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Role Playing (Games) The Courts Games

Villains & Vigilantes Creators Sue Publisher 71

rcade writes "Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, the creators of the super-hero roleplaying game Villains & Vigilantes, have filed a federal copyright lawsuit against the game's longtime publisher Scott Bizar of Fantasy Games Unlimited. They allege that Bizar has no rights to publish the game because his corporation was dissolved in 1991, reverting the rights to them. Dee and Herman revived the old-school RPG last year and have been battling Bizar ever since. Sadly, this suit will not be resolved by muscle-bound men in tights."
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Villains & Vigilantes Creators Sue Publisher

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  • by lexsird ( 1208192 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @02:21AM (#36994336)

    Once upon a time, I owned a game shop, I enjoyed playing V&V myself because it was a break from DMing. We had a super fun cheesy time, bellowing battle cries while we tossed dice to see if we fell flat on our face or landed a deadly blow. We had a GM for V&V nicked named Dizzy, and he put on a great game. Thinking back there are just some things that don't translate well into computer gaming. The social aspect of it being the number one thing that comes to mind. Gone are the late nights, the delivered pizza boxes stacked up, piles of empty soda cans and playing hard until everyone is goofy tired, played out and ready to crawl home and sleep late. We smoked too, a thick haze choked the pastiest of geeks, so we had a fan blowing it out. It was a place to go for so many people. Kids used to tell us that they would much rather be gaming at the shop than out at a party.

    I still remember my cheesy character I named "The Black Mask", who wore a black mask...real brilliant, huh? But it I played it up until it would slay the lactose intolerant.

  • by _Shad0w_ ( 127912 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @05:59AM (#36995044)

    You're also completely ignoring the point, which is Bizar didn't hold the rights, his company did. His company was dissolved by order of the state, for failing to pay state taxes. At that point the publishing rights are an asset of the company and, as far as I know, it becomes the duty of receivers to dispose of them in whatever manner they see fit, in order to repay any creditors.

    It's possible, of course, that Bizar personally bought those rights back from the receivers, but I suspect it's not likely. It's also possible they sold them to someone else. If they ended up not selling them for some reason - like no-one wanted them - then I have no idea what happens to them; I would suppose they revert to the copyright holder, but IANAL, etc.

    The fact that "on dissolution, publishing rights revert to us" clauses are generally void, isn't really relevant, as far as I can tell. The argument isn't that the copyright holders should have the publishing rights because the company was disolved, it's that Bizar doesn't have them any longer and so has no right to publish the work. A rebuttal of that argument would be demonstrating that he does hold the publishing right still and how.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas