There’s things I want to do with this site that I’m not really sure I can or should.
If I’m talking about my own materials (100 Planets should be finished and available sometime next week) there’s no problem, if I’m reviewing materials there’s no problem, but what if I want to produce ‘fan’ material?
Because this site is connected with my business anything I do here is connected to my business. If I post certain things up that might reflect on me and when that comes to fan material we suddenly seem to have entered a rather grey area.
Dial back about 10 years or so and while the internet is starting to get going we still have gaming magazines, just. Some of these names will be familiar to people – Arcane, Roleplayer Independent, Games Master, Games Master International and Valkyrie. These fulfilled the role that fan and blogging sites fulfil today. I’ve got two old 1995 issues in front of me now and they didn’t just contain news and reviews but scenarios and even full on additions and fan material for games, accompanied by a disclaimer in the start that reads something like:
[Magazine X] acknowledges and recognises all manufacturers’ and artists’ trademarks and copyrights. Where possible we acknowledge the copyright holder. If there are any oversights please contact us.
[Magazine X] recognises the status of all copyrights, trade marks, product names and registered trade marks and the use of the aforementioned within the publication should not be construed as a challenge to such status. All articles, photographs, artwork and other such material remains the property of the author/artist at all times.
Can we do such today without someone setting a team of specially trained attack lawyers on you? Do they have recourse to set trained attack lawyers on you? Was the OGL even necessary under the old conditions – it seems like magazines could have published much of what now gets published under those auspices with nary a peep.
It’s a curious old thing.
So here’s my dilemma, I’m both a fan and a professional. I need to break up the time I spend working on some projects with things that are a bit more frivolous and fun and I’d like to write bits and pieces for existing games that aren’t mine as fan material. I’m dying to take a spanner to Dark Heresy for example and to bodge some fixes until its follow on games come along, I’ve got fan ideas for different things for Scion which I’d like to make available and – if I could make a few bob out of publishing some of this in Autopsy – which I’d also be able to produce more often then, that’d be a bonus.
It’s just the whole thing is one huge grey area now, so I’m not sure how to approach it. The only way is to test the waters I suppose!