[Runequest] Legal Status of RuneQuest SRD

Peter Brink peter.brink at brinkdata.se
Sun May 29 18:38:14 EST 2011

Vile skrev 2011-05-29 05:39:
> With the demise of the Mongoose RuneQuest licence, it naturally occurred to
> me to wonder whether this would have any effect on the MRQ1 SRDs. I couldn't
> imagine that it would, as one of the purposes of the OGL was to ensure that
> Open Content would always remain Open, otherwise OGL publishers would have
> no assurance that their products would not have to be abandoned at a
> moment's notice. Whether or not Mongoose were the originators of the Open
> Content, or holding a licence from the originator (Issaries) seems to be
> irrelevant. A number of third parties have jumped in (mainly on RPGnet) with
> claims that Mongoose never had the right to publish the SRDs containing
> Gloranthan names (Dragonewts, Crimson Bat, etc.), but I find those claims
> somewhat spurious as they would imply detailed knowledge of the contracts
> signed by Mongoose and Issaries.
> All of my independent investigations have pointed to the same thing, the
> SRDs are as valid now as they were before the MRQ licence ended. Unless the
> SRDs were illegally published without Issaries' permission, the OGC therein
> will always be OGC. I'm still waiting to hear from Issaries and Mongoose on
> the matter.

Content released under the OGL is available under the terms of the 
license as long as the licensor owns the copyright to the licensed 
content. The only trapdoor is any possible declared "Product Identity" 
(PI). PI must, according to the OGL, be explicitly stated as such.

All the documents of the main MRQ1 SRD contains a line under the 
documents main heading stating that "[t]his section is designated as 
Open Content" which has to be taken as referring to the entire document. 
No content is designated as PI, so all content can be be reused - as 
long as the terms of the OGL are followed.

The documents of the supplemental Companion and Monster SRDs lacks this 
Open Content dedication. Those later documents have been used in 
derivative works (such as Open Quest) and as far as I know Mongoose has 
not complained. Since the terms of the OGL are included with the 
Companion and Monster SRD one has good reasons (IMO) to assume that 
these documents are intended to contain open content, and since no 
content is designated as PI all the content can be reused  - as long as 
the terms of the OGL are followed.

Do note that the SRDs lacks any specific Glorantha terms (such as Broo 
or Gorp) so such terms _are not_ freely available under the OGL. They 
might be used under the rules of fair use and such but that is another 
question all together.

The safest route is as always to ask Mongoose. They own the copyright to 
the SRD and they should know. Please do repost any answers you may get 
on this list.

/Peter Brink

More information about the Runequest mailing list