The Tékumel Foundation

News about the World of Tékumel® – the creation of Prof. M.A.R. Barker

FAQ: Writing Adventures

The following is an excerpt from the Policies FAQ on the tekumelfoundation.org website:

Q: I want to write adventures that take place on Tékumel for my blog or create other Tékumel-related items to share for free. Can I?

A: Fans of the World of Tékumel have drawn on and added to the rich setting in various media over the years. The Foundation has no desire to interrupt the free flow of ideas and non-commercial additions to the World of Tékumel; however, it cannot allow others to benefit financially from Professor Barker’s years of work without compensating his heirs.
The Foundation has a liberal use policy for fan-created works not intended for sale, and for which you are not seeking approval as “authorized” Tékumel material (“Fan Publications”). Specifically, all materials written by Dr. Barker (“Official Tékumel” materials) may be drawn upon for the purpose of creating derivative works (e.g., new adventures, new characters, etc.) in the form of Fan Publications, subject to the following conditions:

  • You will not seek direct payment or remuneration in any form for the publication, distribution, or other development of the work. This means that you cannot charge for access to a website containing Tékumel-based materials you have written; however, you may display advertising on a website containing Tékumel-based materials you have written. If you have any questions about whether your website’s money-makers are permissible, please feel free to contact the Foundation at info@tekumelfoundation.org.
  • If an opportunity to receive any form of payment or remuneration is presented to you, you will contact the Foundation through the usual channels for inquiries (see below) to receive the appropriate permissions. You understand that if the Foundation does not grant these permissions, you may not receive the offered compensation.
  • You must place in a prominent location (for example, at the beginning , at the foot of each relevant page, or in the credits) the following statement:
    • “This work is a Fan Publication, an unofficial work not approved for Tékumel. Tékumel, the Empire of the Petal Throne, and all related products and materials are protected by national and international intellectual property law. For additional information, please visit http://www.tekumelfoundation.org.”
  • You will not challenge the ownership of any intellectual property relating to the World of Tékumel based on copyright, trademark, or any other theory of ownership or law.
  • You acknowledge and agree that the materials contained in your Fan Publication may be identical with or similar to materials that the Tékumel Foundation or its licensees or other parties have independently developed; that you shall not be entitled to any compensation by reason of the use by the Tékumel Foundation or its licensees of such identical or similar material; and that the ideas, concepts, know-how, or techniques contained in any Fan Publication may be freely used by the Foundation, its licensees or any third party for any purpose whatsoever.
  • The Tékumel Foundation would like to preserve copies of all works relating to the World of Tékumel, including any Fan Publications. You may choose to provide a copy of your work for the records of the Tékumel Foundation, to be held as part of the Tékumel archive. In addition, by using the rights granted in these Policies, you agree that you will provide such a copy if requested by the Foundation. You may submit your copy electronically in PDF format by emailing it to submission@tekumelfoundation.org , or you may mail a copy to The Tékumel Foundation, Box 23, 2500 University Avenue West, St. Paul, MN, USA 55114.
  • You acknowledge and agree that the permission granted in these Policies may be revoked at any time with thirty (30) days’ notice to you. If your permission is revoked, you will remove the Fan Publication from any publicly available location within thirty (30) days of receiving notice to do so.
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3 thoughts on “FAQ: Writing Adventures

  1. George Hammond on said:

    Hi,

    The third bullet point seems to say that if I create a Fan Publication and give it away for free, the Foundation can take any part or all of it, and do whatever it wants with it, including license it to a third-party who might then sell it for profit. For example, I might make detailed maps of a couple of temple complexes, with notes and keys, something that, to my knowledge, has never been published. If I follow these guidelines, I could distribute it for free as a Fan Publication.

    However, if I did so, the Foundation could then take my work and license it to a third-party publisher. This person might, for instance, include my work in a big adventure module, or use a piece of the map on a t-shirt, or include it in a video game. I would have no say in whether or how the work was used, nor any right to compensation for the use, and it’s not clear to me that they would even be obliged to credit me for my work.

    Do I understand this correctly? In essence, the creator of any Fan Publication donates his copyrights to the Foundation?

    Could you explain why this donation is necessary? I have no problem with the other aspects of Fan Publication, but this part is troubling.

    Thanks,

    George

  2. Victor Raymond on said:

    George – thanks for stopping by. The Foundation has the exclusive license to the copyrighted material of Tekumel, and therefore also has a legal interest in any derivative work. The fact that the Foundation’s license allows fans to create derivative work based on copyrighted (and trademarked) works is not required, and is not common. In order to protect and maintain the Foundation’s license and Prof. Barker’s copyrights, there must be some patrolling/protecting of them, and the Foundation must be able to make a profit (and thus keep the Foundation going in the future) if it sees an opportunity to do so.

    There’s another side to this, besides the legal protection issue, which is this: the Foundation could do exactly what you’ve described, but that would be inconsiderate and bad PR. So if someone DID create something really cool, cool enough to use elsewhere, the Foundation would likely want to talk to them about licensing it and providing some credit and potentially some revenue. Hope that clarifies this issue a little more.

    • George Hammond on said:

      Hi Victor, thanks for the reply!

      In the realm of role-playing games and settings, it may be uncommon for rights owners to formalize a fan publication policy, but my impression is that it is common for them to at least unofficially tolerate not-for-profit distribution of fan publications, so I’m not sure the Foundation will get a particular bonus of good will for that.

      I don’t really see how the acquisition part of the policy (which is the only part that I’m not comfortable with) is “patrolling/policing.” It seems to me that the other parts of the policy do that. It also seems unlikely to me that revenue from marketing of Fan Publication is going to be a significant revenue stream for the Foundation, but I don’t know as much about that.

      Yes, it’s Barker’s world, and he and his heirs deserve full credit for that. But “you make it and share it, we own it” is off-putting. I have no problem not being able to charge for something Tekumel-esque that I make, but I’m uncomfortable giving up every last bit of control over it. I’d like to at least have the power to change my mind and stop sharing it.

      As to PR and being considerate, I’m glad that the Foundation is sensitive to those concerns.

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