Over at the Giant in the Playground site, (which I have always thought was an incredibly arrogant name, especially once you read where it came from) there is a post on the discussion boards about the recently added comic Erfworld.
I like Erfworld; it’s creative and interesting, the art is good, the jokes are funny and there’s lots of sly references to other things which I particularly enjoy. But I found the above-linked post to be irritating. The gist is that the creators of the comic would love for you to create things which they can then turn into additional income for themselves. There is a reference to wanting to compensate other creators, but that’s one of those things I’d take with a grain of salt.
I don’t have a problem with them saying “We are … passionate about our ownership of the art, characters, story, dialogue, and trademarks of Erfworld.” Good on ’em and may they make a fine living from their work. But they also say “We passionately encourage Erfworld fans to express their enthusiasm, to participate, to advertise & get their friends to read, and to create new works in the Erfworld universe.” Which is great too, if they want to go that route, though seemingly contradictory. The resolution? Letting people know that whatever they create using Erfworld IP immediately becomes the property of the Erfworld creators.
The main thing everyone needs to understand, though, is that Erfworld is an open sandbox to play in, but we created the sandbox and we own the sandbox. Jamie and I reserve the right to do anything with any fan content that we want to, including telling you “That’s inappropriate; take it down and knock it off.”
[bold is my emphasis]
At least they’re being up front with you that if you make something with their stuff, they’ll get to make the money if there is any to be made.