Monte Cook Games Numenera Fan Use/Licensing Policies

Well-known game designer Monte Cook completed a very successful Kickstarter project for Numenera, his new role-playing game. (Full disclosure: I was most definitely a backer, and I have been a fan of Monte Cook for a long, long time.)

Monte Cook Games just released their Fan Use Policy and Limited License. This post by Rob Donoghue at Evil Hat almost perfectly mirrors my opinion on the licenses, and there’s also an excellent follow-up post at the Ninth World blog. Apparently some folks have been fairly upset about the licenses. I’m honestly not all that sure why. I may have some things I would have done a bit differently. I give them a big thumbs up for making the licenses human readable, but there are parts of them to the point where they are technically incorrect by omission. For example, their description of copyright is very, very simple- it ignores copyright exemptions and the role that commercial use plays in determining whether or not something is infringing- but that gets complicated quickly, which seems antithetical to their purpose for writing it that way in the first place. The policy provides simple explanation about how they’re looking at things, though, and it seems like it’s mainly there to help the community understand their views on fan use. I’m also sure they’re going to clarify the dividing line between fan distribution and distribution allowed by the Limited License if it ever comes up, and like Donoghue points out, you can still rely on fair use if you want to make other uses (aside: or that mechanics aren’t covered by copyright)- or of course, you can also talk to the folks at Monte Cook Games. They’re very approachable.