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[Necro]WotC nails Fast Forward for D20 violations

Chade

Setting junkie
#1
Wizards Forces Destruction Of Four Fast Forward d20 Books
After years of complaints about companies that do not follow the terms of their Open Game License, Wizards of the Coast has dropped the hammer on Fast Forward Games, publishers of a number of d20 books.
An announcement on the Fast Forward website reads:

"This contains official notification of conformation to the terms of the Open Gaming License version 1.0a (the OGL) and the d20 System License version 4.0 (the d20 License) pursuant to Section 13 of the OGL and Sections 4 and 5 of the d20 License.

"Fast Forward Entertainment, Inc. product number FAF2018 Enchanted Locations: Crypts & Tombs contains material from Wizards of the Coast product Monster Manual II without an independent license from Wizards of the Coast. The material used in this manner is protected under Product Identity in name and content. Fast Forward states publicly that this material is not Open Content and was used in error. No use of this material in Enchanted Locations: Crypts & Tombs is a challenge to copyright or trademark status. Furthermore, let it be known that any copies of Enchanted Locations: Crypts & Tombs in Fast Forward's possession have been destroyed.

"Fast Forward Entertainment, Inc. product number FAF2010 Dungeon World contains references to the gods Gruumsh, Pelor, Merrshaulk and Hieroneous. These gods and characters are Product Identity and were used without permission or an independent license from Wizards of the Coast. Fast Forward states publicly that this material is not Open Content and was used in error. No use of this material in Dungeon World is a challenge to copyright or trademark status. Furthermore, let it be known that any copies of Dungeon World in Fast Forward's possession have been destroyed.

"Fast Forward Entertainment, Inc. product number FAF2014 Dungeon World: Secrets of the Enemy Capital contains references to the gods Lolth and Gruumsh. These gods and characters are Product Identity and were used without permission or an independent license from Wizards of the Coast. Fast Forward states publicly that this material is not Open Content and was used in error. No use of this material in Dungeon World: Secrets of the Enemy Capital is a challenge to copyright or trademark status. Furthermore, let it be known that any copies of Dungeon World: Secrets of the Enemy Capital in Fast Forward's possession have been destroyed.

"Fast Forward Entertainment, Inc. product number FAF2005 Rings of Power contains references to Drawmij and Gruumsh. These gods and characters are Product Identity and were used without permission or an independent license from Wizards of the Coast. Fast Forward states publicly that this material is not Open Content and was used in error. No use of this material in Rings of Power is a challenge to copyright or trademark status. Furthermore, let it be known that any copies of Rings of Power in Fast Forward's possession have been destroyed."

Copies of the four books already sold to distributors and retailers are not affected.

In early 2002, WotC began warning the game publishing community that they were expecting more careful compliance with the terms of the OGL. Wizards ran seminars at the 2002 GAMA Trade Show for other manufacturers on the subject, hoping to educate them on the ins and outs of the license.

Ironically, Fast Forward is owned and operated by a group of TSR veterans from the '80s and early '90s, including Tim Brown, John Danovich, and Jim Ward (the offending character name "Drawmij" mentioned above is "Jim Ward" backwards). A chagrined Ward posted the following to a Fast Forward message board:

"There is no way in the world that designers and editors can be expected to do their job and keep track of the thousands of legal details the ogl dectates. These were honest mistakes that have caused Fast Forward to pull product off the shelves. Life happens.

"Now that we have seen the mistake we can easily tell our people to design their own gods. The monsters that we used from MMII was a bonehead mistake I made and I'm still kicking myself. I looked for the OGL statement in the back of the book and didn't read any further in my enthusiasm for the ability to use new monsters. Now, my favorite product: TREASURES & TOMBS goes on the chopping block because of my lack of caution. It is of course my own fault as Wizards did their job in placing proper statements in their legal page. Sigh, no, heavy sigh.

"I look forward to the day when Fast Forward product won't have to worry about what Wizards does and doesn't do.

"Until that day Fast Forward will continue producing amazing & original product."
 
#2
I have to wonder--did Jim Ward ever actually sell TSR the rights to "Drawmij?" Or did they simply claim the rights based on appearances in their products over the years?

There's something extraordinarily messed up when the law prevents someone from using his own creations and intellectual property without permission from someone else.
 

Patrick O'Duffy

Man I hate fractions
Validated User
#3
Re: WotC nails Fast Forward for D20 violations

Chade said:

A chagrined Ward posted the following to a Fast Forward message board:

"There is no way in the world that designers and editors can be expected to do their job and keep track of the thousands of legal details the ogl dectates.
I don't agree with that in the slightest. You work from the SRD, not the actual corebooks. That's dead bloody simple, and it's the core of the OGL.
 
N

NPC

Guest
#4
Re: Re: WotC nails Fast Forward for D20 violations

Patrick O'Duffy said:


I don't agree with that in the slightest. You work from the SRD, not the actual corebooks. That's dead bloody simple, and it's the core of the OGL.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
Down with d20! Down with splatbucks! Every people in the world donut buy d20 bucks, use the SRD instead! Viva la revolucion!
 

Chade

Setting junkie
#6
They probably can, but how much money have they just lost? It was pretty stupid of FFE to do what they did, but I'm pretty sure other companies are just as bad. Guess they get to be the example.
 

Ivy

it's not easy being easy
Validated User
#7
Re: Re: Re: WotC nails Fast Forward for D20 violations

NPC said:


Down with d20! Down with splatbucks! Every people in the world donut buy d20 bucks, use the SRD instead! Viva la revolucion!
How do I go about donut-buying things? Do I get to eat the donuts?

Also, are d20 bucks like one of those promotional money things that you can only spend on d20 products?
 

Bruce Baugh

Writer of Fortune
#8
As Patrick said above, writing for d20 is not hard - refer to the System Reference Document, and if in the slightest doubt, ask. I have not personally had to consult with WotC on anything yet, but bosses and colleagues have, and they seem to pretty much all find the process painless (if sometimes slow). I find some of the jargon of the Open Gamign License and d20 License weird and almost certainly unnecessarily obfuscated, but I also find answers when people ask. There are mailing lists where discussion of the details is entirely on-topic, and quite a generous pool of advice and experience sharing.

I fear I can't have a lot of sympathy for Mr. Ward et al. If I'm putting my time and effort and my bosses' money and resources, I am by golly going to check the details. I can say with clarity, for instance, what's allowed and what isn't in the way of references for the Gamma World line. I could do the same with the Scarred Lands writing I did. I think that everyone making d20 books should be able to do the same: "This is okay, and I know this because..."
 

thele

Daigoro!
Validated User
#9
Re: Re: WotC nails Fast Forward for D20 violations

Patrick O'Duffy said:


I don't agree with that in the slightest. You work from the SRD, not the actual corebooks. That's dead bloody simple, and it's the core of the OGL.
I agree with you Patrick. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. Every single piece of research I have ever done has always said the same thing: IGNORE WIZARDS OFFICIAL BOOKS, AND USE THE SRD ONLY.

Every single resource has said the exact same thing. Even a simple email to the OGL mailing list would have gotten the same answer.

I do not feel sorry for Fast Forward at all. They broke the #1 rule, and they gave a really bad excuse for it.

But what's done is done. I suspect they will learn this mighty lesson and come out stronger than before. At least that is my hope.
 

Bruce Baugh

Writer of Fortune
#10
Caelic said:
There's something extraordinarily messed up when the law prevents someone from using his own creations and intellectual property without permission from someone else.
Work-for-hire agreements tend to be brutally clear and simple when it comes to such matters. People who'd rather not sign them are at complete liberty to refrain - it's not like goons come along and force you to.

there are quite complex arguments about the extent to which work for hire should or shouldn't be allowed; I ain't even gonna get into that. But for the moment, it's a clearcut situation that's very difficult to stumble into if you read the contracts you're signing.
 
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