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View Full Version : Legal Hurdles for Free Adventures?



Sigurd
November 28th, 2005, 07:53
How many DM's out there write most of their own adventures?

FG is forcing me to up the quality of all the images I use and prepare a lot more than I would if it was just a pick up adventure. It occurs to me that at the end of an adventure it might be nice to place it on the web as a module for download somewhere.

From those who have done it, what are the gotchas to do it fair and legal?
What sort of legal precautions do people take with their commercial offerings?


Does anyone know of a working primer for licenses ie SRD OGL D20 etc?

I'm assuming all the artwork would be original with the adventure. I can't imagine sorting through what was legal for publication and what wasn't!


Is there anything else to consider?

Enquiring minds want to know :)


Sigurd

Ilwan
November 28th, 2005, 08:04
You need to consider that all artwork, maps etc. is from you and that you have the licence to share it free and/or commercially..

The OPL can be found on the wizards site:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/20040121a

If you consider selling your module, you will get a guide when buying the setup fee from RPGNow. If you follow the guide carefully and follow rules and guidelines, it is no problem publishing under the OGL or d20 system licence.

If you need art, there is a good selection of stockart available from RPGNow as well.

Thore_Ironrock
November 28th, 2005, 22:54
In a nutshell ... if you are reproducing anything created by someone else, you need their permission *IF* you are going to post it online for free; and if you are going to sell it that would likely require a licensing or formal agreement to do so.

If you are going to use something strictly for personal use, then there is this whole grey area that lets you do that -- but again, as long as it doesn't make it's way into some sort of distribution. This includes art, artwork, maps, and most importantly adventure (or other) content. If you reproduce and distribute a company's intellectual property w/o their permission, then you open yourself (and SmiteWorks) up to legal action.

If you are creating something yourself and want to know specifics of the SRD and what you can and can't use there, then refer to WOTC's site (i.e. Ilwan's link above). There is also the option of using another d20 publisher's *open* content, but in some cases that requires written permission (such as Monte has with some of his stuff). For all the stuff my company does, I always make it a point to ask a company even if they've listed their content as free and open.


Hope this helps.

Sigurd
November 29th, 2005, 04:56
If you are going to use something strictly for personal use, then there is this whole grey area that lets you do that -- but again, as long as it doesn't make it's way into some sort of distribution. This includes art, artwork, maps, and most importantly adventure (or other) content. If you reproduce and distribute a company's intellectual property w/o their permission, then you open yourself (and SmiteWorks) up to legal action.

Thats really the rub. If I even give it to one friend who gives it to someone I don't know then Its very hard to keep it off the web. I think its prudent to assume its going to be distributed at some time.

I'm resigning myself to doing all my own artwork or collecting volunteers who want to license und LGPL.

I just don't know what subset of the available material I can reasonably look to using.

Are the monsters in the SRD available to me without further licenses?

What of generated characters?


I don't mind if the artwork is half assed but I dont want to fail the concepts or the moral highground. Adventures can improve but I really don't want to insult or abuse people.

Sigurd

Ilwan
November 29th, 2005, 10:30
Are the monsters in the SRD available to me without further licenses?

What of generated characters?


Sigurd

The monsters are part of the SRD, so U can use them as long as you provide the OGL in your module. U can as well use generated characters if their are made with SRD rules only (or other OGL products - a refenrence and copyright notice needs to be included in the licence agreement as well). Everything that U can make with the SRD is legal as long as you follow the rules and include the licence.