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Question of Werewolf Terminology copyright

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  • Question of Werewolf Terminology copyright

    I love werewolf the forsaken second edition for being such a unique take on the classic and sometimes limiting view of werewolves. From their roles as spiritual guardians, to how they function with their forms to even how the spirit world is a unique take on pre-existing concepts of a 'spirit' world especially where native american religion and lore is concerned. I want to write a book about werewolves, but werewolves that follow the rules and guidelines presented in Werewolf the Forsaken second edition. But I need to know if their terminology for the wolf forms, functions, and even the language of the first tongue are copyrighted or if its the specific system and specific characters introduced that are. If possible if there is a way to write and publish my book while giving props to the game system I'd like to know.

  • #2

    Copyright is very much a grey area. How close to an original text you are inspired by you can get without being sued is not something anyone can really answer because it's judged on a case-by-case basis in court. There's a lot of official and unofficial rules in copyright law.

    The safest assumption is to never publish anything using someone else's intellectual property without their permission. You can, of course, always ask for permission (just remember that in this case you need White Wolf's permission, not Onyx Path's permission), but you have to be prepared for them to say no.

    Another fairly safe option is to submit your work to Onyx Path. If you're confident enough that you want to publish something, why not try the route of trying to be an at least one-time freelancer for Onyx Path to do Forsake fiction pieces for them? Again, safe generally means, "be ready for a no," but there's a reason these things go together.

    Writing and publishing without going through official channels becomes a big risk, and will probably require a lawyer to ensure your liability before publication. Generally though, if you want to go this route, you need to be prepared to substantially change from the material that inspired you. Writing a werewolf story using the First Tongue from Forsaken and publishing it is pretty much guaranteed to get you in trouble.

    As a note, White Wolf is planning on releasing in-depth fan guidelines for this sort of thing (they recently released one for fan-sites). You can choose to wait and see, since that should be at least a good guideline of what they consider the line on fair use of their IP.