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Re: (TFT) Open Source TFT

----- Original Message ----- From: "Joe Hartley" <jh@brainiac.com>
To: <tft@brainiac.com>

On Fri, 8 Jul 2005 10:32:46 -0500
"Ty Beard" <tybeard@sbcglobal.net> wrote:

current take is that (for instance) "Roll three dice and if the total is
less than your DX, you hit" is a copyrighted sentence. To simply repeat this
sentence verbatim might constitute copyright infringement. But I do not
think that the mechanic -- roll 3d6 vs DX to hit -- can be copyrighted. So a
changed sentence that expressed the same mechanic should not infringe on
one's copyright -- "Roll three dice and add them up. If the total is equal
to or less than you DX, you hit the target." And even a verbatim sentence
might not constitute infringement -- there may not be a good way to restate it. But if we restate every single rule, we go a long ways towards avoiding
any unintentional copyright infringement.

I agree with this for the most part.  My point is that even if we rewrite
each sentence, if we retain the order and organization of the existing
work and only change the wording, there's still an argument to be made that
we're simply making a derivative work.

It'd be like taking a Harry Potter book and rewriting the sentences and
renaming the characters; it's not something that'd fly.  (And didn't with
some eastern European books that took a similar approach.)

I agree, but the *key* distinction is that RPG rules are not equivalent to works of literature like Harry Potter under copyright jurisprudence. RPGs have no "scenes", "characters", "plots", etc. They are nonfiction descriptions of processes and methods. Therefore, different rules apply.

And I must say this -- if the genuine TFT copyright holder (and he can prove it) shows up and demands that we stop, I'm probably not going to want to spend the money and time fighting him, even though I think we're on very solid ground. But 22 years have passed and this person has failed to show up. Seems unlikely that he'd do so now.

Since methods and concepts cannot be copywrited, we're in the clear
for using things like using 3 6-sided dice and 3 attributes, as far
as I know, but IANAL!

Well, you can rest assured that I will not suggest anything that I think might consitute copyright infringement. Nor will I be involved in a venture that does. But I do think that a project like I am proposing would be perfectly legal. But please...the devil is in the details. I hope that everyone here realizes that they should not do this kind of thing for other games without getting legal advice. If I'm involved in this project, I'll be sure to keep us on the right side of copyright law. But no one should do this on their own...

--Ty =====
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