Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

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capmarvel
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Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by capmarvel »

I've probably asked before....but curious why the Crusader's Companion was never made "official"? Or obviously why not an "official" version of it put out by the Troll Lords themselves?


(Also - could someone point me to the latest? Seems like there were a few versions floating around...though of course "latest" doesn't mean "best" - thanks!)

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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Treebore »

I take it you mean as a print version? Because the Trolls have been supporting it via their website for years. As for why to not make it an officially publication is because its a legal nightmare.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by capmarvel »

Legal in sense of content or legal in sense of who gets compensated for their contribution?

I say donate the profits to charity and call it good.

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Go0gleplex
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Go0gleplex »

capmarvel wrote:Legal in sense of content or legal in sense of who gets compensated for their contribution?

I say donate the profits to charity and call it good.
Both. And since there are multiple contributers of content for the companion, signed agreements with each one would be required along with all the legal hoopla. Tree referring to it as a nightmare is rather mild for something of the companion's nature. You'll likely be paying the legal team organizing all the paperwork and checking the dotted i's and crossed t's, proper filing and recording of contracts, etc. more than you will the authors of the content. Profits have nothing to do with compensation since the compensation is usually an agreed upon amount as part of the permissions to use the inclusive content at a fixed rate, usually a few cents per word. Profits are what offset the initial investment in the product plus copywrite searches, legal documentation, etc. as noted above.
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Peter
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Peter »

Not sure where you guys are getting the legality issues from. The entire thing is open game content. Either by coming from an OGC source or by authors approving for it's use as OGC, which I have kept copies of.

I don't think it's print ready, It needs some heavy editing, I was adding stuff to it too quick and I'm sure I screwed some of it up.

Definitely not for profit, just about everything I do is non-profit. Anything I sell is used for artwork to give away.
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Go0gleplex »

Peter wrote:Not sure where you guys are getting the legality issues from. The entire thing is open game content. Either by coming from an OGC source or by authors approving for it's use as OGC, which I have kept copies of.

I don't think it's print ready, It needs some heavy editing, I was adding stuff to it too quick and I'm sure I screwed some of it up.

Definitely not for profit, just about everything I do is non-profit. Anything I sell is used for artwork to give away.
That would need to be renegotiated Peter as the OGC agreements with the contributing authors were done with the document being done as non-profit. If it were to become a purchased product it casts all of those agreements into a grey area as I understand things in terms of copyright and the safest thing is to redo them or those parts could be demanded to be removed by the holder(s) of said copyright because it would violate the intent the original agreement was made under.
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Peter
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Peter »

Not that it really matters to me as I don't plan to revisit the Companion and I don't want to see it charged for, but material under the OGL cannot be revoked. Thats why D&D simulacrums like C&C still exist.

I know your Shaman class is in there. I can always accidentally lose the approval message and say that was a typo if you like :P
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Go0gleplex »

I'm not worried about it Peter unless you were raising the issue about changing its status. Just raising points for the OP of the thread with his inquiry about "why not"...or would that be "what if"? lol
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Traveller »

Any of the authors in the Companion, including myself, could take their work and attempt to profit from it. After all, it is their work and they can do what they like. However, releasing work as open game content allows anyone to take the work and attempt to profit from it. By releasing the work as open game content, you forfeit certain rights you would normally have as an author. The most notable thing in this case is that while the author retains copyright, he gives up the right to exclusive control over the work. If Peter wanted to hypothetically profit from the Companion, he could do so and there isn't anything the individual authors of the works that make up the Companion could do about it.

The Trolls have stated publicly that anyone wanting to use open game content should contact the author and ask for permission to use. This is a courtesy to the author, but is not actually required. I believe that courtesy is being confused with the legalities of the OGL. With the OGL no negotiations are required in regards to Peter to hypothetically profit from the Companion, because permission was granted the moment the OGL was attached to the work.

A similar issue was raised about the Companion and the OGL some years ago. The conclusion is rather simple: if you don't want people to use your work for profit, don't release under the OGL.

As to why the Crusader Companion isn't official, it could be if the Trolls granted Peter permission to use the Castles & Crusades name, logo, the SIEGE engine, and the various other pieces of product identity. I don't recall the specifics of things in that regard however.

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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Treebore »

The understanding, though, when it was originally done as OGL, is that it would be a free product. Changing that would be a legal nightmare if the understood terms were to change to a profit situation, and any number of the authors legally challenged it. Now if they all sign off on it being fine with them that it does get turned into a for profit product, then that is a different story.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Peter
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Peter »

As to why the Crusader Companion isn't official, it could be if the Trolls granted Peter permission to use the Castles & Crusades name, logo, the SIEGE engine, and the various other pieces of product identity. I don't recall the specifics of things in that regard however.
Steve did grant this.

Everything else you said was correct.

I'm not a for-profit kind of guy. There is already plenty of non-free content. I've moved on from the OGL to the Public Domain.
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Spade Marlowe
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Spade Marlowe »

There are two methods in the companion for determining experience point progressions for home brew classes. Are either one of those the 'official' formula?

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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Go0gleplex »

The way it was explained to me by Dan (though neither of us are copyright attorneys) over at MJXII Games when I did Wardogs and stuff for Iron Stars is;
If one were to post their stuff on a forum or bulletin board (if such are still around) then it becomes public domain to the extent that the owners of said forum or board become the de facto owners (for lack of a better term at this time of night) and may do with it as they wish. Members of the forum are also able to do so IF the rules of the board they agreed to upon joining allow for such things and do not claim ownership of stuff posted.

If the author publishes independently under the umbrella of the actual publisher they maintain copyright in its entirety free and clear which is how I did Wardogs.

If the author is paid by the publisher for the content, then the author surrenders and transfers said copyright to the publisher which I did with Iron Stars material.

As I understand things, the OGL/OGC is a legal agreement of binding terms of use by itself protecting copyright of inclusive items, thus does not fall under the Public Domain purview of the author giving up their rights in their entirety as they pertain to said agreement. In simpler terms, it is essentially a short form open contract that seems not so dissimilar to an engineering services contract with its use of inclusions and exclusions.
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Peter »

There are two methods in the companion for determining experience point progressions for home brew classes. Are either one of those the 'official' formula?
I wrote that (not official). It should just be one method. I just explain a few things, like the official XP for some of the abilities and how to rebuild the official classes.
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Peter »

As I understand things, the OGL/OGC is a legal agreement of binding terms of use by itself protecting copyright of inclusive items, thus does not fall under the Public Domain purview of the author giving up their rights in their entirety as they pertain to said agreement. In simpler terms, it is essentially a short form open contract that seems not so dissimilar to an engineering services contract with its use of inclusions and exclusions.
That is correct, the author (in the OGL called the "Contributer") retains all rights to use their material as they wish, but being under the OGL anyone is free to reuse in whole or modified as long as they include the OGL license and Section 15 of the source document.

Section 2 of the OGL includes this
No terms may be added to or subtracted from this License except as described by the License itself. No other terms or conditions may be applied to any Open Game Content distributed using this License.
Saying something is OGC, but only if it's free, conflicts with the license. It either is or isn't.
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Traveller »

Just to add to or amplify what Peter said, Section 2 of the OGL prohibits setting conditions upon usage of open game content. So if Peter were to hypothetically begin charging for the Companion - which he isn't - the authors of the works have no recourse. They have no legal standing to sue, because they gave up control over how their work is used when they attached the OGL to the work. The OGL does allow for some exceptions through usage of the product identity clause, but because of section 2, the product identity clause cannot impose any conditions upon use. So anyone attempting to claim that their work is OGL only if no profit is made is in breach of the license.

The only way to impose such a condition as Treebore describes is to use a Creative Commons license, like this one: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). That license permits both the sharing of and adaptation of the material for a purpose. However it allows this under the following restrictions. You must credit your source, link to the Creative Commons license, and describe the changes you made. You cannot use the work for commercial purposes, i.e. no profiting from the work, and any derivative products that use the work have to be released using the same license as the original.

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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Treebore »

Thats all well and good, but the understood terms under which the work was submitted, was that the material would be used as a non profit project. If you think you can change those terms without being sued, then go ahead, and find out your wrong. Unless your simply lucky enough that no one cares enough, or can afford, to pursue a law suit.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

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If individual authors wish to sue a publisher for publishing their open game content for profit despite a verbal agreement to the contrary, they can. They will likely lose; the OGL has the greater force of law behind it as it is a written contract. Since the verbal agreement and the OGL conflict here, the OGL will take precedence simply because it can be proven to exist whereas the presence of the "understood terms" would be difficult to prove.

A lawsuit between authors who used the OGL and the publisher would never make it to trial. Written contracts like the OGL have a significant advantage over verbal agreements in that the publisher can use the OGL as a basis for a summary judgment. With a summary judgment the publisher wins without having to go to trial.

The entire problem with the "understood terms" is that they are in irreconcilable conflict with the OGL. They impose a condition upon usage of open game content by third parties, namely the publisher. This means that all open game content in the Companion is not OGL-compliant. If material is not OGL compliant, there is a 30-day window to fix the problem. To fix the problem, either the "understood terms" or the OGL itself need to be removed as the two are mutually exclusive.

FYI, I never agreed to the "understood terms". As far as I'm concerned, the only thing that matters is the OGL I placed on my work when I originally released it. So if someone wants to use my open game content in their work, they're more than welcome to do so, without repercussions.

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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

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Traveller, not totally disagreeing with you and I can't speak for other states, but in Oregon, unless there was some sort of signature to ratify the OGL agreement from both the author and the publisher (or any open contract without signature for that matter), be it e-mails stating the agreement in lieu of an actual signatory document or other written communication indicating the nature of use, it would be considered a verbal agreement which is held to the same consideration as a written contract and the OGL viewed as merely proposed terms of agreement and use. Given the nature of the courts here the publisher would be challenged to win any suit brought against them by the author unless the author ran out of funding to continue their suit. Been witness to several lawsuits over a handshake verbal agreement related to my day job over the last couple decades here. :)

Overall, the lesson to be learned regardless of things is "always get things clearly stated in writing with a valid signature" to avoid all the above legal headaches and various interpretations pending venue. It tends to protect everyone involved and removes loose ends. It's why engineers and such are so hard core about "document! document! document!" mantra. :D
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Re: Crusader Companion - why not "official"?

Post by Traveller »

The laws of Washington state, where WotC is located, are likely the laws in effect here. In any event, the OGL is more like a EULA, and courts have found that EULAs are enforceable even if you don't sign anything and don't even open the package.

The lesson here is, if you don't want your stuff used by just anyone, don't use the OGL.

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