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Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut



Bamberg / Erlangen

So lets assume you've been following the thread for what changes people like to see in 10th edition of 40k. You noticed that quite a few posters mention something along the lines of

Spoiler:
- Free rules
- Stratagems culled
- Return of the old FoC chart, the detachment rules are too much
- Sub factions gone. Ironically, it felt a lot less restrictive back when you didn't have to worry about what <buzzword> your army is.
- Some sort of suppression mechanic, ideally tied with morale to give it some more gameplay value.
- Units actually falling back when they break instead of several models having a fatal heart attack.


Let's also assume you've been working on a homebrew version of 40k for your local community as a hobby project for a year (which people really seem to like) and you think it ticks all of those boxes in theory. You would like to share your (German only, for the moment) ruleset for anybody to have a look at and maybe play a game or two. Who knows, maybe they like it as well and have some fun games?

You have been using original GW names for weapons and units so far, because it was never intented to go beyond your local gaming group anyway and at the same time you are incredibly lazy so changing everything to made up names is too much to bother.

How would you go about putting the rules out there without risking GW to come and bother you?

Just theoretically speaking.

   
Made in nz
Trigger-Happy Baal Predator Pilot



New Zealand

Don't try to make money off it.
   
Made in dk
Pyro Pilot of a Triach Stalker






Share a Google doc on a Discord group. Keep a backup on your hard drive. Prepare for criticism.
   
Made in nl
Regular Dakkanaut






Just don't make it a for profit project. No one has ever been attacked for having some kind of fan rules online as far as I know.

Unlike what people like to think/claim, GW isn't that sue-happy.

   
Made in at
Discriminating Warrior





Austria

no 1:1 copies of wording used by GW

you can post a document with rules from any edition and it is fine as long as it is written with your own words (hence any rules summery is save)

and don't try to make money from it

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

M41 - Alternative Rules for Battles in the 41st Millennium (40k LRB Project) 
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




You can't copyright rules mechanics, but you can copyright the specific expression of those mechanics. So you'd need to avoid direct copying of rules text, for a start. This can make life a bit annoying, because often the text used in the original is pretty close to the best way to express those rules.

What you've described sounds very much like a fairly extensive set of house rules. The easiest way to deal with that is to post them as such. Something like "use the regular 40k rules, except...". That doesn't fulfil the free rules part of your requirements, but it's an easy solution.

If you want to see more in-depth what something like this may look like, check out the 9th Age rules. They tackled this problem a while ago. I think their solution went a bit too far in getting away from the original, but there's some interesting solutions in their approach.
   
Made in us
Mekboy on Kustom Deth Kopta






basically as said do not use copywrited terms. say space marine instead of adeptus astartes and things like that.

do not sell rules only publish them, if profiting whether they are in the right or not GW will probably sue you knowing thier pockets are deeper and even if you are right it would be a hard thing to fight (wee the space marine romance novel they tried to quash and only lost due to an outside 3rd party agreeing to represent the author)

on the quoted text this one i would hat eto see " Units actually falling back when they break instead of several models having a fatal heart attack." its not a fatal heart attack its soldiers fleeing the battle. They may realize there is no chance to meet thier goal and retreat, they may be deserting completely. If its fleeing combat they could be trying to run and getting cut down in the process. they are not necessarily dead but they are no longer represented on the battlefield as combatants. In some cases it could even represent falling back to a position if they cannot meet their goal something like space marine tac squad takes 4/5 casualties and falls back as they realize they cannot do anything more and reporting the site of the casualties to have the apothecary come back to gather geneseed might be a more important goal.

10000 points 7000
6000
5000
5000
2000
 
   
Made in us
Servoarm Flailing Magos






litterally just change the names to be legally distinct. If OnePageRules can exist as a direct analogue to 40k, anyone can probably get away with it as long as you don't call your main dudes "Adeptus Astartes"
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut



Bamberg / Erlangen

Thanks for the feedback so far.

I have no intention whatsoever to earn money with it. It's really just a "somebody seems to have a similar idea about the game and maybe they will like my homebrew and give it a shot"

The wording for the rules should not be an issue, I'm more concerned about names.

While I'm not using any images, basically every piece of wargear, all the weapons and unit names are straight from GW. It is quite the hassle to come up with non-GW names that are close enough so people understand what is meant.

For this reason I was thinking about that Russian site. How do they evade GW? Is it really just being hosted in a country with relaxed copyright laws?

   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




Annandale, VA

a_typical_hero wrote:
For this reason I was thinking about that Russian site. How do they evade GW? Is it really just being hosted in a country with relaxed copyright laws?


Yeah, Russian enforcement of copyright is strongly protectionist- they'll take down your site if you're ripping off a Russian business, but if it's a Western one, they don't care. Also no extradition agreements so basically just not their problem.

I don't think you have anything to worry about, so long as you avoid copyrighted terms and don't directly post GW content. OnePageRules is a perfect example of how to make it work.

   
Made in us
Walking Dead Wraithlord






Dont use their IP to make profit.,,

https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/772746.page#10378083 - My progress/failblog painting blog thingy

Eldar- 4436 pts


AngryAngel80 wrote:
I don't know, when I see awesome rules, I'm like " Baby, your rules looking so fine. Maybe I gotta add you to my first strike battalion eh ? "


 Eonfuzz wrote:


I would much rather everyone have a half ass than no ass.


"A warrior does not seek fame and honour. They come to him as he humbly follows his path"  
   
Made in gb
Ridin' on a Snotling Pump Wagon






Well. If memory serves, rules themselves cannot be copyrighted. But, the context can?

Basically don’t ask us online tosspots. Seek appropriate legal advice.

If you don’t fancy the latter and get a C&D? Don’t look surprised, but at least make your own decision then.

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives? Why not join us?

H.B.M.C, 27 July 2022. Suddenly the Chaos Codex doesn't seem so bad.

Not at all quote mined. 
   
Made in it
Longtime Dakkanaut





Don't use their images (they are very serious about protecting them), and don't try to make a profit. Maybe indicate in the first page that it is a fan made project inspired by 40k and link to their website. Past that I don't see any issues ever appearing.
   
Made in fr
Death-Dealing Ultramarine Devastator




One very important thing to remember in all this: "what do I do to not get bothered by GW legal" and "what am I legally entitled to do" are not the same thing. There have been past incidents where GW's lawyers have gone after something that is clearly legal, abusing the fact that their target can't afford to dispute the C&D letter in court to shut down something they don't like. So, for example, using GW names (even in a for-profit work!) is arguably protected by fair use if you are using them to refer to the GW thing and not creating an original work of fiction in the 40k setting, but do you want to pay to defend that right in court? You're better off using "armored soldier with grenade rifle" instead of "space marine with bolter", or even "Ultrasmurf with bolter" where everyone clearly knows what you're talking about but it isn't the GW term.

(Also, beware of the differences between trademarks, patents, and copyright. Many people will use the terms interchangeably but they are not. For example, with using GW names your biggest worry is about trademarks, not copyright.)

 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Well. If memory serves, rules themselves cannot be copyrighted. But, the context can?


Partly right. The game rules can't be copyrighted, the text describing them potentially can. For example, the mechanic of rolling a D6 for an attack and hitting on a 3+ can't be copyrighted. Nor can the fact that upgrading a tank's gun costs +10 points. But the specific wording of how GW explains those rules is not the same as the rule itself. There it depends on how much creative work is involved. A mere statement of fact like "gun: +10 points" contains no creative material and can not be copyrighted, a detailed paragraph explaining how the space marine aims and annihilates the enemy with that 3+ roll certainly is protected. If you make a game that functions exactly like 40k but write the rules in your own words you're fine, if you copy/paste the entire 40k rulebook you're getting a C&D letter at minimum.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Argive wrote:
Dont use their IP to make profit.,,


Of course it should be noted that there are many scenarios where using their IP to make a profit is perfectly legal.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/08/10 20:14:43


 
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka







 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Basically don’t ask us online tosspots. Seek appropriate legal advice.

The only accurate advice in the thread...

2021 Plog - Here we go again... - my fifth attempt at a Dakka PLOG

My [url=https://pileofpotential.com/dysartes]Pile of Potential[/url - updates ongoing...

Gamgee on Tau Players wrote:we all kill cats and sell our own families to the devil and eat live puppies.


 Kanluwen wrote:
This is, emphatically, why I will continue suggesting nuking Guard and starting over again. It's a legacy army that needs to be rebooted with a new focal point.

Confirmation of why no-one should listen to Kanluwen when it comes to the IG - he doesn't want the IG, he want's Kan's New Model Army... 
   
Made in nz
Trigger-Happy Baal Predator Pilot



New Zealand

Maybe even ask GW about it. They may be quite happy for you to make your own homebrew rules, with caveats. No money from it. Including ad revenue and patreon. And the trademark disclaimer (The terms Adeptus Astartes etc is a trademarked term be GW PLC and I make no claim of ownership blah blah blah).

But getting legal advise first is a wise idea.
   
Made in ca
Commander of the Mysterious 2nd Legion





Ok, I'm gonna chime in here, if you are REALLY worried...don't ask random people on the internet, we have no knowledge of the law in your jurisdiction, (and even if we say we do we likely can't provide a level of proof) if you're REALLY concerned, talk to a lawyer

Opinions are not facts please don't confuse the two 
   
Made in us
Walking Dead Wraithlord






Spoiler:
Aecus Decimus wrote:
One very important thing to remember in all this: "what do I do to not get bothered by GW legal" and "what am I legally entitled to do" are not the same thing. There have been past incidents where GW's lawyers have gone after something that is clearly legal, abusing the fact that their target can't afford to dispute the C&D letter in court to shut down something they don't like. So, for example, using GW names (even in a for-profit work!) is arguably protected by fair use if you are using them to refer to the GW thing and not creating an original work of fiction in the 40k setting, but do you want to pay to defend that right in court? You're better off using "armored soldier with grenade rifle" instead of "space marine with bolter", or even "Ultrasmurf with bolter" where everyone clearly knows what you're talking about but it isn't the GW term.

(Also, beware of the differences between trademarks, patents, and copyright. Many people will use the terms interchangeably but they are not. For example, with using GW names your biggest worry is about trademarks, not copyright.)

 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Well. If memory serves, rules themselves cannot be copyrighted. But, the context can?


Partly right. The game rules can't be copyrighted, the text describing them potentially can. For example, the mechanic of rolling a D6 for an attack and hitting on a 3+ can't be copyrighted. Nor can the fact that upgrading a tank's gun costs +10 points. But the specific wording of how GW explains those rules is not the same as the rule itself. There it depends on how much creative work is involved. A mere statement of fact like "gun: +10 points" contains no creative material and can not be copyrighted, a detailed paragraph explaining how the space marine aims and annihilates the enemy with that 3+ roll certainly is protected. If you make a game that functions exactly like 40k but write the rules in your own words you're fine, if you copy/paste the entire 40k rulebook you're getting a C&D letter at minimum.



Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Argive wrote:
Dont use their IP to make profit.

Of course it should be noted that there are many scenarios where using their IP to make a profit is perfectly legal.


Examples?

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2022/08/11 10:40:09


https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/772746.page#10378083 - My progress/failblog painting blog thingy

Eldar- 4436 pts


AngryAngel80 wrote:
I don't know, when I see awesome rules, I'm like " Baby, your rules looking so fine. Maybe I gotta add you to my first strike battalion eh ? "


 Eonfuzz wrote:


I would much rather everyone have a half ass than no ass.


"A warrior does not seek fame and honour. They come to him as he humbly follows his path"  
   
Made in fr
Death-Dealing Ultramarine Devastator




 Argive wrote:
 Argive wrote:
Dont use their IP to make profit.


Of course it should be noted that there are many scenarios where using their IP to make a profit is perfectly legal.


Examples?


https://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/what-is-fair-use/

For example, it would be perfectly legal to write and sell a book about the history of GW's space marine product line. You could freely use the term "space marine", show pictures of GW models, etc. You could even pull limited excerpts from written GW material if it is relevant.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/08/12 05:12:38


 
   
Made in us
Infiltrating Broodlord





United States

a_typical_hero wrote:
...you are incredibly lazy so changing everything to made up names is too much to bother...


Then you have earned getting sued for stealing due to your laziness in not spending a few afternoon changing proper names.

You have identified the problem (being lazy/not caring for property rights), and the solution is to be productive to create your own property (change a lasgun to a energyrifle).

Ayn Rand "We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality" 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







Aecus Decimus wrote:
One very important thing to remember in all this: "what do I do to not get bothered by GW legal" and "what am I legally entitled to do" are not the same thing. There have been past incidents where GW's lawyers have gone after something that is clearly legal, abusing the fact that their target can't afford to dispute the C&D letter in court to shut down something they don't like. So, for example, using GW names (even in a for-profit work!) is arguably protected by fair use if you are using them to refer to the GW thing and not creating an original work of fiction in the 40k setting, but do you want to pay to defend that right in court? You're better off using "armored soldier with grenade rifle" instead of "space marine with bolter", or even "Ultrasmurf with bolter" where everyone clearly knows what you're talking about but it isn't the GW term.

(Also, beware of the differences between trademarks, patents, and copyright. Many people will use the terms interchangeably but they are not. For example, with using GW names your biggest worry is about trademarks, not copyright.)

 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Well. If memory serves, rules themselves cannot be copyrighted. But, the context can?


Partly right. The game rules can't be copyrighted, the text describing them potentially can. For example, the mechanic of rolling a D6 for an attack and hitting on a 3+ can't be copyrighted. Nor can the fact that upgrading a tank's gun costs +10 points. But the specific wording of how GW explains those rules is not the same as the rule itself. There it depends on how much creative work is involved. A mere statement of fact like "gun: +10 points" contains no creative material and can not be copyrighted, a detailed paragraph explaining how the space marine aims and annihilates the enemy with that 3+ roll certainly is protected. If you make a game that functions exactly like 40k but write the rules in your own words you're fine, if you copy/paste the entire 40k rulebook you're getting a C&D letter at minimum.


There's two anecdotes/examples that were passed around when I was in school:
- While -facts- may not be subject to copyright protection, "mistakes" and errors aren't facts. The popular suggestion while I was at school was that the people who make maps and atlases have included non-existent places or minor errors in publications because they'd be used as evidence of direct infringement.

- If a statement in the rules doesn't have any rules content (i.e. it's a "fluff" statement), that statement is likely copyrightable even if it occurs in the middle of a block of rules text.

What's likely to really stick in people's throats is that the presentation of stat lines for models, weapons, etc. is a creative act. There's no reason in the game mechanics for Move to be listed before BS skill (or vice versa). "But this is the order that GW shows it in" is a terrible reason, and is basically admitting that you're copying something you don't have to copy. A group would be much better off taking the stats, throwing them in a random order, and giving that list to someone with the question "What order does it make sense to show these in?"

The trademarking of various names (units, weapons, abilities, etc.) likely also complicates discussions about whether using the names for various things is a copyright issue.
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut



Bamberg / Erlangen

 BuFFo wrote:
Then you have earned getting sued for stealing due to your laziness in not spending a few afternoon changing proper names.

I find it a bit strange to say somebody "deserves to be sued" for sharing their house rules in a non profit manner, because the rules use the same names.

   
Made in pl
Fixture of Dakka




 BuFFo wrote:


Then you have earned getting sued for stealing due to your laziness in not spending a few afternoon changing proper names.

You have identified the problem (being lazy/not caring for property rights), and the solution is to be productive to create your own property (change a lasgun to a energyrifle).


There is no way on this planet, save for gigantic bribes, that GW could prove that they own the right to the name lasgun. It would be like trying to claim copy right the name plasma gun or rocket launcher or sword.

If you have to kill, then kill in the best manner. If you slaughter, then slaughter in the best manner. Let one of you sharpen his knife so his animal feels no pain. 
   
Made in at
Discriminating Warrior





Austria

it is not like they tried already

the question is not can GW poof it, the question is does someone else have enough spare money to battle it at court

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

M41 - Alternative Rules for Battles in the 41st Millennium (40k LRB Project) 
   
Made in gb
Ridin' on a Snotling Pump Wagon






Why not? Lucasfilm have a copyright on Droid, which at its core is a shortened version of Android.

Lasgun is a contraction of Laser Gun. Same with Las Pistol and Las Cannon.

As ever you’ll need to ask a proper grown up who is properly qualified and not us Interwebular Scrotes. But if what little information I’ve gleaned over the years, the context of use is also important? Certainly I’m under the impression that provided GW can reasonably demonstrate a term is most associated with their use, they’re a shoe-in legally?

But see my italicised bit.

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives? Why not join us?

H.B.M.C, 27 July 2022. Suddenly the Chaos Codex doesn't seem so bad.

Not at all quote mined. 
   
Made in at
Discriminating Warrior





Austria

No, Droid is a Trademark, not copyright material

hence it is a problem if you use the word in a context were people can confuse them with the Star Wars Universe, but you are free to use that in any other way

same with Lasgun, if you use it in a way that the majority of people reading your work would think this is the 40k Universe and not something else, you have a problem

for niche products, trademarks are much harder to defend, as GW would not to proof that most people know 40k and think of 40k if the reas "Lasgun" out of context

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

M41 - Alternative Rules for Battles in the 41st Millennium (40k LRB Project) 
   
Made in pl
Fixture of Dakka




Considering how recasters that turned themselfs in to companies that make their own models work, I speculate, that as long as you don't call your "lasgun" a cadia patern lasgun it is more or less impossible for GW to prove anything in a non british court of law.

That is why Scibor can make SF Dwarf Marines and SF Templar Knights.

If you have to kill, then kill in the best manner. If you slaughter, then slaughter in the best manner. Let one of you sharpen his knife so his animal feels no pain. 
   
Made in us
Powerful Ushbati





United States

Spoiler:
- Sub factions gone. Ironically, it felt a lot less restrictive back when you didn't have to worry about what <buzzword> your army is.


This is why I say gamers don't know what they want and shouldn't have a hand in creating the games they play. Six years ago, everyone was crying about this, how Marines were the only ones with extra faction rules and it wasn't fair that their <insert faction here> only got the basic ork, eldar, tau, chaos rules that everyone else gets. I much prefer what we have today for factions than how things were in 2015.
   
Made in ca
Deadshot Weapon Moderati




 Togusa wrote:
Spoiler:
- Sub factions gone. Ironically, it felt a lot less restrictive back when you didn't have to worry about what <buzzword> your army is.


This is why I say gamers don't know what they want and shouldn't have a hand in creating the games they play. Six years ago, everyone was crying about this, how Marines were the only ones with extra faction rules and it wasn't fair that their <insert faction here> only got the basic ork, eldar, tau, chaos rules that everyone else gets. I much prefer what we have today for factions than how things were in 2015.


There was this great video I watched recently where one of the directors producing Magic gave 20 points on game design; one of them was that players are great at identifying problems, but the opposite of great at providing fixes.
   
Made in us
Powerful Ushbati





United States

Nomeny wrote:
 Togusa wrote:
Spoiler:
- Sub factions gone. Ironically, it felt a lot less restrictive back when you didn't have to worry about what <buzzword> your army is.


This is why I say gamers don't know what they want and shouldn't have a hand in creating the games they play. Six years ago, everyone was crying about this, how Marines were the only ones with extra faction rules and it wasn't fair that their <insert faction here> only got the basic ork, eldar, tau, chaos rules that everyone else gets. I much prefer what we have today for factions than how things were in 2015.


There was this great video I watched recently where one of the directors producing Magic gave 20 points on game design; one of them was that players are great at identifying problems, but the opposite of great at providing fixes.


Exactly. I've seen this in a few early access games where the devs have listened too much to the player base and what were really great games have become bogged down in a mess of problems due to trying to please everyone equally.
   
 
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