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Role Playing (Games) The Courts Games

Villians & Vigilantes Creators Win Lawsuit, Rights To Game 30

Posted by timothy
from the remember-my-brother-playing-this dept.
rcade writes "Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, the creators of the old-school super-hero roleplaying game Villains & Vigilantes, have won a copyright and trademark lawsuit over the game's publisher Scott Bizar of Fantasy Games Unlimited. Magistrate Judge Mark E. Aspey of the U.S. District Court of Arizona ruled that Jeff Dee and Jack Herman own the rights to the game based on the 1979 contract they reached with Bizar. The court also found that Bizar never had the right to sell derivative products or ebook PDF editions, which are a big deal to tabletop publishers these days. Too bad this judge didn't hear Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's case."
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Villians & Vigilantes Creators Win Lawsuit, Rights To Game

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  • Doesn't your browser come with spellcheck?

  • Mixed Feelings (Score:5, Interesting)

    by poena.dare (306891) on Monday March 18, 2013 @06:32PM (#43208287)

    If it wasn't for FGU I wouldn't have bought V&V. On the other hand, the FGU http://www.fantasygamesunlimited.net/ [fantasygam...imited.net] webmaster should be shot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When I first saw the ad for the V&V expansion "Final Fight with the Furies" I was fairly certain it said "Anal Fight with the Furries." I fully expect this to be downvoted to oblivion but go to the website and check it out for yourself before you judge. It's the second item down in the purple box.

      • by plover (150551)

        When I first saw the ad for the V&V expansion "Final Fight with the Furies" I was fairly certain it said "Anal Fight with the Furries." I fully expect this to be downvoted to oblivion but go to the website and check it out for yourself before you judge. It's the second item down in the purple box.

        I think that was just screen burn-in from your porn collection.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think we can shoot the FGU Webmaster... clearly he died in 1998 and no one has updated the website since then.

      • I had to look after I saw this comment... AND NOW MY EYES ARE BLEEDING! Do not, under any circumstances, visit that site. Or if you must, use Links or Lynx. Don't say you weren't warned...

        • I can't believe I got modded "Insightful" for this. Informative? Interesting? Underrated maybe? But not Insightful!

          ps no Karma Bonus used, so no Overrated, please, it's a relevant observation...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How about Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas, Barry Smith, and many, many more? I'd like to see an accounting of what would happen if all comic creators were abruptly awarded part ownership of what they created. I'll bet a year's salary that Marvel & DC could never survive the cash outflow.

    • by AaronLS (1804210)

      If the article summary is accurate, the ruling was based on the judge's interpretation of the contract between the creators and publishers. So whether or not this is applicable in other scenarios, probably hinges on the text of the contracts in each scenario. Kind of like a question I see often about if a programmer writes some code for someone, who owns the product, and who owns the code? Each depends on the terms of the work agreement in that particular case.

      • The inventor or innovator of a new product is usually not the big winner when his/her baby hits it big. Every now and then, an entrepreneur doesn't sell out to the "big" offer that comes along with initial success... but that's not the way it usually works. As for Siegel and Shuster, they have renegotiated the $130 sale of their Superman idea several times in the years since, and sued for rights of copy several times as well.
        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          The inventor or innovator of a new product is usually not the big winner when his/her baby hits it big. Every now and then, an entrepreneur doesn't sell out to the "big" offer that comes along with initial success... but that's not the way it usually works

          Usually, said new product needs to be brought out to the market, which is quite a bit different from inventing. Productization and manufacturing are very specific skills that few inventors actually have and can't really fake. You can try, but you'll find y

  • by StefanJ (88986) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:12PM (#43209275) Homepage Journal

    I wrote several of the old V&V adventures. I have many fond memories of dropping by FGUs offices and seeing guys like Jeff Dee & Bill Willingham toiling in the art hole . . . sometimes working on art for my RPG adventures!

    For several years dealing with FGU was a good enough gig, but the publisher just sort of disappeared after the late 90s.

    I had given up hearing from him ever again when Jeff pointed out that the company was still in business, sort of, and selling my stuff.

    I eventually got back royalties, and even had a trunk manuscript (for another game system) published, but it is an uncomfortable situation. V&V aside, what other rights are up in the air?

    I hope the appeal gets processed quickly so Monkey House can start work on V&V e3 and I can work on new editions of my old stuff for them!

    • by Creepy (93888)

      I've known people that worked for FGU, both with good success and bad - good luck to you

    • by IronChef (164482)

      The good ole pen & paper business!

      I used to work for a three-letter RPG publisher that went belly-up. As a line editor I developed books with an army of freelancers. These poor people were unpaid for their last months of efforts (as was I) and I have their manuscripts to this day... cool RPG books from ancient history that no one will ever see. It's too bad.

      I tried to get the authors to let me release the books for free, just so fans of the line could have them, but most people were understandably not f

  • by Tom (822)

    One of those games that I loved and then it was unavailable. I had a copy of the rulebook borrowed from someone who still had one. The game was so-so, but it had a couple really cool ideas and concepts, starting, of course, with character creation.

    I hope there'll be a new edition out now. Please?

    • by jzoetewey (200538)

      If you go to Monkey House Games' website (owned by V&V's creators), you'll find that the 3rd edition is in the works.

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