Implicit Transfer of Copyright in Official SCA Documents

I’ve long been curious about the legal reasoning behind a carve-out in the Society’s release-form policies which stated that it is not necessary to obtain written consent when publishing routine operational communications.

Continue reading “Implicit Transfer of Copyright in Official SCA Documents”

The Local Officer’s Handbook

I recently came across a mention of a “Local Officer’s Handbook,” buried in the depths of the Society Seneschal’s Handbook, but wasn’t able to locate a copy online.

Out of curiosity, I ordered a copy from the SCA Marketplace, and will keep an eye on my mailbox to see what arrives.

When I wrote to Society leadership for additional information, I was told that this handbook was out of date and would need to be reviewed and revised before it could be made available again. (See below for the email exchange.)

Continue reading “The Local Officer’s Handbook”

Questioning An “Optical Illusion”

At the end of March, the SCA announced the availability of a t-shirt being sold as a fundraiser for the Society’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

I am always glad to see the Society taking steps to promote inclusion, and in general I like the design of this shirt, but I was one of several people who wryly noted that the placement of the of the white chivalric arming sword as the first item, and just a bit larger than any of the other items, somewhat undercut the message.

Continue reading “Questioning An “Optical Illusion””

A New Website

Over the last year, I’ve written a growing number of blog posts about administration, policy, and governance in the SCA. The topic holds a lot of interest for me, and I expect to write more about it in the future, but it felt odd to have these cluttering up our household website which is otherwise focused on historical research, persona development, and eventing gear, so I’ve created this new website and migrated these posts over to it.

If you’re interested in these kinds of “business side” topics, I hope you find this site worth your while.

Local Officers May Grant Permission to Redistribute Copyrighted Materials

When an author/creator sends material to be published by the SCA, they’re asked to fill out a Creative Works Grant of Use form, which offers several options including having the author assign their copyright to the Society.

While I’m not fond of this approach — in most cases, I’d rather see people retain rights to their work and merely grant the Society a license to use it — it is in widespread use, and it’s worth grappling with its consequences, including the following: If the SCA ends up owning the copyright to these contributions, what steps are needed to grant others permission to use them elsewhere?

I posed this question to the Society Webminister, who replied that local officers could grant others permission to republish those works, without requiring approval from further up the Society’s chain of command.

Correspondence attached below for additional context.


From: Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin
To: Society Webminister
Cc: Society Publications Manager
Date: March 10, 2023

Greetings from the East!

I have a policy question I’m hoping you can help to answer, which is related to this sentence in the standard site disclaimer provided by the Webministers Handbook:

For permission to use photographs, articles, or artwork from this site, contact the Webminister.

If someone follows this guidance and contacts a webminister for such permission, does the webminister have independent authority to grant it? 

In particular, if I’m serving as a local webminister and have published some educational material for which the author filled out a Creative Works Assignment form to transfer copyright to the SCA, can I make the decision to allow someone else to re-print it? 

Or if the request must be forwarded up the chain of command, at what level of authority should that decision be made?

Thank you!

— Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin


From: Society Webminister
Cc: Society Publications Manager
Date: March 15, 2023

It is my understanding that as long as there is a document in place (i.e. Release form) depending how that form is worded, you may either grant the request or ask that particular individual for permission to redistribute. It should not have to go any higher on the chain for that.

Collecting Petition Signatures Online

Back in January, as I was watching the video feed from the SCA’s Board of Directors quarterly meeting, my attention was piqued by a discussion of online petitions.

You can find this conversation at the half-way mark of the video recording, starting at 2:22:12: Continue reading “Collecting Petition Signatures Online”

Why Does IT Report Directly to the Board?

I’ve submitted this question to the “Topical Town Hall Request” form, but it’s obscure enough that I’m not terribly optimistic about seeing it addressed in upcoming meetings:

According to the October 19, 2019 organization chart available from sca.org, the Society Webminister is the only officer with kingdom/local counterparts who does not report through the Society President — instead they report to the Manager of Information Technology, who reports directly to the Board. 

Why is this reporting structure different than every other role in the organization?

Continue reading “Why Does IT Report Directly to the Board?”

Release Forms for User-Published Content

Now that the new Release Forms handbook is in circulation, I’ve realized that it fails to address a long-standing point of confusion about whether written releases are required for images published by the populace on Society official communications platforms.

Wikis are the most salient example of this uncertainty — multiple kingdoms have operated for years under the impression that all photographs uploaded to an official wiki would require signed release forms, and since the logistics of managing that paperwork seemed prohibitive, they decided that wikis had to be “unofficial.” Continue reading “Release Forms for User-Published Content”

[Most] Web Apps are not “Official Websites”

In a recent discussion of with webministers from around the Known World, someone asked a question, my answer to which I am re-posting here:

If an [officer] creates a google form […] is that form considered “an official website […]” and is the webministry accountable for making sure it adheres to the elements of a[n official] website required in the handbook?

This is a great question.

My take: No. 

Continue reading “[Most] Web Apps are not “Official Websites””