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Old 11-03-2018, 08:24 AM   #1
Toltrin
 
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Default Is it OK to 3-D print custom vehicles based on OGRE/GEV?

Is it legal and ethical to 3-D print a vehicle based on the OGRE/GEV universe?
How far could I go with this idea?
I am asking out of respect for Steve (and I don't want legal problems).
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Old 11-03-2018, 09:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: Is it OK to 3-D print custom vehicles based on OGRE/GEV?

The general rule of thumb is "if you have to ask, you probably shouldn't do it." It really comes down to what you want to make, who is making it, and how it'll be used.

If you are making it yourself, and it's solely for your own use - i.e., no selling or giving it away - then you can reproduce whatever you want. But I'm sure SJ Games would rather you bought from them instead.

If you are having someone else make it for you (like Shapeways) or you want to sell or give the pieces away, then they must be wholly original creations to avoid infringing on SJ Games's copyrights. The pieces could interface with SJ Games miniatures - such as variant infantry bases or other bits - but otherwise must be wholly new sculpts.

Ethically? Well, you'll have to decide that for yourself. Personally, I'm getting very tired of seeing 3D printing proponents asking this very question.
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Old 11-04-2018, 09:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is it OK to 3-D print custom vehicles based on OGRE/GEV?

Since 3D printing is becoming more common and accessible this is a timely question and I think it would ultimately help OGRE to have some official statement to give us better clarity on this.

Simply asking about it does not necessarily mean one knows better and should not ask. 3D printing is a newly developing thing that is changing the gaming world. However, in a way, it is no different than someone sculpting a model of their FanMade unit out of epoxy putty and having it cast in a spin caster out of metal...or is it?

For example, I have some FanMade variant units worked up to their final iterations as black and white line art on a OGRE stat card format as well as a full page sheet of the same with the units brief background which are posted on a website for anyone's viewing and these are downloadable for free for use by anyone who wants to.

I too would like to someday sculpt these in 3D and print them for use...which is where the uncertainty starts because 3D printing is a new development in how fans can create stuff and have it made available out here in the wild. Sure, we can say there is no difference per se but the 3D printed object is more tangible than the paper image and yet both are of the same thing and those images are allowed to be posted and downloaded for use for free.

Can such 3D printed units be made available for people? If so, in what ways? What are the options concerning this, if any. Can we have some more specific guidelines concerning this? We all want OGRE to continue to grow. Can any of this FanMade 3D printing stuff help that cause and if so how?

I too ask out of respect, as I too think about this sometimes. All this stuff I've been doing with the variant units/ rules is completely inspired by and intended only for the OGREverse.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Is it OK to 3-D print custom vehicles based on OGRE/GEV?

Fan creations have been important to Ogre since the start, since before the Internet. Obviously SJG has been cool about all this as long as people aren't trying to profit off their intellectual property, violating copyright or diluting trademarks.

Nowadays lots of us here on this forum share pictures of our custom creations, scenario ideas, thoughts about rules or units and so on. Linking to a hosted custom map made with OgreMap 2 would probably be OK. Doing that and overlaying any SGJ trademarks would not be OK. Thats false representation that a fan creation is in some way official.

To put it simply: a hex map on its own isnt a problem. A hex map with the official Ogre logo on it is a problem.

Lets say that up to now, no one harvested all the fan scenarios, custom unit counters, fan fiction, etc and repackaged it all for sale or other re-distribution in a way that stepped on SJG.

The thing is for some years, that same kind of copy and repackage/rehosting has become more and more common. Even the site may not charge for the content, they are making money on ads, click affiliates and so on. You can bet your bottom dollar/pound/euro/yen that if such is put on Shapeways someone will copy it and claim it as their own work. Even we assume that Tim Kauffman has nothing but the best intentions, we cant unfortunately assume that of others.

In a sense the 3D printing aspect doesnt matter, the real issue is if and how content is presented regarding trademark and copyright. 3D print some units for your own use? Great! Put the models up for the public? Questionable and depends on representation and if it is mostly a copy of an existing SJG item.
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: Is it OK to 3-D print custom vehicles based on OGRE/GEV?

I don't see how designing and printing generic 1/300 tanks, power armor, artillery, etc, would be a problem.

Now, if you want to start building and selling 25 scale meter long scale giant tanks with 2 big guns, 6 little guns, and 6 external missiles, etc, that's probably wandering into much more dubious territory.

Last edited by HeatDeath; 11-05-2018 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Is it OK to 3-D print custom vehicles based on OGRE/GEV?

Please refer to my previous post. I have quite a bit of experience with this sort of thing, and while I am not a lawyer, the guidelines I listed will steer you right.
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: Is it OK to 3-D print custom vehicles based on OGRE/GEV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltrin View Post
Is it legal and ethical to 3-D print a vehicle based on the OGRE/GEV universe?
That depends on what 'based on' means and what you do with it. Most of what you want to know is answered by the SJG online policy, which, despite the name, actually talks about things like T-shirts. The short answer is that, if what you're doing is similar enough to be considered a derivative work, or if you distribute it in a way that makes it clear that it's intended for use with OGRE, you have to follow the rules specified by the rights holder (doing it for personal use isn't really an exception, but is basically unenforceable).
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is it OK to 3-D print custom vehicles based on OGRE/GEV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ColBosch View Post
The general rule of thumb is "if you have to ask, you probably shouldn't do it." It really comes down to what you want to make, who is making it, and how it'll be used.
What ColBosch said.

If you're going to make exactly what you could buy for SJGames - you're better off buying it. Injection molding is maybe 3 orders of magnitude cheaper than 3D printing (which charges by the gram - and is actually pretty hard to get right). Direct imitation of the existing high-quality line is wasting your money.

SJGames posts some guidelines for sharing things on-line which certainly apply. I think there's some contact info if you want to share something broadly.
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: Is it OK to 3-D print custom vehicles based on OGRE/GEV?

As with most legal questions, it depends.

If you are making a 6mm or 1/285 or 1/300 futuristic tank that does not look like anything SJG (or any other miniature manufacturer) has made and you do not reference OGRE or its timeline in any way, then there is almost certainly no copyright issue. Your miniature is an original creation and copyright is in you.

That you made rules to use it in your own OGRE games is legally no different than using another makers miniatures in your local games. you cannot sell or publish those rules, of course, but making an original miniature is not a problem. You can probably even sell them as generic 6mm futuristic armor units without running afoul of SJG's Intellectual Property (IP) rights so long as you do not reference OGRE, its rules or fluff in any way.

If, on the other hand, you duplicate a SJG design - even if SJG never made such a miniature but merely described it - it gets more dicey for you. For example, let's say you look in the GURPS: OGRE book and read the description of the Israeli Golem and you decide to make a miniature of it for your own use. There is probably not much of an issue here since it is just for your use and not for sale or distribution. It is still technically a violation of SJG copyright, but it is not cost effective for SJG to enforce its rights even if they became aware of it - which is unlikely. This is probably a de facto, if not de jure, "exception by unenforceability."

Now lets say you want to sell the "Golem" miniature - as long as it looks nothing like anything SJG produced and you do not call it an "Israeli Golem" but rather something generic like "AI super-tank" or "future land battleship" or something like that and you describe its armaments in terms other than "main battery," "secondary battery," "antipersonnel gun," or "missile racks" (perhaps you use "Barak Heavy Gauss Cannon," "Gideon Light Gauss Cannon," "Scythe autocannon" and "David's Sling Tac-Missile" - which are generic and unrelated to anything in the OGRE fluff) you are probably safe. Again, the question is going to turn on how close your look, packaging and fluff text gets to the OGREverse.

The closer you get to SJG's material, the more risk you have; the more generic you make it, the less risk you have. Selling the miniature as an "Israeli Golem" without permission or license from SJG is almost certainly an infringement of SJG's rights. Calling your weapons systems that same thing OGRE does, probably increases your risk even though SJG itself uses pretty generic terms.

Could you call it an "IDF AI super-tank?" Probably, the IDF is a real-world institution, Israel is a real country - both of which you are using fictitiously. If you have no fluff tying it to the OGREverse and the miniature is the first in a line of miniatures for the Arab-Israeli war of 2118, again you are still probably okay.

If you mention anything from the OGRE timeline or the Panarabian Confederation or the Paneuropean Federation or the Combined North American States, then you are almost certainly in trouble as those fictional governments are original SJG creations. If, however, you talk about the Arab League, the European Union, the United States... those are real-world states/transnational institutions used fictitiously and probably are not infringing anything. A lot depends on the actual fluff you create.

If your creation looks like SJG miniatures or SJG-owned or licensed imagery or references any original work done by SJG then you have more of a problem. A generic "laser turret" or "laser tower" is probably hard for SJG to go after but one that looks like the old SJG miniatures or the 3-D card models in the Big Box is likely copyrighted to SJG.

Disclaimer

None of the forgoing is intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such; as always, if you want to create a miniature for sale, consult with a competent IP attorney before proceeding. None of the foregoing is the official position of SJ Games, despite coming from a MIB, any questions regarding SJ Games opinion should be directed to SJ Games, Inc.

If you're interested in publishing miniatures under a license, contact licensing@sjgames.com with your business plan and proposal as per Andrew Hackard below.

Last edited by CombineGeneral; 11-06-2018 at 12:16 PM. Reason: grammar/disclaimer
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Old 11-06-2018, 12:05 PM   #10
Andrew Hackard
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Default Re: Is it OK to 3-D print custom vehicles based on OGRE/GEV?

The preceding post should not be construed as legal advice and DEFINITELY should not be construed as an official statement from SJ Games, despite coming from a MIB.

Nor am I offering any guidance one way or the other with this post. If you want to be certain that you're within the law, consult an IP attorney. If you're interested in publishing miniatures under a license, contact licensing@sjgames.com with your business plan and proposal.
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