I got a call from WotC ...

TerlObar's picture
February 26, 2018 - 8:58pm
Not unexpected given everything that is happening but I was contacted last week by WotC relative to the permissions I have for the Star Frontiersman and Frontier Explorer magazines and their websites. I had a nice chat with my contact at WotC and I have been asked to take stuff off-line.

The exact details as of yet are still undetermined (I'm waiting to hear back from WotC on a few questions). That said, I will definitely be removing all of the remastered rules and modules from the Star Frontiersman site, along with any Star Frontiersman issues (quite a few) that have remastered Dragon magazine articles in them (we intentionally did not put any Dragon articles in the Frontier Explorer). This is WotC's intellectual property and as someone with a degree in Library Science (in addition to my astrophysics degrees), I can say that this is completely their right and they won't get any argument from me. It was this material that I had the permissions for in the first place.

If possible, those Star Frontiersman issues will go back up in the future with the Dragon articles redacted. Additionally, if I can, I may take all the optional rule material that Bill had put in the remastered rule sets and put those out as a stand-alone supplement.

What this means for the Frontier Explorer (and the other Star Fronteirsman issues) is uncertain. There are a number of possibilities depending on what WotC tells me in response to my questions:

1) I have to pull everything down - This is by far the most draconian option and while I hope it won't go this far, it is possible. We started the Frontier Explorer and (I believe) operated in a manner so that this won't be necessary (i.e. based on their fan site policies) but who knows what they will say. I'd say this has a moderate possibility of happening. With the exceptions of very general articles, a lot of stuff that was produced in the magazines could be considered derivative work and thus falls under their copyrights which protects against the creation of such works. So if they really want to, they could make the case that it all has to be removed. It would be a shame, but that's the way the law works.

2) Everything can stay on-line but no new issues of the magazines - They may allow us to keep up everything that was fan produced (not their original copyrighted work) but ask us to not produce any new issues of the magazine. This is actually the outcome that I'm expecting/hoping for based on everything else I know. This doesn't stop people from posting new material on their own sites (i.e. a fan site), just stops the Frontier Explorer from being a central clearing house.

3) Everything continues with some modifications - With the exception of removing their copyrighted materials, we can keep everything up and continue publishing new issues of the Frontier Explorer although possibly with some variation on what we can and can't publish. If I had to guess, I'd say this is very unlikely.

Given what I've seen, it's my opinion that WotC is doing something with Star Frontiers or at least taking interest in their IP that they've let lay fallow for a long time. I intend to stay on their good side so I'll be complying with whatever they ask, even if I don't agree with it or think it's a bit over the top. I'm not going to get into a legal battle with WotC over this.

For the most part, this doesn't affect the this site at all (nor the Facebook group or the G+ community). I specifically asked about these sites during our conversation. They had no issue with them staying on-line, However, to be completely safe, I am going to remove some files relative to their IP (such as any PDFs of rules or Dragon articles).  In my conversation with WotC they said there was a possibility that I'd be able to put it all back up at a later time.  In any case, I'll be putting some effort into updating and improving the site over the coming year. Especially if they exercise options 1 or 2 since I won't have to put any effort into the magazine publication.

With all that said, I'll be removing the remastered products sometime later this week after the first of the month. If you don't have a copy and would like one, get them now over at http://starfrontiersman.com.

I'll keep you updated as I learn more.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

SFAndroid's picture
March 12, 2018 - 2:03pm
Are there plans to rebrand Frontier Explorer?  Call it Spacelanes or Starways, etc.
You can't argue with the invincibly ignorant. - William F. Buckley

jedion357's picture
March 12, 2018 - 5:14pm
SFAndroid wrote:
Are there plans to rebrand Frontier Explorer?  Call it Spacelanes or Starways, etc.

Im in a bit of a funk since all this happened, taking a break to focus on other projects right now. Although, i did have a chat with Someone at DWD studios by IM today and requirements for publishing a Frontier Space module may or may not have been discussed. I also was on Drivethru and may have bought myself some Frontier Space hard covers. So i may shake my funk off soon.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 12, 2018 - 9:14pm
My projects are on hold for now as well. I'm about to start a new job and I've been bending a lot of wrenches around my motorcycles lately. I also got my first sunburn for the year today. ;)
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

ChrisDonovan's picture
March 15, 2018 - 8:29am
After a discussion with Tom via DM, it seems pretty clear to me that (contrary to what I originally thought) that this is simple IP enforcement due to the Evil Hat situation. In other words, we got Axanar-ed.