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 Post subject: Question about IP
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:21 pm
Posts: 14
Hello everyone.

I have a problem I'm not sure how should I cope with.

I'm currently writing a HE/DE fanfic (unlucky, in my native so I can't post it there - I don't feel good enough in English). I'll be honest, I'm proud of my work, which is long, complex and rather ambitious. I used many ideas and my - now - novel is so long and took so much work from me, that I came to a conclusion, that I would like to get a reward.

But, there is a problem. GW no more supports WFRP setting, and my story is definitely in the universe from before AoS. I even wrote to them to make it sure, and they confirmed what I suspected.

And now... I don't expect any financial benefits from my writing. I love setting, and writing about WFRP was great pleasure and adventure, and I'd gladly publish it non-profit, but there's another point in GW's IP policy which bothers me.

It's about professional distribution. Tbh, I won't be pleased with simply publishing it on some fanfiction page. I won't deny, that I want to reach to some wider spectrum of readers, and was planning something like publishing non-profit ebook, but it seems that GW banes even that, allowing me to publish it only for few. Do I understand it well? Is that point preventing me from publishing my story, even non-profit, as an ebook or something similar?

My second thought was to make extremely similar, but rather parallel universe instead of literally WFRP. You know, to change geographical names, historical names and some facts, titles etc., but... I wonder if it protects me from allegations of plagiarism. My story contains 80% of original characters (I used only Teclis and Phoenix King as non-OCs) and not much of fluff, but I still fear that something like "elven kingdom on an island, in constant state of war with other elven kingdom on the cold-climate continent in west" will also be protected by GW's IP. And hell, I simply don't like the idea of creating imitation, but it seems, that if I want my story be published and widely available, it's best way to achieve it.

What would you do? I put great effort in my novel, not to make it another "Adventures of my character from RPG session" type of short, and now I want to be able to show it to some wider audience and - maybe - be noticed.

PS. I wrote just to BL. Maybe I shoud write to licenses guys and try my luck there? What do you think?


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 Post subject: Re: Question about IP
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:03 pm
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What language is it written in, out of curiousity?

RE: copyright - I suspect you'd be on thin ice publishing with Teclis, Ulthuan etc namechecked, although maybe NFP might get you around that? But I would have thought if you change key names you could get away with it - afterall, WH world is built on tropes...sickly high mage/warrior bro, island elves, dark vs high elves, elves and dragons...it wouldn't take much fudging to make the world your own. A new map, different names, a different timeline, different fonts/artwork - how different does it need to be to be your own...or how similar does it need to be to cause problems?

I can't actually answer the legal q's, but that's my worth nothing view on it ;).

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 Post subject: Re: Question about IP
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:21 pm
Posts: 14
Polish.

You think that that sort of changes would do that? :)
I find no problem in changing names and geography, but I wonder, how much can I keep. Several minor parts of fluff influences the plot quite a bit (image of crying mother-godess, fire bird as a royal symbol, as well as symbol of highest god), and I find it a bit crippling to change them, but I fear that GW could take this as plagiarism.

With Teclis things should be fine, because he's basically bit part and appears maybe three times throughout whole plot, so major changes in him should not make a problem.

Eh, I think that when I'm done I'll try to ask for a license, and if I won't get it, I publish an imitation.

Sad, but Age of Sigmar buried my hopes for anything better :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Question about IP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:22 pm 
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Location: The city of Spires
If you want any definitive advise I would advise you to seek professional council. Only a (local) lawyer can point out the exact legal issues as they apply to you.

Another issue to keep in mind is that there is a difference between being right and getting your right. GW is a big (and not very friendly) corporation with probably an in-house lawyer or legal department. Even if you are legally allowed to publish what you publish, what will you do if they send you a letter telling you to stop or they would sue you. For them a legal issue like this is minor. However, for you it can become quite expensive. And there is then always a chance of losing.

As for how far you have to change stuff, that always depends. It's probably complicated now that you've actually send them a letter. Otherwise you can always claim that any resemblance is accidental. Which is now more difficult to achieve. What you need to keep in mind is that nothing is original. There have been crying goddesses (think virgin Mary for instance), fire birds (the phoenix is a well know fantasy trope), crippled hero's, haughty elves, bad elves, bad guys coming from wintery continents, Island nations and so on.

The main important things are skipping names (although you can't copyright names), create your own backstory and map, and not taking over situations one on one. So having a crippled elf mage named Silcet who is blessed by the magical god and who has a heroic twin brother named Noiryt who is a strong contender for the throne of their island nation is probably not a good idea. But if you turn it into a blind elf mage named Elphion, who has dedicated his life to the patron god of mages and who is a childhood friend (from the same village perhaps) of a great elven general Alexander who is nephew of the king and protector of the throne and you're good to go. Same idea, different enough execution.

Gods are an easy one. Just give them a different name, give them different internal connections and you're all set. Fantasy pantheons all look roughly the same.

One thing that could be tricky is if chaos plays a large role in your story or not. Chaos is one of the few distinct GW items, which are found in other places, but they're not very common. If they don't play a large role I would suggest leaving them out. If they do you might have to rethink their part.

Rod

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 Post subject: Re: Question about IP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 2:41 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:21 pm
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Phew. No, chaos is fully to skip. Everything's about gods. :D

Thanks for help, Rod. I understand that GW is a bit ruthless to all signs of violating their IP policy, so I'll read it several times more before any publishing, and make it sure, that I'll be protected. Plus for me, that I'll surely publish it in polish and non-profit, so I don't see much chances, that GW will get to know about me (again). Still, it's always better to keep as much from the universe changed, as possible.

And well, now I think that asking for license is pointless. They'll surely ask me for script before that, and if they won't grant me a license, any pretending that my work is not connected to Warhamer in case of later publication will be unbelievable.

Many thanks once more!

Silcet <3


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