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The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is here! You can read all about it in the news.

Von fjugin,

Dear 9th Age Enthusiasts!

In today's sneak peak we would like to talk about a topic which is often surrounded by myths and dangerous superficial knowledge which leads to unnecessarily heated debates on forums - Intellectual Property.

What is actually protected?
Keep in mind that GW owns the copyrights to Warhammer and to all the material surrounding the Warhammer world. This would include the Warhammer storyline and fluff. GW does not own the concept of elves, dwarves, undead, etc.; however the particular expression in the works created by GW are protected.

Derivative Work
A derivative work is a work that is based on a previous work. A new "version" of a book is a classic example of a derivative work. As the owner of the copyright of the 8th edition rules book and the various army books, GW has the exclusive right to authorize derivative works. Even giving a work away for free is still considered copyright infringement.

GW has put out a policy which includes: "Please do not contact us asking for specific permissions. We do not give express permissions except in respect of licences"

Are the rules themselves protected?
The rules themselves are not protected; however the "expression" of the material is. This means that the concept of the rules governing the game can be freely used. The 8th edition rule book, however, includes a lot of "expression" in describing the rules. You cannot copy GW's expression (e.g., you cannot copy word-for-word their description of the rules) without GW's authorization.

Due to the fact that we did not want to be tied to GW's blessing we had to (re-)create everything from the scratch by ourselves. This included no copy & paste whatsoever - every word written and every diagram included is completely new.

Naming of rules and units
Obviously there are some units that GW cannot possibly claim copyright protection to such as: state troops, knights errant, harpies, orcs, giants, stone thrower, bolt thrower, cannon, etc.; however, there are some troop descriptions are semi-unique such as: demigryph knights, savage orcs, storm vermin, witch elves, etc.; and then there are the very unique named characters for the various armies or the unique war machines or unique units: Karl Franz, Screaming Bell, Hell Pit Abomination, etc.

We wanted to be on rock solid legal ground. This is why we concluded (after long debates) to only use the first group of generic names and rename all semi-unique and unique units/rules. You have to understand that this choice was not an easy one for us. We didn't want to change names but the unpredictable legal risk would threaten the 9th Age's future. This project is set up to support generations of new player's with rules for their beloved hobby. Furthermore this is a non-commercial community hobby project - we don't want to take any unnecessary risk.

It is true that we are very cautious. It is true that this risk could never have been realised. It is true that a court would probably dismiss a lawsuit. BUT neither of us is going to take a personal risk like that if it is avoidable. This is a hobby after all and nobody wants to get his existence threatened by a company which is known to protect their IP fiercely.

How to proceed?
The expressions and names we created mainly affect the army books (and certain spell names) - currently compiled in a ravaging hordes file as a short term interim solution. We are certain that some names will sound unfamiliar and that there are probably better expressions out there. This is why we want to hear how you would name those units which we were forced to re-name. Our goal is to discuss with 9th Age players from all around the globe what they think is best. Names are iconic corner stones of a project like this and provide a certain "feeling" for the game - we want to create books that you like to read and play with after all.

After the official 9th Age beta release everybody will have the chance to apply for a spot in the army book committees. These committees will consist out of approx. 5 community members (depending on the workload) with vast race specific knowledge who have proven their dedication to this project and will (under the supervision and guidance of the 9th Age rules team) create the "proper" army books. During this process the gathered community feedback will be implemented - this specifically includes names for troops too.

We want to create the best product possible, a ruleset which will get regular updates and new content for years to come even if this forces us to make an unpopular choice - we are certain that the combined creativity of our supporters will lead to a product which is iconic by itself, because you readers are our greatest asset.

So, how would you re-name a Terrorgheist?


With best regards,
The 9th Age Rules Team

ps.: We want to thank our legal advisers for providing us all the necessary information needed to make an informed decision. Without your engagement this project would not be fit for the future - you have our deepest gratitude.
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