Could D&D Rights Be Stripped From WotC?

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I didn't give a reason. At least, none of the nature you're using in this context. He's wrong for a variety of reasons. The reason you're giving isn't the only reason he's wrong. Let it go man. This is going to be a silly debate if you want to dig into the nitty gritty of the many reasons he's wrong given we both agree this is not a thing.
Let what go? You haven’t really given anything for me to grab on to, let alone let go?
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
I feel pretty confident the rights were validly transferred, and that even if there was some question about that at the time those questions were resolved long ago, and even if those things didn't happen then Hasbro would just settle the matter with the Gygax estate rather than just letting it all revert back to the Gygax estate.

So I see zero chance this could be an actual thing.
Especially considering Gary was one of the significant shareholders for TSR. He was transferring rights from himself to a corporate entity he in part owned.

What happened after is irrelevant, its not like the Blumes or Lorraine Williams were just waiting in the wings 10 years ahead of the assignment wringing their hands in glee ready pounce on Gary.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
If you use a famous franchise the risk is in the balance between "it doesn't add new things" and "that is not the one I knew". Sometimes starting from zero is better option.

Let's imagine a Chinese videogame studio could violate a trademark with total impunity to publish a title, fresh and vulgar plagiarism. If the work is bad it will not be sold very well in the Western market, and if you can create a really good product, then you can create your own franchises.

And today most of people don't want to pay to get fluff (lore and background) but they buy sourcebooks with "crunch" (new spells, magic item, feats, merits, etc...).

If you want to sell a "smash-hit" then you don't start from zero with a little publisher, but you would rather to work with/for a big fish. Margaret Weiss Press could published Dragolance d20 thanks an agreement with WotC. Today lots of fans can publish their own ideas with "DM Guild" or "Storytelling Vault".

SilverGamesLLC didn't need to pay royalties for "My Little Pony" to publish its "Ponyfinder". Invader Studios created "Daymare: 1998", a spiritual successor of "Resident Evil" and they hadn't to pay to Capcom.
 

teitan

Explorer
So someone cited Superman. This very thing did happen to DC. Look in a modern Superman comic. It says “Presented by special arrangement with the Siegel family”. DC lost part of the rights to Superman but not the trademark. They negotiated in court and with Siegel’s family to maintain ownership rights to a huge part of the Superman mythos that was awarded to the Siegel’s in court. Ed Greenwood could very well reclaim the right to the forgotten realms because the ideas that make up the Realms predated D&D. Many of the countries, characters and religions predate D&D and long ago US courts ruled that copy exists when the work is created, whether registered or not and Ed has reams upon reams of Realms lore that predates TSR and their purchase of the world. It’s been speculated that WOTC has to publish FR materials or lose the rights to publish products featuring the Forgotten Realms and the ability to license it. Ed probably makes more than enough money that he won’t pursue such a course of action with the Realms being the largest and most well know campaign in fantasy.
 

gyor

Adventurer
What? No. This is just as nonsensical as the original post. You cannot reclaim a copyright that never existed in the first place.

"Forgotten Realms" is not a copyrighted work any more than "Dungeons & Dragons" is. Both are trademarks owned by WotC, which WotC slaps on a whole bunch of books and boxed sets and things. Each individual book is a copyrighted work, but they are almost entirely works for hire (thus not eligible, per @lowkey13) and very few of them were written by Greenwood anyway.

Now, Greenwood wrote some FR novels back in the day, and if he did not write them as works for hire, he might be able to reclaim copyright to those specific novels. But "Forgotten Realms," the trademark, belongs to Wizards of the Coast, and so do all the books Wizards of the Coast hired people to write in FR. Greenwood cannot claim any of that.
Except that the original deal with Greenwood is that ownership of the Forgotten Realms reverts to him under certain circumstances, circumstances that I would argue have been grossly violated.

Alot of folks don't realize that Greenwood did not give up all rights over the Forgotten Realms.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Except that the original deal with Greenwood is that ownership of the Forgotten Realms reverts to him under certain circumstances, circumstances that I would argue have been grossly violated.

Alot of folks don't realize that Greenwood did not give up all rights over the Forgotten Realms.
Point and his situation is a prime example why this law was written.

Not sure when he signed over the rights but it's been 32 years since the FR boxed set came out.

He was paid a relative pittance as well.
 

gyor

Adventurer
Point and his situation is a prime example why this law was written.

Not sure when he signed over the rights but it's been 32 years since the FR boxed set came out.

He was paid a relative pittance as well.
And they stopped allowing him to do their novels as well.

If Ed Greenwood got 1% of the revenue generated by the Forgotten Realms he'd be able to retire instead of working at a Library. He is too nice a person for his own good, I wish he would stand up to WotC and demand better treatment and a better deal.

I mean not only is the Forgotten Realms their most popular setting, it's the bedrock that D&D 5e was built on, the default setting, it's the setting of most of D&D's most successful video games, its largest, longest running novel lines, including how many best sellers? Also minis, and comic books and so much more.

And that is before FR gets a movie/TV adaption that we all know is coming.

I mean if the idiots in Hollywood would get it together FR could be the new MCU/Star Trek/star Wars Setting. And that would generate potentially billions in revenue.

Of which Ed Greenwood gets nothing as founder and Shepherd, and mentor and inspiration of the Forgotten Realms.

They ripped Ed Greenwood off as far as I'm concerned. He's like Gene Roddenberry, but without the business instincts.
 

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