The following is a clarification of our position on the subject of licensing and ownership of the intellectual properties we use in our Revolution D100 game line.

Revolution D100 is an Open Roleplaying Game System which uses the Open Gaming Licence, which Wizards of the Coast introduced in 2000 for its D20 line. It uses the original System Reference Document (SRD) by WotC, as well as other SRDs produced later for D100 game systems. In particular, it uses the SRD that Mongoose Publishing created in 2006 for its D100 line, labelled “RuneQuest System Reference Document” and usually referred to as the MRQ SRD. This document was labelled “RuneQuest” because the owner of the RuneQuest trademark, Issaries Inc., had licensed the aforementioned trademark and use of the setting of Glorantha to Mongoose Publishing. Revolution D100 also uses other SRDs like OpenQuest and Legend that are direct derivatives of the MRQ SRD.

It is our understanding that the so called MRQ SRD can no longer be distributed as it was originally, because it contains references to the Intellectual Property of Issaries (now held by Moon Design Publications LLC), namely the RuneQuest Trademark and some Gloranthan elements, which Mongoose Publishing no longer has the rights to use. However, it is also our understanding that the rest of the so called MRQ1 SRD, the rules proper, was the intellectual property of Mongoose Publishing Ltd, and was in no way licensed to it by other parties. The words “RuneQuest System Reference Document Copyright 2006, Mongoose Publishing” are crystal clear in the Copyright Notice, and they are the core point. Thus, the fact that Issaries Inc. eventually terminated Mongoose’s rights to use the trademarked word “RuneQuest”, according to points 5 and 14 of the OGL, does not automatically change the rest of the SRD into “closed contents”, or worse “unlicensed third party IP”. To think otherwise would imply that the revocation of a license for Trademark use has made Mongoose unable to do what it intends, or intended, with its own intellectual property, which it had unequivocally and irrevocably released as Open Game Content.

The principle that ownership of one’s own copyrighted and copyrightable intellectual property is not restricted by its use in conjunction with third-party-owned trademarks is for us of the utmost importance. Any deviation from this principle might imperil the work of countless creative freelancers or small press companies in the entertainment business.

Another point on which we wish to clarify our position is the issue of non-copyrightability of game rules as concepts. The so-called MRQ1 SRD contains rules which take inspiration – although they introduce some major variations such as the absence of the Resistance Table – from the original RuneQuest rules of 1978, 1980 and 1984. Note also that Issaries Inc., which licensed the RuneQuest trademark to Mongoose, had never published, created or patented a game based on d100. In our opinion, the creation of a new ruleset with similar characteristics as older ones, as Issaries Inc. asked Mongoose Publishing to do, was perfectly lawful according to the principle that rule mechanics are not copyrightable, as long as you do not copy the text verbatim. The Texas court ruling referenced below seems to confirm this interpretation, and although there is a remote possibility that one day a Court of Appeal or Supreme Court might reverse this interpretation, it is as far as we know the only existing legal precedent about this subject.

As a consequence of the above, we stress once more that our Revolution D100 game line is compliant with the principles of US and European laws on intellectual properties, does not infringe on IP owned by other parties, and would withstand legal action by other parties. And that these facts extend to anyone wishing to publish his or her own game based on the Revolution D100 System Reference Document and its OGL.

RuneQuest and Glorantha are trademarks of Greg Stafford and/or whomever he chose to license or transfer them to. They are neither used nor challenged in the Revolution D100 game line. Their usage in the above text is not meant as a challenge to Intellectual Property.


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