1 The Feast of Mid-Winter: Kerad Undall
2 The Callendar many elves use to mark their days: Imladris
3 The Latin Quarter: Taberna Romana
4 The Near Unknown: Proxima Incognito
5 The Easiest and Probably most boring way to solve a problem in a story: Magic
6 They are on a Journey to find a Chalice: The Odyssey Part Deux
7 Someone who butts in, solves every problem and can never be beaten is called a: GodModer
8 Where Bardic Web Writers find their news: The Gossamer Thread
9 The Royal Family of Alcarinque: Alcarin
10 The place to find a cold drink in Corin: The Golden Griffon Inn
11 The City of the Damned: Thanatos
12 Where Kirouraki Trees Grow: Jungles of the Verlan
13 Where Koospor is found: Kelvarian
No one managed to get all the answers to last month's CrossWord.
This month's featured blog is by Shadow Silverleaf:
I woke up...
I’ve been thinking a great deal lately of home, of what my people need, and I know that Karo Sky won’t be the Enrai’er forever. He wasn’t prepared for it like Desh’Mieve was, like I was. I’m lucky he came back when he did and accepted the responsibility. I’m terribly fond of Master Barnaby, but I have left him burdened with the Nation too much in my younger years and I can’t do that to him anymore. I know what he would say if he knew I felt that way, but the fact of the matter is, it’s the truth.
I will take up the reigns again. I’m not sure when, but I will, its my responsibility until I pass it on to one of my own children, and that is simply something that I’m not sure what to do with. I’ll have to wait until they are all older and decide then which will be the Eren’rai. I do know though, I can’t run from something that is part of my Tanaii-ka. It would be like running from my ancestors, running from all the lessons, stories and knowledge that was passed to me and needs to be passed to my children. What lessons would I teach them if I turned and walked away? They are all so strong and deserve a strong mother as well.
I also know that I need to take some time to myself with no children, no responsibilities, and to learn my lessons over again. I’ve discovered while watching my family with their struggles that there are many lessons that I have forgotten, but I believe time often does that to a person, especially an elf. I have also discovered again that there are many things that I have yet to learn as well. I think its something that Dorian has taught me though if he knows it I don’t know.
I miss him right now. I feel guilty when I’m away from him because I want to be there, and I feel guilty when I’m with him because of the boys. Though they worship the ground he walks on. I’m just not sure what he thinks of them and I’m not wanting to approach him on the subject.
Time, though, it’s something that I have never really thought about before. Time is something that divides the seasons into months so that someone can tell when it is the best time to bring in the harvest. Events in life become blurs with occasional instances that stick out in the mind like a dog-eared page in a book. Its more something that the Humans have done than Us (Us being the Six Native Races), though I have to admit, it is something that comes in handy. But I don’t really think about time any longer, and it is something that I have learned simply from running into an old, smelly, friend.
It’s a pleasant surprise to run into Turq again. It reminds me that I can still stick my foot in my mouth without much thought. I’m not exactly sure that’s a good thing, but its been fun. I needed the laugh and the harassment.
Which makes me think. I have been spending more time at Silver Willow. I can face them now, not as easily as I once could, but the fears I had that I would be cast out as a leader for failing to protect them were foolish. They did not throw out T’Oppa for the attacks he could not protect them from, so why should they do that to me? I still steer clear of certain areas and people in general but staying away from people was something that I have been occasionally known for.
Karo Sky is adamant that he will not do the books for the Clans, and I don’t blame him. There are times when I want to run screaming from them, but it’s a part of life. He says he’ll keep the Clans from slaughtering each other and handle the Charien, but one thing he will not do is handle the books or the guilds. The guilds aren’t so bad, those are in Aaron’s hands…Who seems to be spending more and more time on Whispin oddly.
I’m starting to think the males in my family have a thing for red hair.
Well, it sounds like Kaiden found the stash of daggers that Dorian has given them, I can tell by the war whoop. I’m thinking that there are others in the palace that wonder how I can tell the difference, but they haven’t been around the Taurësúlë. There is just something about sharp pointed objects that bring out the savage. My little heathens…
To read other blogs by our writers, check out the Character Blogs link in the left hand menu. These are a feature of our Journeyman Bard and Master Bard levels. To find out how to become a Journeyman or Master Bard click HERE, or to find out more about blogs and what they are used for click HERE.
Copyright and Bardic Web - a Layperson's Guide
Bardic Web’s policy on copyright is laid out here, but like most legal agreements, the language is difficult, and it’s hard to tell what it means in practical terms. This article is designed to give our writers a concrete idea of what their rights are, and aren’t, and how to avoid copyright disputes.
Most amateur writers never even think about copyright and don’t believe it applies to them. This generally lasts right up until a character appears with eerie similarities to yours. The fact that we write co-operatively at Bardic Web throws up a few unique problems as far as copyright law goes too, and we’ve had to work out what the implications are.
The Written Words
Copyright is a form of intellectual property. One thing many writers don’t realize is that you have automatic intellectual property rights over anything you write. You don’t have to formally copyright something to own it. That area is straight-forward: the words that you wrote in any piece belong to you.
The texts of stories themselves, therefore, don’t belong to the Story Leader. Rather, each individual paragraph belongs to the person who wrote it. If a story leader wishes to publish a story, they must get WRITTEN permission from EVERY writer involved in the story. If this is no longer possible, e.g. because a writer can no longer be contacted, their writing must be removed before publication.
People also hold automatic copyright over their characters, as they would over any other artistic creation. This copyright includes use of the character’s name, and the expression of the ideas involved, but not the ideas themselves. Because you all just went “bwa?”, here’s a concrete example from Wikipedia’s copyright article:
For example, the copyright which subsists in relation to a Mickey Mouse cartoon prohibits unauthorized parties from distributing copies of the cartoon or creating derivative works which copy or mimic Disney's particular anthropomorphic mouse, but does not prohibit the creation of artistic works about anthropomorphic mice in general, so long as they are sufficiently different to not be imitative of the original.
So for instance, An’Thaya’s writer holds copyright over An’Thaya, but not over the concept of ‘Amazon’. Another writer could create an Amazon, as long as that Amazon was sufficiently different from An’Thaya to not be considered an imitation, either of character or of mythos. Writers tempted to do this, or to create large-breasted empathic diplomats or charming flirtatious many-childed blond elven princes, should note that Bardic Web admin tend to err on the side of the original writer when it comes to disputes over imitation.
Writers hold copyright over their mythos. Allowing someone else to write in your mythos gives them the right to use it for the purposes you’ve laid out – normally, to write one character, on one site: ours. It does not give them any other rights to the mythos. They cannot change or add to the mythos, or create more characters in the mythos, without permission.
So, who has rights to a character written by Writer A, in Writer B’s mythos? Unless explicitly agreed otherwise, it’s rather tricky. When it comes to a split or dispute, Writer A owns the rights to everything they’ve already written. That’s what Writer B agreed to give away. The writer who made up the character and named it owns the character and the name. Mostly, this will be Writer A, but sometimes, as with Callan’s Dragons, the Mythos master will do this, in which case the character is clearly theirs. Though not the writing. If Writer A created the character, then the character is theirs, but the mythos isn’t. In most cases, it would be absolutely impossible to write that character in another place without their attendant mythos, and the character would either change into someone completely different, or be unworkable. You could not, for instance, write a S’Hean without access to the world of S’Hea.
How to Avoid Copyright Disputes
In the case of character vs mythos disputes, be very, very clear about what you’re agreeing to in the first place. If you’re the mythos master, consider:
- do you want the writer to be able to write this character on other boards or in other places? By default they have the right to do so as long as they don’t use your mythos. If this is something you really don’t want, then either make up the character yourself, or have the writer agree, IN WRITING, to limit their use of the character
- how do you feel about the character breeding and the children being written by a different writer? If you want restrictions on this, lay it out in advance to avoid any confusion.
- Do you want the right to take the character back if the writer either leaves or gets bored with them? If so, say.
- Are you happy with the writer being able to take what they themselves have written, and using it elsewhere? If you aren’t, you shouldn’t be letting other people write in your mythos. While they can sign it away, this is a basic right of the writer.
- What if, over time, you become unhappy about the way the character is being written? If they’re clearly being written out of mythos, in a way that damages people’s perceptions of your mythos, then you have a clear case. If however, you just don’t like ‘em, you don’t have a leg to stand on unless either you created the character yourself, or you have a pre-agreement that gives you the right to take the character back. Think about this when you’re deciding who you let write in your mythos.
If you’re the writer, consider:
- do you want to be able to use this character in other places? What if the board you’re using it on collapses? Are you likely to get attached to them? If you want to use the character elsewhere, get it in writing. Regardless of this, if you write them elsewhere, you cannot use the mythos elsewhere without express permission. Does the character work without their mythos?
- Be wary about taking on a character someone else created and named. Unless otherwise agreed, you own your writing, but not the character. You should only enter into this kind of agreement with someone you really trust.
- Are you likely to want to marry and breed with this character? If you do, ASK. Not only is it common politeness, but it will help avoid trouble. Be aware of any breeding or mating restrictions that come with the mythos – you don’t own copyright to the mythos and you CANNOT change it. You can’t ‘fix’ a ‘defect’ in a character that’s the result of their race.
- If you are asked to put aside your natural rights in a particular area, be very clear about exactly what you’re agreeing to. If you’re ceding copyright to a particular piece of writing, or for a particular purpose, make sure the actual agreement doesn’t read as if you’re giving away something more general.
If there is no written agreement between the parties, the Bardic Web admins will revert to default. The mythos master owns the mythos. The person who created the character owns the character. The writer owns the actual writing.
Be aware that if you're one of those writers who habitually gets other people to write your character descriptions or pieces of your mythos, then that other writer OWNS them. You can't reproduce or even alter them without express permission.
Bardic Web’s Rights and Responsibilities
Bardic Web owns the right to display your work, but not to reproduce it. You still retain the right to republish work you’ve written here, on other sites or in other forms.
As writers, Bardic Web’s administration are keen to do anything we can to protect our writer’s rights to their creations. We will do everything we can to protect their rights on our site, up to and including blocking characters we consider to be imitations and banning writers guilty of plagiarism.
We cannot, however, police other sites. We have no jurisdiction to stop a writer doing anything on a separate site, though we can and may take action against them on Bardic Web. Protecting your intellectual property rights outside of Bardic Web is, unfortunately, your own responsibility.