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Licensing Status of Hero System Fifth Edition (Revised)

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Isn't "Champions" also copyrighted?

The name is not copyrighted, no. You can't copyright a name or a word. However, the text of every edition of the "Champions" sourcebook is copyrighted.

 

The masthead page of the 6e Champions hardcover claims that "Champions" and "Dark Champions" are trademarks owned by Cryptic Studios, however neither is listed with a registered or unregistered trademark symbol, so this may be a challengable claim.

 

As far as I can tell, only "Hero System" is a registered trademark.

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The name is not copyrighted, no. You can't copyright a name or a word. However, the text of every edition of the "Champions" sourcebook is copyrighted.

 

The masthead page of the 6e Champions hardcover claims that "Champions" and "Dark Champions" are trademarks owned by Cryptic Studios, however neither is listed with a registered or unregistered trademark symbol, so this may be a challengable claim.

 

As far as I can tell, only "Hero System" is a registered trademark.

A quick search of the USPTO doesn't show Cryptic Studios or Perfect World having either of those trademarks. Cryptic Studios does have a trademark for Champions Online.

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FYI:  "Abandonware" is still not legal to use simply by being unsupported.  The copyright holder must legally gift the copyrighted work into the public domain.  Even a copyrighted work that is never sold or distributed is entitled to protection against exploitation.  If you want to use Hero System et. al. to create a derivative work you need a license from the copyright holder.

 

You would have been better off just contacting the holder privately.  By doing so on a public forum you essentially compel the holder to prevent the use you intend, which based on what has been presented they are perfectly within their rights to do.

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From what I can tell, he does not want to copy portions of copyrighted text into his product. He merely wants to create and publish original characters using the Hero System. All he needs to do is acknowledge that the Hero System is a registered trademark of DOJ, Inc. in his book's masthead. What he's doing isn't a derived work as defined by copyright law, and unless he is trying to market his product as an official Hero System product, he doesn't need a license either.

 

However, obtaining a license from Hero Games is so trivially easy (and free, I believe) that it is kind of a no-brainer, and probably a good idea from a community PR perspective.

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However, obtaining a license from Hero Games is so trivially easy (and free, I believe) that it is kind of a no-brainer, and probably a good idea from a community PR perspective.

 

It is so easy it could have been filled out at least 10 or 20 times since this thread started.

 

And licensing from Hero Games is free.

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From a marketing perspective, I can see only licensing the current system, from the perspective of supporting the current version. However, licensing prior editions also puts Hero product on the market, and the differences are small enough that a "Powered by HERO" game would be attracting gamers who like the system in any of its iterations. There's merit to both approaches.

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As of the last I'd heard, the standard licensing agreement from DOJ allows people to create material for 6th edition only.  It would take an explicit statement from Jason Walters to change that.  

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