|From:||"Robert A. Hayden" <hayden@*******.MANKATO.MSUS.EDU>|
|Subject:||Additional clarification requested on FASA Copyright Issues|
|Date:||Tue, 27 Sep 1994 16:55:12 -0500|
Cc : Shadowrun Discussion List <shadowrn@*****.nic.SURFnet.nl>,
NERPS Working List <nerps@*****.nic.SURFnet.nl>
This is a follow-up letter to the one that I sent you last month
inquiring as to FASA's position on issues of the Internet and copyright
concerns. Unfortunately, it was not until just recently that I received
your reply, most likely because the computer I originally mailed you from
was shut down in mid-August.
There are several issues that, as both mailing list administrator and
interested party, I would like to get some clarifications on.
1) Part #2 of your letter begins "Any electronic material that includes or
reference any of FASA copyrights or trademarks must include the
statement (in all copies)" [it then goes on to list this
The question arises as to whether this applies to the mailing lists.
Would any mention of any FASA term, product, or name require the
inclusion of that entire statement? If this is the case, it will
have the effect of virtually shutting down ALL communication with
regards to your games not only on mailing lists, but also on
UseNET or any other electronic forum.
If point #2 of your letter only applies to electronic publications,
such as the NERPS or NAGEE e-books, a clarification is needed.
In addition, the concept of what exactly a "publication" is needs
to be dealt with. Certainly, a message posted to UseNET can be
said to have been "published" in a way, as could an e-mail message
posted to a public mailing list.
2) My second question is as to the NERPS manuals. Certainly your letter
allows for the continued production of NERPS books (I know of at
least two that are already in pre-production). But, there are
two issues that need to be addressed.
The first issue is related to point #2 of your letter. NERPS
ShadowLore and NERPS Foundations were both released PRIOR to
receiving your letter. Neither of them have the exact wording
that your spelled out in your letter. Instead, wording similar
to that used in the NAGEE was used. I'll repeat the core of it
here, but I do not have a copy in hand, so this is from memory.
Shadowrun is a registered trademark of FASA Inc. They actually
make money off the game
This compilation copyright 1994 by Robert A. Hayden
The copyright of each article is held by the original author
The question is, essentially, "Is there going to be a problem?" I
can re-press the postscript and RTF images to include new wording,
if you feel it is necessary.
In addition, with regards to the NERPS manuals, there is the question
as to the distribution via paper. When we started NERPS way back
when, we wanted to produce something of high quality that was
still free, using an idea similar to the freeware concept in
software. It would allow people to use the product for free and
actually required that nobody make any money off of it, but it did
allow for covering the cost of the media (which is for paper,
binding, and postage).
Following the instructions in point #4 of your letter, this practice
has ceased. Unfortunately, there are many issues that have come
up that need to be further clarified. For example:
If you have to pay to print out a copy of the NERPS manuals on a
laser printer, is that a violation? What if you have to pay for
space to even STORE an electronic version of the book?
If a person has a copy of the manual, and a friend wants to make
a photocopy at Kinkos, are they prohibited because they would have
have to pay at the counter when done? If so, who is liable for
If I print out a copy of the manual, your wording prohibits me
from mailing via U.S. Mail that printout to a friend. It would
also technically prohibit me from carrying it on a flight if I
went to visit them by aircraft.
Because of these logistical nightmares, I am wondering if explicit
permission can be given specifically for NERPS (and perhaps NAGEE
as well, but I am not part of that production) that allows for
money to change hands to cover the cost of the media and for
shipping, but not for contents. This is a practice similar to
that used by shareware distributors.
By giving explicit permission that covers ONLY the NERPS publications,
you would not, I believe, be endangering your copyrights or
trademarks as you have not "failed to act" on any perceived
copyright violations (but, of course, you are best advised to
consult with a copyright attorney, because I am very likely
wrong.) This would be consistent with the concerns you outlined
in paragraph three of your original letter.
I'd like to thank you for your time. I feel that these issues are
important and need to be addressed so that FASA and other gaming
companies can make the best use of the Internet possible, and still
maintain control over their intellectual property.
If I can be of further assistance or if you need additional detail, please
feel free to contact me via e-mail at hayden@*******.mankato.msus.edu or
via telephone at (507) 389-2032.
I look forward to your reply.
Robert A. Hayden
____ Robert A. Hayden <=> hayden@*******.mankato.msus.edu
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