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are Kobolds public domain?
Posted: 26 September 2012 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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When White Wolf was supporting their fan sites, they at least had the courtesy to distinguish between (for example) talking about the Verbena plant, which wasn’t related at all to their copyright, and talking about a Verbena Mage, which they would consider a derivative work, since Verbena as a type of Mage was covered by their copyright.  Or something like that.  I haven’t needed to look at those pages in years, and I’m pretty sure they aren’t on the site anymore anyway.

Early White Wolf was especially bad about just picking things on the “coolness” factor.

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Posted: 26 September 2012 04:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Jay_NOLA - 26 September 2012 01:37 PM

A couple of other companies aside from WOTC have tried to copyright and claim ownership of words that are public domain.  White Wolf and FASA are two that come to mind.  In White Wolf’s case many of the names that the writers assigned to things are nowhere close to what they word is actually meant to convey if you start researching it.  I’ve spoken to several of the people who designed games, supplements, etc.for White Wolf about this and they admit to misusing the words and giving things a certain name just because it sounded cool.

Some companies and individuals will also just file lawsuits even knowing that the term or concept is public domain in attempt to bully a person to make changes to a product, cease publication, or try and get financial gain.

Todd McFarlane threatened legal action against Paladium books for releasing an RPG called Nightspawn, which has no relation to the Spawn comics.  Paladium ended up changing the name of the RPG to Nightbane because they didn’t want to have to deal with legal fees and going to court, even though McFarlane would have lost if it had gone to court.

John Banville in 1971 wrote a novel called Nightspawn by the way too, long before Todd McFarlane created Spawn.

One friend of mine is involved right now in a federal legal dispute for a book and the plaintiff is claiming ownership over things related to myth and folklore that can be gotten from Wikipedia and other public domain sources.  The use of the word loup-garou is one of the things in that case.

Bethesda also tried to sue the company that made Minecraft for releasing a game called Scrolls. Sorry, Bethesda, but making The Elder Scrolls does not mean you own the word “scroll.” ^_^

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Posted: 26 September 2012 04:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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according to Britannica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/320790/kobold

kobold, in German folklore, mischievous household spirit who usually helps with chores and gives other valuable services but who often hides household and farm tools or kicks over stooping persons. He is temperamental and becomes outraged when he is not properly fed. He sometimes sings to children.

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Posted: 26 September 2012 05:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Misty Whisky - 26 September 2012 04:51 PM

according to Britannica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/320790/kobold

kobold, in German folklore, mischievous household spirit who usually helps with chores and gives other valuable services but who often hides household and farm tools or kicks over stooping persons. He is temperamental and becomes outraged when he is not properly fed. He sometimes sings to children.

Essentially identical to an English brownie/boggart.

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Posted: 26 September 2012 11:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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I use Kobolds in one of my games. they are hairy, dog like goblins. they are very common in my mock-asian country and wear a lot of wooden armor and use crude weapons. they are semi-intelligent and like in matriarchal burrows on dens. they are not afraid of water and have sailed to almost every country. they are less destructive than goblins but more feral. they rarely exceed 4 feet in height.

Im pretty sure you can use the word and extrapolate on it yourself.

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Posted: 27 September 2012 12:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Zaarin - 26 September 2012 05:08 PM
Misty Whisky - 26 September 2012 04:51 PM

according to Britannica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/320790/kobold

kobold, in German folklore, mischievous household spirit who usually helps with chores and gives other valuable services but who often hides household and farm tools or kicks over stooping persons. He is temperamental and becomes outraged when he is not properly fed. He sometimes sings to children.

Essentially identical to an English brownie/boggart.

More like the irish Leprechauns.

Because of her more positive image as mischievous household spirits, the most successfull german vakuum cleaner was named “Kobold” and is a registered Trademark by german company Vorwerk.

 

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Posted: 27 September 2012 04:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Irish leprechauns and Clurichauns are not really synonymous with Kobolds, 

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leprechaun 
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clurichaun

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Posted: 27 September 2012 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Treasurer_and_Battle - 24 September 2012 01:10 PM

I always wanted to write a heroic fantasy novel with an intelligent kobald as a main character.

MEEPO!! raspberry

I’d love a Poser or DAZ Kobold, been aksing for one for years smile

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Posted: 27 September 2012 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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I keep seeing mention of things belonging to Wizards of the Coast in this thread, such as things from Forgotten Realms, and just needed to point out a couple corrections -

Dungeons & Dragons in all it’s glory and splendor was not created by Wizards of the Coast, nor were the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Dark Sun, or most any of the other asociated properties to D&D, they were created many decades ago by Tactical Rules Studies, and later (in the new millenium) bought by wizards of the coast.  TSR was notorious for using creatures and descriptives from common myth and legend as well as popular fantasy fiction (and indeed fought many lawsuits over the decades with the Tolkien estate and the Lovecraft estate for use of their intelectual property…as well as with the creators of Elfquest, and other fantasy comics).

That being said, I would suggest checking mythology and folklore and if the creature exists in that in any region, it is safe to use the name and or common properties with your own artistsic tastes…that is not to someone might not still try to claim an infringement and file suite…as has been mentioned some companies out there believe using a word in a product gives them eclusive rights to that word.  I recently had an encounter with such a company over one of my images (last year), and in the end it was resolved in my favor without going to court, but lack of actual ownership did not stop them from trying.  As long as you dot your I’s and cross your t’s you should be safe - do the research and compile references.

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Posted: 27 September 2012 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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There was a lawsuit White wolf filed against the creators of Undreworld the film for the plot device of vamps vs. werewolves and a romeo and juliet style vamp/werewofl relationship which they said was lifted from them and a story one of their writers wrote. It was settled out of court, but personally, I think sometimes copyright stuff can go too far. Especially when the designers of a game borrow heavily from Anne Rice and existiing lore to create a game which is by itself somewhat derivative and hogs up most of the folklore,.

I don’t think the traditional kobolds are at all doglike. More like little people. I tend to prefer the traditional stuff rather than the RPG interpretation.

I do admit the depictions of drow-like elves I’ve seen in some stores do seem derivative off TSR. I don’t recall ever seeing black-skinned elves with white hair, in any folklore outside of the world created by TSR. There were dark elves, but never ones that were black with white hair.

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Posted: 27 September 2012 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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SereneNight - 27 September 2012 04:15 PM

I do admit the depictions of drow-like elves I’ve seen in some stores do seem derivative off TSR. I don’t recall ever seeing black-skinned elves with white hair, in any folklore outside of the world created by TSR. There were dark elves, but never ones that were black with white hair.

While this is true (the dark blue/black/purple skinned elves with white hair) of the later rendition of Dark Elves in Dungeons & Dragons, as with so much in TSR works they did not start having dark skin.  In the earlier TSR works, Dark Elves were described as having a pale to almost white skin from living in subteranean caverns and cities (later coming to be called Underdark).  These early Dark Elves were very much styled after the Dargon Lords of Michael Moorcocks famous Elric series of works (with very evolved sorcerous powers).  As with much that TSR did in those days, they faced impending legal action from the Moorcock estate and changed the Dark Elves (this is also why the names of things from Tolkien lore were changed and an entire section of their old Deities and Demigods books was deleted - the section refering to C’thulhu and his Mythos).  Some of the references to these sources still persisted into the late 90’s (in fact the Demon Sword Stormbringer wielded by Elric can be found in the encyclopedia of magicl items that was released in the ending days of 2nd edition).  It was continued legal action along with dropping sales as more once-traditional Role Players moved to online gaming and Mush/Mud games that caused TSR to face bankruptcy and sell their properties off.

I had mixed feelings when WotC bought D&D, and unfortunatelt the route they went was not what I had hoped for.

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Posted: 27 September 2012 05:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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SereneNight - 27 September 2012 04:15 PM

There was a lawsuit WOTC filed against the creators of Undreworld the film for the plot device of vamps vs. werewolves and a romeo and juliet style vamp/werewofl relationship which they said was lifted from them and a story one of their writers wrote. It was settled out of court, but personally, I think sometimes copyright stuff can go too far. Especially when the designers of a game borrow heavily from Anne Rice and existiing lore to create a game which is by itself somewhat derivative and hogs up most of the folklore,.

It was White Wolf, not WOTC. smile  Otherwise your point stands, and was talked about in White Wolf’s own forums at the time of the lawsuit.

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Posted: 27 September 2012 06:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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It was kind of funny, though…there was a time when some authors and publishers turned a blind eye to what TSR was doing…as long as it resulted in more sales for them.  Once those sales dropped off, threats and lawsuits started flying.

Same with TSR itself…as long as it was something that brought more sales, it was fine (some of the stuff at the Cons, back in the day).  Yeah, there was a time when TSR really started to get annoying about stuff like this, but I don’t think it was ever the level it’s been since WotC bought them out.  It’s like some weeny-brains decided that this was a ‘real’ thing and should be making tons more money than it…but it’s not, because too many people are ‘stealing’ ‘borrowed’ IP….mad

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Posted: 27 September 2012 07:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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RCT-Spanky - 27 September 2012 12:11 AM
Zaarin - 26 September 2012 05:08 PM
Misty Whisky - 26 September 2012 04:51 PM

according to Britannica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/320790/kobold

kobold, in German folklore, mischievous household spirit who usually helps with chores and gives other valuable services but who often hides household and farm tools or kicks over stooping persons. He is temperamental and becomes outraged when he is not properly fed. He sometimes sings to children.

Essentially identical to an English brownie/boggart.

More like the irish Leprechauns.

Because of her more positive image as mischievous household spirits, the most successfull german vakuum cleaner was named “Kobold” and is a registered Trademark by german company Vorwerk.

Leprechauns don’t do household chores. In fact, according to Yeats’s fairy classifications, leprechauns would fall under solitary fairies, I believe.

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Posted: 28 September 2012 12:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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mjc1016 - 27 September 2012 06:09 PM

It was kind of funny, though…there was a time when some authors and publishers turned a blind eye to what TSR was doing…as long as it resulted in more sales for them.  Once those sales dropped off, threats and lawsuits started flying.

Same with TSR itself…as long as it was something that brought more sales, it was fine (some of the stuff at the Cons, back in the day).  Yeah, there was a time when TSR really started to get annoying about stuff like this, but I don’t think it was ever the level it’s been since WotC bought them out.  It’s like some weeny-brains decided that this was a ‘real’ thing and should be making tons more money than it…but it’s not, because too many people are ‘stealing’ ‘borrowed’ IP….mad

Authors never turned a blind eye to it, and it wasn’t just when WotC bought the property that authors sought compensation for stolen and borrowed IP.  It had little to do with sales dropping off either, as with many of these literary sources we are not talking about Harry Potter or something recent, we are talking about books and novels published as far back as the late 1800’s in some cases, and the 1920s and 1930s in others. The only more contemporary source that led to a battle with TSR that comes to mind was with the creator of Elfquest in the 80’s, and that started as soon as the creator became aware of the infringment (forcing renaming many of the elven races and rewriting some of the background for them). Further, the laws regarding fair use, and requirements of IP owners to maintain and keep their IP and rights have changed, especially in the late 90’s.  Following many revisions to copyright laws and regulations in the 90’s uses of trademarked and copyritten IP that companies used to allow as they considered it non-threatening to their purposes and goals, became a loophole that could cause loss of ownership of said IP and grandfather it in to public domain.  In light of these changes, companies now will be strict if not draconian about enforcing their IP.  Some of the biggest backlash was to the Star Trek community, which had countless fansites across the net, all gone now as all were forced to take down anything deemed protected under Paramount’s IP.  Additionally some things are very difficult to enforce and next to impossible to get re-imbursement for (some of the things that go on at cons being among them).  By the time a court order is issued to cease and desist, the con is over, and it was a pointless legal expense… finding the person could cost even more in legal costs, typically two to three hundred times the possible loss due to infringment - and all of these are things that companies consider - but I would not call it turning a blind eye.  Some of the third party IPs in question had problems of their own (disputed ownership for example) which needed to be resolved before action could proceed for infringment by others.  It’s not a simple situation, it is very murky and complex.

It really has little to do with whether it’s considered “a real thing” or whether it should be making money or not - it has to do with using the intelectual property of someone else, that party being aware of it, and whether enforcement is feasible.

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