Dearest Wizards. These are MY Terms & Conditions

The following Happy Gamer Policy applies and overrides any previous license, terms & conditions or fan site policy. By agreeing to sell me your products, you also agree to these Terms & Conditions.

You agree to make the best version of Dungeons & Dragons you can. You agree to sell it at a fair price, and you will not attempt to place limits on what I can and cannot do. This includes not restricting what I can say on this blog, Twitter, Facebook, in person or anywhere else.

Make the best version of the game we love, and you have nothing to worry about. We will say only good things about you, not because of a policy or a license agreement, but because we want to. If you recognise this simple truth, everything else will follow.

Above all, you recognise that free speech is one of the most important freedoms of all.

I have checked with my “suit” (it’s in the wardrobe), but it didn’t say anything. It’s a suit.

24 Comments on “Dearest Wizards. These are MY Terms & Conditions”

  1. That’s great!

    I do hope you’re not under the impression that WotC is trying to restrict your speech, though. You can say whatever you want about WotC on the internet or anywhere else, but if you want to use their logos you need to abide by certain rules. If you don’t want to follow those rules, you lose the privilege of being able to use those trademark assets on your site.

    That’s all.
    .-= Scott´s last blog ..Burnt Offerings and Skinsaw Murders PDFs Updated =-.

  2. @Scott Why should there be rules at all? Couldn’t they just release the images under some form of Creative Commons license and encourage folks to get creative with the material? Why do they have to say “if you use the images, you have to put a copyright notice on every page, can’t edit the images and cannot derive revenue from your site”?

    Why do they feel the need to state “we cannot allow Wizards Materials be used on any Fan Site that promotes sexually explicit materials, violence, discrimination or illegal activities, or makes disparaging, libellous or dishonest statements about Wizards and/or its products, employees and agents”. Honestly – are they arbiters of quality on my blog now?

    No, sorry. I don’t accept those terms, not at all. Thanks, but no thanks.

  3. @ Scott, the largest issue is one of misleading the masses. WotC’s Fan Site “Policy” is actually a liscense, and it leads people who read it who don’t have a basic understanding of Fair Use or IP Law into believing that they have to abide by those terms to be able to talk about or create content for WotC’s products.

    The document is misleading, it asks that you give up a large amount of legal right for a few pictures… no, that’s wrong.

    Now, if they want to release a real fan site policy, that would be a service to the community, but this farce is an insult to our intelligence and a sad ploy for control over there consumer base.
    .-= Francis B´s last blog ..VG Meet DnD: The Smoker from Left 4 Dead =-.

  4. @Greywulf: regardless of the amount of emotional ownership we as gamers feel over DnD, we still need to appreciate the laws of the land — in this case those of the intellectual property sort. If WOTC doesn’t want their logos to appear on sites that also peddle “hot XXX chixx” for the warm hand towel enjoyment of some dude in his basement, that’s their right. It’s their logo. Not yours. Not mine. Considering that logos and other such branding-related materials identify a company, I don’t blame them one bit for wanting to have some control over how their name, and therefore reputation, is used by those outside the company.

    Deal with it. It’s the law.

  5. @Greywulf The logos provided are trademarked assets. Trademarks, unlike copyrights, need to be controlled and defended from misuse by the owner, or else they lose the protective rights provided by those trademarks. In other words, if they say “Hey, use the Wizards logo and D&D logo on WHATEVER!” anyone can use them, for anything, and can successfully defend that use from legal challenge by WotC. I doubt it would ever pop up anywhere as odd as a porn site, but it could be used on the lowest-quality, most sexually-explicit D&D-related material imaginable and could easily give the uneducated individual the impression that said material is somehow supported by WotC, when that is VERY MUCH not the case.

    And no, they’re not the arbiters of quality on your blog. They’re the arbiters of quality for those who choose to USE THEIR LOGOS ON NON-WOTC SITES. If you don’t want them to be arbiters of quality, they’re not! Look at that! So easy! You just don’t get the privilege of using their trademarked assets.
    .-= Scott´s last blog ..Burnt Offerings and Skinsaw Murders PDFs Updated =-.

  6. Wizards’s undoubtably gain from the use of the logos through advertising and associated revenues. Thus its a two way exchange and negotiation around the fan site policy can occur. Of course its highly unlikey Wizards will be moved unless there is an overwhelming response from their fan base (ie the purchasers and advertisers of their goods) but you never know!

  7. :sigh:

    All this talk of Intellectual Property this and Trademark that, with Terms & Conditions and Laws and Rights ‘n’ stuff. IT’S A FUCKING GAME, PEOPLE! It’s supposed to be fun, not restrictive or tied up in red tape.

    Oh, and Intellectual Property is a myth that deserves to die a flaming death in the lowest pits of hell alongside the lawyers who invented it, imho.

    @drow One blogpost saying you’re unhappy about something does not a mountain make. It IS possible to be annoyed about a molehill and still recognise it as being a molehill, y’know?

  8. I fear once again, in trying to keep hold of their handful of sand that it will slip through their fingers to companies whose business model is a little more flexible and who can plan development of electronic versions of those assets.

    @Jeremy & Scott: A year for a website policy/license/whatever is too late! The horse already bolted! Those sites mis-using the logos are already doing so and had a year head start. If you’re serious about brand protection then you start when you sell the product – not over a year in. It’s not as if WoTC are new to this or D&D (and fan sites) haven’t been around over 10 years…

    Wait, they have.

    So, there you have it. As Pathfinder goes out of print on pre-order WoTC release a small collection of images wrapped in a license to squelch use of those images to promote sales of their product and creation of fan material using those images or other assets by it’s customers.

    I’d call it self-sabotage, frankly.
    .-= satyre´s last blog ..toolkit: zero sum =-.

  9. “Oh, and Intellectual Property is a myth that deserves to die a flaming death in the lowest pits of hell alongside the lawyers who invented it, imho.”

    Assuming for a second I agree with you here (which I don’t), then it’s still not Wizards’ job to make the world a better place and fight the idea of intellectual property. It’s the job of the US government.

  10. it’s the bit where they say that you’re not allowed to put your own free-to-use material on your own website/blog that”s a kick in the teeth. what are they trying to do, kill the hobby?
    If we’re talk intellectual property, aren’t they resitricitng ours with that rule?

  11. P.S.: to Wizards of the Coast. You have GOT TO REALIZE that Dungeons and Dragons, by its very nature, INSPIRES DERIVATIVE WORKS! Either stop selling Dungeons and Dragons altogether, or allow us — the fans — to create derivative works on our sites.
    .-= Elton´s last blog ..Review: Robotech the Shadow Chronicles =-.

  12. Marcus said:

    “Assuming for a second I agree with you here (which I don’t), then it’s still not Wizards’ job to make the world a better place and fight the idea of intellectual property. It’s the job of the US government.”

    I’m sorry, Marcus, but Intellectual Property is a dead dinosaur that is an actually animated flesh golem with it’s flesh falling off. IP officially died in 1979 when ArcNet came online; this became apparent with the development of the World Wide Web and web browsers.

    Really, I think it’s nonsense that a fansite kit had to be developed. If the U.S. Government is going to get rid of copyright, then Copyright violation must happen. Although the honest in heart will abide by Copyright Law, the pirates and those who believe in a free information policy must continually break the law to show the Government that Copyright does not actually exist in a world where any Information (including a Wizards’ book) can be got for free.

    Pirates are those who provide information created by others for a buck (there is a lot of them). I don’t like them, since they cause this kind of havoc in the first place.
    .-= Elton´s last blog ..Review: Robotech the Shadow Chronicles =-.

  13. If Hasbro can squeeze money out of D&D it will. What you will see happening now is a whole slew of new RPG’s coming out. Just like in the 80’s and 90’s. WoTC is killing their own product.

  14. While I can understand WotC not wanting their logos used on explicit sites, the notion that a company can create a game in which you are encouraged to create stuff can say, “Hey, I know we sold this to you so you could make stuff with it, but we don’t want you to share anything you make” is a load of crap.
    .-= Josh´s last blog ..Why is Wizards of the Coast Scared? =-.

  15. i still think its important to distinguish the act of playing the game, which is FUN, from the act of licensing, distributing, and otherwise managing the business of the game, which is NOT FUN. and its okay that its NOT FUN because we’re all likely to just ignore it and go do interesting things anyway.

  16. from the future…

    The individuals involved were engaging in unspeakable acts, too numerous, various, and blasphemous to mention, while dressed as characters from the popular Dungeons and Dragons game, published by Wizards of the Coast, a division of Hasbro, whose stock has utterly and completely tanked this morning in the backlash.

    Police say that the specific characters and monsters involved were drawn from images recently published by the so-called “Wizards of Sin” as part of some sort of nympho-mania inducing “fan site kit”. “We’ve never had this sort of thing happen at a GenCon, or on this massive of a scale,” stated police officials. “I mean, some crazy con-sex between elves, sure, but this…” He trailed off and wept for the bleak dystopian future of his children.

    “Gamers clearly did something stupid,” opined President Obama, who called on Congress to pass an emergency ban on the D&D game, which “used to be just satanic, but has clearly descended to a whole new level of depravity.”

    Meanwhile, company officials responsible are widely believed to be preparing for mass-suicide. A final press release has been made, in which they regret their actions and the horrific nightmare of demons which shall be unleashed from the Gates of Stygia as a direct result, and lament that it could have all been avoided by a simple acceptable use statement accompanying the responsible images.

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