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Reactions to the new WotC Fan Site Policy

Posted on August 7, 2009 by Matt-M-McElroy

Wizards of the Coast has just posted the new Fan Site Kit Policy for those interested in putting together a fansite for D&D 4th Edition (and it apparently covers Magic: the Gathering as well). Reactions have been…rather mixed so far:

The Seven-Sided Die has a good post called Wizards’ Fan Site Kit is not a fan site policy that is worth reading.

Geek Related tells us Wizards Fan Site Policy – What It’s Good For.

Several forum discussions have started up as well on RPGNet and ENWorld just to name a few sites.

If I’m reading this correctly the Fan Site policy says you have to use the GSL to “publish” adventures, but the GSL states that you cannot publish via website, HTML etc.

So, if you want to distribute your homebrew campaign setting or adventure you need to publish a pdf and either have a non-fansite website where folks can download it or hook up with RPGNow and have them distribute it for you.

Someone let me know if I’ve got that wrong or missed something in there. Other comments on the policy and related materials is welcome too…

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4 Responses to “Reactions to the new WotC Fan Site Policy”

  1. Sean Kelley says:

    I don’t think it’s as restrictive as people might make it out to be. I read it, and I hate reading legal crap,but here’s my interpretation.

    Wizards wants to supply images and info to fan sites that are approved by Wizards. Here is where they enable control of their property. Anything else is not acceptable, if it’s their property. They don’t want people to alter it, they want credit to them for the material provided, and they don’t want anyone misleading the material as an endorsement. They also don’t want anyone making money off the material, ie charge money to see the material.

    They also want links referenced back to their site, not in iframe, or specific product.

    “We encourage you to use these materials, post your character sheets for Dungeons & Dragons®, create fan fiction, display your personal artwork, and just have fun on your Fan Site.”

    You can do fan fiction, pc sheets, etc.

    I dunno, it seems pretty straight forward. I think it’s the shock that a company published an official policy that makes people jump and ultimately miffed. The Net can be no holds barred and I think WotC is trying to put some guidelines in place in regards to their material.

  2. Morrus says:

    Yeah, you got that wrong. You can have a fan site which doesn’t use the attached images they provided, and use the GSL to provide adventures in downloadable format.

  3. I’m not seeing how what I said was wrong really. When I said someone needs to have a “non-fansite website” I guess you and I are using different terms for what a fan site would be.

    I suppose technically you could still call it a fan site, but it would not be one according to the above fan site policy. It would be a website with GSL compliant material available for download.

  4. Monica says:

    Unfortunately, the new policy is a bit confusing. Fan fiction, especially. That can create a lot of creative issues and legal headaches for people who write professionally in the Forgotten Realms.

    Also, the whole point of having “fan” sites is to allow people to say what they want in terms of game crit, etc.. It’s a bad idea to say “You can’t ever say anything terrible about my product.” because that’s simply unrealistic. People have their opinions.

    The reason why this policy is a bit restrictive, is because it should not have been called a “fan site policy.” This is a Terms of Service agreement. Facebook got reamed for their ToS which was less restrictive than this one. WoTC has a right to make one that protects their IP (and I agree with that part) but some of the guidelines are a bit wonky.

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