Copyright Strikes Again!

by @edent | # # # | 4 comments | Read ~115 times.

In my last post, I was talking about generating new cards for the fantastic game “Ex Libris”.

I emailed the manufacturers to see if they had any objections – and to see if they were releasing any updates. With their kind permission, I’m posting their reply in full.

Dear Mr Eden,

We are delighted that you love our game ‘Ex Libris’ and understand your frustration about the limited number of cards in the pack, but I’m afraid that we would strongly object to you creating ‘ unofficial’ new cards for Ex Libris that you either publish or post on your web site.

We have several reasons for objecting, but the primary reason is that you would be breaking all manner of copyright laws (UK and US) in publishing these cards without the permission of the author/publisher/agent of any work still within copyright. As I am sure you know, a book does not come out of copyright until at least 50 years after the death of its author. We would be exceedingly unhappy if you were to even suggest that your cards are ‘New Cards for the Game of Ex Libris’. This would create the impression of an association between Oxford Games and yourself, which does not exist.

As you may imagine, it took a considerable effort to obtain the necessary permissions for cards in the original deck. And some authors’ estates did not grant permission (Agatha Christie’s for one) even though we produce Ex Libris in association with the Bodleian and British Libraries.

Finally, please be aware that we are currently working on a new set of cards for Ex Libris, which we may make available online in some form or another. We will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I trust you understand that , well intentioned as they certainly are, we cannot endorse your efforts.

Kind regards

Leslie Scott

Oxford Games Ltd

So, the good news is new cards are coming! The bad news is that I cannot (legally) create my own to share (freely or not). To make it clear, I did not intend to create an impression of any association with Oxford Games.

I am particularly indebted to Emily Goodhand – aka “CopyrightGirl” – for providing a some advice.

The “Infopaq” comment refers to a European Court of Justice decision which stated that even an 11 words excerpt was copyright infringing.

Which, is a bit annoying, but there we go. There is nothing to stop me creating cards for my own private use – or even creating cards from books in the public domain. But nothing from works still in copyright.

Many thanks to Leslie at Oxford Games for the swift and courteous response.

4 thoughts on “Copyright Strikes Again!

  1. Tom Morris says:

    If only there were an encyclopedia that contained freely-reusable plot summaries… 😉

    1. It’s the first and last lines which are the main issue.

  2. dhmnjkflg says:

    To some extent you could attack the problem using PD works. Problem is that outside a handful of authors (Doyle, shakespeare, Dickens, Lovecraft) not many will be very well known to modern players.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_years_in_literature

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