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Re: SRD Updated - no need to make feats and SA cryptic

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  • bd_92@yahoo.com
    most definately i agree. I have begun talks with the people at the netbook sites. I am trying to get them to allow us to use their material in pcgen. I have
    Message 1 of 14 , Dec 1, 2001
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      most definately i agree. I have begun talks with the people at the
      netbook sites. I am trying to get them to allow us to use their
      material in pcgen. I have already put it before the netbook of
      classes board of members and i am going to send them another email
      asking them if they have any status on that. Opening up PCGen to the
      netbooks is a nice lil road into the community at large. Once we get
      into that realm, I figure that allot of roleplaying ideas stem from
      those netbooks and I hope other publishers pick up on that fact and
      use pcgen in that respect.

      One step at a time...


      --- In pcgen@y..., merton_monk@y... wrote:
      > If we become OGL compliant, then we definitely can rejoice. Main
      > block to that is that I think a lot of the sources we use claim the
      > names of feats, classes, etc. as Product Identity. That means in
      > order to be OGL-compliant we couldn't use the names of those
      things.
      > Kinda hard to have a character generator if we can't refer to a
      > feat's name, isn't it? I wish I had a large enough d20 budget that
      I
      > could go buy all these books and verify for myself what we would be
      > able to use from them all if we were to become OGL compliant. At
      the
      > moment since we don't use the OGL license we're under
      > copyright/trademark laws and Wotc and other d20 games publishers
      have
      > very little reason to be annoyed with us.
      >
      > I like to keep SA and other descriptive text short and sweet for 2
      > reasons:
      > 1. we're not OGL compliant and even if we were I wouldn't want to
      > make purchasing the book for that kind of info unnecessary. I want
      > PCGen to be viewed not only as a character generator, but as an
      > advertisement medium - that way we can actually generate support
      > among the d20 games people themselves.
      > 2. I don't like lots of wordy descriptions to appear on my
      > charactersheet. Something short enough to give the basic idea, and
      > that should hopefully be enough to jog my memory or let the
      DM/Player
      > ad-lib. If I use a character in a game I should have the books
      used
      > to create the character handy so looking up details shouldn't be a
      > problem.
      >
      > We've cut the descriptive text down to size and will continue to do
      > so to help us tread that fine line of what's useful vs. copyright
      > infringement. Sometimes users make updates to a file, and while
      > they're at it, add the more verbose descriptions back in. We
      > appreciate the updates, corrections, et al, but we really do need
      to
      > keep a tight reign on the text descriptions. I know that if I
      worked
      > hard to put out a quality product and put together a nice set of
      > feats that I wanted to sell, I'd be rather annoyed if a freeware
      > character generator reproduced all my work so people wouldn't have
      to
      > buy my product. I'd be much happier if that freeware app gave just
      a
      > little description so people who liked what they saw and wanted to
      be
      > able to use those feats with their character would be more likely
      to
      > buy my product.
      >
      > Because we try to give enough info but not too much, I think people
      > in general in the d20 games publishing community are fine with us
      > (including Wotc). If we get too descriptive in what we include I
      > doubt their good graces will last.
      >
      > -Bryan
      >
      > --- In pcgen@y..., Scott Ellsworth <scott@a...> wrote:
      > > On Friday, November 30, 2001, at 11:13 PM, Rodney Cherry wrote:
      > > > http://www.opengamingfoundation.org/srd.html
      > > >
      > > > Now official srd from dmg/phb:
      > > >
      > > > Feats.
      > > > Special Abilities.
      > >
      > > What good news!
      > >
      > > Given the presence of these two on the SRD open gaming list, I
      > suspect
      > > this means we are safe from being harassed if the feat and SA
      > > descriptions are entered in a useful way. For example, we can
      now
      > leave
      > > the description for point blank shot "+1 to hit and damage
      against
      > > opponents within 30 feet" rather than the useless "You are
      > experienced
      > > in hitting close targets".
      > >
      > > (In many cases, a judicious choice of words will let you
      > communicate the
      > > meat of the information in the same number of words as the vague
      > > description.)
      > >
      > > Scott
      > >
      > > scott@a...
    • zebuleon@peoplepc.com
      Yes it does, which means half if not more of the stuff we have available would have to be dropped. Which is why we have tried to remain as close as possible
      Message 2 of 14 , Dec 1, 2001
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        Yes it does, which means half if not more of the stuff we have
        available would have to be dropped. Which is why we have tried to
        remain as close as possible to the OGL but not be a part of it.

        Mario

        --- In pcgen@y..., Kent Pollard <kentp@s...> wrote:
        > Doesn't the problem remain that to use the Open gaming stuff, you
        have to
        > adhere to the Open Gaming License?
        >
        > Kent
        >
        > ----- Original Messages -----
        > > > http://www.opengamingfoundation.org/srd.html
        > > >
        > > > Now official srd from dmg/phb:
        > > >
        > > > Feats.
        > > > Special Abilities.
        > >
        > > What good news!
        > >
        > > Given the presence of these two on the SRD open gaming list, I
        suspect
        > > this means we are safe from being harassed if the feat and SA
        > > descriptions are entered in a useful way. For example, we can now
        leave
        > > the description for point blank shot "+1 to hit and damage against
        > > opponents within 30 feet" rather than the useless "You are
        experienced
        > > in hitting close targets".
        > >
        > > (In many cases, a judicious choice of words will let you
        communicate the
        > > meat of the information in the same number of words as the vague
        > > description.)
      • zebuleon@peoplepc.com
        ... Exactly, everything Wotc publishes is NOT OGL. The only stuff that is OGL is the stuff they put in the SRD. Which means no Dragon mags, no sword and
        Message 3 of 14 , Dec 1, 2001
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          --- In pcgen@y..., merton_monk@y... wrote:
          > If we become OGL compliant, then we definitely can rejoice. Main
          > block to that is that I think a lot of the sources we use claim the
          > names of feats, classes, etc. as Product Identity. That means in
          > order to be OGL-compliant we couldn't use the names of those things.


          Exactly, everything Wotc publishes is NOT OGL. The only stuff that is
          OGL is the stuff they put in the SRD. Which means no Dragon mags, no
          sword and fist, no Star Wars. This also goes for other companies as
          well. If we use anything that is not specificly stated as OGL we
          would be in breach of contract and subject accordingly. At present,
          especially with the recent changes to the license, the is no way for a
          character generating program to be OGL compliant. Thats one of the
          reasons Master Tools is having problems, and the man now in charge of
          it is the same man in charge of the OGL. But because we are not
          charging and we are small they are ignoring us for the moment.

          Mario
        • Rodney Cherry
          I think people are missing the point of what the SRD and OGC is and what being OGL compliant is. Using the SRD has nothing to do with being OGL compliant. It
          Message 4 of 14 , Dec 1, 2001
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            I think people are missing the point of what the SRD and OGC is and what
            being OGL compliant is.

            Using the SRD has nothing to do with being OGL compliant. It is completely
            OGC, void of any product identity. I can take any material marked OGC and
            use it however I see fit. OGC merely means that I have no legal claims to
            the material and that no other person or company can claim legal action
            against me for using it. For all intents and purposes the SRD is public
            domain from a legal stand point. I could even publish the SRD verbatim and
            make money off it(why someone would pay for it is another matter). Note
            though that the SRD does not include any information about character
            creation or gaining levels or experience points. Because that is copyright
            of WotC. That of itself makes PCGen a copyright infringement. You could
            take all the official SRD material, package them up in whatever form you
            wish with PCGen and nobody would have a legal claim against you for doing
            so. Any legal claims would be from the fact that you show people how to
            generate a character and of course all the other copyright material being
            used, not the SRD material.
          • user@domain.org
            ... Indeed. You seem to be among them. But, before I go about explaining, let me say: I am not a lawyer, if you plan on basing your life decisions on
            Message 5 of 14 , Dec 1, 2001
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              --- In pcgen@y..., Rodney Cherry <rodac@S...> wrote:
              > I think people are missing the point of what the SRD and OGC is and what
              > being OGL compliant is.

              Indeed. You seem to be among them. But, before I go about explaining, let me say:

              I am not a lawyer, if you plan on basing your life decisions on anything about this subject, GO SEE A REAL LAWYER. Just because many gamers tend to be rules-lawyers doesn't mean they're qualified to be real lawyers. Further, just because many gamers think they understand license, copyright, patent, and trademark law doesn't mean they actually do. That's what real lawyers are for.

              >
              > Using the SRD has nothing to do with being OGL compliant. It is completely
              > OGC, void of any product identity. I can take any material marked OGC and
              > use it however I see fit. OGC merely means that I have no legal claims to
              > the material and that no other person or company can claim legal action
              > against me for using it. For all intents and purposes the SRD is public
              > domain from a legal stand point.

              No.

              1) the SRD is not public domain from a legal standpoint. That's not what OGC means.

              2) Further, because it has been released to you under the OGL, you _MUST_ use the OGL to pass the material on to others, because that's what the OGL says you must do. If the material was public domain, you wouldn't have that obligation.

              3) Yes, there are no restrictions on how you use the SRD _for_yourself_. But there are restrictions on what you can do with it if you decide to _distribute_ it to others. That's what the OGL is all about. No one can control what you do with it for personal use, but they have quite about of control over what you can do with it if you decide to give/sell/etc. it to other people. That's where the OGL comes into play.

              > Note
              > though that the SRD does not include any information about character
              > creation or gaining levels or experience points. Because that is
              > copyright
              > of WotC. That of itself makes PCGen a copyright infringement.

              No. The specific text in the PHB and DMG which covers character creation, experience, etc. are copyrighted by WOTC, yes, but that doesn't have any affect at all upon PCGen. Further, the OGL does not have any restriction at all with regard to these items.

              The restriction on those things is not in the SRD nor the OGL. It's in the d20STL. So, as long as you don't use any of the d20 system logos, you don't have to worry about that restriction.

              That means PCGen is not in violation of any copyright as long as it doesn't duplicate the specific text of the PHB nor DMG. It duplicates the _process_, but copyright doesn't relate to process. That's what patents are for.

              PCGen would be in violation of the d20STL _IF_ they were using the d20 system logos. But that would be true even if they removed the sections relating to character creation and experience, because, IIRC, the d20STL forbids applying the d20 logo to computer programs. If you're doing a computer program for use with d20, AND you wish to put the d20 logo on it, you have to get a separate license from WOTC. But, so far, I haven't seen any use of the d20 logo in PCGen.

              As long as PCGen doesn't use any of the d20 system trademarks, it does not have to worry about being compliant with the d20STL. In that case, PCGen doesn't have to worry even one little bit about having character creation or experience point information.

              However, having said that, there is one other little item to worry about: the fact that PCGen does mention _OTHER_ WOTC trademarks. Specifically, the names of WOTC products (sourcebooks, modules, etc.). WOTC could make a case about that unless the PCGen maintainers have sought specific permission for the way they're using those things. Similarly, other companies could take action against PCGen wrt to the names of their products.

              If the PCGen project people haven't already gotten that permission, I'd recommend they do so right away.


              > You could
              > take all the official SRD material, package them up in whatever form you
              > wish with PCGen and nobody would have a legal claim against you for doing
              > so. Any legal claims would be from the fact that you show people how to
              > generate a character and of course all the other copyright material being
              > used, not the SRD material.

              Such a legal claim _could_ come from including chargen and xp information alongside the SRD, but it wouldn't come from having used the SRD. It would only come from having used a d20 system logo on said product. That's where the restrictions on chargen and xp information come from. If you don't include the d20 system logo on your bundle, then they can't do anything to you for having written your own chargen or xp rules (whether they're compatible with the D&D3e ones or not) as long as you have written them in your own words, distinct from the words they used in D&D3e.
            • Rodney Cherry
              ARG ARG ARG. I can copy the SRD verbatim, I can sell it, I can chop it up, I can dice and slice it. The entire body of the SRD material marked Released is OGC.
              Message 6 of 14 , Dec 1, 2001
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                ARG ARG ARG. I can copy the SRD verbatim, I can sell it, I can chop it up,
                I can dice and slice it. The entire body of the SRD material marked
                Released is OGC. I can do anything I want with it privately or commercially
                as long as the OGL is with it and I dont claim it as my own body of work. I
                can take the stupid rtf files of all the official released SRD material.
                Print it out exactly as it is and sell it. And keep all the money from
                selling it. I can take it and publish it with my own material. As long as I
                make sure to show that the SRD material is OGC and that I dont own it.
                Whether or not the rest of my published material complies with the laws is
                a different matter and is not what I am talking about.

                THATS ALL THERE IS TO IT. I didnt say its public domain, I said its use can
                be considered as such. AS LONG AS I DONT CLAIM I OWN IT.

                Dont read between the lines, dont over think it. I am not saying it should
                or shouldn't be used in PCGEN. I am not arguing Bryans stand on the use of
                SRD in PCGen. I am stating what WotC themselves have stated about the SRD
                material. I am stating that it COULD be used in PCGen and that it isn't the
                thing to be worried about when thinking of copyright/trademark/product
                identity problems with PCGen.

                Somebody said it would be nice to have some type of file with the SRD
                material that pcgen could read data from. I was pointing out that they
                could and from a legal point it wouldnt matter.

                No lawyer-ize here. Dont come back and try acting like a lawyer and break
                my statements down. Theres nothing to break down. I am not talking about
                logos or trademarks or anything like that. I am talking about the
                officially released SRD material.

                Ok so I bit the bait and snagged the hook, I dont care. Like others I am
                tired of all the back-room lawyer stuff, which was a point I was trying to
                make. Which I failed to do it seems. Its so simple, yet people want to make
                it complicated.
              • Benjamin Pew
                Please leave an option to not have this information. I don t want my character sheets cluttered up with the entire text of the books pertaining to my abilities
                Message 7 of 14 , Dec 3, 2001
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                  Please leave an option to not have this information. I don't want my
                  character sheets cluttered up with the entire text of the books pertaining
                  to my abilities and feats. Either make two copies of the list files, or if
                  there's a programmatic way of including it, provide a way to turn it off.

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Kurt Wimmer [mailto:kwimmer@...]
                  Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2001 3:47 AM
                  To: pcgen@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [pcgen] SRD Updated - no need to make feats and SA cryptic



                  This may be worth adding some extra functionality to PCGen instead of
                  adding even more TAGs and info to the LST files.

                  Basically, have the basics in the LST files, but have PCGen perform some

                  form of processing on the rtf or a converted format of the released rtf
                  files, and display the information from that file. Perhaps some form of

                  index system, where the rtf is processed into a plain text file, the
                  line # of each feat name ripped out and saved for a quick lookup by
                  PCGen.

                  So users selects the "Improved Critical" feat. PCGen takes that name,
                  finds the line # from the index file, then displays the info from that
                  index to the next.

                  Means updating the rtf, re-processing file and generating the index
                  every now and then (on update of SRD would be about right eh?), but also

                  means not copying and pasting and loading that info into PCGen. Faster
                  loading times... slightly reduced lookup times... though this could be
                  worked on to be nearly the same...

                  Comments? Clarification required? ...

                  -Kurt



                  Scott Ellsworth wrote:

                  > On Friday, November 30, 2001, at 11:13 PM, Rodney Cherry wrote:
                  > > http://www.opengamingfoundation.org/srd.html
                  > >
                  > > Now official srd from dmg/phb:
                  > >
                  > > Feats.
                  > > Special Abilities.
                  >
                  > What good news!
                  >
                  > Given the presence of these two on the SRD open gaming list, I suspect
                  > this means we are safe from being harassed if the feat and SA
                  > descriptions are entered in a useful way. For example, we can now
                  leave
                  > the description for point blank shot "+1 to hit and damage against
                  > opponents within 30 feet" rather than the useless "You are experienced
                  > in hitting close targets".
                  >
                  > (In many cases, a judicious choice of words will let you communicate
                  the
                  > meat of the information in the same number of words as the vague
                  > description.)
                  >
                  > Scott
                  >
                  > scott@...
                  >
                  >
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