get from our posts are mainly due to this being a text medium. It's very hard to convey intent/inflection (even with smileys and disclaimers), so it can be very difficult to 'choose the right words'... and honestly, I'm entirely to blunt for that... I firmly believe in calling things what they are... Now I do restrain myself a bit on other forums, just to try and avoid aggravating the Ops, but I'm not going to sit back and let misinformation & misunderstanding propogate because of fear of ticking off an Op (and most times the Ops are well aware of my posts, my position(s), and my word usage long before I post *grin*).

besides, if Ville or Tero or Ville (the other other white meat!) take offense, they, like any Op with their own board, can delete/edit any post I make and then drop me a "Hey a$$munch, knock it off" and I won't be offended. :D

Might not make me happy, but hey, it's their boards... if they opt to censure me, so be it. If they opt to let me 'have at it', so be it. If they opt to join in the fray or not... it's all their call.

Uhrm... I was feeling a new rant coming on, so I'll stop now... I'll save the real rants for my own forums. :twisted:

Dupre
September 15th, 2005, 21:09
I'll try and summarize it all here:
- There's a legal grey area when it comes to file formats and communication protocols (see MS Office, GIF, Bitkeeper, Everquest)
- The tool is in good hands
- I'm certain it will be worth the wait

Snikle
September 15th, 2005, 21:11
[quote="kalmarjan"]Please sir.... I think the horse is dead.....quote]

Apparently it is not. This is a very heated debate, not only in here but on many of the sites I visited over the last few days trying to understand this laywerly mumbo-jumbo....hell, I was reading case logs! <<improvise aggitated groan>>

I suggest many of you go and read some of the interesting tidbits about how somethings are allowed and how some very similiar things are not, and in my opinion how the Fair Use laws are getting stepped on everyday, but hey, all I can do is vote.

Thore_Ironrock
September 15th, 2005, 21:47
Ashman,

I'll bottom line this for you and many others out there.

Publishers do not care about what lawyers (or wannabes) that they do not employ think. If the FG community gives a publisher like WOTC reason to believe they are violating what they think is their copyright, then they will pull their support of this program via CMP. A publisher like WOTC is not going to stand up and say, "Gosh, you know that guy in the FG forum is right ..." No, that will not happen.

What will happen is they will pull their support that Rob and I have tried to build over this past year. Other publishers, who often follow the path the big dog takes, will follow suit soon after. When that happens, cool things like Sunless Citadel will be no more. Publishers would rather ditch the whole thing rather than take time out of their overworked schedules to fight a battle in a forum. If you think otherwise you're living in a fantasy world far from here.

I have to ask ... is this what the Fantasy Grounds community wants?

Do people want to see a Forgotten Realms or Ebberron ruleset? How about a Temple of Elemental Evil adventure for FG? Cool things like this are not going to happen if publishers feel that their property is being violated. If it does continue this is what is going to happen.

I hate to play the "I know best" card, but Rob and I have been around the industry for a long time and both of us have seen this before. Do not kid yourselves that this will not happen. I hate to preach doom and gloom, but do not think for a minute that this is going unnoticed. As it is right now we have both had publisher turn us down because of copyright issues, and it will not get any easier from here. DA and CMP are already fighting an uphill battle to bring publishers over to FG, and quite frankly this is really hurting our efforts.

Again ... is that what the FG community wants?

As Rob said, we're becoming extremely frustrated with this, as we're trying to advance the community and things like this can wipe it all out. If we seema bit heavy handed sometimes, that's why. It's like throwing snowballs at an avalanche people, and right now we're all nothing more than puny snowballs.

We have a cool thing here guys ... why ruin it with stuff like this? WOTC doesn't care about XML converters or stylesheets or "grey area" about a program --- all they hear is that someone is violating their copyrights, and in the end what happens is things get shut down.

Last time folks ... is this what you all want?

I've been dealing with this since most gamers out there were in grade school, and in the end all copyright violations in the RPG industry do is hurt the ones that love it.

In closing guys here is one for you ... If people out there are so willing to accept the position of educated lawyers who post to this forum, then why are they so quick to dismiss what Rob and I have to say? Rob and I have nothing but the best interest of FG and SW in mind. I think we have proven that by our previous actions here, the products we're doing, and the support we've given. I would like to think that would count for something.

Aladane
September 15th, 2005, 22:34
This subject has been beaten to death but if you read deeper there appears to be larger issues at hand.
If I may make a short analysis and suggestion as follows:
1. The legal/knowledgeable community that are mentioned above want the gamming community to know that they care about gaming and itís future.
2. The general gaming community does not understand the legalities of their posts and comments.
3. The Legal group gets VERY frustrated with our level of ignorance about these things and believe we may not support them or understand them or the rules.
4. Ignorant people say stupid things!

My suggestion: Why not have a LIMITED INPUT thread on this forum of which people like Rob and the other Legal team only can input their actions, plans and comments, to help us understand what they are doing for this community including, problems they are having.
Said simply tell usÖ..teach us.

Please do not misunderstand this post. It is my intention to reduce what appears to be your frustration level with the gamming community knowledge level and our frustration of not knowing or understanding why or what is happening.

Aladane

Snikle
September 15th, 2005, 22:38
I will just make one more comment, then no more on this whole ugly thing. I don't use or really care about the xml converter thing, don't plan on ever using it, I was merely curious about why it was considered a possible violation of IP.

BUT that said, I do have to agree with ashman about how some here have taken a 'holier than thou' attitude in this thread. I simply asked for more information, said it sounded like a grey area to me, and hell I even said I was a NOob at copyright laws. I sure hope for a few of your sakes, if you plan to be in service related business a long time, you need to look at how you diseminate information and the tone you take when you do it.

Thore_Ironrock
September 15th, 2005, 23:01
Guys,

I can't spend anymore time on this. This is taking me away from what little time I have to produce products. I will participate in future discussions as time allows, but I've already said my piece. Here is a last piece of advice, take it as you will:

If you have a question about a publisher/copyright, ask us and we will respond based on our experience in the industry. Neither Rob nor myself are lawyers, but we can tell you what is wrong and right in the RPG market on this subject based on our experience as publishers ourselves. If we don't know we will ask our lawyers and hopefully come up with an answer. If you stop to think about it, that is how this all started -- someone asked a questinon, we responded. After that we had people tell us we were wrong. After that we defended our position --- and here were are. There are also a lot of email going on behind the scenes here, which is why you may see postings to certain topics that may not be covered previously.

As for being "holier than thou", in defense I've been straight to the point and every issue. If you want someone to *****-foot around an answer, you're not going to get that from Rob or myself. You are not going to get a rose-colored view from either of us.

What you will get is a staightforward and honest answer based on our experience. If you think we're wrong or right that is up to you. For those that know us I would like to think that you'll hear from them that we are stand-up guys with nothing but the best of intentions for Fantasy Grounds. Like I said in a previous posting, I would hope that our record in the industry and support of FG would stand for something.

SirPinhead
January 6th, 2006, 22:58
I love both Fantasy Grounds and E-Tools (heck I own several copies of each). Is there any progress with a converter for etools? I checked at CMP downloads and nothing yet. Where simply does this project stand?

PJ:)

Thore_Ironrock
January 7th, 2006, 02:34
I love both Fantasy Grounds and E-Tools (heck I own several copies of each). Is there any progress with a converter for etools? I checked at CMP downloads and nothing yet. Where simply does this project stand?

PJ:)


Rob is pretty busy, but I will tell you what I know.

I know he has someone working on this, and I also suspect that it might be held as a feature for RPGToolkit as well -- CMP's next product which is supposed to peak its head sometime in 2006.

I owe Rob a phone call on other issues, so I'll be happy to ask. :D

Starfleet
January 24th, 2006, 17:18
I also suspect that it might be held as a feature for RPGToolkit as well -- CMP's next product which is supposed to peak its head sometime in 2006.


So basically what your saying is no we are likely not to see something which by wotc own licence is allowed (i'll get to that) until the RPG toolkit comes out.

Now the whole Wotc license is allowed, WOTC state bluntly and fully that you may use their own data for your personal use (so long as you have brought it, you and rob have both stated this) That personal use is running dungeons and dragons in this case.

Etools is a program designed for the aiding of Dungeons and Dragons, the Datasets brought are paid for because CMP spends time and effort converting the data. Etools allows the exporting of XML character data.

Now, XML By it's very defination is an open source language there is No law you can put down on XML preventing the modification of the code, Nor can you or hasbro or wotc prevent some one building a parser for the language, it's open source much like the d20 srd.

Now so long as we are level there i'll continue, CMP and WOTC etc can not legally state that a character created in etools may not be exported and used in another program, the whole point of etools is to allow me or bob or jane or whoever to make my d&d game easier, Now how I RUN that Dungeons and Dragons game is up to me, wotc can't stop me running D&D over the phone or using video conferancing or anything like that there is nothing illegal with me doing that.

Now again, you have brought up the whole 'it is IP content etc etc' that in effect doesn't hold weight, you are the ones who put the XML support into etools, there is NOTHING in the Licenses that states I can not use that material for my own games, and there is NOTHING in the licenses that states that that game can not be online.

Last and Not least, XML by it's very standard is open source, there is nothing at all preventing any person from taking XML data and converting it into another format, it's not illegal, the data contained in the character exported xml file is NO differant to the data that appears on a HTML exported character sheet except in formating, And there is nothing stopping me taking the HTML file i made and copying it into what ever format I wish to use.

As such there is NOTHING legally stopping the making of a parser from one format to another, And I'll give some BIG examples of this here:

1. Dungeons and Dragons: The conversion of WOTC material for use in Bioware's Neverwinter Nights Aurora Engine, Etools, PCGen.
2. Battle Tech: The hundreds of Applications and Programs that allow the creation of Mech's, the Opening and saving of mechs from one item to another (biggest format used XML).
3. White Wolf's d10 system: The 20 or so programs for creating characters.


Now on D&D you may and most likely will be that the original PCGen team got into a lot of trouble over the fact that they were using WOTC material in there program, this is right -BUT- they where giving for free to any one who wanted it the ENTIRE CHARACTER GENERATOR+RULESET. What is being done with the conversion of the XML from a Etools character into something for FG is not converting the ruleset, if you want to do that you have to manually enter all the data, instead it is just converting for you the data that you would have to manually enter by hand that etools produces, that data is Mine to use as I see fit for the running of My dungeons and Dragons game anyway.

So please explain why we are now seeing nothing about the converter? And if you are going to say it's to do with WotC etc let us see some OFFICAL word from WotC on the matter, and a compleate Rework of Etools 1.5.6 to remove the XML Export features which by defination are there to allow this type of use of the data.


-Rob
Aka Starfleet.

kalmarjan
January 24th, 2006, 23:15
Not to burst your bubble here... as this has been explained ad nausium.

The two key issues here are:

Conversion from Etools into FG. All of the source code that is not SRD related is currently licensed to CMP. So, yes, WOTC does have the right to limit what can and cannot used as IP. Unless there was a way to ensure that all the user was getting was the SRD (Which there currently is not), then WOTC needs to look over any code that comes into play here.

Second: You are also speaking of code that is from CMP itself. CMP has the right to protect their IP and code, so if they are not giving permission to have a converter, then that is it. No matter how much you argue, the thing is, you agreed to this little thing called the EULA when you installed ETools onto your machine. Point Finale.

I hope that this has shed some light on this discussion, and I really hope that this does not reopen the flood gates to another flame/copyright war. The preceeding is just a rehash of what has already been stated on these forums before.

Cheers,

Sandeman

Bumamgar
January 25th, 2006, 02:18
Not to re-hash an old war, but let me make a few points:

There is nothing illegal about converting data from one format to another, even if that format is proprietary.

For example, there are many open source programs available that can open Microsoft Word documents (a proprietary format) and these programs exist without a license or permission from Microsoft. In fact, Microsoft regularly changes the format used by Word in an attempt to "break" these utilities and keep others locked in to using Word. However, there is nothing illegal about taking data in one format and transforming it into another format. Trust me, if Microsoft had a legal way to stop programs like Open Office they would :)

Unless you use copyrighted names for your character or items, there is no intelectual property contained in a roleplaying character.

I am breaking no copyright or IP rules if I stat out one of my characters as a text block (ie: I play a 2nd level Fighter with a BAB of +2, an AC of 15, a STR of 18 etc.)

If my textual representation of my character isn't violating any laws (and it isn't), then other representations of that character (say, in a Microsoft Word document, an XML file, or a proprietary format used by some other program like E*Tools) are also not violations of any laws.

So, if it's not illegal to translate data from one format to another, even if one of the formats is proprietary (ie: MS Word documents) and it's not illegal to copy or store character statistics, it certainly can't be illegal to create a program to convert a character from E*Tools format to Fantasy Grounds format.

Just my opinion, based on common sense and real world examples throughout the industry. Probably worth less than the electricity it cost to trace the electrons on your monitor while you read it :)

P.S.
Legal issues aside, Mr. Melka does make a very good point about perception and companies willingness to work with the community.

It doesn't matter if it's legal to create/use a converter. If WoTC and companies like Code Monkey decide they don't like the converter, they are well within their rights to refuse to work with folks who want to do things like license and convert "Monsters of Faerun" to Fantasy Grounds, or someone who wants to license and convert some module or other property of WoTC. There is nothing that states that WoTC has to license anything to anyone.

So, although it is almost certainly perfectly legal to create an E*Tools to Fantasy Grounds character conversion tool, it might not be a good idea if companies like WoTC have expressed that they don't want such a thing to exist (as a free tool beyond their control). Creating such a tool certainly won't land you in jail, but it might limit the availabilty of "cool content". Kinda sad, in a way, but such is the world of business.

Starfleet
January 25th, 2006, 10:47
GRRRR i hate my net, I did have an extreamly long post including a bunch of points that came directly from IP and Copyright law on this matter but it boils down to this:

Etools allows the export of XML, the XML Exported looks like this




<feat>
<name>Combat Casting</name>
<value>1</value>
<description>You get a +4 bonus to Concentration checks made to cast a spell while on the defensive (PH92).</description>
</feat>
<feat>
<name>Leadership</name>
<value>1</value>
<description>You attract loyal companions, devoted followers, and subordinates who assist you. (PH97).</description>
</feat>
<feat>
<name>Craft Magic Arms and Armor</name>
<value>1</value>
<description>You can create magic weapons, armor, and shields. (PH92).</description>
</feat>
<feat>
<name>Weapon Focus: Longsword</name>
<value>1</value>
<description>You add +1 attack bonus with a chosen weapon. (PH102).</description>
</feat>
<feat>
<name>Armor Proficiency: medium</name>
<value>1</value>
<description>You are proficient with medium armor. (PH89).</description>
</feat>



WOTC on there own forums under the question of the copying of Book Text for use in other locations states that so long as you are not copying enough that you do not need to buy the entire book to still get rules clarifications / fluff etc, you are allowed to use it.

XML export is a Feature of etools, it is there. Now you read the licenses there is Nothing stateing how that data may or may not be used.

The XML Praser, requires by it's very definition, ETOOLS to produce the XML.. you have to have ETOOLS your not copying the entire dataset, your not copying material that is Not their already for your use in another format that you can print out.

XML is a langauge designed for the moving of data from one format into another format, that is why it exists, that is if you go and look up the w3c information on the language why it was made, a SINGLE language for the moving of data from one format to another.

Finally we have seen NO offical response from WOTC on the matter, only CMP stating they don't want it done, now if CMP doesn't want it to be done, (the modification or reuse of any data) Then they need to stop the ability to print out a character, export the xml etc etc etc.. And in doing so if the modification of the data is 'Illegal' then they had best remove the House rules section and -ALL- support for Davions Etools Helper because they are both violations of the same cause (They allow the modification of the data, davions etools helper actually exports the ENTIRE database to XML data from where I could technically re-write it using a parser into any language that I want.

Stuart
January 25th, 2006, 12:44
Finally we have seen NO offical response from WOTC on the matter, only CMP stating they don't want it done, now if CMP doesn't want it to be done, (the modification or reuse of any data) Then they need to stop the ability to print out a character, export the xml etc etc etc..

I am no expert on this but as a simple gamer I am uneasy about the abuse of proprietary information/programs/data because of the potential response of commercial companies. Just because there is no official response I'm not convinced that we/you/I should continue a practice that we suspect or even know is contrary to a law/regulation or especially the *spirit* of a law/regulation. The response of a company could be to abandon a market (less products for a consumer) or pull out a battery of lawyers and a snowstorm of actions that inhibit what we all enjoy.

Is there anybody out there who can give us a definitive LEGAL position not an opinion based on perceived practice ?

Stuart

kalmarjan
January 25th, 2006, 13:18
I am not going to argue copyright law with you. Do a search on google, and get the information for yourself. :)

Now, to make light of several of your points:

1) I realize that XML is capable of translating data from one format to another. The reason XML exists:

Extensible Markup Language, abbreviated XML, describes a class of data objects called XML documents and partially describes the behavior of computer programs which process them. XML is an application profile or restricted form of SGML, the Standard Generalized Markup Language [ISO 8879]. By construction, XML documents are conforming SGML documents.

XML documents are made up of storage units called entities, which contain either parsed or unparsed data. Parsed data is made up of characters, some of which form character data, and some of which form markup. Markup encodes a description of the document's storage layout and logical structure. XML provides a mechanism to impose constraints on the storage layout and logical structure.

[Definition: A software module called an XML processor is used to read XML documents and provide access to their content and structure.] [Definition: It is assumed that an XML processor is doing its work on behalf of another module, called the application.] This specification describes the required behavior of an XML processor in terms of how it must read XML data and the information it must provide to the application.

So, from w3c we see that XML format is a container for information; the manipulation of data contained in an XML document is manipulated by a "xml processor"

The code originally put forth here to convert the XML violates the EULA of ETools because CMP was not originally asked permission for the manipulation of the code for ETools. CMP has every right to pull the plug on a project that does this; they also have the responsability to do so. As stated before, ad naseum, this is IP. CMP is trying to protect their interests in this case. (Licenses for WOTC material not covered in the SRD)

You also stated about Davin's ETools helper. CMP would not pull the plug on this utility; they have it on their download page. This is because Davin went through the proper channels and recieved permission to use the code from ETools. You see the difference here.

I did have a chance to get this converter before the plug was pulled. In all honesty, nothing against Doeswek, but it was buggy. (As could be expected from an initial start.) As it stands right now, I understand that this converter is being worked on. We need to be patient.

Finally, from this quote:


Finally we have seen NO offical response from WOTC on the matter, only CMP stating they don't want it done, now if CMP doesn't want it to be done, (the modification or reuse of any data) Then they need to stop the ability to print out a character, export the xml etc etc etc.. And in doing so if the modification of the data is 'Illegal' then they had best remove the House rules section and -ALL- support for Davions Etools Helper because they are both violations of the same cause (They allow the modification of the data, davions etools helper actually exports the ENTIRE database to XML data from where I could technically re-write it using a parser into any language that I want.

It has been stated that this area of gaming is tread lightly upon by WOTC. These areas are suspect to them, as they are concerned about the piracy of their product. WOTC needs to be shown that this area is not a threat to their IP (their sales), so we (the community) respect the decision of CMP and others to hold off on projects that could indicate to WOTC (Hasbro) the illegal sharing of items that belong to closed content.

Etools would not disable the printing of a character, for that is personal use. If you post that character on the internet, all is fine-as long as the source material not covered in the SRD is annoted with the page numbers from the sourcebook. The point is, it is not okay to have a paragraph explaining a feat from a soucebook not covered in the SRD.

Indeed, you can modify the database from ETools to your specifications. There is nothing illegal about doing so for PERSONAL USE. The minute you post your database online, the rules come into effect. If you are wondering about precedent to this; do a google search for "Colossus etools repository". You will find that up until 2003, there was a site for etools data with prestige classes, etc., that was shut down for violating the fair use rules.

Finally, while you are correct that the EULA states nothing about the modification of data, of particular interest to you would be this link:
http://codemonkeypublishing.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=12308

So, I hope that you understand now where this issue stands. I hope that I have allieviated the confusion on this matter.

Cheers,

Sandeman

Starfleet
January 25th, 2006, 14:40
Again, may I point out that a CHARACTER XML contains NO MORE DATA then it is posible to get from a HTML output

Everything in that XML file is the same as the HTML output of the same File just NOT Formated. The XML is read by the HTML in the formating of the Page it is where it gets the data from.

There is nothing stopping you posting your HTML Character onto the Net, there is nothing stopping you modifying that Character Sheet to display -ALL- the data in the XML file.

And Again I suggest you go and Look when Wizards Forums are back up at the section for the use of WOTC propritory material (also refured here as IP), It states that you may use a small paragraph of text in reproduction. There rules state that you Must referance the Book it is from (the XML already does this) There Rules also state that you can not put up information that basically voids the need of the book (the XML doesn't give you the entire rules just the 'general' gyst as per etools anyway). If The boards where not STILL down for maintance I'd give you a direct link posted by one of Wizards own staff, in responce to people asking about the use of WOTC material in there own publishing and production.

I can by Wizards own words add say Saddleback from Players Guide or Compleate Warrior (believe it's CW that has it in it as well), and Referance it in the way of 'Gives a +2 bonus or what ever to blah blah, Pg: <pagenumber> Book: Boook' or PGtF:<pagenumber>' I just can't go copy the entire text from the book dump it into my book and go hey i made that.

If I did that I am in violation of there rules.. Not only that, you are talking giving the information to ANYONE, no one here has ever suggested that anyway, we asked for a way to convert our ETOOLS characters into a format that we can use in FG, both use XML we already HAVE the data, we already HAVE the books, we aren't Violating any Terms and Conditions of Use, Any Licensing Agreements and/or Any end users agreements through the production of the material. As for the CMP post, technically they are wrong and need to GO look at the WOTC forums themselves.. Here's why:

on the WOTC forums you have posts for over 10000 Classes, NPC's, Races etc.. All player made, many of them use Information from WOTC products, You have over 20000 Sites out there with simular information (candlekeep.com anyone?) the point is here that it is Raw Data that you can enter from a book if you wanted to or from the printed out sheet straight copy/paste if need be, All that is being done is the process is speed up, the data is converted for you.

Unless CMP and WOTC are going to change there End User Licensing, Adjust the Output of Etools so it no longer dumps XML and again remove the ability to use things like Davions Etools Helper which allows far more of a datadump from the 'Microsoft' Acess Database used by Etools, this is all smoke and excuses with no real answers given, and more and more it appears CMP asking us to wait for RPG TOOLKIT to come out and fork over MORE money to them for something which we technically already HAVE in etools.

Starfleet
January 25th, 2006, 14:46
oh and in comment to the 'changing of the xml' No your not you are running the data through a parser which you and w3c referance as a XML processor, your not modifying the original xml document at all. You are reading the data and writing a New file. the original remains untouched unmodified.

Starfleet
January 25th, 2006, 14:56
oh and just another thing if they really wanted to they could simply write into there export feature of the character generator of etools (which btw has XML right there) a feature for FG XML Stylesheet/Layout. It would take them 20 - 30 minutes with a decent coder who knows XML even if it was done as a .html template that needed to be renamed .xml

You are not modifying any PROPRITORY file Format that is NOT already avalible to be modified by etools under the EULA, and you can produce one that by etools and CMP's own licensing allows it simply by writing a .xsl format document like this



<?xml version="1.0"?>
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform">
<xsl:import href="../Stat Block/Character.xsl"/>
<xsl:output method="html" indent="no" encoding="UTF-8"/>
<xsl:template match="/">
<html>
<head></head>
<body>
<xsl:apply-templates select="character"/>
</body>
</html>
</xsl:template>
</xsl:stylesheet>


and changing the
<html> tags into XML tags that referance the same material.

kalmarjan
January 25th, 2006, 20:38
I can by Wizards own words add say Saddleback from Players Guide or Compleate Warrior (believe it's CW that has it in it as well), and Referance it in the way of 'Gives a +2 bonus or what ever to blah blah, Pg: <pagenumber> Book: Boook' or PGtF:<pagenumber>' I just can't go copy the entire text from the book dump it into my book and go hey i made that.

If I did that I am in violation of there rules.. Not only that, you are talking giving the information to ANYONE, no one here has ever suggested that anyway, we asked for a way to convert our ETOOLS characters into a format that we can use in FG, both use XML we already HAVE the data, we already HAVE the books, we aren't Violating any Terms and Conditions of Use, Any Licensing Agreements and/or Any end users agreements through the production of the material. As for the CMP post, technically they are wrong and need to GO look at the WOTC forums themselves.. Here's why:

on the WOTC forums you have posts for over 10000 Classes, NPC's, Races etc.. All player made, many of them use Information from WOTC products, You have over 20000 Sites out there with simular information (candlekeep.com anyone?) the point is here that it is Raw Data that you can enter from a book if you wanted to or from the printed out sheet straight copy/paste if need be, All that is being done is the process is speed up, the data is converted for you.

Unless CMP and WOTC are going to change there End User Licensing, Adjust the Output of Etools so it no longer dumps XML and again remove the ability to use things like Davions Etools Helper which allows far more of a datadump from the 'Microsoft' Acess Database used by Etools, this is all smoke and excuses with no real answers given, and more and more it appears CMP asking us to wait for RPG TOOLKIT to come out and fork over MORE money to them for something which we technically already HAVE in etools.

Okay. Now I get where you are coming from. Don't forget that these characters are posted on WOTC site. All posts there are given the green light, as they are on WOTC's own forums. There is nothing wrong with that; it is actually good business.

As for the code in ETools: WOTC owns ETools. Not CMP. CMP is currently "stewarding" ETools. All permissions from ETools falls under the realm of WOTC. WOTC has the right to say whether the code can be used or cannot. Although you may state otherwise, if you look over the CMP forums, you will see that even the monkeys occasionally grind their teeth over the restrictions. Nothing can be done of it, short of Buying out WOTC.

Also, these 20000 sites referencing materials from the various core books had better follow d20 standards. Take a look at the OGL license for yourself:
http://www.wizards.com/d20/files/OGLv1.0a.rtf
Here is where it breaks down the relevant information in the form of an FAQ:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/srdfaq/20040123c
Lastly, read this excerpt:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/oglfaq/20040123i

All of these are found on the WOTC site, and clearly lay out what you can and cannot do. You will find after reading the above why it IS NOT okay to have a converter for this. The information in there is considered derivitive. While there might be 20000 sites out there, WOTC has no resources to police them all. (TSR tried and failed.)

What could happen though is the good people at WOTC could decide that indeed too many people are using their content illegally, and pull the plug on all projects. (Ie RPGToolkit, ETools, FG, and any other thing licensed) Remember that the license states that the plug can be pulled at the discretion of the Licensee. This is definately something that we do not want to happen. Legal or not, right or not, that is the way things are.


oh and in comment to the 'changing of the xml' No your not you are running the data through a parser which you and w3c referance as a XML processor, your not modifying the original xml document at all. You are reading the data and writing a New file. the original remains untouched unmodified.


You are contradicting yourself in this statement. While it is true that you are not going to change the original document, you ARE changing the data format of the sheet into the new format. Hence the XSL stylesheet.


Look. You have some valid points. You can do whatever you like for your own use. The problem comes from when you are distributing something that uses the code from ETools to FG.

It has been rehashed here many times. It has been rehashed at CMP many times. Same with DA, and also here at the FG forums. You can argue all you want, and you may be correct. Thing is, it is still up to CMP and WOTC.

If you like, take the challenge to WOTC (Hasbro) and see where you get. While we are at it, we could remember the days when simply posting anything to do with TSR got you a C&D letter. (I do not want to go back to those days.)

No one in this community really wants the plug pulled on FG. No one wants the industry to pull the plug on FG. While your argument may be correct, you stand to lose more for the "community" by "winning" this fight. I suggest, respectfully, that we wait until something concrete comes from CMP, and leave it at that.

You are faced with a choice here: Continue using ETools and FG in the manner that is here, or don't.

I have built an XSL stylesheet for myself to use to port over ETools characters to FG. Will I share it? No. Why? Right now, this is not allowed. I am allowed to use it for my own purposes however. Same goes for you.

You look like you have the know how to convert the whole shebang for yourself. Instead of wasting your time complaining about the lack of a porter, make one for yourself. (And be done with the whole matter.)

Just don't share it, as it has already been stated here, in the CMP forums and in the WOTC forums that this is not allowed.

That's it. Thank you for this discussion.

Sandeman

Starfleet
January 25th, 2006, 21:20
ok ok you win i'll let the fr*ck'n matter drop, even if i still believe it to be wrong.

And yes I have written half the code for an export which i'll use for my OWN personal use, but by rights there is nothing stopping some one doing that and posting the exact methord online either, because saddly etools supports it.

*shrugs* *shuts up*

*goes back to working up a proper 3.5 Edition Ruleset for his and his player use who he has visual proof all OWN the phb,dmg,mm,mm2,mm3,frcs,greyhawk gazzetter etc etc..

kalmarjan
January 25th, 2006, 22:00
Believe me brother; I feel your pain. But nothing stops me from playing the game I love. No lawyer is gonna tell me what I can do for my own personal use.

I am waiting until 2456 til RPGToolkit comes out. Until then, it is nothing but hacks for me.

Thanks for understanding,

Sandeman

danielpryor
January 28th, 2006, 22:07
YOu guys are all missing the point here:
1) Doesn't matter if derivite, converted data and "fair use" comes into play with this content if the big boys at Hasbro/WOTC even THINK that a copyright is being violiated (which I bet they're already worried about), then the FG publishers are srewed and that means we're screwed.
2) Make the dang project and post it on YOUR website, not here, be sensitive to FG, they have a tenious work relationship with WOTC and don't want to screw it up. That way FG staff has a plausable deniability, "..er no, I didn't realize that XYZ website was posting this, we don't support that,", etc.
3) Basically be nice, be discreet, post up your stuff on your own private sites so everyone gets the content, and don't involve FG staff in our transactions where legal issues might be a consideration.

kalmarjan
January 29th, 2006, 05:10
Daniel:

I am not missing your point; I am stating your point. The point is that any modification you do FOR YOURSELF must only be for yourself. THERE IS NO SHARING. That would be illegal.


2) Make the dang project and post it on YOUR website, not here, be sensitive to FG, they have a tenious work relationship with WOTC and don't want to screw it up. That way FG staff has a plausable deniability, "..er no, I didn't realize that XYZ website was posting this, we don't support that,", etc.

3) Basically be nice, be discreet, post up your stuff on your own private sites so everyone gets the content, and don't involve FG staff in our transactions where legal issues might be a consideration.

This is exactly what we need to avoid. The last thing that anyone wants if for FG to be a vehicle for piracy. Even if the Devs could take a position of "we did not know", the application would still be to blame, and all of us would be screwed.


I am strongly suggesting to all FG community members to tread lightly before they start creating outside of the SRD; we need to think of the community and the program we are putting at risk before posting something that we know is illegal.

If you do it for your own use... (the same as photocopying portions of text from the DMG to post on your gaming screen) then continue to do so, just do not try to post it here, or anywhere else, for that matter.

Cheers,

Sandeman

radioboyeric
March 9th, 2006, 19:44
I noticed this thread about the XML Converter from ETOOLS sheets to FG.
I didn't really have enough time here at work to look thru this whole thread and it also looks like a touchy subject.

I just want to ask without stepping on any toes or invoke any yelling and screaming, if this there is a program in the works or not?

As everyone knows ETOOLS rocks as a Char Gen, and to have it convert would be killer...

What say ya'll?

Thore_Ironrock
March 9th, 2006, 22:15
I noticed this thread about the XML Converter from ETOOLS sheets to FG.
I didn't really have enough time here at work to look thru this whole thread and it also looks like a touchy subject.

I just want to ask without stepping on any toes or invoke any yelling and screaming, if this there is a program in the works or not?

As everyone knows ETOOLS rocks as a Char Gen, and to have it convert would be killer...

What say ya'll?

Mynex has mentioned that a converter will be present in their next product, RPG Toolkit. When that is to be released I'm not sure, but you could pop over to their boards and ask.

Since WOTC is technically the owner of eTools, I know there were issues with getting an FG converter into that code. CMP has not forgotten the FG crowd, it's just that sometimes things don't happen fast enough for those of us that drink too much Mountain Dew (HAND RAISED!).

:)

stonerock0102
March 10th, 2006, 11:06
While we are at it, we could remember the days when simply posting anything to do with TSR got you a C&D letter. (I do not want to go back to those days.)


I remember those days and they were truly sad days. But don't you think that this behavior was one of the reasons that TSR was going down?

FG gives fantastic opportunities to play PnP games using the internet. Fuel is getting more expensive nearly every day; which doesn't improve travelling for a PnP session. And time? Less time for everything nowadays. But we aren't debating about FG's vantages.

But wouldn't it be better for WOTC to say: We know you are violating our license but we tolerate it, because we think it will help our customers ?

Yes, after all we are still customers of WOTC. No, I don't want to excuse any copyright infringment with that fact. But FG is also helping WOTC. Sounds a little wired, I know. But it is the truth. Ask Stuart - no play without FG. And maybe he'll continue buying products from WOTC.

Whilst anyone isn't duplicating complete books or make tons of cash with copyright infringment it is IMHO better if WOTC aren't strictly executing their copyrights.

StoneRock

kalmarjan
March 10th, 2006, 16:04
I remember those days and they were truly sad days. But don't you think that this behavior was one of the reasons that TSR was going down?


I do not really know the reason. There are a few that have worked with TSR on this board, they can give a better opinion. :)

That being said, I believe that is why we now have the D20 license. Now perople can make any product they want conforming to the standards laid out by WOTC. There are limitations, like IP (Beholders, data that enables play without the books... like XP tables and leveling up a character, names of Deities, etc.)


But wouldn't it be better for WOTC to say: We know you are violating our license but we tolerate it, because we think it will help our customers ?

In a perfect world, I am sure that this would fly. Unfortunately, allowing something like this opens the floodgates for numerous problems down the road. I beleive in the US the copyright laws state that if you do not defend your IP, then you are at risk of losing it. This is why you see this issue creep up.

TSR took a stance that anything remotely linked to D&D was to be shut down. They also suffered a backlash with the online community because of this. You can still find websites that mention T$R if you do a google search. This was before the rise of P2P mind you! I cannot imagine what things would have been like back then with KaZaa or Edonkey in the picture!

So, all should feel free to contribute! Your ideas and imagination are what keeps the D&D game alive. All that is being said is remember that there are guidelines to this freedom. WOTC (Hasbro) took on the D&D line because they (think) that they stand to get an income from a niche market, not because they felt any affinity for the D&D hobby. Once that income (however meager) is threatened, WOTC (Hasbro) would be silly not to act.

Later,

Sandeman

richvalle
March 10th, 2006, 16:25
Getting a bit off-topic...

But I thought Hasbro picked up WoTC becuase they held the lincense for Pokeman. Everything else (DnD/TSR) was just extra.

rv

SurlyDwarf
March 10th, 2006, 18:45
First, I don't see any relevance as to Hasbro's actual intent for picking WoTC up except to say if it was purely for Pokemon I am sure they have a different priority now seeing that cash cow must surely be giving much less milk than it used to.

However, my main point in replying is to say that a certain amount of onus needs to go on FG here as well. Aside from someone posting content, whether privately or publicly, FG has a responsibility to ensure against in-game distribution while using the software. I see no reason, other than an overly rigid interpretation of the OGL license why the entire text version of the SRD should be copied to players who connect to me who may or may not have purchased their own copy. Is it my responsibility to ensure everyone buys a copy? No. And how could I. Yet, every player that touches me gets a replicated usable copy.

Now, factor in that I may make non-OGL modifications to enhance my private game--again, the same as me photocopying pages from the books for in-game use--and those are no distributed as well. The reason for this behavior is, obviously, to cut down on network traffic between the server (DM) and the players. However, how much would it really be? Compare the traffic that is necessary for a game like WoW or DDO, etc.

It is a more-than-fair assumption that a broadband connection is required these days. Every other software provider and even most web sites out there make the same assumption. But, I digress.... The point is not to criticize FG--I love them and their software. I merely want to point out that the problem goes beyond people willfully sharing non-OGL and/or otherwise 'free' content. I can't tell you how many tokens (from FUM) I have discovered in my shared token folder.

The core problem is that the requirements of the OGL with regard to format are in disagreement with the requirements of protection and distribution. Something has to give and it includes, but is not limited to, the behavior of the community as a whole. But, as I said, there also needs to be a mechanism within the tools, in this case the FG software, to prevent unintentional and unavoidable distribution of protected material.

Cheers,

SD

kalmarjan
March 10th, 2006, 19:01
Getting a bit off-topic...

But I thought Hasbro picked up WoTC becuase they held the lincense for Pokeman. Everything else (DnD/TSR) was just extra.

rv


You are correct; they did purchase WOTC at the heydey of Pokemon, to find out that it flopped less than 2 years later. Their loss.

Now it remains with the other earners, WOTC D20, MtG and other lines to keep this viable for Hasbro. You are not really off topic here... you make a great point.

With the presence of P2P and Bittorrent, sales are hurting for hardcover/softcover sourcebooks/rulebooks. You can see some companies combating this with PDF sales, but the average life spans of these books are months before they end up on the internet on some link site for download.

The only thing left for these companies to hang onto is the product that they do produce. Is it up to standard? Will it conform with the other products they put out?

Suppose that someone writes and sells an adventure that lays out something about one of the deities in the players handbook. You would say that "Wow! This adventure is about Pelor and Baccob battling it out over the planes with the players deciding the outcome of Castle Greyhawk!" Now, you don't work for WOTC, you are your own company.

Enter in WOTC. They may want to write an adventure along the same lines... but can't because you claim copyright. They theoretically could not even use the names in context, because this is now considered a "derivitive" work of your work. (Which is a derivitive of the original, making this adventure WOTC wants to write a derivitive of a derivitive...LOL)

Even worse, how would the rules be adjuticated? You would now have two "official" sources, and a discrepancy between the two. Imagine if a book you created and sold had different XP values for leveling up? That would throw the whole shebang into chaos!

This is a little tongue in cheek, but I hope that it sorta gives an idea of what I think that these folks (WOTC/Hasbro) are thinking of.
Cheers,

Sandeman

Illrigger
March 10th, 2006, 19:32
The PDF issue is a very valid one; it's a double-edged sword: they release 50 books, and even if you're NOT one of the goons who steal the books on PDF without buying them, the only practical way to carry them around is to get the PDFs and carry a laptop. I buy pretty much all the print versions of WotC's products, but I also break copyright by downloading PDFs of them so that I can carry them to my gaming sessions. I've never bought the few books WotC has released on PDF because the were always released long after the print versions, and cost full retail price; I NEVER pay full retail for the print versions (overstock.com, baby!), so I certainly am not going to pay more than double to have a PDF version. If they were somehow able to supply my print version along with the PDF one, I'd be a very happy camper, but I don't see that happening.

It's all kind of moot at this point anyway. WotC makes all their money on miniatures sales now - even to the point where they have completely shelved the Star Wars RPG line, scaled back book production on D&D to bare minimums, and indefinately postponed D&D 4E. They're willing to take their losses on the books (losses being a relative term because the books remain profitable on their own, just not as much as they used to be), because with every new book they can make a dozen new miniatures that people want to use with them. Miniatures can't be pirated, so they're guaranteed that profit.

kalmarjan
March 10th, 2006, 23:21
Hence the reason for the D20 license. When you look at it, it is a brilliant marketing move. Instead of repeating the mistake that TSR made, (With the flooding of source material, complete handbooks, campaign settings) they let other companies do so, at no risk to them. This in turn generates some profit, because they have the rights to the core material. One feeds the other.

I am glad that the production of 4e is put off... it is too soon. LOL

Without the D20, Green Ronin, DA, and others would still be on the "b-list" for RPGs.

As for the miniatures... another brilliant strategy combining the two genres: MtG and D&D. The collectability of trading pieces, and the capability of purchasing "cheap" painted miniatures for your game.

Come to think of it, WOTC has basically turned D&D into MtG. LOL

When you look at it, a feat for a character is really nothing more than an enchantment card. The words describing these rules have subtly changed over the years to reflect this gaming paradigm. Instead of hearing "With this feat, your character will get +2", we now hear something like that which is written on a magic card: "This feat gives you +2." A subtle change, but a change nonetheless.

Where the heck am I going with all this? I do not think that D&D is in danger. The things that held it back, (Like GyGax---- Yes, you may shoot me now!) or mismanagement, or a clunky rules system are things of the past. WOTC took the best elements of their award winning game MtG and placed it into D&D with 3e. Hasbro has kept D&D afloat by conglomerating with all other aspects of the gaming industry. Will D&D die????

Not as long as we still continue to play it. This is where FG comes in. We are now introducing the game to a whole new set.... online players.

But we must also be careful. This baby is still new, and sickly as well. We don't want to mistep our bounds and kill this great thing in its infancy...

That is the reason you see this discussion here.

Cheers, and good night!

Sandeman

SurlyDwarf
March 10th, 2006, 23:50
...
As for the miniatures... another brilliant strategy combining the two genres: MtG and D&D. The collectability of trading pieces, and the capability of purchasing "cheap" painted miniatures for your game.

Come to think of it, WOTC has basically turned D&D into MtG. LOL
...


Well, the credit, though I'd say blame, for this does not go to WoTC. They did not invent the convergence of miniatures with the viral impulse to collect. That particular Reese's phenomenon was seen with the advent of MageKnight, HeroClix, Mechwarrior and the like. While I would argue that with D&D Minis, WoTC improved on the former, they didn't put the chocolate with the peanut butter first. :) Rather, once again they chased a trend for a buck.

Thore_Ironrock
March 11th, 2006, 01:31
I remember those days and they were truly sad days. But don't you think that this behavior was one of the reasons that TSR was going down?

Being a TSR employee for four years prior to its last days, I can pretty much say that this was not the reason. In fact, it is so much NOT the reason I have to chuckle every time I see a post like this. Nothing against you stonerock, but so many people floated so many theroies back then about why this and that happened, and now 10 years later the real reasons seem lost in the channels of time.

If anyone is interested in the "real" reason everything happened back then, buy me a beer at Gen Con. :)

stonerock0102
March 11th, 2006, 15:16
Being a TSR employee for four years prior to its last days, I can pretty much say that this was not the reason. In fact, it is so much NOT the reason I have to chuckle every time I see a post like this. Nothing against you stonerock, but so many people floated so many theroies back then about why this and that happened, and now 10 years later the real reasons seem lost in the channels of time.


I really don't know what the real reason is - to be honest, it isn't important to me. But the following is the truth:
I bought tons of books from TSR (eg the complete SpellJammer series which I really love) but when they started to publish crap like the Complete Left Handed Fighter I stopped buying anything. And my players did the same. We switched to Fasa and were really happy without TSR.

D&D 3.5 was really an improvement, and Eberron is a fantastic setting but I don't like what I see now: again tons of books, with unbalanced feats, spells, prestige classes and so on. Every book contains the same crap.

So I really love Monte Cook and his Arcana Evolved setting.

stonerock

richvalle
March 11th, 2006, 16:47
D&D 3.5 was really an improvement, and Eberron is a fantastic setting but I don't like what I see now: again tons of books, with unbalanced feats, spells, prestige classes and so on. Every book contains the same crap.

So I really love Monte Cook and his Arcana Evolved setting.

stonerock

The problem is, a company needs to have a steady flow of income in order to keep paying its bills/employees ect.

After you create the 3 core books and a setting or two... whats left? You now have 3-5 years (till you release another version) to fill up with material. Some of it is going to be good... some of it you are just hoping to cover expenses so you can keep going to create something else.

rv

richvalle
March 11th, 2006, 16:47
If anyone is interested in the "real" reason everything happened back then, buy me a beer at Gen Con. :)


Man, I want to make it to Gencon just for that. :)

rv

DarkStar
March 12th, 2006, 22:29
There was a lot of legal talk in this thread. I understand eTools is Monkey's property, whilst the generated information is Wizards' IP. What about a program like PCGen? It's Open Source, based on GPL, so you can do anything you like with it. It uses (at least the version which is available for download, w/o CMP's datasets) only the SRD material, which is also free. I began to create an exporter for Fantasy Grounds XML scheme. What I'm doing is writing an outputsheet as they're called in PCGen, that follows FG's XML structure and feeds the document with PCGen data. Is this a legal infringement as well? I must admit, I can't see I'm doing anything illegal - the program is GPLed, data is OGLed and you can already export data into several formats (various HTML documents, nifty PDF character sheets, etc.), then why couldn't I go and make a FG outputsheet?

Comments, please. :)

Thore_Ironrock
March 13th, 2006, 01:03
There was a lot of legal talk in this thread. I understand eTools is Monkey's property, whilst the generated information is Wizards' IP. What about a program like PCGen? It's Open Source, based on GPL, so you can do anything you like with it. It uses (at least the version which is available for download, w/o CMP's datasets) only the SRD material, which is also free. I began to create an exporter for Fantasy Grounds XML scheme. What I'm doing is writing an outputsheet as they're called in PCGen, that follows FG's XML structure and feeds the document with PCGen data. Is this a legal infringement as well? I must admit, I can't see I'm doing anything illegal - the program is GPLed, data is OGLed and you can already export data into several formats (various HTML documents, nifty PDF character sheets, etc.), then why couldn't I go and make a FG outputsheet?

Comments, please. :)

This is probably a question best asked directly to CMP, perhaps in their forums as I know Rob visits here only occasionally.

I know their licensing and copyrights are different from eTools to PCGen, so the question is best asked directly to them. I know that eTools is off limits because of their license with WOTC, but like I said I'm not sure about PCGen. I know Rob talked about some sort of FG converter for PCGen once, but I'm not sure whatever happened to it. Like I said I don't think there are are any plans to use use it with eTools, but I know that their upcoming RPGToolkit will definately have one in it.

Again, it is a question best posed directly to CMP. I can say that Rob is always respectful of people who "ask first politely", so that is the path I would suggest. ;)

ShaneB
March 16th, 2006, 22:56
Hmmm. Its just XSLT from one XML document to another, AND with the PCGen format being open source I dont see any legal issue, as long as FG doesn't mind people creating XML documents in their format (which we can do anyways with building new rulesets, etc)

- Shane

DarkStar
March 17th, 2006, 12:30
as long as FG doesn't mind people creating XML documents in their format

FG's XML format is part of OGL. I also can't see how possibly using XSLT to transform PCGen generated output to FG would pose a violation of... anything.

Mynex
March 17th, 2006, 16:37
FG's XML format is part of OGL. I also can't see how possibly using XSLT to transform PCGen generated output to FG would pose a violation of... anything.


Sorry I've been quiet/absent on the topic, it does take a while to go through all the legalese and find out what is/isn't acceptable and pitch ideas to various pubs...

There is no issue at all... As long as you stick with the data released with the Open Source Project's PCGen distribution (and there's a lot of it there)...

The problem comes into this, if you make this conversion sheet, and you make it available, and some uses it with the CMP created data sets for PCGen and then distributes such conversions... that's a no-no and that's what most of this thread was discussing... It is a little blurrier with the PCGen side, but again, it's not about a convertor, it's not about the legal right (or no right) to make one, it's about appearance of impropriety to publishers. Just keep that in mind, be willing to be patient, and you get a solution... as follows. :)

I've been going back and forth a little with JSandeman... And here's a solution that will work, is acceptable and doesn't violate our agreements with any publisher, and doesn't make any publisher twitch in a bad way...

If someone (or several someones) wishes to create an outputsheet for either/or both e-Tools and PCGen that exports to the FG format... We'll be more than happy to host such an output sheet on our site... and possibly include it in our release cycle.

If someone wishes to create such a sheet (or several even) it is possible that you'd get paid for this as well.. of course for payment there'd be terms and conditions applied (updates every so often, handling bug/feature requests of said sheet, things like that).

So, now that there's a solution, ball's in ya'lls court! :D

ShaneB
March 17th, 2006, 22:29
Got a schema def for FG Mynex?? I could probably reverse eng the XML docs from the FG install, but it would be more appropriate if we had a schema available.. piece of cake after that :)

kalmarjan
March 17th, 2006, 23:04
Schema should be coming with 1.06.

For right now, I am working on this problem. I have an xsl stylesheet set up, now I just need to "fill" the variables with the information from the ETOOLS DB. That way, we can have a "clean" output as opposed to applying an xsl to the XML that is spit out of ETOOLS.

Anyone wishes to give a hand, PM me, and I will show you where I am at. When it comes to XML and XSLT I am pretty proficient, but when it comes to databases, I am not so proficient pulling the information. LOL

Slowly but surely it is coming along. :)

Sandeman

DarkStar
March 17th, 2006, 23:38
What kind of database is this?