Saturday, May 7, 2016

What is Fair Use and What is Parody and Why it Matters

Last night's post kicked up some dust, so let's define some of the issues in question.

While "Fair Use" is a right (as per a US Federal Court ruing) what exactly IS Fair Use?

Stanford University Library defines Fair Use as follows:
In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an illegal infringement. - See more at: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/what-is-fair-use/#sthash.UPv2xScF.dpuf
So, what about Parody?
A parody is a work that ridicules another, usually well-known work, by imitating it in a comic way. Judges understand that, by its nature, parody demands some taking from the original work being parodied. Unlike other forms of fair use, a fairly extensive use of the original work is permitted in a parody in order to “conjure up” the original. - See more at: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/what-is-fair-use/#sthash.UPv2xScF.dpuf
I suppose we now need to look at the actual books in question from last night's post.

I fail to see the parody intended. It also does not appear to be "transformative", unless you count a total cover swap as transformative, but certainly not in the manner defined above.

Let's step beyond for a bit. Here's an ad for The Front:

Looks awesome, right? I'd buy that.

Here's the source of the art:

I wonder if Vadim Makarenko knows his artwork is being used?

But that's fair use, right? Er... no.

So, what about this image from The Front itself? (page 18 for those following at home)

I found it here:

I also found it elsewhere on the net. It's a bit of a meme. That doesn't mean it's in the public domain.

Believe it or not, I get it. Small publishers doing it for the joy of the hobby and pennies of profits. It's not like folks are making notable amount of profit off of this. It's just a lark. Shit, it's simply a trade between friends. What's the harm? It's all in fun. No one takes this shit seriously, right? I mean, so long as it's a "hobby" it's got different rules.

Sadly, such attitudes will doom this hobby of ours. Artists, writers, publishers - they are all underpaid in this hobby and the world at large. Using the work of others without permission not only cuts into the monies the underpaid barely make, but it gives the hobby as a whole a black eye.

Certain smaller publishers seem to do it right by their artists all the time. +Venger Satanis sources amazing art for his work. Venger is not making a fortune doing what he loves but he's doing it right (even if we don't always agree)

The Tavern's banners are either donated or commissioned. While I'm not going to state what I paid for any of the individual banners, I've paid upwards of $1,300 in total for banner art to date. I've spent over $750 for stock art. I'm simply a blogger trying to do right by the artists and creators in this community of ours.

Doing things right is not only a good thing to do, but it's the only way for our hobby to succeed.

Friday, May 6, 2016

When is it Right to Use Art You Don't Have a Right to As a Self Publisher?

Short answer? Never.

Long answer? As a self publisher / writer, you are supposed to play by the rules. You wouldn't want someone using your work without authorization, so why should you use someone else's art work without authorization? Without the right? Especially if you want to be considered "legit".

We are not talking printing something out for your own personal use. We are talking something sold to your customer base (BTW, even something given away for free is considered a sale by law - ask many a pot smoker who passed along a doobie amongst friends, only to have each and every one charged with "sale")

Not going to name names, but I will show the artwork in question, published by DC Comics in 2012.

Maybe the publisher doesn't consider themselves legit. I don't know. I just don't understand the mindset behind appropriating artwork that isn't yours and then signing the cover on top of that.

Post 3 of 3 of the Gift Giving - Tavern Readers Raised Over $1000 for the Chuck Wright Medical and Recovery Fund!

Post #3 of 3 -   Post #1 is here - Post # 2 is here. Note there will be a bonus post for gifts put back in the pool by receivers that already have the gifts in question.

Yep, readers of The Tavern raised over $1000 for Chuck Wright's medical and recovery expenses. $1045 to be exact. With the $250 in matching funds from The Tavern itself, it puts us at a hair under $1300.

There are a ton of gifts to award. If you see you're name on the list with a gift, email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gail thing. Put GIFT in the subject line. Give some time for a response. I am but a single tavern keeper ;)

I'm splitting the gift awarding into multiple posts. Partly for my sanity and partly to double the opportunity for you, my readers, to see the posts in question. I'd like to thank all that donated to Chuck Wright's Medical and Recovery Fund and everyone that donated gifts for the gifters. Y'all rock!

- 5 PDF Copies of The Carnival of the Damned are gifted to Ngo Vinh-Hoi, Fellwalker, Timothy Brannan, Steve Komegat and Todd Reed

- 5 PDF Copies of Far Away Land: Tome of Awesome are gifted to Sean Poynter, Doug Sims, Will Tijerina, Keith G Nelson and James Spahn

- 5 PDF Sets of a full run of Crawling Under a Broken Moon in PDF (issues #1-#13) are gifted to Eliyahu Sandler, Tony T., Kelly L'Roy, Keith Mullen and Johnny F. Normall

- 1 PDF Bundle of everything +John Stater has published (NOD, Blood & Treasure, Grit & Vigor, much more) is gifted to GoblinTown

- 1 Stock Art Bundle by +Denis McCarthy is gifted to Tim Baker

- 2 $25 RPGNow Gift Certificates donated by The Tavern are gifted to Vance Atkins and Davario - Dave D

I'm going to give it time over the weekend before collecting all the responses and reaching out to get gifts in motion. Later next week we'll do a drawing for the gifts put back in the pool :)

Uncle - This is Where You Played Dungeons & Dragons When You Were a Kid!

Yesterday afternoon I got some surprise news - my niece was going to stay the night. Shannon is five, and Fridays are "Uncle & Pinky Day" now that I'm retired, as she has swimming lessons (and even before she started swimming lessons, we still made a date for breakfast). So staying on a Thursday night wasn't much of a stretch.

So, last night, as I was doing some wash, Pinky followed me into the basement. After trying to scare me (and me playing along) she stated quite simply "Uncle - This is where you played Dungeons & Dragons when you were a kid." Which was true, I had. Same two family home, now shared by my wife, my son and I with my parents as they and their kids shared it with my grandmother when I was growing up.

I was caught off guard by the comment though, as I had never told her that in junior high, high school and even the early college years, we played in the basement which my senile cat, who at the time treated it like a giant litter box. Not that I blamed Misty. Back when we had oil for heat there was sand all by the oil tank. Where was the gaming table? By the oil tank.

"When I get older, uncle, can you teach me to play Dungeons & Dragons?" Simply music to a gamer's ears. Little does she know that the session of No Thank You Evil! that we played the other week was her introduction to roleplaying. She wanted to be a "ninja with a sword!" so she could stab things, which led to a surprise for me when she decided to sneak each time combat was possible. But I digress.

Retirement is a wonderful thing, even if I'm not seeing all of the free time I had expected. Responsibilities creep up and surprise you out of no where but some of the responsibilities are just full of awesome.

Still, when I put Pinkie to bed last night, with the Amazon Echo to keep her company and answer her questions in the middle of the night, she spoke some simple words of wisdom.

"Uncle, I'm glad you're for real retired now."

I laughed, gently, and asked her why that was.

She sat up in bed, outlined slightly by the glow from the night light and said:

"You!" and pointed a finger at me.

"Me!" and now pointed a finger at herself.

Oh, and she smiled a smile of pure joy before laying back down for sleep.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Badger Asks: An OSRToday OSR Storefront?

+Jason Paul McCartan , otherwise known as The Badger, posted earlier tonight about the possibility of opening an OSR Storefront over at OSRToday

Personally, I like the idea. I know The Badger has the skills, both technical and social media wise to make this work.
As OSRToday heads towards its second birthday in June, there are some tweaks and updates coming to the site and services, including a massive server upgrade. We recently launched our Patreon to help generate new and unique content for the site, and we’re looking at getting more content (including implementing a quality review and promotion system) on the site. One thing that we’re also considering is offering an OSR-centric digital storefront for old school publishers to sell from. Much of the research for a storefront has been done already, and many key features that would make a new player on the scene successful have been identified and researched.
Competition is certainly needed in the virtual RPG storefront market and options can only be good IMHO.

I any case, Jason has the full details over at OSRToday and is looking for some feedback. Give him some!

The Gygax Memorial Fund - A Week After (Tim Kask's Questions) - A Summary of Newly Available Info (with observations and further steps to be taken)

It doesn't matter where you sit on the matter of the Gygax Memorial Fund, we can all agree on one thing - +Tim Kask 's questions a week ago today elicited responses and updates on the Fund's activities that had been absent for too long.

As many of you know, I started asking questions about the Gygax Memorial Fund back in November of 2015. Unlike others, I have no horse in this race, no vested interest, no personal ties nor bias for or against any of the parties involved or perceived to be involved in or perceived to have an interest in the Fund. My training is as an investigator and I spent the last 12 years of my career in law enforcement supervising investigators. My response to conundrums such as the Fund is simply to attempt to find answers. I have no preference for the actual answers I find. No predisposed truths that I'm searching for. 

Answers are elusive because of the Fund's lack of updates and lack of transparency, but there are some things of note that have been mentioned recently, and I'd like to list them here (and if you know of others that I've missed, please point me in the right direction and I'll add them)

- "Larry Elmore is working on two concepts" - hopefully this means that the eyesore (personal opinion only) of the proposed concept that can be viewed on the Fund's page is not going to be the final choice"

- "The architect and the construction company has completed the design phase for the foundation" "The architect and construction company worked over the winter months on the design phase and cost estimate of the foundation" - excellent news and sadly missing from any previous update

- "This year we will have architect, construction, sculptor, accountant, web hosting and other minor expenses." - all to be expected

- "Once we have decided on the design, we will go to the Planning Commission for approval of the design, then to the City Council for approval of the design" - that's a lot of approval left to come, especially when the actual location of the memorial is still being fought over

- "I'm waiting for the right time to approach the City Council to give us land in Library. You just cant walk in and wave a wand to get them to change locations." - see above. If anything is going to push this project to a later date, it will be this

- "Rest assured, we have land. The design and construction of the foundation, current site estimate is $44,000." - sadly, currently NOT the land that Gail would prefer. 

 - "We hope to break ground in 2017" - the last piece of news on this was from 2014, expecting to break ground in 2015. Why such a long delay? See below...

- "Regarding timing of building. I fought two years at monthly meetings to place Garys monument in Library Park. We, as a gaming community can ban together, when I go before the city council to request to change the location of the monument to be where Gary wanted it. Where he and Keo spent many hours reading books skipping school. That time is coming soon. So watch for my call to order." I leave the kind reader to draw his own conclusions to the above statement

- "The GMF will be selling bricks" - my understanding is that the sale of bricks is to the fund upkeep of the memorial going forward - I don't see any mention of selling bricks on the Fund's page itself

- "Our total cost will include 25 years of maintenance, foundation, architect, sculptor." - see above

- From Dec 4, 2013 - "UPDATE: APPROVED pending city atty approval. Gail Gygax appeared before the Board of Parks Commissioners tonite and requested, on behalf of the GMF, to control the sale of the bricks located at the base of the Gary Gygax Monument. She explained the bricks were part of the artistic rendering and all monies raised would go towards the 25 yrs of maintenance required by the city and the building of the monument. In addition, the script would be of a Medieval nature and only names of individuals, gaming groups and corporations would be allowed. Mrs. Gygax wants Gary's fans to have priority over the purchase of the bricks." - long history for the bricks. again, no mention on the Fund's site itself.

So, where do I go from here? Annual reports filed by the Fund with the State of Wisconsin are available from the state at a cost of $5 per year. I'll be ordering the 6 years on file before the week is out. I've also been going trough the minutes of the Lake Geneva City Council Meetings, but it's a slow slog as the search function literally sucks. Oh, and await further updates on the Fund, probably on Facebook, as the Fund's website has yet to be updated. That lack of an update is a shame, because it makes it appear to anyone not following the Fund or Gail on Facebook that nothing is moving. Just my simple opinion, nothing more.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Post 2 of 3 of the Gift Giving - Tavern Readers Raised Over $1000 for the Chuck Wright Medical and Recovery Fund!

Post #2 -  Looks like it will be 3 posts in total. Post #1 is here

Yep, readers of The Tavern raised over $1000 for Chuck Wright's medical and recovery expenses. $1045 to be exact. With the $250 in matching funds from The Tavern itself, it puts us at a hair under $1300.

There are a ton of gifts to award. If you see you're name on the list with a gift, email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gail thing. Put GIFT in the subject line. Give some time for a response. I am but a single tavern keeper ;)

I'm splitting the gift awarding into multiple posts. Partly for my sanity and partly to double the opportunity for you, my readers, to see the posts in question. I'd like to thank all that donated to Chuck Wright's Medical and Recovery Fund and everyone that donated gifts for the gifters. Y'all rock!

- 10 bundles of the Class Hack PDF and the Race Hack PDF for the Black Hack RPG - those being gifted are: Vance Atkins, Sean Poynter, Davario (Dave D), Steve Komegay, James Spahn, The Anti Podean D20, Keith G Nelson, Matt Snodgrass, GoblinTown and Jonathon Biedrow

- 1 PRINT HC Copy White Star Core Rulebook - being gifted is Steve Gilman

- 1 PRINT HC Copy (B&W) The Hero's Journey - being gifted is Will Tijerina

- 10 PDF Bundles of the White Star Core Rulebook and the White Star Companion - those being gifted are: Steve Comegay, Craig Janssen, Davario (Dave D), Kelly L'Roy, Bliyahu Sandler, Far Away Land RPG, Johnny F Normal, Andrew Crenshaw, Tony T and Jonathon Biedrow

- 10 PDF Copies of The Sunken City Adventures Omnibus & Guide (for the DCC RPG) - those being gifted are: Denis McCarthy, Daveario (David D), Timothy Brannon, Sean Poynter, Johatan Linneman, Fellwalker, Anonymous (have contact details), Greg Barry, Adam Hutcheson and Will Tijerina

(note - i can't read my own handwriting at times - if I misspelled your name - oopsie ;)

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9PM Eastern - It's Party Time! Excellent!

It's May 4th. That makes is Star Wars something or other day.

It's also a Wednesday. That makes it a Tavern Chat Night. Woot! 9PM Eastern folks.

Maybe I'll have finished awarding the gifts to all those that gave by then ;)

How do you participate in Tavern Chat? Look at the right side of this page (you may need to scroll down just a bit) - There is a chat box by Chatwing. That is our Tavern Chat. You can log in using just about any social media platform. See you tonight!

Tavern Readers Raised Over $1000 for the Chuck Wright Medical and Recovery Fund! Gifts Incoming in Multiple Posts

Yep, readers of The Tavern raised over $1000 for Chuck Wright's medical and recovery expenses. $1045 to be exact. With the $250 in matching funds from The Tavern itself, it puts us at a hair under $1300.

There are a ton of gifts to award. If you see you're name on the list with a gift, email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gail thing. Put GIFT in the subject line. Give some time for a response. I am but a single tavern keeper ;)

I'm splitting the gift awarding into two posts. Partly for my sanity and partly to double the opportunity for you, my readers, to see the posts in question. I'd like to thank all that donated to Chuck Wright's Medical and Recovery Fund and everyone that donated gifts for the gifters. Y'all rock!

Here we go:

- $50 gift certificate for adventure modules (Print) at Pacesetter Games goes to:  Davario - Dave D

- $50 gift certificate for miniatures at Pacesetter Games goes to: Sean Poynter

- 1 Print copy of Sisters of Aquarian Order goes to: Greg Barry

- PDF copies (total 2) of Sisters of the Aquarian Order go to: Sean Poynter and Steve 

- A set of signed and numbered AS&SH adventure modules from North Wind Adventures: "Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes," "Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess," and "Beneath the Comet" goes to Tim Baker

Lots more to give away but gardening calls between the bouts of rain. More later.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I'm Sitting on Review Copies of Mazes & Perils Deluxe and I Am Zombie: Toxicity - Stuff to Read After Gift Awarding

Somehow life got really busy after retirement ;)

Seems it's hard to say "no" when your mother wants to go shopping at the garden center 40 miles away, as you are "retired" now. Then I had to pick my son's car up from the collision shop (they did an excellent job) and shortly I have to pick my son up from the airport - smack in the middle of NYC evening rush hour traffic. Sigh.

Some gifts from the Chuck Wright Fundraiser will be picked tonight. The rest SHOULD be picked tomorrow, assuming no one else decides my retirement means I'm free to do more random shit. Heh.

Over the weekend I received an unsolicited copy of the first book of the I Am Zombie: Toxicity three book set. I have it in PDF (obviously). I also have the entire press kit. What I would ever do with a press kit, I have no idea. I posted about this Kickstarter earlier.

Today I received the Mazes & Perils Deluxe final version, which should be releasing to the general public in the next few weeks, if not sooner. Fun times to have free time.

So yes, something just jumped line in what I want to read...

edit - Airport wound up being nearly 3 hours round trip and I never left the city. Giftin' in the morning...

Tim Kask Asks a Few More Questions about the Gygax Memorial Fund (and some steps I'm taking)

As I've said before, I have a few more questions about the Gygax Memorial Fund myself, but some of those will be answered by my ordering the Fund's annual reports filed with the state and reviewing the minutes of the Lake Geneva City Council. The minutes are a bit of a chore, as I don't have the dates that the Fund appeared before the Council, but I've got the time now to do the research.

+Tim Kask made some valid points in his post earlier today regarding the Fund. Probably the biggest sticking point at this juncture is that the city and the Fund disagree on where to place the Memorial. As the city has final say on the memorial site and haven't changed their decision in years (and from what I can tell have no intention to change their collective City Council mind) it appears the Fund is tilting a windmill.

Still, as per the Fund "The GMF staff have been most pleased with the enthusiasm and support of the City of Lake Geneva for the statue project" it appears that they have a good feeling that the project will be able to progress.

The minutes will tell the story I'm sure. Just need to find those needles in the haystack ;)

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Busy But Successful Day for Your Tavern Keeper...

Yep, a picture is worth a thousand words.

The picture looks a bit "morphed", but its a pic of a pic.

Alright, Tavern 2.0 kicks off tomorrow ;)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I Never Realized the Gygax Memorial Fund has a Facebook Page and it was Updated!

Really. I had no idea. Silence for over a year can do that. No matter what you think of the questions asked by +Tim Kask and myself, it seems they have spurred a virtual avalanche of info on the Gygax Memorial Fund.

Now, if only the info was actually at the Fund's website...

Update - State of The Tavern - May 1st, 2016 - Wherein the Rush Sets In...

So, tomorrow morning is the day. Er, well, morning but still the day.

Anyhow, I go from active to retired tomorrow and of course I wait until the last minute to get everything I'll need for the process together. I have it all, I just need to make sure I bring it all.

Voided check? Who the hell writes checks these days? Took me half an hour just to find my checkbook.

Yep, that's what I'm going through tonight.

I'm also typing out what seems like hundreds of names to be cut up and placed into the mystical "Hat of Holding Papers With Names on Them" for the gifts.

I would like to say the post with the gifts for Chuck's Fundraiser will go up tonight. It won't. I may get a short post up tonight on other stuff game related, but with the number of donations and the plethora of gifts (I just love using "plethora") the gifting post will need to wait. I'd say tomorrow, but after I head to the pub with friends to celebrate, my state of consciousness may not be conductive to such an activity. I'm going to go with Tuesday Morning.

Now what the f' is Rach's soc sec number?

State of The Tavern - May 1st, 2016 - Gygaxian Events and an Outpouring of Generosity

April was an interesting month, but no more than it's final week.

The news of Chuck Wright's hospitalization and subsequent amputation of his leg below the knee brought together a large part of the gaming community. I'll be spending a large part of today sorting things out for the donors that identified themselves here at The Tavern and making sure the donated gifts are gifted.

The other event ties directly to The Tavern via +Tim Kask 's follow up questions about the Gygax Memorial Fund and my subsequent follow up to Tim's follow up.

Questions are simply that - questions. When the Fund's website lacks any kind of updated information, questions will arise. It is simply the nature of things.

And the above is a clear example of the problem. A sculptor was hired last year but no mention is made on the Fund's website.

I have it on authority that the Fund's website will be updated with news related to the project sooner than later (so those of you that have asked me if there are updates on the site, there's your answer). Time will tell if that is the case.

Do I have further questions? Perhaps. I'd like to see the answers to the earlier ones posed by myself and later Tim before I go there. Answers will do much to clearing this whole mess up, and a mess it is.

Don't worry. I'm retired. I have all the time in the world these days...

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