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Re: (TFT) Re: Appropriate use of copyrighted material

Brett Slocum wrote:

> The effort in writing a computer program is at least comparable to another
> example. Let's say someone writes a novel using the Star Wars characters. This
> is a lot of work. So why shouldn't they be allowed to publish it? It's very
> simple. Because it's illegal according to copyright and trademark law. The


My take on this is simple. I believe I read somewhere (the Steve Jackson web site,
I think) that you are allowed to write a computer program recreating Ogre or
whatever to your heart's content. The catch? It must be for your personal use only
- you can never distribute or profit from it. You can't even give it away for free.
Seems simple enough. So, using your example above, I can write all the Star Wars
novels I want, but only for my personal enjoyment. I'm not sure, but it sounded
like the programmer guy intended to profit from his efforts, so that is where he'll
get into trouble.

Of course, if he intends to publish a computer version of Melee, it would be very
interesting to see what happens. I once planned on doing something similar myself
just to see if I could get Howard Thompson to surface. I was interested in
purchasing the rights to the Metagaming line. Was, past tense, until I heard
somewhere that he wanted upwards of $250,000, probably to pay off outstanding
debts! Ouch. That's a pretty steep investment cost for something that's failed as a
business idea once already.

I think the computer programmer should go forward with his efforts. Steve Jackson
games should be agreeable to licensing a computer version. They've done it once
before. Normally, the licensee pays an up front fee just for the license, then
promises a percentage of every unit sold, and guarantees a minimum number of units
that will be sold. There is a lot of risk in licensing (for the licensee, not the
copyright holders), so you have to be sure you know you can sell it and turn a

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