Boy, it's been a long time…almost six months. Sorry, folks.
Mephisto Prospero in all his glory
The other day, the kids asked me what “filing off the serial numbers” meant. They were not familiar with the concept the phrase was borrowed from, so I had to stop to explain how thieves remove serial numbers from electrical devices that they steal in order that the stolen goods not be recognize.
They were a bit surprised. They had no idea where the term had come from…but, of course, that was not the use of the term that they wanted to hear about. They wanted to know about what their father and I meant when we use the term.
What we meant was the process by which you take a work that is based on other people’s copyrighted works—such as a roleplaying game or fan fiction–and add your own creative effort, so that what results keeps the charm of your original game or story without the elements that make it unpublishable.
And, Man, let me tell you…filing serial numbers off is HARD!