W. Broere W.Broere at CT.TUDELFT.NL
Fri Dec 19 19:57:15 CET 1997

>But posting those home-grown rules for others, or even sending them
>to others, is a problem.  It violates copyright.  I'm not certain that AH

Now I do believe that posting home grown rules is not a violation of
copyright. It may be close to plagiarism. A set of rules can not be
copyrighted as far as I know. The rules. The written expression of those
rules can and is automatically copyrighted. The underlying system of rules
of course can be patented.

Take the game of Monopoly. The game is patented. (The rule book is
copyrighted.) I can't rephrase the rules of the game and market them. That
is a violation of patent.
Now take a book about the game of chess. I can't word by word copy the book
and remarket it. I can write my own book about chess and market that. The
game itself is not patented and the system of rules is not protected by law.

Even though T$R always took another stand, this holds for RPG's too. You
can't plainly copy the rules, not even slightly rephrased. But the entire
system is not protected, and while bringing a game with exactly the same
mechanics to the market will result in some legal battle, there is nothing
to prevent you from adding to the game. Dozens of rpg magazines just did
that for years with AD&D. They published adventures using the AD&D rules
system, sometimes adding new spells, monsters or rules. No legal action there.

Now beware of the trademarks. If you thought copyright law was obscure...

The word by word retyping of rules, copying them or scanning them and
sending those to other is of course a violation of copyright (except under
Chinese law). And there I agree with you that AH is not expected to take
action against what is published on the web site at the moment.


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