[RPG] Is it legally okay to blog a D&D 5e story (actual play)


Okay, this might be a stupid question (sorry about that) and possibly even a duplicate, but is it okay legally to blog a D&D 5e story, that is, to publish a kind of "actual play" publicly?

Sure I know I can publish any story of mine… but what if it contains stuff Wizards have copyrighted / trademarked? (Like, I don't know, certain names, items, monsters, whatever.)

I acknowledge this is not binding legal advice and none of you are lawyers and all of that jazz.

Best Answer

TL;DR If thousands of other people are doing exactly the same thing for years on the net and the current employees of the firm are endorsing it (by participating, streaming, tweeting, linking-to, it) you are in the clear.

There are literally tens-of-thousands of blog posts, wikis, podcasts, and vlogs of actual-play including by D&D employees past and present.

You don't need a lawyer to know that they aren't going to start suing and issuing DCMA takedown orders of anything in any of their modules that is published as a session-summary.

You don't have to be a lawyer to know that a typical real-play posting contains more original work than the copyrighted source (module.) Which, if you don't sell it as another work, is clearly a derivative work.

If I were Wizards/Hasbro, I wouldn't publish an explicit exception/license for this purpose, as it draws another fuzzy line in the legal sand that is redundant and might further confuse their IP history around this product.

{BTW, Though I am not a lawyer - I've been an executive, including CEO, in several gaming start-ups and dealt personally with the creation and protection of copyrights and patents. Massive Real-Play postings are a dream come true for us.}

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