Gee, I wonder if Christopher Tolkien licensed this heavy metal band to make this album.
Obviously not. I would bet my front teeth that this album has sold more than most (if not all) OSR publications. So why is anyone so deathly afraid of even slight references to Tolkien in our published works? ("Oh, I better not refer to the Misty Mountains in this module that I hope will sell 500 copies, or Christopher Tolkien [or whomever] will send me a letter threatening legal action.")
I think anything we do with Tolkien in the OSR is almost certainly safe. I have a very hard time imagining any legal hassles at all on this score. No, I'm not a lawyer, but I will have the courage of my convictions: If I ever want to include Tolkien stuff in a publication, I won't hesitate to do so, and I'll do it without a care in the world.
Last Edit: Apr 30, 2015 18:12:40 GMT -6 by geoffrey
Post by Vile Traveller on Apr 30, 2015 18:57:59 GMT -6
Probably because bands have access to more accurate legal information than most people in the OSR, and because a cease-and-desist letter is a lot more scary to little guyy.
My non-legal understanding of the matter is that copyright and trademark protect far less of the written world than forumites tend to think (not hobbits - don't mess with hobbits, best left in their holes).
Hehe, the album is a milestone in terms of how far to go with "fair use" terminology, and "describing things without calling them by name" - though I recall that Blind Guardian had some legal backup. (Being German, being a metalhead, BG's were some of my first CDs, back in '95. I recommend checking old metal magazine archives for the background; I read something concerning it back in the day.)
/OffTopic That album is amazing. A friend introduced me to the band a few years ago by gifting me Nightfall on Middle Earth and Imaginations from the Other Side. Both albums are outstanding from beginning to end. The story telling is great. Curse of Feanor was my favorite song on Nightfall. If you dislike power metal then disregard.
/OnTopic Good observation. There are a lot of bands that reference Tolkien. For instance, Burzum is a death metal band that, while not speaking about Tolkien, openly admits to having their band name being based on the orc/goblin language. The bands tend to reference names and places. Is that probably the difference? I cannot have hobbits and balrog, but I can discuss Feanor and Aragorn?
Last Edit: May 1, 2015 13:22:24 GMT -6 by Fearghus: What Raph said about describing without naming.
Each campaign should be a "variant", and there is no "official interpretation" from me or anyone else.
E.G. Gygax, Alarums and Excursions issue #2, July 1975