Some thoughts on Paizo’s new licenses

Only a few days after Wizards of the Coast has released the updated GSL, Paizo announced a  Compatibility License for Pathfinder and a Community Use Policy. From what I’ve seen so far (and please bear with me, I am no lawyer) Paizo’s licenses are much, much more fair than the dreaded GSL. 

The compatibility license can be compared with the late d20 System License since it allows people to print “Compatible with Pathfinder” onto their books. And since Pathfinder will probably become the replacement for the out-of-print D&D 3.5 Players Handbook quite a few companies that still produce 3.5 material could jump onto the bandwagon.

The Community Use Policy is also very nice indeed. You just have to add a short legal text to your site and then you are allowed to use certain pieces of artwork that Paizo provides (including the iconic characters from the Pathfinder RPG), use texts from their blog, et cetera as long as the Pathfinder stuff is for free. I think it’s a clever move by Pathfinder to allow others to claim compatibility to their stuff. If this works out like Paizo hopes, time will tell, but I applaud to that decision.  

I am still undecided on the Pathfinder RPG itself. It looks like it’s going to be a winner, but I don’t think I will need an updated D&D 3.5 rulebook when I already own a whole lot of them. But from what I’ve seen they’ve made some pretty nice changes and the book just looks beautiful. And it’s a great thing they put it all into one big book instead of forcing you a whole bunch of them. But I appreciate the way they treat their fans and their business partners. If I only could say that about WotC that repeatedly failed to fulfill their promises.

And while you are at it check out the posts by my fellow RPG bloggers:

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

5 thoughts on “Some thoughts on Paizo’s new licenses”

  1. While it's nice of Paizo to release this before we can start pillaging their PRPG while we still have to wait for Wizards' end on 4E, I quite uncertain about its implications to us as bloggers.

    Does this mean that we have to comply to their guidelines (like adding said clauses and phrases) if we posted Pathfinder material/related news on our blogs?

    I've also used a couple of their images before this so does it retroactively mean that I have agreed to their terms and now have to register my site?

    I'm a little scared and excited at the same time because the community packs would be very handy to have.

    <abbr><abbr>Questing GMs last blog post..Green Ronin Stays Ronin from 4E</abbr></abbr>

  2. I don't share that fear. Imagine a news site, blog, whatever wants to review the Pathfinder RPG and use the cover as illustration. Will they put Paizo's clauses to their site? I don't think so. I am pretty sure things like that fall under fair use (correct me if I am wrong). And even if this would count as a copyright infringement I am pretty sure Paizo won't sue you. Not even Wizards is sueing us bloggers for writing about their stuff all the time and using parts of their artwork.

    But if you write posts about Pathfinder on a regular basis, you should add that clause to your legal information section just to be on the safe side.

    Just my two cents.

  3. Using an image associated with a company when posting news about that company qualifies as fair use. Using an image from a company when creating new material to be used with products produced by that company does not.

    <abbr><abbr>Viriathas last blog post..News: Pirate Bay on Trial</abbr></abbr>

  4. @Viriatha: I agree.

    @Questing DM: The registration part bothers me a bit, but aside from that the policy sounds ok. The funny part is I actually missed the registration part when I first read the policy. Perhaps I haven't had enough coffee this morning. 😉

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