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Jeff

Just a reminder there is no OGL for BRP, RQ, or CoC

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This is just a reminder to folk out there that there is not an Open Game License for BRP, RQ, or CoC. 

Q: Does Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Magic World, the Basic Roleplaying system, Pendragon, or 7th Sea come under the provisions of an Open Game License (OGL)?

A: No.

Q: Is there a System Reference Document (SRD) for Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Magic World, the Basic Roleplaying system, Pendragon, or 7th Sea?

A: No.

Q: Can I rely on the Mongoose RQ SRD to publish material?

A: No. Mongoose’s license for RuneQuest was terminated in April 2011. At that point, Mongoose lost all rights to continue using the RuneQuest trademark, or to create and publish material derivative from the previous copywritten material, or to issue any sublicenses based on that agreement. Since Mongoose no longer had any rights to RuneQuest, it has no ability to issue a third-party license to that material (which is all an OGL is). 

For more information, see https://www.chaosium.com/fan-use-and-licensing-q-a/

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I too would like to know this. I am a Legend fan and have thought about releasing some of my own things for Legend using the OGL as Mongoose seem to have stopped bothering. It is important to have clarification I think. Is there an official answer?

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3 hours ago, seneschal said:

Same with OpenQuest, GORE, and other members of the BRP extended family.

Yeah, I have a couple of things I was thinking of putting up for GORE... but I'm not too clear on the legal stance of it all.

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To the extent someone has made an original work that is not legally derivative of Chaosium's IP, of course they have the right to do with it as they will, including issue a perpetual OGL. That's the WotC OGL - WotC owned D&D outright and could do with it what they wanted, including issue perpetual third party licenses. However, Mongoose's license for RuneQuest was limited in duration. You can't license to others more than you actually have. So when their RuneQuest license was terminated, any licenses they issued under that license died with it.

Edited by Jeff

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5 hours ago, Jeff said:

To the extent someone has made an original work that is not legally derivative of Chaosium's IP, of course they have the right to do with it as they will, including issue a perpetual OGL. That's the WotC OGL - WotC owned D&D outright and could do with it what they wanted, including issue perpetual third party licenses. However, Mongoose's license for RuneQuest was limited in duration. You can't license to others more than you actually have. So when their RuneQuest license was terminated, any licenses they issued under that license died with it.

So to be clear then, the Legend OGL is fine as far as Chaosium is concerned? A simple 'yes' will do. If its a 'no', then an explanation would be good.

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1 hour ago, Carew said:

So to be clear then, the Legend OGL is fine as far as Chaosium is concerned? A simple 'yes' will do. If its a 'no', then an explanation would be good.

Legend is no longer listed as OGL by Mongoose.

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41 minutes ago, albinoboo said:

Legend is no longer listed as OGL by Mongoose.

Oh! That's news. I wonder when that happened?

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2 hours ago, albinoboo said:

Legend is no longer listed as OGL by Mongoose.

I just checked with Mongoose and they don't seem aware of any change so maybe it is still OGL but just not visible?

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12 hours ago, albinoboo said:

Legend is no longer listed as OGL by Mongoose.

It is still listed as OGL within their books. They simply do not provide any free SRD for it. At least this is true of the copies that I have, and their seem to have been no updates to them to remove OGL.

To be clear, I think that Jeff is intentionally speaking in Legaleeze. Re-read the OP again. It appears emphasis is on Titles, and not on other things.

Though, to be fair, IANAL, and there could be something else here that is not apparent to us laymen.

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary

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To be clear, I think that Jeff is intentionally speaking in Legaleeze. Re-read the OP again. It appears emphasis is on Titles, and not on other things.

Well I wish he wouldn't. If someone asks a straight question, it would be more helpful to have a straight answer. He started it it all off with his OP, and he gives straight answers there, so he should so the same with the question about the Legend OGL.

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34 minutes ago, Carew said:

Well I wish he wouldn't. If someone asks a straight question, it would be more helpful to have a straight answer. He started it it all off with his OP, and he gives straight answers there, so he should so the same with the question about the Legend OGL.

There are probably good reasons for that.

If Chaosium is okay with the Legend OGL, it may still not be wise to state that publicly, because that might imply that it is waiving intellectual property rights it might or might not be able to claim; and that might have further repercussions in case someone else tries to publish their own derivative works.

Personally, I can't imagine chaosium trying to pull the plug on Legend and products based on the Legend OGL; for one thing, I guess it's a much more murky case than Open Cthulhu, because the only thing really connecting Legend to chaosium's intellectual property is that its rules are derived from the rules Mongoose has designed based on earlier edition of RQ (and the way I understand it, general rules mechanisms aren't really copyright-protected, only the wording and specific trademarks like "RuneQuest"). Also, it is clear that chaosium and The Design Mechanism (developers of RQ6/Mythras) came to an agreement that allowed TDM to re-brand RuneQuest 6 as Mythras and continue it. It would seem strange if Chaosium would suddenly decide to consider the whole bunch of Legend-OGL-based games (Mythras, OpenQuest, Renaissance) an infringement on their copyright.

However, I don't have any inside knowledge, nor any in-depth knowledge on the legal side of these things ... To me, it seems to make most sense that Chaosium won't state outright that they're okay with Legend-derived games, but that they very well might just keep letting them do their thing - but please don't take this as legal advice!

I don't expect Jeff or anyone else to answer to this post or further direct questions about the Legend OGL; I guess in business, there's sometimes no way around speaking legaleeze - or not speaking at all about some things.

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Whats frustrating is this post comes out of nowhere, answers lots of hypothetical questions very clearly and raises still more. A couple of people ask for an answer about Legend and get an answer that's evasive. Legend has been around a number of years. They must know what the position is. All want is a straight answer. If that answer is 'hey! there are some legal issues that mean it's a bit unclear but we're working on it', I will live with that. But the answer is not clear and I don't speak legaleeze.

Quote

I guess it's a much more murky case than Open Cthulhu

What is Open Cthulhu?

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11 minutes ago, Carew said:

Whats frustrating is this post comes out of nowhere, answers lots of hypothetical questions very clearly and raises still more. A couple of people ask for an answer about Legend and get an answer that's evasive. Legend has been around a number of years. They must know what the position is. All want is a straight answer. If that answer is 'hey! there are some legal issues that mean it's a bit unclear but we're working on it', I will live with that. But the answer is not clear and I don't speak legaleeze.

What is Open Cthulhu?

No, this post didn´t come out of nowhere. 
Chaosium Inc. has send a warning notice to the developers of said "Open Cthulhu", and it has to be made clear that Chaosium Inc. cares about its legal rights. 

"Open Cthulhu" is the attempt to rebuild "Call of Cthulhu" as an open RPG, with copying as much as they can get away with from Call of Cthulhu. 

There are already to many d100 systems and Cthulhu RPGs around, we don´t need more d100 Cthulhu RPGs. There is a fine one already. 

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1 hour ago, Carew said:

If someone asks a straight question, it would be more helpful to have a straight answer.

@Jeff can answer questions only about Chaosium's intellectual property, and even then, there's going to be legalese involved.  Opining about whether or not Mongoose's Legend is acceptably OGL could risk legal exposure to Chaosium if any of this—Lhankor Mhy forbid—winds up in court.  Only Mongoose can publicly state that Legend is an original work and not derived from their RQII SRD (to which Chaosium then may, or may not, object).

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19 minutes ago, AndreJarosch said:

No, this post didn´t come out of nowhere. 
Chaosium Inc. has send a warning notice to the developers of said "Open Cthulhu", and it has to be made clear that Chaosium Inc. cares about its legal rights. 

"Open Cthulhu" is the attempt to rebuild "Call of Cthulhu" as an open RPG, with copying as much as they can get away with from Call of Cthulhu. 

There are already to many d100 systems and Cthulhu RPGs around, we don´t need more d100 Cthulhu RPGs. There is a fine one already. 

This is first I have heard about any Open Cthulhu. I am not really a player of the Cthulhu games so to me, this post comes out of nowhere because it doesn't mention anything about Open Cthulhu.

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1 minute ago, Carew said:

This is first I have heard about any Open Cthulhu. I am not really a player of the Cthulhu games so to me, this post comes out of nowhere because it doesn't mention anything about Open Cthulhu.

I agree: For YOU (and for a a lot of other people) this post came out of nowhere, but the explanation why it was posted at this time, seems to be related with to this "other game", we won´t speak about anymore.  😉

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20 minutes ago, Travern said:

 

@Jeff can answer questions only about Chaosium's intellectual property, and even then, there's going to be legalese involved.  Opining about whether or not Mongoose's Legend is acceptably OGL could risk legal exposure to Chaosium if any of this—Lhankor Mhy forbid—winds up in court.  Only Mongoose can publicly state that Legend is an original work and not derived from their RQII SRD (to which Chaosium then may, or may not, object).

Fair enough. I won't bother with my modest plans if there is no straight answer available. Seems the safest way. Mongoose don't look to be interested in Legend anymore and no straight answer from either when I asked this question on the Mongoose forum and no straight answer here. Back to Pathfinder perhaps.

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19 minutes ago, Carew said:

Mongoose don't look to be interested in Legend anymore and no straight answer from either when I asked this question on the Mongoose forum and no straight answer here.

If Mongoose isn't willing to speak up at present, it sounds like they do not want to be a part of any public debate about Legend's OGL status.

Incidentally, I note that although Mongoose continues to sell Legend and its supplements, they don't seem to have published anything in the line since 2015 (a French translation of Arms of Legend).  Moreover, I recall buying a discount copy of their RQ-based Sláine RPG in late 2016 before it went out of print—which would have been some time before Mongoose removed the original RQ SRD download from their site (a zip of Word docs, not to be confused with the more extensive OGL PDFs).  My guess is that some time after Stafford and the new management came on board at Chaosium, they approached Mongoose about Legend and came to some sort of compromise without going to court.

While I have a copy of Legend and the RQII SRD, I'm beginning to think they're strictly collectors items.

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Legend is still being worked on, they (Mongoose) have just had bigger fish in the net to deal with first. There are books in the works they tell us, but they are not a priority currently.

I keep intending to create my setting into a book and going to them for publishing (I work in Swindon where they are based) or at least their seal of approval but it's getting round to making it....

Sam / Bifford

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If you prefer to work with Mongoose, that's a choice; them being local I suppose makes for certain conveniences!

It's also worth noting that other publishers do licensing deals with 3rd parties.

TDM/Mythras is publishing a relatively-extensive Classic Fantasy line by Leary, and has licensed Redd of Frostbyte Books, who publishes  M-Space and Odd Soot, with more products in the pipeline.

D101's The Company is the work of a freelancer who seems to have done a LOT of the creative/dev work, not just a "write to spec" assignment from Newt.

And of course Chaosium themselves do bunches of work with freelancers.  There was Darker Hue Studios' award-winning Harlem Unbound, and it looks like a Reign Dragon is bringing out a new setting for MagicWorld.

So if you prefer Mongoose, that's one thing... but the lack of a BRP OGL/SRD doesn't really look like it should decide how you develop your project.  Pick the mechanics you prefer, and ask the publisher of that product about licensing options!

 

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1 hour ago, g33k said:

TDM/Mythras is publishing a relatively-extensive Classic Fantasy line by Leary, and has licensed Redd of Frostbyte Books, who publishes  M-Space and Odd Soot, with more products in the pipeline.

Yah, the Mythras Gateway license - not OGL, but it  looks pretty straightforward:  

http://thedesignmechanism.com/resources/Mythras Gateway License Public.pdf

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7 hours ago, g33k said:

D101's The Company is the work of a freelancer who seems to have done a LOT of the creative/dev work, not just a "write to spec" assignment from Newt.

 

Small correction, The Company was written to spec, a very loose spec ("Write me a Modern Day OpenQuest which isn't Secret Service vs the Supernatural") , but a spec none the less that I had final approval on.  Same with River of Heaven.  That being said I do accept interesting pitches for OpenQuest based adventures or games, and probably as part of the upcoming OpenQuest 3 will be making an announcement about how I intend to work with people.  And of course, people are free to use the OQ SRD for their own adventures and games, as long as they don't use IP they don't have written permission to do so (see Section 7 of the OGL itself

I can also attest that the Design Mechanism (via Loz who deals the licensing side) are easy to work with on the Mythras Gateway license. I'm currently working on a scenario book that will see the light of day later in the year. But the key to understanding the Gateway license is that you have to work with the DM and not just go away and do your own thing once they've granted it ;)

I can also say that working with Chaosium to do licensed products (I have a small commercial license for Hearts in Glorantha, and I'm currently exploring the option of doing 3rd Party Call of Cthulu books) has been a joy (in fact Glorious Joy ;) )   Again the main thing here to avoid problems is to ask respectfully before you do anything with their IP. Without going into details, there are numerous things that never got past "idea stage" because I've contacted them and found out it overlaps with something they are planning. 

On the matter of the OpenQuest's OGL, I'll make a proper statement when its all worked out but it will be getting a new clear OGL soon (and before I release OQ3 which is currently looking like an end of summer Kickstarter). If you are currently using OQ's SRD, and are properly crediting me in Section 15 as you should be by the terms of the OGL itself, there should be no need to retrospectively apply this license (i.e. existing books that use the OQ SRD). In short don't worry ;) (as I said I'll make a clearer statement once the new OGL is sorted). 

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2 hours ago, Newt said:

I can also say that working with Chaosium to do licensed products (I have a small commercial license for Hearts in Glorantha, and I'm currently exploring the option of doing 3rd Party Call of Cthulu books) has been a joy (in fact Glorious Joy ;) )   Again the main thing here to avoid problems is to ask respectfully before you do anything with their IP. Without going into details, there are numerous things that never got past "idea stage" because I've contacted them and found out it overlaps with something they are planning. 

We talk to all licensees at the conceptual stage to ensure projects don't overlap or compete with stuff being done or planned by other licensees, or by Chaosium itself. This is pretty standard practice everywhere, and is to everyone's benefit and protection. Usually this is just a brief discussion with the relevant line editor.

Note: an exception to this is community content (the Miskatonic Repository, and soon, the Jonstown Compendium). There you can literally do what you want, and there is no approval process whatsoever - we don't view, vet, or approve anything in community content before it goes live. Just follow the guidelines

 

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