A Walk in the Dark A look in to the mind of an RPG designer



Drizzt for President (Or Not)

Every time WotC tells me "no", a lawyer gets his wings.


Two posts in a day!!! That's unheard of!!!

So I created the image you kind of see to the right: a "Drizzt Do'Urden for President" image that I intended to make decals, bumper stickers and even a political yard sign out of thanks to CafePress. I even considered making it an undisclosed reward in a Kickstarter I'm thinking of launching in the near future.

But my past experiences have taught me a lesson: when you are going to use someone else's name, ask first. So I sent an email to both WotC Customer Support and someone on the WotC Brand Team. I actually don't know for sure whether my inquiry reached the brand team, but the response came from Customer Support.

Unfortunately, we do not grant permission to use the D&D artwork to create, sell or otherwise distribute products as you've described here, beyond what's normally allowed by the GSL.

Uh... That doesn't exactly answer my question. I'm not using "D&D Artwork", I'm using a D&D name.

I know that D20 Monkey had issues with his Mordenkainen shirt, but I hoped that was only due to the upcoming Mordenkainen book. Then again, Drizzt has his own board game, so maybe I'm not so far off.

But, to be honest, "we do not grant permission" is really all I can afford to hear at this point, and I'm not about to dare firing back with a "that's not what I asked" email. So I have pulled all the images from the sites I posted it on (such as DeviantArt).

For now, my car will simply have to be the only car on Earth making such an awesome political statement!

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  1. The thing that sucks is that this (as well as d20monkey’s Mordenkainen shirts) are so obviously covered under fair use (satire).

  2. This is Rob Bodine, author of the Protection from Chaos article on Loremaster and gsllc on Twitter. I want to put in my 2ยข. I’m on my phone, so I can’t realistically research anything, such as the specific facts of these cases beyond what’s written here, and proofread this post is proving cumbersome, but maybe I can help.

    1.) As you know, even if you’re 100% correct, it still may cost more money than you have to prove that to a court. Right a wrong, sometimes the only practical alternatives is to pretend you’re wrong and move on with your life.

    2.) With the exception of one judge in Poland, no judge has supported even a theoretical grant of a copyright on a single word. Unless the word is a trademark, it’s not protectable, and if it is a trademark, you will likely be shielded from liability by simply including a disclaimer.

    3.) Even if a single word could be copyrighted, or (more realistically) if that word were combined with other things that *collectively* deserved copyright protection, you might have the fair use defense of parody. This would require, among other things, that you were directly ridiculing the copyrighted subject matter. It’s not enough to be making a joke; you have to be making a joke at the expense of that subject matter.

    4.) Satire is not a defense under US copyright law. It’s not needed. We have the First Amendment to protect free speech generally, and that covers areas such a satire. The effect is the same, though I don’t see how satire is relevant here.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Listen to him. I just play a lawyer in my imagination. ๐Ÿ™‚

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