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Posts made in June, 2014

Old Games Need Never Die

Old Games Need Never Die

By on Jun 26, 2014 in General, RPGs | 0 comments

Do you have any hand-drawn maps, background fiction, or filled-in character sheets from games in days gone by? Turns out, it may belong in a museum! Just the other day I was creating a character for a roleplaying game a friend of mine I’ve known since college will be running. In an e-mail exchange he mentioned he still had a character sheet that I’d used in a game that happened 15 years ago. That’s a very special sort of nostalgia, one that may only be rivaled by finding poetry or fiction you wrote as an adolescent, and I immediately smiled remembering even the many awkward missteps I made being so new to roleplaying. In one of those synchronistic moments, the very next morning I learned of The Play Generated Map & Document Archive on the Ken And Robin Talk About Stuff (hosted by fiction and gaming luminaries slash raconteurs Kenneth Hite and Robin Laws) podcast. The purpose of the archive is best described in its mission statement: PlaGMaDA’s mission is to preserve, present, and interpret play generated cultural artifacts, namely manuscripts and drawings created to communicate a shared imaginative space.  The Archive will solicit, collect, describe, and publicly display these documents so as to demonstrate their relevance, presenting them as both a historical record of a revolutionary period of experimental play and as aesthetic objects in their own right.  By fostering discussion and educating the public, it is hoped that the folkways which generate these documents can be encouraged and preserved for future generations.  While I am not sure of the value to those outside the hobby, at least currently, as someone engaged with it in my personal as well as professional life I must say that I wish them luck. I’m even going to look through some old folders I found during a recent move, hopefully finding something I can donate. If you’re at all interested in helping them out, please take a look at the Participate page and let your friends (especially those who no longer play) know about the project. For those curious about the copyright of things like characters, character sheets, or story materials generated playing a game someone else has a copyright on (because intellectual property is something many people online tend to be...

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The War of the Lord of the Rings

The War of the Lord of the Rings

By on Jun 11, 2014 in Announcements, Film, News | 0 comments

Big licenses are often a source of serious conflicts, especially when the property has a strong following or is worth enormous amounts of money. In the case of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, primarily The Lord of the Rings but also The Hobbit, both cultural cache and lucrative deals are a factor. A History of Trouble This has led to a number of lawsuits surrounding those properties, with a number of the bigger claims occurring in the 2000s, mostly revolving around people involved with the rights to the film feeling like they weren’t getting what they were owed. In the news now is the battle between the J.R.R. Tolkien Estate Limited and Warner Bros. over whether Warner has overstepped the bounds of its license (with Warner Bros. counterclaiming that the Estate has harmed Warner by improperly revoking certain rights). Why Now? While I am certain that there are many reasons that this suit is picking up steam, and you can click through to The Hollywood Reporter here to see some of the action, what it really boils down to is Warner’s recent move to license tie-ins that include online gambling games that use Tolkien’s works as a theme. Not only does that have the already-protective Estate upset, reason enough for them to challenge these download or cloud-based products, but they claim that it and works like it violate the limited right to create “tangible” products given to the studio under the agreement. An Old Agreement Apparently the source of contention is what the specific terms of that agreement were or meant, something you would hope to be contained in the four corners of the document itself, but with evidence (in the form of witnesses and work-product) being fought for tooth-and-nail by both sides it seems that things are messier than outsiders could have imagined. This is likely in part because the agreement is decades old, meaning that applying it to the current markets using the language of its day opens up room of interpretation… but we can’t know for certain right...

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