Trek fans have always run into trouble with the legal moat which surrounds the franchise. Since the first Star Trek convention got underway,
fan-created Star Trek material has been ensnared in legal controversy.
When the Internet boom began in the early 1990's, Star Trek fans were on the
cutting edge, and very soon there developed a corporate backlash as Paramount,
Viacom, and other entities that own part or all of the Star Trek franchise,
sought to silence and punish fans for appropriating copyrighted material.
Trek fan sites on the web were being swatted right and left, inspiring a
predictable counterbacklash as the fans bucked what they viewed as a heartless
and cold corporate policy.
For myself, I can only say that I
approached the creation of the STSTCSOLD&A with no small degree of
trepidation. At one point all of the artwork and written material in the
original STSTCS was thoroughly copyrighted, and I would not have dared place
any of it on the internet for fear of getting dinged by lawyers.
That was over ten years ago, though.
What happens when a company which
produces a media tie-in product like the STSTCS loses its license for
said media? FASA coughed up its right to create and publish Star Trek
material at about the same time ST:TNG was moving into high gear.
Creation of any new Trek stuff at FASA, as well as printing of existing product,
was halted. The STSTCS and indeed the entire FASA Star Trek RPG universe was
cut adrift. To haze matters further, there is an official
policy on the part of Star Trek's film and television producers to quietly
ignore the vast majority of written tie-in material. This includes just
about all of the various Star Trek novels from Pocketbooks, as well as the
various starship combat games--STSTCS and Starfleet Battles--and any
role-playing stuff that goes along with them. What can you say about a
game that is a) no longer in print, b) increasingly rare and hard to find, c) no
longer owned by its original publisher, d) disavowed by the media it ties in
with, and e) over ten years out of date?
Given this thoroughly muddled state
of affairs, I therefore feel safe to preserve at least a good portion of the
game in an on-line format, at no cost, for the benefit and enjoyment of other
FASA Trek fans.
Sadly, the one item most fans want
most is the one item I cannot provide. At least half of all the letters I
get are from relatively new and/or returning Trek fans who are just finding out
about the game, or are rediscovering the game after a long time away from
it. In both cases, people are desperate to try and get their hands on the
game rules themselves, either because they never owned a copy of the game or
because they were foolish enough to get rid of the game at some point in the
past. While I would love nothing more than to provide each and every fan
with a verbatim transcript of the entire STSTCS rules book, it came to my
attention in 2001 that a third party purchased the rights to the rule system that
the STSTCS is based upon. This third party is jealously guarding these
rules and has already contacted other, older STSTCS sites in an effort to get
them to take down any and all portions of the rules that have been posted on the
web. So far nobody has been hauled into court, but I don't want to be a
trendsetter in this regard so I am steering clear of this known legal iceberg.
Having said all this, I want to state
for the record that this entire web site is indeed non-profit. I
do not collect a dime for the OLD&A in any way, shape, or form. The
is part archive and part fan update, created by a fan for the enjoyment of fans,
with no intention of stealing any proprietary material for inappropriate use.
I have rigorously given writer and artist credit where credit is due, and it is
my intention to continue this practice as long as I am in charge of this web
site. I understand that the writers and artists who first created the
STSTCS worked very hard on their material, and it is my hope that everyone
involved will see the OLD&A as a loving homage to that hard work.
Think of the STSTCSOLD&A as a
nature preserve, designed to harbor a vanishing species of pencil and paper
amusement. In a world now dominated by advanced computer games, the
STSTCS is a beloved relic, akin to classic automobiles or vintage wine.
In creating the OLD&A I am doing something similar to restoring a car,
combining new parts with an old chassis, repainting the body panels and
polishing the glass. As with most car restoration, the entire OLD&A
project is a labour of affection, done solely for the sheer satisfaction of the
thing. With my STSTCS game books slowly falling into shreds, I hope to
preserve the essence of the STSTCS in a medium that cannot be dulled, dimmed,
smudged, ripped, or otherwise folded and spindled by time. I also hope to
bring a new generation of Trek fans into the Old World of gaming where mental
activity, not processor speed, powers the action.
Still, there is always a chance I may
step on some person's toes. And I more than willing to accommodate anyone
who has a legal right to any of this material and wishes for it to be removed
from the OLD&A. So if you own part or all of anything, be it text or
graphics, posted to this web site, and you believe
it has been done so in violation of your legal rights, please, please, please
let me know. I work on this web site for no other reason than I love
the game and I love Star Trek. I hate to see it destroyed by time and the vagaries of the Star
Trek franchise, and I don't want to see it smacked around over a legal
battle. I will happily remove any and all material that cannot be posted
non-profit to the internet in the public domain. Just send me e-mail and
we'll discuss the specifics. Again, I am more than willing to accommodate
such requests if they were justly and reasonably founded.
Thank you very much!
----Brad R. Torgersen