Athas.org's original charter: 3.x development


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #82

I found a lot of proofreading errors in one of the dark sun books and when I mentioned it to Flip, was given the opportunity to edit and proofread it. I’m not sure how much I can say prior to my edits being accepted or rejected. I don’t think it would make a difference either way, but I’d prefer to get an okay from Flip before I go into details, just in case. If it is accepted, then we should see one of the downloadable books get an update to a new version.


(Sébastien Gamache) #83

Any news on this? I’m curious.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #84

I have not heard back from Flip on this. I’m still waiting on him.

Sent him a PM in addition to my previous email. ^^


#85

Does this mean that Dark Sun Online could be resurrected if it was done with 3rd Ed. rules?

Is this license still effective?

It also implies that 2nd Ed. is not available for development?


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #86

The charter only covers the production of 3.x rpg material here on this site. Electronic games are not covered by the original charter, to the best of my knowledge.

WotC has not come forth with any new information regarding the charter of any of the official websites. So it’s a case of everyone assumes it’s still in effect as WotC hasn’t said anything to the contrary yet.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #87

For those who are interested, and given that this is the thread about the Charter, here is the content of the Agreement (Please take note of Item 5, that’s the one I’m always going on about):


Official Homepage Requirements

Wizards of the Coast values its intellectual property a great deal, and it also values its customers who make purchase decisions based on their love of the IP. As sales dwindle on certain worlds that we create, we make the decision to no longer produce printed materials for these worlds. As Wizards of the Coast desires to keep previous customers happy with the investment they have made with our products, we allow select websites to take over the duties of providing new materials for retired intellectual properties.

In order to be considered an official website, the site must:

  1. Portray the intellectual property in a manner consistent with its positioning. This information can be found in the Brand Positioning documents. In lieu of these documents, work with the Brand Manager of D&D Worlds on an approved look.

  2. Retain the iconic heroes, locations, magical items, and artifacts. Official sites are not allowed to kill off major PCs, destroy well-known artifacts, and similar activities.

  3. Official sites must have links back to the Wizards of the Coast website that tie to:

  • Message Boards
  • Chat Rooms
  • Mailing Lists
  • Online Catalog
  • Online Store
  • Campaign Worlds
  • Dragon Magazine
  • Dungeon Adventures
  • Player Registry
  • Books

Official sites also must:

  1. …not create their own community sections that duplicate those services and features offered by the Wizards of the Coast website.

  2. Provide new content for fans within the guidelines in sections A and B. While there is a great deal of latitude granted in this regard, official websites should remain in close contact with the Brand Manager of D&D Worlds (oracle@wizards.com).

  3. Keep Wizards of the Coast related materials separate from other non-game sections of the website. This means we don’t want to see other business ventures mixed in with our intellectual property, such as pornographic offerings, get-rich-quick schemes, etc.

  4. Conduct its activities in a professional and businesslike manner. This means that all actions on the part of visitors to the website should conform to generally accepted business standards. Sites should never sell visitor information records to other firms for the purpose of marketing, for instance.

  5. Refer players to the Other Worlds section of the Wizards of the Coast page instead of their own URL. While many fans will bookmark your own page anyway, it’s important that fans receive the other information presented at the Other Worlds section.

  6. Make the material available for free. You’re not allowed to charge for access to official products.

We encourage fan sites to begin making updates to their content to bring it in-line with 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons as soon as possible. We will begin phasing out web pages that do not offer 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons content soon after the launch of the new game system in August 2000.

In exchange for providing all of the official new material for an intellectual property, Wizards of the Coast agrees to:

  • Provide prizes and other support materials at a level established by the D&D Worlds Brand Manager.

  • Establish a direct link from the Wizards of the Coast web page to the official fan site.

  • Have only a single source for all official content, that being your site. Other sites that wish to be listed as part of the IP will be directed to the official website.

This agreement will change as business necessities force us to alter the manner in which we do business. Should the intellectual property currently being supported by the official website be brought back into print, the official status of the web site will be removed and Wizards of the Coast will begin creating new content to support the relaunch of the game (or work with the current official site to migrate content over). (Italics added)

Content created on the official website is considered to be derivative work (as it is based on the intellectual property owned by Wizards of the Coast). This means that fan-created add-ons (such as new net books, adventures, etc.) are jointly owned by both Wizards of the Coast and the creator; neither can do anything outside the official website without the permission of the other.

Good Gaming!
Jim Butler, Brand Manager
D&D Worlds
Wizards of the Coast, Inc.


This Concludes the official Agreement.

Note that depending on how the italicized section just above is interpreted, the publishing of the 4th ed version of Dark Sun could be interpreted as having already ended Athas’ charter, since it was “brought back into print,” even if it wasn’t a 3.x product. As the owner of the website works for WotC (last I heard) I imagine that it wouldn’t be hard to obtain permission, unless it was considered a conflict of interest.

Since no official statement clarifying whether this is or is not the case, we arrive at our current circumstances.


#88

A lot to unpack there. I can’t see a conflict of interest as there is no financial harm, we keep to the canon, there’s no competition, and the reach of the brand is only increased by this website. I appreciate your posting that full charter. I will review it intently.

It’s long been my dream to piece back together DSO. I will be careful how I tread on this topic, no need to kick a hornet’s nest.

We’re eight years since the last DSun publication out of WotC… 4e rerelease didn’t sell well?


#89

Nijineko - good find. All I can say is that its out of print now lol.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #90

The only conflict of interest I was speaking of was regarding the owner of the site specifically. With regards to an electronic game, that’s more of a licensing issue and rights issue. Who currently owns the rights to produce a product derivative game? Either WotC or some game company, depending on if the rights reverted or not once the work was done.

For example, Steve Jackson Games has long been in a fix with regards to the Car Wars based computer game Autoduel. As was common back in the day, the rights for producing electronic games was signed over to Origin System, and eventually wound up in the hands of EA when they purchased all the IP owned by Origin. As such, SJG cannot produce an MMO, or any kind of electronic game for that matter, based on the Car Wars property. They’ve been trying to negotiate the return of those rights for decades.

Any such effort would have to enter negotiations or at least discussions with WotC lawyers before proceeding, lest any fan work get shut down mid-stream for infringement on the right to produce the game, not use of IP, per se.

Having said all of that, I’d be very interested in a 3.x based Dark Sun game that really brought psionics to life.


#91

Thank you for your continued input. Looks like SSI became part of Ubisoft many years ago. I will examine this issue carefully. I will start with a contact to Ubisoft.


(nijineko prismaticpsion) #92

No problems! I’d also reach out to WotC’s lawyers or similar, chances are they know who has which rights currently. After all, the SJG thing happened decades ago, and they were a small company who was busy recovering from being raided by the Secret Service. ^^ Times change. Especially since Hasbro owns WotC, very little chance of any IP “getting lost”, as it were.