Reynoldsburg, OH asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Ohio

Q: Hello, can i ask a question here? am I speaking with a real lawyer?

Okay. I'll explain what i need some advice about - it pertains to copyright. This will all sound a bit odd, so i apologize.

Im a writer. Im writing a fantasy prose story - something with a diesel-punk aesthetic. I'm using publicly free domain fantasy races - goblins, elves, dwarves, gnomes, half-giants etc. In my story, the main character is going to have a profession as an artificer.

Wizards of the Coast has a copyright on "The Artificer" as a class.

If I, in no way tie my artificer to their defined class (no spells, abilities, lore, etc - nothing in common with their class) am I okay to say my character is an artificer?

bare in mind, the word and profession of artificer has existed and predates DnD.

WotC has a fan content policy - ill provide a link here

https://company.wizards.com/en/legal/fancontentpolicy

But again, i want to stress my work is original and in no way related to Dungeons & Dragons.

1 Lawyer Answer
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp PRO label
Answered
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA

A: Yes, real lawyer here.

Although the copyrights for the DnD games and fiction are owned by Wizards of the Coast LLC, that does mean that the word "Artificer" by itself is the subject of copyright. "Artificer" is just a word in the dictionary and its use in original works other than DnD is not infringing.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/artificer

No one can claim exclusive rights in words alone, except to the extent they are trademarks for goods or services. There is no trademark registration for ARTIFICER.

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