Author Topic: Distributing DC Modules  (Read 1298 times)

Offline ProphetSword

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Distributing DC Modules
« on: May 09, 2016, 09:28:10 AM »
This question popped up over on RPG Codex:

Hey guys, another legal question. So, for the Dungeon Craft engine (liscensed under GNU Public Liscense), would there be legal troubles from distributing it through Steam or some other medium for monetary gain?

To clarify, I'm pretty sure the guy is asking about putting a Dungeon Craft module that he plans to build on Steam, and not the DC toolset.  Where does he stand on this?
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Offline Dinonykos

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2016, 02:06:25 PM »
As long as DC is based on AD&D rules, would he/she not get problems with the companies who hold the rights when profit is made with it?
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Offline Outlander78

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2016, 02:40:59 PM »
There is an Open Game License for D&D 3E that is often used to release compatible products.  This license can be used for computer games, but the rule is that all "open game" content has to be human readable.  XML and/or source code doesn't cut it - a non-programmer has to be able to read and understand the content.

So, for my game, that means the monsters, spells, classes and items are in human-readable spreadsheets, and anyone is entitled to extract and use them (though they then have to also use the license and follow it).

Does DC claim anywhere to be a D&D game?
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Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2016, 03:40:41 PM »
I don't think that DC is using the OGL.  I suggested it once, but the idea didn't go over too well.  So, I'm not sure that it won't run into legal trouble of its own at some point anyway.

If DC itself isn't making the content open in that regard, I don't think it would be legal to release a module for sale.  Or, at the very least, it wouldn't be wise.
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Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2016, 02:00:34 AM »
I am not an expert on this but I think that is true for Ad&d games, but not for Dinonykos style of games or any other non Ad&d that are not copyrighted.

From the licence DC is using I have seen that You can make your games available for free or sell them. It would be cool to do so for sure, that is why I would like to make my own system work in DC, I probably would make it open source but I really think that I need to learn to programm and make changes to DC before I can do that. That is what I really dream about lately beside learning to do 3d art good.

Offline Dinonykos

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2016, 04:32:24 AM »
I am not an expert on this but I think that is true for Ad&d games, but not for Dinonykos style of games or any other non Ad&d that are not copyrighted. .
I have not completely changed the game mechanics, so I am not sure if my games can be called non-AD&D...
Additionally, just to put that clear, it may cause misunderstandings to call my games "not copyrighted".  ::)

But in any case, considering how much time several people (Cocoa-Spud, Paul, Manikus, to name a few) put into DC voluntarily and without salary, I would never come to the idea to sell my games...  ???
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Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2016, 06:13:32 AM »
Yes they could is what I think. That means they don't have Ad&d label on them and also if You don't use a lot of Ad&d mechanics and spells. I am not sure but from what I have seen in the first game it is not that Ad&d at all and more like a simple adventure type of game.

For money yeah it wouldn't be fair but there is always donate button, so for a game that is free you can distribute it for free with option for people to donate for its development.

Now for something better there is usualy that pay element, for example if You need some better graphics that are not free (like 3d models ect for example something like this https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/7065) or anything else.

What I think is that it would be fair for some minimal price to cover the production cost. That means a possibility for designer to be able to ask for his players to cover some of his production cost. Any extra he could donate to developing team or anything else he choose.

I agree that free is easier but pay is making people motivated to work. Now as You can see in the new RPGs like NWN online or DD Eberron online You also can make most of the game free with additional quests or powers being P2P.

It would be like selling of books, after all authors have to make something of their work if possible is what I think.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 06:15:33 AM by Milos Gulan »

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2016, 07:28:55 AM »
The issues with selling a DC module is that it could draw attention to DC itself, which is likely violating several copyright laws.  Here's why:

* It was not released under the OGL, nor does it follow the guidelines of the OGL.
* It contains proprietary D&D property, some of which cannot be used even if you do use the OGL.

Any modules made with DC that utilize these mechanics or properties might be constituted as being in violation of copyright laws.
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Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2016, 07:43:51 AM »
That might be a problem, but just selling DC made products that are using its own RPG system (or rules up to being just a simple point and click story adventure) I think would be ok considering the fact that DC Editor is free and under GNU licence. I am not sure what to say about OGL, I have read it but not that good, but for DC it would be best if it could somehow solve it :/. I am not sure what to say but I know for example that Magic the Gathering card maker, it was free and at the end WOTC bought it from the developers.

I am not an expert on this but I think that is true for Ad&d games, but not for Dinonykos style of games or any other non Ad&d that are not copyrighted. .
I have not completely changed the game mechanics, so I am not sure if my games can be called non-AD&D...
Additionally, just to put that clear, it may cause misunderstandings to call my games "not copyrighted".  ::)

What I meant was games that are not using any copyrighted RPG system like Ad&d, GURPS or any other. Simple adventure games are copyrighted by their author of course as are books.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 07:45:26 AM by Milos Gulan »

Offline Nol Drek

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2016, 07:43:10 PM »
This question popped up over on RPG Codex:

Hey guys, another legal question. So, for the Dungeon Craft engine (liscensed under GNU Public Liscense), would there be legal troubles from distributing it through Steam or some other medium for monetary gain?

To clarify, I'm pretty sure the guy is asking about putting a Dungeon Craft module that he plans to build on Steam, and not the DC toolset.  Where does he stand on this?

The GNU Public License makes the DC software free (as in "free speech" NOT as in "free beer"). This means users are free to make copies of it. I don't think anything in the GPL prevents a user from trying to sell those copies. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2016, 01:03:07 AM »
You are not wrong, I know I have been reading it before but now I forgot details, I have tried reading GNU v3 but I can't find it said how I read it before http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.en.html

But I have read now in FAQs that selling is ok as long as source code is available and can be modified http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#GPLCommercially

Also I have found that You can sell Your works as You need, but I like also 100% discount :) http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.en.html

And one more thing about GNU and books or other works that are not programms http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#GPLOtherThanSoftware


« Last Edit: May 11, 2016, 01:10:42 AM by Milos Gulan »

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2016, 03:36:59 PM »
I don't think the issue is really with Dungeon Craft, so much as it's with the RPG system that it's using and how it's using it.  That's where the trouble could start.
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Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2016, 01:58:23 AM »
I agree, what I think is that maybe it would be good to make options for other systems it can support (including Ad&d, though it is older and probably not interesting for most of the people, meaning 3e and up is what people are looking to play and OGL has things covered and Ad&d is probably forgotten and not supported).

I doubt there would be problems with just point and click storylike adventures that use just a simple dice rolls and possibility for other system support like maybe some open source RPG systems like maybe OSRIC which uses OGL (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSRIC). I guess that would be most similar to Ad&d now that is supported, anything else is just outdated even for example for 3e there is that 3e Pathfinder type of rules that is still active.

Also I have to say that I am interested in DC developing because I am trying to make my own system (2nd version in english this time) and would like to see it supported too. I know it might be a lot of work but in the long run that is what I want to do as I have invested in it half of my life and would really like to be able to have option to have software for it. I know I have mentioned it before, but it is just that I wan't to be able to work on it till the rest of my life :)

« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 02:05:05 AM by Milos Gulan »

Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2016, 03:06:28 AM »
Well here is OSRIC licence, it has OGL licence on page 2 and it seems written permision of WOTC is needed http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/osric/s1.html

It seems that it is derived from this as any book published needs to list other RPG source books http://theangrygm.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/IMG_1229.jpg

Now here is that full article though it is a bit longer http://theangrygm.com/save-vs-lawsuit-how-to-publish-dd-content/ similar to that but not so long http://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/55740/what-information-can-i-use-if-i-want-to-publish-my-own-dd-5e-module

And finaly here is the latest OGL with summary what You can do (X means it can be done) http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/systems-reference-document-srd

Now that all is expanded here http://www.dmsguild.com/whatisdmsguild.php I will have to read trough it and I found it on the link here http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2016/01/dd-5e-opens-up-lets-adventurers-sell-creations-in-print-and-online/

That is what I have found, now I am hoping that someone can figure things from this :)


« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 03:37:18 AM by Milos Gulan »

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Distributing DC Modules
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2016, 11:07:37 AM »
What it means is that Dungeon Craft doesn't utilize the OGL and never has.  Because of that, it could run afoul of copyright law if WotC ever found out about it.

It could use the OGL if effort were made to do so (I believe that the IceBlink Engine uses the OGL).

To utilize the OGL, the OGL statement would have to appear within the program in order to make sure people understood it used the OGL, and all the files the pertained to the OGL would have to be included in a human-readable form (so, source code wouldn't cut it).
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