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Legal ramifications of releasing a system based on a pre-existing setting

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Are you posting it for free or selling it? Most copyright holders are not going to spend a lot of money pounding a fan-made freebie into dust. They'll just ask you to take it down. Selling it is a different story. In that case, you should change the names of things.


--- Quote from: Alea Iacta Est on January 06, 2022, 11:40:55 PM ---So I've started making an rpg system based around the Tokyo Ghoul setting, and I'm confident in the rules to stand on their own legally since I'm not copy pasting rules from other systems, but I'm not so sure about what I can and can't do when posting the finished product.  What exactly should I know when posting the game?

--- End quote ---

So, what answers are you getting on legal forums, what advice from your SCORE mentor, what feedback are you getting from the copyright owners themselves.  Of course, you didn't waste time creating anything before becoming certain you were not going to get permission./


--- Quote from: Alea Iacta Est on January 09, 2022, 11:43:07 PM ---I did include clear names of concepts directly from the setting, such as the kagune types, organizations, and other things.

--- End quote ---
I'd replace these things. You can make things similar-enough without using IP. Think Halflings instead of Hobbits.

If it's small you'll probably have no problems. Green Ronin built a whole setting (which is pretty good actually) doing that with Marvel and DC IPs. They basically renamed and reskinned everything.

For example, their premier superhero league has a leader who flies, is super-strong, and lives in an isolated fortress. This character has a unique name and came to Earth as a baby, sent here from a doomed dimension (not a different planet, a different dimension) and gained his powers because of the difference in the laws of physics in our dimension and his original one. Here you can see how they ripped off Superman changing just enough to be different.

They did that with pretty much everything Marvel/DC - to the point you can just take the numbers and rename the characters back and play in the Marvel or DC universes if you wish.

As a publisher I can say this, "If you were to ask if you can write in world with our settings, we would ask for a royalty (small) if you were selling."

Many other publishers I know feel the same way.  A letter of intent, or query to write can move mountains, and keep you out of copywrite court.  I have asked and been turned down very politely before, and at other times I was given the greenlight, as long as I made sure to reference the company/IP owner and give proper attribution.  Many company sites have these terms listed in the FAQ or designated webpage. 

It can get a bit dicey if you try and write for published fiction, computer games, and the like.

***Shameless plug*** We are generally easy going when it comes to rights and fan fiction/games/settings.


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