Jeff's Letter to the EFF

From: (Jeff Kesselman) Subject: Letter to EFF in regard TSR legal threats Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 21:44:59 GMT
I thought others might like to see a letter I just sent to both the electronic frontier foundation, and a friend of mine who's a presidential advisor (and an old RPG player): Jeffrey P. Kesselman 631 Harvard Ave Santa Clara, CA 95051 Mr. Stanton McCandlish EFF Online Activist Electronic Frontier Foundation Dear Mr. McCandlish: I am assuming that you are the right contact person for this letter, please forward this on to the correct person if you are not. I'm writing you about recent actions taken by TSR inc., publisher of The Dungeons and Dragons family of games. Specifically, TSR recently threatened to sue for Copyright and/or trademark infringement any ftp site or individual USENET poster who makes available independently created character descriptions and adventures, even if such postings contain no TSR materials beyond the use of some D&D terminology. Their stated position is that all such materials are derivative works (clearly a stretch of Copyright law). Their stated objective is to force everyone posting materials in any way related to their game to do so only to their licensed sites, in such a manner as they determine, and under their total control. They have already sent letters threatening legal action to a number of ftp sites, as well as made the USENET community as a whole scared to post these materials(once a common practice.) As this claim has broad implications for what one can and cannot release onto the net, I thought you might like to get involved in seeing this claim challenged. In addition to the inherent fallacies in the broadness of the claim itself, it would seem that these actions on their part might very well be actions in restraint of trade, as TSR holds a very well established place of dominance in the role-play game industry. Thank you for your time in reading this. Sincerely, Jeffrey P. Kesselman cc: