[OT] Software Legalities (GPL, Intellectual Property, and more..)

Scott Elcomb psema4-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w at public.gmane.org
Tue Jul 15 15:53:22 UTC 2008

On Mon, Jul 14, 2008 at 7:42 PM, Marc Lanctot <lanctot-yfeSBMgouQgsA/PxXw9srA at public.gmane.org> wrote:
> I have been building OpenMTG, a free and open-source (GPL-licensed) program
> I intend to be a free version of the popular Magic: The Gathering
> collectible card game. It is similar to Firemox but different in design and
> architecture, though I might just fork Firemox depending on what happens.

Is OpenMTG a generic engine?  Is the game logic specific to MTG, or
does it support logic for other games (like Firemox does)?

> Everyone I've told this idea to says that Wizards of the Coast will never
> let me get away with it. That sucks. I'd like to know how they can prevent
> me from doing it. Other than obvious statements like "they have money and
> therefore good lawyers", I'd like to know the actual legal issues this would
> cause, and how I can prevent any problems if possible.  I've seen things
> like this been done... eg. Wargus & Freecraft, Freeciv, and Firemox is still
> going. Brettspielwelt has many free games, so does Richard Rognlie's popular
> PBeM server. If these people can circumvent the legal issues, why couldn't
> I? Should I just abandon the idea altogether?

I've been a fan of the collectible-trading-card gaming genre since
it's conception.  When MTG first came out all my friends knew I was
hyped and a few got me a bunch of starter packs.  Not MTG mind you,
but Spellfire* which I still consider a superior game.

Anyway, over the years I prototyped a few games in this style.  If
you're not stuck on MTG and don't want to get into it with the
lawyers, I'd be happy to offer some of my ideas and logic from my
ideas for your project.  I don't have the physical prototypes or notes
any longer, but would be happy to recreate them for you.

* http://www.spellfire.net/

 Scott Elcomb
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