Something we take into account when releasing documents on tUGS is the concept of orphan works.
An orphan work is a copyrighted work for which the copyright owner cannot be contacted.
It would seem lots of people think that one needs to do something special for their work to be counted as copyrighted. That’s not the case. By creating something one owns the rights to it, assuming it’s not a derivative work.
So why does that matter?
Well essentially sharing copyrighted works is often illegal. There might not be any consequences but it’s still how the law goes and that impacts lots of decisions.
For example, if I were to write a scenario for Gorkamorka and publish it online under a unique user account and then abandon that account it’d become an orphan work. People could read my post but it couldn’t be republished, shared, built upon, etc..
Our intention with our documents is to ensure, where possible, we make our work available under a license that allows the work to be used and shared as we intended it. If tUGS vanished tomorrow one could still legally share all of our releases without concern for legality.
I’ve actually been doing my best to track down the authors of various things over the years to try to update their work to a more modern format. That is to say a nicely laid out print PDF with legally available graphics that can be shared freely.
For example just today I managed to secure permission to polish and share a Gorkamorka scenario called “Santa Klaws”.
It’s a fun little scenario that I’d very much like to play. That said it’s a pile of text on a forum, not a printable PDF. It’s also not laid out in a clear and readable fashion.
As soon as I mentioned it to my fellow tUGS writer, Liam, he pointed out that it’d be fun to combine Gorkamorka’s “Da Rollin’ Road” mechanic with the scenario. As the writer of the scenario agreed to a suitable CC license we can now do that and distribute it. Otherwise it’d be a derivative work and as such we wouldn’t have the right to publish it.
I’m not sure whether it matters whether you’ve been naughty or nice though!