I'm hoping to sell printable worksheets online for around $2 dollars each that are designed to reformat the character sheets that came with the base board game.

Where I believe I am adding value is by consolidating a number of sources of information together from the original game (rigid player cards, disposable character sheets) into one sheet that can reduce "table clutter" while including new elements also making it easier to (a) track one's progress over multiple game sessions, or (b) managing multiple playing groups (i.e. solo vs. groups of 4).

My main concern is that I am worried about infringing on trademarks or copyrights associated with the game.

On the sheets themselves, no original artwork is used; instead, I'm using icons that are identified as free for commercial use. In addition, the title of the game is not on the worksheet, so I'm hoping this does not give indication of it being an official product. I'm also planning on including some sort of footnote both on the document and in the listing for the product that this is not produced by the game publisher.

However, what does concern me is the inclusion of a quick-reference table that I've re-created into visual instructions rather than copying the words themselves.

Ultimately, I do believe my character sheet helps with the game experience while not altering it at all, but I do not want to be skirting the lines of copyright / trademark infringement.

  • 1
    I don't have a solid answer for you, because I'm really not familiar with the laws in question, but you should look at Fair Use Doctrine, and see how sites like DNDBeyond (which provide similar functions, albeit computerized, so they calculate stuff for you too) operate. The profiting off of the effort is likely to be the legally touchiest, though.
    – anon
    Mar 30, 2018 at 0:37
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    There is nothing unlawful with profiting from a legitimate auxiliary product, provided one does not falsely claim endorsement or approval, and does not copy any of the original content. Feb 20, 2022 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


Under US copyright law blank forms generally do not have copyright protection, because they do not have sufficient originality to quslify for copyright under the doctrine of Feist vs Rural.

According to the US Copyright Office Circular 33: "Works Not Protected by Copyright" (pages 3-4):

Blank forms typically contain empty fields or lined spaces as well as words or short phrases that identify the content that should be recorded in each field or space. Blank forms that are designed for recording information and do not themselves convey information are uncopyrightable.

Similarly, the ideas or principles behind a blank form, the systems or methods implemented by a form, or the form’s functional layout are not protected by copyright. A blank form may incorporate images or text that is sufficiently creative to be protected by copyright. For example, bank checks may be registered if they contain pictorial decoration that is sufficiently creative. Contracts, insurance policies, and other documents with “fill-in” spaces may also be registered if there is sufficient literary authorship that is not standard or functional. In all cases, the registration covers only the original textual or pictorial expression that the author contributed to the work, but does not cover the blank form or other uncopyrightable elements that the form may contain.

A trademarekd name or logo could be used nominally to show compatibility with the trademarked product, such as:

This character sheet is compatible with the game "GreatRPG"(tm) and is suitable for recording characters to be used in that game. However these sheets are not made, approved, authorized, or sponsored by Heartland Mages, who own the trademark "GreatRPG". They are a product of "MySheets" which is in no way affiliated with Heartland Mages.

Used with that sort of disclaimer, there will be no trademark infringement.

And of course if the name and/or logo of the RPG is not used at all, there wiull also be no infringement. However, if the name of the game is used in advertising the sheets, or on the packaging of the sheets, it should be made clear to any consumer that the sheets are not authorized by the maker of the game. A disclaimer similar to the above serves this purpose.

If reasonable people could be confused into thinking that the sheets came from the makers of the game, or were approved by the makers, there might be a valid action for trademark infringement.

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