Ian's Tortured Souls collection
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:14 am 
 

Badmike wrote:I'd buy one under any circumstances should they ever become available.


That is probably the most despicable statement I have ever heard you make on these boards.  You lost a lot of respect with that one.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:29 am 
 

I'd buy them under any circumstances as well. It is surely worse to see them sink into oblivion than being concerned with moral/ ethical standards.

I think a cease-and-desist letter is the worst thing that could ever happen, though if i was you i'd have published the issues scanned on the net rather than a full cd.

Maybe the best thing would be to release them for free, thus avoiding many issues (as far as i know, though i'm not certain), because in that case you are clearly not trying to make profit out of it.

Another thing for those that might not know: several issues of TS are already scanned and on the internet.

I should check how many, but IIRC at least five of them.

  

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:05 am 
 

I fully understand and support Mark's position on this. I will not work see a project to fruition that infringest the rights held by a known and available copyright holder. We are not talking about works that can be argued as 'abandoned works' here. I do not know specifically of the terms of the working relationship between Basil Barratt and Simon Forrest, or any agreement(s) they have, but clearly Simon was an influencing force during the life of Beast Entz etc.

Addressing Mark's comments on named artists/cartographers, I have been in touch (back in 2010) with Alan Hinkling and Jon Baker (the two primary contributors who gave the product line(s) their distinctive image), and both were aware of the intended project and my discussions with Basil Barratt at that time (2010). My intent at the time the project was being developed was to progress on the basis that the large majority contibutors (by content) were consenting, and the remainder were proving uncontactable/absent. I had asked Jon if he's be willing to do a piece of artwork for the disc/packaging, and was considering a fold out map for Zhalindor)

Now, if Basil is quite clear that he believes he has the right to develop a product, I am happy to provide all digital assistance to see that to fruition, just as if Tadashi came to me and said he wished to market a complete Thieves Guild Archive. I would be willing to provide the digital images, work with artists, and in the UK, worl with CD manufacturers etc.

TS! and the CDM Series remain among the best of what Britain managed to produce for D&D. But, without approval from the copyright holder this project goes no further I'm affraid.

As regards availability, TS! appears regularly on eBay, for the most part always in excellent shape on account of their original card and paper stick. I don't think we'll see them disappearing any time soon.

<Aside>

I have always been a supporter of PDF releases of gaming materials, in particular, in the archiving of OOP materials that will eventually disappear. I have discussed with, and continue to lobby, some copyright holders who have viable product releases (Mayfair Games/Role Aids jumps to mind here). IMO, so long as the package/product is appealing and the price point low, the majority of potential customers would prefer a real product vs. and illegal download. Selling OOP PDFs will only ever be a niche market product anyways.


Last edited by mbassoc2003 on Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:23 am 
 

I think thats a good point in that this item is not a major item wanted typically. I would certainly buy a full pdf series if it were available as Ian says, and if it leaked onto the net, I doubt it'd be anywhere near as DL'd as the torrents typical with the TSR works.

Lets hope that this may come to fruition, but if not, then so be it.


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:01 am 
 

ashmire13 wrote:I think thats a good point in that this item is not a major item wanted typically.


Just so I am clear on the argument.  Just because it is a small company its okay to steal their intellectual property because they won't be able to/don't care to/don't know someone is stealing their rights - Ya, that sounds logical to me.

I can't express how much the idea of people here knowingly breaching copyright to make or save a couple bucks disgusts me.  I think my opinion is clear so I won't say anymore.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:26 am 
 

This does not apply in this instance, but whilst we're exploring the ethics, I think it is okay to 'reproduce' abandoned works, provided you are able to demonstate that you have complied with the intent and requirements of Copyright Law in the juristictions in which that work was produced, and in which you intend to supply. Ethically, I can see that there are situations where they may be a need to preserve, which is different from a desire to distribute, and the law in the UK does make allowanves for both preservation, and apparently abandoned works. I presume that Google have already demonstrated to the satisfaction of US Law that Copyright Law in the US can be breached for the sake of digital archiving, and that precedent is already set. They do not distribute, although they do allow access to copyrighted information without the copyright holders' permission, and it is accepted under US Law.

Either way, we are talking about a single product collaboratively produced by many, but largely produced by a few main contributors. There can be no argument for not seeking permission in this instance. The same goes for Mayfair Games products, as the company remains in existence, and for the likes of something like Thieves Guild.

Now, if we are to be specific about contacting all contributing sources, that is an assinine argument. At the time periodicals were produced, electronic documentation could not have been forseen, and you cannot hold back society or allow for the destruction of printed materials on the possible objection of one desenting individual. I know that Dragon was pulled on that basis, but that was purely a desire to avoid exploring the issue in the courts. We also cannot live in a society where we all feel free to steal the creative output of others.

It is an issue that cannot be specifically stated in absolutes. The desire of a group of individuals to preserve something also has a recognised weight under the law. I guess we have to accept that individuals each make their own moral decision and weigh up things based on how they see things and we have to trust that people will not intentionally strive to do wrong by others.

As Doug pointed out on another thread, there is also the matter of intent. There is a difference between an intent to preserve, and intent to inform and make information available, and an intent to make profit at another's expense. I'm not saying it's okay to breach another's coyright just because you want to 'preserve a rare work at no profit', but I am saying it makes it far more reasonable to reproduce and abandoned work for the sake of preserving rare works in the absence of anyone else who cares.

It is a very grey area. If you take a product like Warwick Supplement 2, where there is no accurate list of contributors, most of whom were likely not of an age at which they could enter a contract with an editor, and the product is published by a 'club', I could not in good conscience argue against scanning and passing on such information to others. The product is known to have existed once, but whether I am ever to hear from someone who has had personal possession of the item, or we are ever as a community to see such an item, I cannot say.

I would certainly like to think that some wise soul somewhere is scanning and archiving the likes of Doomsday. I've never read a copy, and I doubt anyone is going to respect the contributors' copyright, and I have no personal need or desire for such, but I do think in such circumstanses the needs of society to preserve outweighs the need to respect archaic law that never envisaged digital preservation.

If libraries and corporations are free to breach copyright in the US and UK, then they have established what the values of society are accepted to be. The law will take a frew decades to catch up, but it will change to follow society's values.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:50 am 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:
I would certainly like to think that some wise soul somewhere is scanning and archiving the likes of Doomsday. I've never read a copy, and I doubt anyone is going to respect the contributors' copyright, and I have no personal need or desire for such, but I do think in such circumstanses the needs of society to preserve outweighs the need to respect archaic law that never envisaged digital preservation.

If libraries and corporations are free to breach copyright in the US and UK, then they have established what the values of society are accepted to be. The law will take a frew decades to catch up, but it will change to follow society's values.


Exactly.

If I have every copy of Tortured Souls, what am I stealing? Nothing. I'm just asking for the magazines in a easier to search, easier to read, more compact format.  I fail to see the evilness in such an act.  It is certainly not despicable to want items I already own in a better format (or better formatted, for that matter).  Besides, looking on many bit torrent sites, many issues of TS are already available for download. I applaud Ian for going to the trouble he has to make sure all the legalities are taken care of instead of just putting the material out there. If I don't agree with Ian on a lot of things I do think his dogged pursuit here is commendable, especially (as he says) since google has already had a precedent for archiving works without the copyholder's permission....but since they have the money and influence to change laws in their favor, it's ok I guess.

If the material is work for hire, then there shouldn't be an issue anyway.  Mark, if you have a copy of the TSR Dragon magazine archive, I hope you have destroyed it, as it has been revealed copyright laws were not always observed when releasing this item.  Does the fact that now all 250 of the first issues (which I own) are now available to people who could never afford to collect them change anything? I think it does, the value to the collecting community to see these early issues is paramount IMO.  There are no absolutes.  As Ian says intent has to be taken into account. One of the reasons we have reprinted the Wee Warriors output (with the permission of Pete Kerestan, btw), along with making money for the con, was to make sure people who would never be able to afford the originals could own a copy of POTVQ, Dwarven Glory, and perhaps Misty Isles at a price that would not break the bank. I remember someone on these boards wailing to high heaven when the pdf of the white box was released....for no other reason than the originals would be perceived to be worth less on the open market!  IMO, this is exactly the antithesis of what we should be doing as collectors of this hobby. We should be preserving artifacts of the hobby, true, but when possible we should make sure future generations of gamers who are interested in the origins of our hobby have access to these artifacts.  If it all remains locked up in collections, we are no better than greybeards who buy a rare manuscript or piece of art and lock it up in a vault for only their eyes.  

So many quality gaming items (For example, Midkemia and The Companions), are sliding into obscurity despite their well regarded status in the gaming community.  Hopefully at some point they can be legally reprinted, but I doubt it.  I think that's sad and that makes me angrier than someone who would scan a copy of something OOP for his own reading or collecting purposes.

From reading this forum it looks and sounds to me like Ian has done more than his due diligence trying to put this together. I'll be satisfied with whatever he releases when/if it comes out because I'll know he's done everything humanly possible to make sure it's as legal as can be.  Often these days you can dot every I and cross ever T and still be in violation of some obscure point of law (paid for by lawyers with the express purpose of making copyright law such a morass of crap it requires....more lawyers....to sort through the piles of paperwork). People who study copyright disagree with each other enough to make me see that there is a very fluid standard at work here.  

I would ask anyone who is steadfast in protecting these mutable laws if they feel what Disney has done to protect their moneybags (Mickey Mouse) by passing increasingly ridiculous extensions of their copyright is right.  The Mouse should have been public domain by now except for expensive legislation Disney has done the past few decades to prevent this...moral being, if you have a fortune, you can change the laws to benefit you only.  Personally, I think THAT is despicable.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:06 pm 
 

Fine.  You have convinced me.  I will start releasing PDFs of all the small press stuff I own.  I will ask $1 each to defray the cost of my time.  If anyone has an item that they would like me to start with, please list it here.

Since it started with Tortured Souls, I will start with this one and offer it for a discounted rate of $10 for a full set of issues in PDF.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:15 pm 
 

Badmike wrote: but when possible we should make sure future generations of gamers who are interested in the origins of our hobby have access to these artifacts.  If it all remains locked up in collections, we are no better than greybeards who buy a rare manuscript or piece of art and lock it up in a vault for only their eyes.  


beautiful, beautiful words.
That's exactly what i have always thought.
Sadly, it seems to me there are a few "greybeards" on this site as well...

I do own very rare material which took me effort and a long time to obtain, but i will surely share all of my collection (scanning it or whatever) before dying. Giving the future generations the chance of reading -for instance- a very rare fantasy rpg from the past which otherwise would be almost impossible to obtain-(and which is going to become increasingly impossible to peruse and study in the future) is of paramount importance to me and has always been.

Think, for example, about "Vikings & Valkyrs", or the 1st edition of Melanda rpg, or even the very rare second volume of Bifrost i'm currently after. How many out there are enjoying these products whilst knowing there are others who crave for them?
I find it despicable that they (the possessors) just don't pay attention to them and aren't helping them in any way.

I was helped greatly by members in this forum during my searches, but as i said i witnessed others whose behaviour was very different- though in the position of being able to help fellow collectors (with a scanning which would never have ruined their prized copy), they just refused to do it, without even replying. That's why i call them "greybeards". I'm sure they even don't play games, they just want to see them getting older and older on a shelf (but of course feeling very proud of owning them :D .....)

  

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:17 pm 
 

Mars wrote:Fine.  You have convinced me.  I will start releasing PDFs of all the small press stuff I own.  I will ask $1 each to defray the cost of my time.  If anyone has an item that they would like me to start with, please list it here.


Bifrost volume 2: combat.
How much?  :D

  

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:19 pm 
 

vault keeper wrote:Think, for example, about "Vikings & Valkyrs", or the 1st edition of Melanda rpg, or even the very rare second volume of Bifrost i'm currently after. How many out there are enjoying these products whilst knowing there are others who crave for them?
I find it despicable that they (the possessors) just don't pay attention to them and aren't helping them in any way.


I have all of these and as mentioned, list what you want and I will PDF them for $1 each.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:25 pm 
 

I've started a new thread so as not to clutter up this one any longer with the limitations of Tortured Souls.  Post your requests here:

viewtopic.php?t=12124

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:26 pm 
 

I would start with Bifrost volume 2:combat, and then Melanda rpg 1st ed.
They will count as an amazing gift for my Christmas  :D

Just let me know how to proceed  :D

  

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:29 pm 
 

Just add them to the list in the other thread and once I finish with an item on the list, I will move on to the next item.  I will then announce when it is ready to go.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:13 pm 
 

There is of course an allowance under the law in the UK for scanning a product you own in and retaining it, reading it, archiving it etc. Copyright infringement only occurs when you distribute. Also, the law in the UK permits you to ask someome else to digitally copy something for you and then provide you with the copy, contracting out the labour as it were, for profit. And of course we have Apple who now provide digital copies of any CD you can find a cover for, which is mp3 music distribution without actually having to physically prove you paid for the original.

Digital copy of music and books is permitted under the law. The rules are defined. The exceptions to those rules are defined. The quantum of proof for the exceptions are laid down in case law. So long as you follow the law and keep a record of what you are doing, you cannot go wrong.

In this instance, the law says, Basil Barratt says yes or no and that is an absolute. Morally I have no issue progressing with following the steps needed to progress if Basil says yes, and I will not progress if he says no.

PDF Pirate King wrote:I've started a new thread so as not to clutter up this one any longer with the limitations of Tortured Souls.  Post your requests here:
viewtopic.php?t=12124

The forum as a collective gets to choose it's own ethical and moral stance on things (Example - On DF you cannot mention, ask for, or discuss PDF production). In light of the publishing effors of the forum, the Acaeul Collaborative Arts Project, NTRPGCon's successes, the forum is begining to realise the power it has to get things into production if it chooses. Discussions like this, regardless of who sits on what side of the argument, define the lines and boundaries the forum as a whole will not cross. For that reason, I see them as important.

Yes, there is a desire for a product, and some may wish to have a product 'at any cost'. I would dearly like many thngs, but I would not ask anyone else to break their own moral values to satisfy my wants.

Badmike wrote:So many quality gaming items (For example, Midkemia and The Companions), are sliding into obscurity despite their well regarded status in the gaming community.

I would welcome a lead to the copyright holder of The Companions product line. I have the donkeywork for the product complete and would like to present a proposal. I understand one of the primary IP holders is deceased? As regards Midkemia, I got a flat no from someone back in 2008, and have progressed that product no further, but again, if I can get enough support from the relevant IP holders it's a product I'd be willing resurrect.

vault keeper wrote:Sadly, it seems to me there are a few "greybeards" on this site as well...

I don't think that's quite fair. There is a big difference between archiving and acting as a custodian for materials, and distributing freely to the world. Some of those with big collections take their ownership of rarities very seriosly. Some research their collections and contribute to the online knowledge base, others preserve and display and ensure they have a home (likely more secure and better cared for than anything I could offer). Their approach to their own collections I think becomes entirely their own the minute they part with their own hard earned cash. It may be a bitter pill, but if you argue for people's freedom to reproduce, you must also respect people's rights not to reproduce what they have paid for.


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:12 pm 
 

PDF Pirate King wrote:
Just so I am clear on the argument.  Just because it is a small company its okay to steal their intellectual property because they won't be able to/don't care to/don't know someone is stealing their rights - Ya, that sounds logical to me.



Sorry, let me clarify. I meant that it was a good point Ian made with regards low cost and actually being limited in being wanted.
I am not making any comment on the stealing of intellectual property, it was that if a PDF version was ALLOWED to be released, I'd buy it. Hence my comment, if it doesnt come to fruition, then so be it.


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:36 pm 
 

Hypothetically....

Let's say you buy a DMG on eBay, and tucked inside is a short adventure someone wrote when they were a kid, or a little sketch of Kobold hiding behind a tree. You read it, think it's pretty cool, and mention it in a fun fids thread. Theoretically, would you say you were breaching an unknown entity's copyright if you scanned it and posted it on the forum?

If there is no attributer author/copyright holder, under UK Law it is defined as abandoned work and is not copyrighted as the copyright holder is unknown and does not choose to exert their rights under the law. This is the position that has been demonstrated time and again under UK Law, and there is even a pot of money put aside by taxpayers to compensate copyright holders that surface and lay claim to workd that have been 'abandoned' where courts decide against the calimant and side with the person who infringed an 'abandoned' copyright holder's IP.

So the question is, when you print a picture of someone's homebrew work, are you breaking the law? Or are you just conflicting with a moral positions in a grey mist?

Thre reason this is important is this....

The works published by Beast Entz prior to Chrismas 1986 are no longer subject to copyright under UK Law in regard to periodicals. The copyright of individual articled and illustartions have already reverted to their original contributor's copyright. The layout, typeface and other intangables are now copyright free.

Now the majority of works can be assumed to be penned by Basil Barratt and/or Simon Forrest. The majority of the illustrations by Jon Baker, and the majority of the floorplans etc. by Alan Hinkling. Any unattributed works, works not attributed to any individuals, drawings and maps not attributed to any specific artist, are now considered abandoned under UK Law. Without a specific reference linking a named individual to a specific contribution, the list of contributors is not enough to enforce an individuals claim to copyright over an uncreditted article in a magazine that in now considered Public Domain property.


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:42 pm 
 

So theoretically, are you saying that these are free to give or sell and that there isn't really any come back anyway? Other than possibly Basil Barrett or Simon Forrest surfacing and issuing a C&D command?


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:00 pm 
 

No.

What I'm saying is Basil Barratt is the person known by me to own copyright and has absolute say so. Jon Baker and Alan Hinkling now own absolute copyright over their artworks and have absolute say so. Simon Forrest's role in the publication is unknwon. All works are assumed under UK Law to be the IP of Basil Barratt as no specific author is attributed to them in the original publication. All other illustrations are considered abandoned unless they carry a specific signiature or initials that can be linked to a name in the credits. There is no requirement to chase down everyone creditted and ask permision as they have already chosen not to enforce their copyright at the time they went to press. Abandoned works that have no attributed author are public domaon property if published in a periodical after 25 years have elapsed.

You have asked a moral question. Morally I have been in contact with the IP holder of the majority of the works and on thos babsis I will not breach his copyright. Anyone else who does, on the strength of there now being an active thread and a tenuous means of contacting him, quite clearly would not be able to protect themselves legally against prosecution.

I was just trying to show the specific lines of ownership in this specific instance, and explain that the works not attributed to those individuals we know are now abandoned and not covered in the UK by a copyright restriction.


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:04 pm 
 

Clear enough then, thanks Ian  :)


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