Intellectual Property Policy
Guidelines for community use of our intellectual property
Updated August 22, 2023
We* understand that a good portion of the gaming experience is not just simply playing a game, but also strategizing, discussing, and celebrating that game in various ways. This may include anything from making a fan-dedicated web page, to making a home-brew scenario or a special ruleset for a particular game, a set of custom accessories for your own personal use, artwork, fan fiction, or even a cake! We wholeheartedly support sharing your works of love with the rest of the gaming community, and have made this policy so that you know what is and is not generally acceptable when it comes to making and sharing something that involves the brands and brand-related universes, artwork, text, graphic design, or game mechanics (“intellectual property” or “IP”) of our games.
- While this policy is not a license and we reserve our right to require that you stop using our intellectual property for any reason, following this policy, and more specifically the Guidelines below, will help you to avoid receiving a cease-and-desist notice or other action from our legal department.
- Use of intellectual property is at your own risk – it is up to you to consider this policy in relation to what you may be doing with our intellectual property. Please note that we no longer answer specific questions or permissions requests – this policy is it. For more information about using intellectual property, please visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at www.uspto.gov and the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov.
- This policy only relates to our intellectual property – many of our games include intellectual property or other property owned by other companies or individuals. We cannot give permission or assurances that what is generally acceptable to us will be acceptable to any other intellectual property owner. It is up to you to find the guidelines of, or obtain specific permission from, those owners.
A “Fan Creation” is something that you have made using our intellectual property (being the brands and brand-related universes, artwork, text, graphic design, or game mechanics and methods of play owned by us in the games we publish). Here are some examples of Fan Creations:
- Alternate art cards or scenarios to use in our games
- Fiction set in one of our universes
- Artwork using our characters or set in our universes
- Fan-dedicated websites
- Special accessories for your games that you’ve made and added brand logos or game art to
The following are the Guidelines for when working on your Fan Creation:
Did you make a cake with the logo of your favorite game on it? Did you make your own t-shirt with a hilarious game reference on it? Take a picture and show it off to your friends! Heck, show it off to us, too!
If you made something like an alternate art card, or made your own scenario, and you are following all of these Guidelines, we are fine with you sharing it with the community for them to use as well.
Don’t start selling those cakes, t-shirts, or alternate art cards though – selling products that have our intellectual property in it would be infringing on our rights. When we say “selling products”, we mean any type of money exchanging hands in return for a Fan Creation, regardless of profit. This includes any type of fundraising (like Kickstarter), actively or passively suggesting/requesting donations (like having a Patreon account), or other types of direct or indirect monetary sponsorship.
Make sure that somewhere on or in your Fan Creation you state what game the intellectual property came from and include the proper copyright notice on or next to any artwork/images. You can find the proper copyright notice by looking at the “fine print” on the back of our packaging, on the credits page of our rulebooks, and most of the time on or right next to the artwork on cards. Don’t forget to credit yourself as well for what you made!
What does that mean? Say we have a game named Ultra-awesome™ and you made a scenario for it called “Continuum Magic” and you have a website dedicated to your gaming group for Ultra-awesome™.
For your scenario title:
DO THIS: “Continuum Magic” or “Continuum Magic: a fan expansion for Ultra-awesome™
DON’T DO THIS: “Ultra-awesome™: Continuum Magic”
For your website url, do not use “Ultra-awesome” in the domain name.
A surefire way to meet this requirement would be to label your Fan Creation as ‘unofficial’ or ‘fan-made’, or, in the case of a fan website, a statement that the site is not affiliated or sponsored by us.
The more of our material that is included in something, the more it is really a duplication rather than a Fan Creation. Here are a couple of key examples of what would fall under ‘substantial amount’ and not be acceptable:
Online versions of our games: this includes but is not limited to creating online versions via websites such as TableTop Simulator on the Steam® platform, Vassal, LackeyLCG, and Fantasy Grounds.
Digitalized versions of card games or card game expansions: anytime a pack or deck is available for download as a file, or even if one can simply save each image easily to their desktop.
3-D print files of miniatures or other components: this includes sharing via websites such as Shapeways.
For licensing and other business reasons, we simply cannot allow our intellectual property in software applications of any kind – whether or not they follow all of the rules above.
A “Commentary Creation” is a podcast, video, or written article whose primary subject matter discusses, comments on, and/or provides critiques of our games (other subject matter is excluded from this defintion, such as fictional narratives). This is great, we love that you want to talk and write about us!
If you receive direct or indirect monetary sponsorship by way of active or passive donation or advertisement revenue for a Commentary Creation, that will not be considered selling under Guideline 1. But, revenue generated from a Commentary Creation cannot also be used to support a Fan Creation. In other words, you can ask for donations to support the cost of your podcast/video or Commentary Creation, but you cannot exchange any goods containing our IP in return for that donation. Goods not containing our IP don’t fall under this policy but be careful that they do not appear to be sponsored by us.