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Re: Rules for submitting licenses for review

On Sat, 2005-08-27 at 12:01 -0700, Sean Kellogg wrote:
> But the text is an embodiment of the expression of the game...

Is it? If I take, for example, the experience progression tables from
the d20 system I can easily determine that they use a simple
mathematical formula. I can extract this formula and then use to it
produce my own tables for experience. Clearly, in this case, the text is
not the embodiment of the game. I would imagine it depends on what you
define a game mechanic to be.

> Well, the industry is very much of the opinion that it is copyrightable...  so 
> absent case law or clear statutory language to the contrary, I'm having a 
> tough time believing they are not copyrightable.  In these instances, 
> industry custom carries a lot of weight.

I would point you to games such as Tunnels and Trolls, Warhammer FRP and
others which closely mimic the rules of Dungeons and Dragons and have
been published for years within the industry. The industry has a long
history of copying rules from other games and, is in fact reliant on the
sharing of game mechanics and concepts (dice pools, alignment,
attributes, etc). Wizard's of the Coast do not constitute the industry.

> But a math formula is not original expression, nor is it an original idea 
> (which is why it's not protectable under patent law either).  As for recipes, 
> yes, they are copyrighted. 

I understood mere lists of ingredients were not copyrightable unless
"accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an
explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as
in a cookbook."[1]

> As a broader point...  the line that distinguishes ideas from expression (and 
> thus copyright law from patent law) is anything but clear.

I would agree there is no clear legal precedent here, one way or the

[1] http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html

Ricardo Gladwell <ricardo.gladwell@gmail.com>

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