Website Permissions

This page documents the ongoing saga in my attempt to get a semi-official blessing from Wizards of the Coast to use the Star Frontiers theme on the website. While I believe most of what I want to do doesn't present any difficulties, it would be nice to have a letter in hand to explicitly granting permission.


May 23, 2008 – I sent this e-mail to the corporateinfo@wizards.com e-mail address listed on the WOTC website:

    Subject: ATTN: Licencing Director - Use of Star Frontiers material on web site

    Hi,
    I'm not sure who to direct this to so hopefully this can be directed to the correct person.

    I'm in the process of building a fan community website based on the old 80's role-playing game Star Frontiers that you acquired from TSR several years ago.  It is intended to be a sister site to the starfrontiers.com and starfrontiers.org site as well as the starfrontiers.us site.  The primary focus of the site will be hosting of on-line Star Frontiers games.  In addition, I'd like to host resources for development of Star Frontiers and general RPG gaming related software and other materials (stories, adventures, art, etc).

    I'm not looking to post in complete form any of the original material. it is all available by permission at starfrontiers.com.  In the interest of getting the proper permission in advance so as to avoid difficulties later, I'm asking for permission to do the following:

    1) Use images and text excerpts from the original Star Frontiers material (of which I own at least one copy of almost everything) on the website to give it the Star Frontiers theme.
    2) Host game fan development of Star Frontiers themed software and distribute said software.  Assuming, of course, that the software is distributed as freeware or shareware.  If the author of the software wants any other distribution model, they must discuss the issue with Wizards of the Coast directly.  And who knows, maybe we'll develop something WOTC likes and we can work out some arrangements between WOTC and the developers to market the software.
    3) Host fan developed art, articles, stories, and other material based on the Star Frontiers theme.  Again, these would be freely distributed on the web.

    Permissions to do items 1 & 3 have recently been granted to the starfrontiers.us site so I don't see these as being a major issue.  Hopefully item 2 won't be either as Star Frontiers is not a brand currently marketed by WOTC and you always retain the option of asking us to stop or working with us to develop the software further into a marketable product.  I believe all of these permissions fall with the Fair Use rules as long as fans don't use your trademarks and copyrights for commercial purposes but I just want to make sure things are okay before the site goes live.

    The website will mostly likely launch as starfrontiers.homelinux.net.  I am trying to get the starfrontiers.net domain from it's current owner who has had the domain since 2000 but not done anything with the site.  The current, basically empty, webpage has not been modified since Jan 2002.  If I can acquire that domain the site will be hosted at that address.

    Please contact me so that we can discuss these permissions.  Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,
    Tom Stephens


May 24, 2008 (the next day) - I received the following reply:

    Dear Tom,

    Thank you for your email.

    I have forwarded this onto the licensing manager for consideration.

     

    Best regards,

    Pat

    Corporate Information


June 18, 2008 - I never heard back from the Licensing Manager so I sent this e-mail on June 18, 2008

    Subject: RE: ATTN: Licensing Director - Use of Star Frontiers material on web site

    Thanks Pat.  It's been over three weeks now and I haven't heard a word.  Would it be possible to give me the Licensing Manager's name and e-mail so that I could contact them directly?  Thanks.


    - Tom

I received no response at all to this e-mail (maybe Pat was on vacation?).


June 30, 2008 – I got tired of waiting and launched the website.


July 30, 2008 – I tried once more via e-mail, sending this to the corporateinfo@wizards.com address again:

    Subject: ATTN: Licensing Manager - Requesting permission for use of Star Frontiers material on web site

    Hello,
    I sent the e-mail included below just over two months ago (May 23, 2008).  I got a short reply back from Pat the next day saying that it had been sent on to the licensing manager (but wasn't told who that was).  However, I have never heard back from anyone since then.  I sent a follow up response on June 18, 2008 which did not elicit any response either so I am trying once more.

    I have since launched the website (at the end of June) and it is live if you wish to browse through it.  Pending word from you I have kept the use of Star Frontiers material to a minimum using only the name and a simple black and white copy of the Star Frontiers logo.  The site also displays text stating that WOTC and Hasbro hold the copyright and trademarks for the Star Frontiers brand.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon, hopefully explicitly granting the requested permissions. Until I hear otherwise, or in the case of no further response, I will assume implicit permission has been granted on all three points effective Monday, August 4, 2008.  Again thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,
    Tom Stephens

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From:
    Tom Stephens <thomas.stephens@gmail.com>
    Date: Fri, May 23, 2008 at 7:10 PM
    Subject: ATTN: Licencing Director - Use of Star Frontiers material on web site
    To: corporateinfo@wizards.com


    Hi,

    I'm not sure who to direct this to so hopefully this can be directed to the correct person.

    I'm in the process of building a fan community website based on the old 80's role-playing game Star Frontiers that you acquired from TSR several years ago.  It is intended to be a sister site to the starfrontiers.com and starfrontiers.org site as well as the starfrontiers.us site.  The primary focus of the site will be hosting of on-line Star Frontiers games.  In addition, I'd like to host resources for development of Star Frontiers and general RPG gaming related software and other materials (stories, adventures, art, etc).

    I'm not looking to post in complete form any of the original material. it is all available by permission at starfrontiers.com.  In the interest of getting the proper permission in advance so as to avoid difficulties later, I'm asking for permission to do the following:

    1) Use images and text excerpts from the original Star Frontiers material (of which I own at least one copy of almost everything) on the website to give it the Star Frontiers theme.
    2) Host game fan development of Star Frontiers themed software and distribute said software.  Assuming, of course, that the software is distributed as freeware or shareware.  If the author of the software wants any other distribution model, they must discuss the issue with Wizards of the Coast directly.  And who knows, maybe we'll develop something WOTC likes and we can work out some arrangements between WOTC and the developers to market the software.
    3) Host fan developed art, articles, stories, and other material based on the Star Frontiers theme.  Again, these would be freely distributed on the web.

    Permissions to do items 1 & 3 have recently been granted to the starfrontiers.us site so I don't see these as being a major issue.  Hopefully item 2 won't be either as Star Frontiers is not a brand currently marketed by WOTC and you always retain the option of asking us to stop or working with us to develop the software further into a marketable product.  I believe all of these permissions fall with the Fair Use rules as long as fans don't use your trademarks and copyrights for commercial purposes but I just want to make sure things are okay before the site goes live.

    The website will mostly likely launch as starfrontiers.homelinux.net.  I am trying to get the starfrontiers.net domain from it's current owner who has had the domain since 2000 but not done anything with the site.  The current, basically empty, webpage has not been modified since Jan 2002.  If I can acquire that domain the site will be hosted at that address.

    Please contact me so that we can discuss these permissions.  Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,
    Tom Stephens


August 1, 2008 – Two days later I got this response from Pat:

    Dear Tom,

    I have sent your email to our licensing manager again for assistance.

    I’m sorry that you have never been contacted.

    Please let me know if you do not get a reply within a business week.

     

    Best regards and apologies.

    Pat


I failed to follow up on this one.


September 29, 2008 – I responded to Pat's e-mail

    Pat,
    I failed to follow up on your e-mail from the 1st of August, but I've never heard anything from the Licensing Manager.  I think I'll try getting in contact with them the old fashioned way and send a letter tomorrow.  Is there someone specific I should address it to or just to the Licensing Manager?  Thanks for your help

    - Tom


October 10, 2008 - So I was lazy and didn't get it off on the 30th Instead it went out on the 10th. Here is the letter I'm sending. It is basically a rehash of the original two e-mails

    ATTN: Licensing Manager

    Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

    PO Box 707

    Renton, WA 98057


    Dear Licensing Manager:

    I'm in the process of building a fan community website based on the old 80's role-playing game Star Frontiers that you acquired from TSR several years ago. It is intended to be a sister site to the http://starfrontiers.com and http://starfrontiers.org site as well as the http://starfrontiers.us site. The primary focus of the site will be hosting of on-line, play-by-post Star Frontiers games. In addition, I'd like to host resources for development of Star Frontiers and general RPG gaming related software and other materials (stories, adventures, art, etc).

    I have attempted several times over the past few months (starting in May) to contact you via e-mail using the corporateinfo@wizards.com address available on the WOTC website. Unfortunately, I have not yet received any response indicating that my e-mails were successfully delivered although Pat had responded saying that they had been forwarded to the appropriate person. I've attached copies of the two previous e-mails with this letter.


    I'm not looking to post in complete form any of the original material. It is all available by permission at http://starfrontiers.com and in a remastered format at http://starfrontiersman.com. While I had hopped to get the proper permissions in advance so as to avoid difficulties later, I've since launched the site in a limited manner under the assumption that there wouldn't be any problems. If you'd like to view the site, it can be found at http://starfrontiers.homelinux.net. I'm attempting to get the starfrontiers.net domain but to date have been unsuccessful. If I do manage to acquire that domain, the site will move there.


    I'm asking for permission to do the following:
    1) Use images and text excerpts from the original Star Frontiers material (of which I own at least one copy of almost everything) on the website to give it the Star Frontiers theme.
    2) Host fan developed art, articles, stories, and other material based on the Star Frontiers theme. Again, these would be freely distributed on the web.
    3) Host fan development of Star Frontiers themed software and distribute said software. Assuming, of course, that the software is distributed as freeware or shareware. If the author of the software wants any other distribution model, they must discuss the issue with Wizards of the Coast directly. (Who knows, maybe we'll develop something WOTC likes and we can work out some arrangements between WOTC and the developers to market the software.)


    Permissions to do items 1 & 2 have recently (over a year ago now) been granted to the http://starfrontiers.us site so I don't see these as being a major issue. Hopefully item 3 won't be either as Star Frontiers has been out of print for over two decades and is not a brand currently marketed by WOTC, Additionally, you always retain the option of asking us to stop or working with us to develop the software further into a marketable product. I believe most of these permissions fall with the Fair Use rules as long as fans don't use your trademarks and copyrights for commercial purposes but I just want to make sure things are okay.


    Pending word from you I have kept the use of Star Frontiers material to a minimum using only the name and a simple black and white copy of the Star Frontiers logo. The site also displays text stating that WOTC and Hasbro hold the copyright and trademarks for the Star Frontiers brand.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon, hopefully explicitly granting the requested permissions. Until then I will continue to operate under the assumption of implicit permission. We have several on-line games running on the site, one fully under way and two others just starting up. I look forward to hearing from you so that we can discuss these permissions. You can either contact me by mail or via e-mail at thomas.stephens@gmail.com. Thank you for your time.


    Sincerely,

    Thomas Stephens


We'll see what happens. Until then, enjoy the site.

January 27, 2009 - Update: Well, I've never heard any response from WotC so I guess we are good to go.