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Would there be any copyright issues using Cheliax as a NWN campaign setting?

Hi all,

Beamdog seems to think it should be okay, but does anyone know if there are copyright issues for creating Cheliax based modules for NWN? I want to make sure before I bother. Thanks.

Comments

  • scruffyladscruffylad Member Posts: 10
    This is always a tricky area.
    The first thing to realize is if you make a mod that violates somebody's intellectual property, Beamdog doesn't get in trouble (DCMA safe harbor) but you might.

    General Intellectual Property Stuff

    For a good overview on intellectual property issues surrounding fan art (which basically is what your mod would be), DeviantArt put on a good presentation at ComicCon a few years ago:

    There's a lot of misinformation on the internet about fair use and so on. I've read a lot of stuff where people claim that as long as you don't charge, you can do what you want, etc. That's not correct. Yes, charging is a factor, but there are a lot of factors that can enter into it.

    Cheliax and Paizo

    To be sure, if you charge for your Cheliax module, then Paizo will probably sic their lawyers on you once they find out about it. But that doesn't mean they can't come after you if they think it's worth it, even if your mod is free. They probably won't, because it probably won't be worth it for them (also, they have a community use policy, which I'll get to in a minute). Who knows though, maybe they even like your mod! Free advertising! Fun Cheliax stuff! Woo! (J.K. Rowling was fine with the Harry Potter Lexicon until they tried to turn it into a book and sell it. Once money was on the table, she sent in the hounds.)

    It's a little funky with something like Golarion/Cheliax, because Paizo sells sourcebooks precisely so that people can play with it, use it in their home campaigns, etc. It wouldn't make sense for them to sue people who set their home campaigns in Cheliax--that's the whole point of buying Paizo's book! (And they'd probably lose if they tried suing people who ran home campaigns after buying a sourcebook.) But on the other hand, if you tried to make a commercial MMO with it, they'd sue your pants off and they'd win.

    Luckily, Paizo has their own community use policy, where they recognize some of these issues: http://paizo.com/paizo/about/communityuse

    Read the community use policy, and the related pages. They have a list of things you can use, as long as you put in disclaimers that you're not Paizo, and promise that you're not going to make them look bad, and you're not just copying and pasting their stuff. You also have to add yourself to their registry. (http://paizo.com/paizo/about/communityuse/registry)

    They have a list of products that you can reference: http://paizo.com/paizo/about/communityuse/products (see section 1)
    They have downloadable assets: http://paizo.com/paizo/about/communityuse/package
    And they have a handy FAQ: http://paizo.com/paizo/about/communityuse/faq

    So you'd probably be able to set a mod in Cheliax, as long as you follow all of Paizo's rules. (Although being Cheliax, you might run into issues with Paizo's rules about not using their stuff to make "inappropriate" or "offensive" content--since just about everything about Cheliax is inappropriate and offensive!)

    Ultimately, the thing to realize is that intellectual property law would probably prevent you from making a Cheliax mod; but it's Paizo's community use policy that would allow it--as long as you do it the way Paizo wants. Because they're the ones giving permission, they get to put limits on how that permission works. So if you want to use Cheliax, you have to follow Paizo's rules to do so.

    (Caveat: I am not a copyright lawyer, and more specifically I am not your copyright lawyer. If you need a copyright lawyer, you'll have to hire one that's not me. ;) )

    MaloneyMatthieu
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