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Fortunately for me I still have all my original AD&D books as well as my 2nd edition books. Plus I was something of a collector even back in the day so I've still got dozens of the original modules as well. Never felt a need to upgrade to other editions. All that I've bought from WOTC are preHasbro purchases of their Magic cards from back in the nineties along with mini or two that they made at the time.

 

So no, I'm not particularly pro or anti postHasbro WoTC. However I do feel there a number of small companies that like to stand on the edge when it comes to duplicating other folks IP in miniature form. Even then I don't really fault them for it, as I've bought my fair share of those minis. I just feel if they get caught and have their wrist slapped there isn't a lot of cause to complain.

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satire of an existing work, as an example, is legal under copyright laws

 

Thats not what Ive heard... To my understanding:

 

a) It is required that the satire be commenting upon the original work (related to "transformative use"). Simply saying "Hah, look, its funny because it we made it look funny" doesnt cut it. The question is what satirical comment is being made about the dark elf by putting it in that form. What most people think of as satire/parody is often actually not protected.

b) Satire/parody is a fair use defence against a copyright infringement claim. It does not in itself make it so that the work is "acceptable" without a court case. A company looking to defend its rights still has to follow the usual process of issuing a take-down, going to court, etc, in order for there to be a court judgement that says the work is satire. If they dont, then other infringers can point to it in their defences, and the IP owner cant say it was satire because they dont have a legal judgement to support that claim.

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From Wikipedia -

Fair use and parody

 

Producers or creators of parodies of a copyrighted work have been sued for infringement by the targets of their ridicule, even though such use may be protected as fair use. These fair use cases distinguish between parodies (using a work in order to poke fun at or comment on the work itself) and satires (using a work to poke fun at or comment on something else). Courts have been more willing to grant fair use protections to parodies than to satires, but the ultimate outcome in either circumstance will turn on the application of the four fair use factors.

In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music Inc[20] the Supreme Court recognized parody as a potential fair use, even when done for profit. Roy Orbison's publisher, Acuff-Rose Music Inc, had sued 2 Live Crew in 1989 for their use of Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" in a mocking rap version with altered lyrics. The Supreme Court viewed 2 Live Crew's version as a ridiculing commentary on the earlier work, and ruled that when the parody was itself the product rather than used for mere advertising, commercial sale did not bar the defense. The Campbell court also distinguished parodies from satire, which they described as a broader social critique not intrinsically tied to ridicule of a specific work, and so not deserving of the same use exceptions as parody because the satirist's ideas are capable of expression without the use of the other particular work.

A number of appellate decisions have recognized that a parody may be a protected fair use, including both the Second (Leibovitz v. Paramount Pictures Corp.) and Ninth Circuits (Mattel v. Walking Mountain Productions). Most recently, in Suntrust v. Houghton Mifflin, a suit was brought unsuccessfully against the publication of The Wind Done Gone, which reused many of the characters and situations from Gone with the Wind, but told the events from the point of view of the slaves rather than the slaveholders. The Eleventh Circuit, applying Campbell, recognized that The Wind Done Gone was fair use, and vacated the district court's injunction against its publication.

 

The miniature for Dark Elf Ranger is demonstrably a parody of an existing image - and one that has been parodied numerous times before, notably Order of the Stick.

 

The Ice Devil, again, TSR 'Borrowed' the description from an existing work. Another example is the original 'thin and rubbery' description of trolls - taken from a work by the late Poul Anderson. (Three Hearts and Three Lions.)

 

If the matter were to go to court WotC would most likely lose. However court costs time and money, and could tie up production of the miniatures until the matter was settled.

 

WotC used intimidation tactics, and it worked. Both miniatures companies backed away.

 

In turn, I will relegate WotC to the ranks of folks that I do not buy from. I will not put them out of business, I have not bought anything from WotC in over a year as it is - due more to lack of interest than any malice. Continuing to do so changes naught.

 

But now I can continue not buying from them, secure in the rosy glow that it now has some thin purpose. (Seriously, I consider 4e to be garbage - I have had no urge to buy anything from the line. What I have seen of 5e, the free playtest material, is better, but not as interesting to me than the games that I already play.) Ignoring WotC costs me nothing.

 

The Auld Grump

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The issue with the Ice Devil is that the name "Ice Devil" as applied to the specific visual representation is WotC's IP. This is why CSM had to change the name and head but can still otherwise produce the miniature. It's that specific combination WotC owns.

 

I am not pleased with their actions but I understand them. Especially as WotC is back in the mini business through Dungeon Command.

 

Finally WotC has not revoked, nor can they, the OGL. What they have done is stop it applying to their products (not already specifically covered by it), which they can do.

 

Interestingly WotC is reprinting their 1E material, likely for 2 reasons; keeping their IP ownership in tact and cashing in on the OSR & seeking to exploit the ability to use the content without adaption in Next. The last is probably a major incentive; you can buy and run these old modules in Next as part of the play test period allowing WotC to continue to generate cash flow in this cycle.

 

Admittedly I'm not spending money with WotC now, because they are not producing content I want or need (though if the reprint the Dragonlance campaign they'll catch me).

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It's just got me wondering if the Tentacles & Eyeballs KS had any similar issues as some of his designs were likewise on the nose..... on the eye.... in the eye of the behol-nevermind.

 

I remember he went through a name change for some things but at least one of his was identical to Monster Manual art.

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WOTC hasn't really been WOTC for a long time now. They're just one small part of a much larger company that is very stringent about protecting their intellectual property. That's just the way things are. Don't see a need to boycott anybody here.

Not boycotting - I am not trying to tell others not to buy from them - if you like their games then go ahead.

 

I have said that I am done with them.

 

I did not buy 4e, I was already unlikely to buy 5e - in short, this is just one more reason why I will not bother. If WotC came out with something fantastic... ... ... I just don't picture that happening, anymore.

 

A larger one is that I like Pathfinder - 5e would have to be better than that, and from what I have seen... it is not.

 

If you like Next then that is fine - have fun playing it, that is what games are for.

 

I also like Paizo - which has an enormous advantage over WotC: it is not owned by a much larger corporate entity that overrides its management.

 

Being owned by either a corporation or by stockholders can do bad, bad things to a game company.

 

*EDIT* I think that WotC is still trying to bring the open nature of the OGL back under its control - they are not suing to sue, they are suing to make it less likely that folks will do what they have a legal right to do.

 

If 5e has the OGL then I will likely look at it, but not likely run or play it. If it tries to do something akin to the GSL then, no, not interested.

 

These maneuverings make me suspect that the OGL is not in the cards, and is more the cause of my comment than the miniatures silliness in and of itself. I skipped some important steps in explaining my thought chain.

 

The Auld Grump

 

Totally agree with all this. But at the same time it does make me feel a bit sad that TSR and WOTC aren't what they used to be, even if my memory is faulty. But on the other hand the difficulties of these gave the smaller guy (Paizo) a opportunity to excel, which they have. Kinda like the dinosaurs and the rise of mammals I think. I just wish that Paizo had been able to keep printing Dungeon and Dragon magazines.

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But at the same time it does make me feel a bit sad that TSR and WOTC aren't what they used to be, even if my memory is faulty.

 

I put WOTC and GW in the same box in that the people at the top making the decisions and holding the purse strings are not and probably never have been gamers or are interested in doing so. On the one hand it's part of why both are so well known and have kept going on the other... soulless corporate entity etc etc. I tend to leave them out of any comparisons to other gaming companies because although their product is in the same field they are operating in a completely different way with a very different customer base through licensed products i.e. novels, games, films etc.

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Hasbro controls WotC, now. When it was just WotC reworking the TSR content, they still took time to release acceptably well-produced and balanced products; there will always be exceptions (due to power gamers), but the early content was far easier to fold into ongoing campaigns. They even resurrected Dragonlance (and contracted with Margaret Weis to further the line) and expanded Greyhawk with every generic D&D book (non Forgotten Realms).

 

Enter Hasbro and WotC was essentially forced to produce more and more products (roughly 1 new book a month in the end), and product quality diminished rapidly; character optimization threads flourished like wild fire during the final two years of 3.5 content. Then, with the advent of 4th edition, which is basically WoW the RPG, WotC cancels their contracts with Paizo, which ends the external creation of Dragon and Dungeon magazines--these two once-great gaming magazines have never been the same since.

 

WotC did 4th and what will be 5th as pure money grabs, and have been universally recognized as such. Mostly, gamers are seeking quality over quantity, and many are willing to wait for better products that avoid excessive rules loopholes or produce more questions than answers due to poorly worded phrasing. Only time will tell what 5th Edition will become after the huge playtest is over and content control reverts solely back to WotC.

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Well it could be said any gaming system that come out with new 'rules' when the old set works is pretty much staging a money grab.....

 

You buy our new system or you'll have trouble playing with any of the new scenarios, sourcebooks and adventures.

 

so if you're slating companies for that the old TSR is just as guilty

 

not that I'm a huge fan of WOTC myself after the hash the ended up making of themselves & the World of Darkness which started out so promisingly, but I think you do need to let them release a rule set now and then

 

D&D 4th wasn't what you wanted, New WOD was not what I wanted, but it was up to them where they took thier properties

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I have to say, I'm disappointed in the change to the Ice Devil. That was my favourite piece in the whole project and I don't love the new version. If they were to do the classy thing and offer an opt-out like Reaper did I might just take them up on it.

 

I encourage you to contact CSM and see if they will do just that.

 

~v

 

I have contacted them to pose the question. If/when I get a reply I'll report back on it.

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Well it could be said any gaming system that come out with new 'rules' when the old set works is pretty much staging a money grab.....

 

You buy our new system or you'll have trouble playing with any of the new scenarios, sourcebooks and adventures.

 

so if you're slating companies for that the old TSR is just as guilty

 

not that I'm a huge fan of WOTC myself after the hash the ended up making of themselves & the World of Darkness which started out so promisingly, but I think you do need to let them release a rule set now and then

 

D&D 4th wasn't what you wanted, New WOD was not what I wanted, but it was up to them where they took thier properties

And it is worth noting that both companies suffered a drop in sales....

 

Just because you can change the nature of your property does not mean that doing so is a good idea.

 

I am not a big fan of the new WoD either - but more because of the changes to the system than to the setting. Dear gods above and below, I do not like their new system.

 

The Auld Grump

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I know that this is a departure from the thread topic, but isn't tangent the true heart of dialog?

 

What about the new system don't you like? My experience with it is from a few brief campaigns I played over a decade ago in high school and college. I remember we always dropped WoD campaigns because the combat rules were so clunky and time consuming. Even though combat plays a minor role in the better RPG systems, I still remember it as being particularly poisonous, and what I've read about nWOD is that it removes a lot of the bloat and clunk from combat without changing core mechanics. I really hope that's true because I just dropped a billion moneys on getting a full set.

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So... apparently I'm an idiot and reported you instead of replying to you. Sorry about that. Here's what I meant to post, but instead sent as the reason for the report:

 

Interesting. In broad strokes, what's different? Because oWoD setting was indeed the tits. Out of all the books, Hunter's the only one that's shown up, and I didn't notice a change in flavor.

 

Although, out of all the WoD games, I hated the only one people play--Vampire. Loved me some Hunter or some Changeling though.

 

I'm awesome.

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