A lot has been made from the fact that NateBumber confirmed licensing his character(s). Although, in principle, validity rules require commercial licenses from all copyright holders, the argument above, as I understand it: if NateBumber (and Niki Haringsma) licensed it, then all the rest must have also given a commercial license. I never understood this extension from two to all. But it is useful to look at how NateBumber approaches permissions to use FP characters when not arguing validity here on the wiki. The following is an excerpt from his tumbler feed, only slightly predating the first debate:
Anonymous asked: Do you think it's okay for people to include FP in things like fanfic even if they're very new to FP and don't know very much yet?I do not know whether NateBumber has the authority to respond on behalf of Obverse Books, as well as of all the other FP authors, including Lawrence Miles, who created the FP.
[NateBumber:] Absolutely! No gatekeeping here, and if you ever have any questions, always feel free to hit me up :)
- If not, then we need to find confirmations of commercial license from all other licensors, as NateBumber does not speak for them.
- If yes, then all the stories discussed in this thread neatly fall into "like fanfic" category, at least until they are published commercially.
If, as NateBumber states, FP authors and characters truly do not care who posts FP stories online, then having an FP character in a story published online is really not in any way significant. Any anonymous Internet user has NateBumber's permission to do that, and it would be a mistake to validate stories based on FP characters used (unless proof of a commercial license is provided).
I would also like to contrast NateBumber's response to this anonymous user online ("no gatekeeping") to his stance in the original, now deleted first debate. There he claimed that nobody wanted a free for all and that FP characters would not be given to just everyone. These two contemporaneous positions do not seem to be compatible, which brings us back to the question of credibility.
One could point out that Obverse confirmed their involvement in a Facebook post. However, it has been established in Thread:259152 that even hosting stories on their own website does not automatically mean granting a commercial license and that an additional proof of the latter is needed.