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Author Topic: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?  (Read 5676 times)

Osman Gazi

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Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« on: September 15, 2022, 11:44:55 AM »
Hi Folks,

Here's an article about this: https://www.polygon.com/tabletop-games/23349686/dnd-wizards-of-the-coast-vs-nutsr-tsr-justin-lanasa-racist-transphobic-star-frontiers

IP theft aside, the quotes allegedly taken from the game do seem pretty damn racist, so Wizards of the Coast might be the proverbial stopped clock in this case--little of what the Woke Mob calls racist is actually racist, but this seems pretty much actual racism:



Now, I agree with them about BLM, and sickle cell "enemia" [sic], but the other crap?  Damn.

I stress that this is the allegation--maybe those quotes about "Negro" and "Nordic" don't actually appear in TSR's material, but I think it would be dumb for WOTC to just make this up wholesale.  Still, even if it's true, as abhorrent as it might be (and should earn TSR a bright red place on "The List"), there still is freedom of the press and they have every right to publish whatever they want.  (Just don't expect me to buy that crap, though.) And I frankly don't care if WOTC thinks it "harms their brand"...they've done a pretty good job of that themselves without any help from others.

Of course, the question of IP theft is one that the courts must decide, and I'm neutral on that one--I don't have much info on that.

All this makes me sad, really.  I would have loved to see a revived TSR to compete with WOTC...but why the explicit racism?? 

Brooding Paladin

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2022, 11:57:34 AM »
Yeah, I agree with your take.  I was hoping for a happy TSR resurrection and a challenge to WOTC but this is all pretty indefensible.  Actual racism, as you said.  So, nah.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2022, 12:33:31 PM »
Really? Oh my god, NuTSR really do sound like alt-right bigots. They've entered RaHoWa territory now. Part of me wonders if they're trolling out of spite, but this is completely unprofessional and indefensible. They're dragging TSR's brandname through the mud. Gygax must be rolling in his grave.

jeff37923

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2022, 12:33:59 PM »
I think that we are only seeing part of the story.

There is a lot more to this.
"I do not want to create a story, I want to create a stage. The player characters will perform on that stage and interact with the setting. When the players talk to their friends about what their characters did, then there will be a story."

Brooding Paladin

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2022, 12:40:26 PM »
Yeah, there was some talk about the possibility that this language was actually lifted from a previous iteration of the game and was not actually included in NuTSR's newest version.  However, they (NuTSR) haven't asserted that and the fact that it made it into the legal briefing makes me think that maybe they actually did include that wording.  Which, in any era and on any side of the fence, is really poor decision making and cause for offense.

THE_Leopold

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2022, 12:49:00 PM »
I don't have a copy of Star Frontiers in front of me to cross reference.  That seems highly skeptical that old TSR would go down the race route back in the day.  Seems rather odd choice. 

As far as the author of the Star Frontiers via NuTSR book who is an known racist:
https://www.tenkarstavern.com/2022/05/dave-johnsons-star-frontiers-new.html

Ole Dave Johnson's hot takes are hilarious on some and pure cringe on the other.  This is what happens when Boomers get access to FB/Twitter and think no one is watching. See Bob Bledsaw of Judges Guild.  protip: someone is always watching.

Tenkar Did a review of the Star Frontiers "leak":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD9evesvAos

I'd love to see what the new copy holds in full glorious detail.
NKL4Lyfe

Palleon

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2022, 01:08:50 PM »
NuTSR can save themselves a lot of trouble by ceasing to try to use abandoned trademarks for profit and create their own IP and branding.

tenbones

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2022, 01:28:57 PM »
What? No Asian-subrace?

I am disappoint. Where is my reprezentayshon?!?

3catcircus

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2022, 02:04:55 PM »
I don't have a copy of Star Frontiers in front of me to cross reference.  That seems highly skeptical that old TSR would go down the race route back in the day.  Seems rather odd choice. 

As far as the author of the Star Frontiers via NuTSR book who is an known racist:
https://www.tenkarstavern.com/2022/05/dave-johnsons-star-frontiers-new.html

Ole Dave Johnson's hot takes are hilarious on some and pure cringe on the other.  This is what happens when Boomers get access to FB/Twitter and think no one is watching. See Bob Bledsaw of Judges Guild.  protip: someone is always watching.

Tenkar Did a review of the Star Frontiers "leak":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD9evesvAos

I'd love to see what the new copy holds in full glorious detail.

He seems to be an illiterate mess. That having been said, the majority of his hot takes aren't all that "hateful" so much as they are "offensively blunt" in the opinion they present mixed with attempts to be "shocking." The fact of the matter is he looks like an an ignoramus and in the process, everyone who is falling over themselves to see who can be the first to virtue signal by condemning him ends up looking like just as much of an ass as he does.

Does TSR, LLC have the rights to Star Frontiers?  It's actually going to be a very interesting argument because WotC have not, in fact, actually protected their IP since they've allowed Star Frontiersman to post remastered publications (and hosted scans of the originals) of all of the star frontiers products for *years* before asking them to remove them.  They've published Star Frontiersman magazine between 2007 and 2014 and they've hosted the original product scans.  Seven years is a very long time to not enforce your IP rights and certainly would seem to open the door to losing a lawsuit because you now don't like a different entity using the IP while not being woke enough.

Jam The MF

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2022, 02:10:50 PM »
Why would anyone put something like that, into print?  That's an ugly mess.  That is just stupid.
I was Banned from RPG.net a long time ago, for Having Common Sense.

Effete

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2022, 04:40:11 PM »
Does TSR, LLC have the rights to Star Frontiers?  It's actually going to be a very interesting argument because WotC have not, in fact, actually protected their IP since they've allowed Star Frontiersman to post remastered publications (and hosted scans of the originals) of all of the star frontiers products for *years* before asking them to remove them.  They've published Star Frontiersman magazine between 2007 and 2014 and they've hosted the original product scans.  Seven years is a very long time to not enforce your IP rights and certainly would seem to open the door to losing a lawsuit because you now don't like a different entity using the IP while not being woke enough.

That is very interesting. If Star Frontiersman has, in fact, operated for 7 years without challenge, they may have been able to make a legal claim on the actual IP. It would depend on the state statutes concerning such things, but in many places "7 years" is standard timeframe around legal issues. For example, in my town, 7 years is enough to nullify a building variance (like if you built a deck too close to your neighbor's property), or to claim ownership of a vacant property that isn't current on taxes. I'm not as familiar with copyright law as I am with property law, so there's things that I may not be privy to, but I think Star Frontiersman would have had a compelling case. Of course, assuming the C&D was issued in 2014, any challenge they WOULD have had has passed the statute of limitation.

Anyway, as for the issue in the OP, what a horrendous pile of shit. The vile language used in that book is only overshadowed by the appaling grammar. Clearly wasn't written by a Norse.

FingerRod

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2022, 04:51:09 PM »
I think that we are only seeing part of the story.

There is a lot more to this.

Are you saying there is even MORE that will come out or that there is mitigating context missing?

Palleon

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2022, 04:51:33 PM »
I'm not as familiar with copyright law as I am with property law, so there's things that I may not be privy to, but I think Star Frontiersman would have had a compelling case. Of course, assuming the C&D was issued in 2014, any challenge they WOULD have had has passed the statute of limitation.

Copyright in the current world is effectively until Disney goes bust.  Whenever the Mouse comes up to become public domain, copyrights get extended.

It's Trademarks you need to defend against use and which is what this type of suit is the result of.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2022, 05:28:13 PM by Palleon »

rkhigdon

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2022, 05:26:20 PM »
NuTSR has been a mess from the beginning.  Interestingly, a lot of people have been raging at other OSR sources (like Tenkar) for trying to point this out and no amount of NuTSR doxxing and disgusting behavior seems to be able to dissuade some folks of how god-awful they are.

jeff37923

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Re: Wizards of the Coast vs. TSR: IP Theft, Racism?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2022, 05:44:24 PM »
I think that we are only seeing part of the story.

There is a lot more to this.

Are you saying there is even MORE that will come out or that there is mitigating context missing?

I think that the post and the article in polygon is a hot take on a complex mess used as clickbait.

We already know that NuTSR is run by a shit bag. We also already know that WotC wants to squash them but is on shaky ground since they haven't enforced their IP rights on Star Frontiers.

There will certainly be more to this story.
"I do not want to create a story, I want to create a stage. The player characters will perform on that stage and interact with the setting. When the players talk to their friends about what their characters did, then there will be a story."