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Re: SRD Updated

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  • 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 1 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.


      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 2 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 3 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

          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? ...


          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
          > 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
          > meat of the information in the same number of words as the vague
          > description.)
          > Scott
          > scott@...
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