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D&D 5E Dragonlance Lawsuit Dismissed Without Prejudice

The recent lawsuit brought against D&D publishers Wizards of the Coast by Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman has been voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.

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When a lawsuit is dismissed with prejudice, it means that the plaintiff cannot bring the issue back to court. When -- as in this case -- it is dismissed without prejudice, the plaintiff can try again.

In this case it was voluntarily dismissed by Weis & Hickman. We can only guess why; perhaps a settlement occurred? In any case, Margaret Weis tweeted, thanking people for their support, and hinting at exciting news to come.

"Pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiff Margaret Weis, LLC and Tracy Hickman hereby gives notice that the above-captioned action is voluntarily dismissed as to Wizards of the Coast LLC, without prejudice. Defendant Wizards of the Coast LLC has not filed an answer or motion for summary judgment, no proceedings or discovery have been undertaken as to these claims, and this action is not subject to any federal statute which would preclude the dismissal of this action under Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i)."


 

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Voadam

Legend
The title of the post, without context, could create the impression there was something wrong with the suit and it got tossed as a result.
A headline that can be taken to imply the opposite of what it tries to communicate can be improved.

The headline can be improved.

But, your characterization of it as "opposite" is not accurate either, because there is no clean opposite state.

I was surprised by your assertion of inaccuracy so I went back to re-read what I specifically wrote.

Upon reflection it does not seem inaccurate.

If the headline can be read to imply that this legal development is bad news for H&W the opposite of that would be this legal development is good news for H&W.

That would seem to be the case here.

Umbran said:
W&H effectively dropped their case. Is the "opposite" of that the judge throwing it out? Or is the opposite of that their losing the case? Or is the "opposite" that the case continues? The law is not a set of cleanly diametrically opposed states.
Whether anything in the law can reasonably be characterized as opposites depends on the specifics. There are both more discrete and broader legal issues that can reasonably be described as opposite. A motion can be granted or denied which can reasonably be described as opposite results for example. Impressions of descriptions of legal developments can be the opposite of an intended point.

Umbran said:
There's this thing where folks try to school others on language use, but are loose with language themselves. It doesn't make for convincing critique.

I agree. :)
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I was surprised by your assertion of inaccuracy so I went back to re-read what I specifically wrote.

Upon reflection it does not seem inaccurate.

If the headline can be read to imply that this legal development is bad news for H&W the opposite of that would be this legal development is good news for H&W.

That would seem to be the case here.

Ugh.

The headline is accurate.

Whether or not it was good, or bad news, for W&H was not known at the time. Heck, given that the terms of the settlement may never be known and they may be putting a brave face on it, it may not be good news.

The lawsuit was dismissed. That means it is no longer active. It was dismissed without prejudice, which means it can be filed again. Reading the article provides you more details.

I infinitely prefer headlines that are actually accurate than headlines written by people that assume things about the underlying subject matter and/or the readership, and then write inaccurate headlines and articles.
 


Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Yes, but adding the term “voluntarily“ significantly influences the reader’s understanding. And it’s no less accurate.

It's without prejudice.

In my personal opinion, there is a special circle of hell devoted to headline quibblers. The Sixth Circle is probably underpopulated now, so we can stick them there.

When the issue is, "Yes, the headline is 100% accurate, and the first sentence of the article conveys even more information, and the first sentence of the article is also displayed on the home page ... but there might be people who see the headline and start pontinficating without reading the article, or the first sentence, and that would be terrible ..." then that might be the worst form of headline pedantry.

Because given the sheer number of headlines that are incorrect, to argue with a headline that is actually correct seems odd.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Headlining this thread "DragonLance Lawsuit Withdrawn" would be accurate, describe what happened, and give the casual reader a clearer understanding of the overall situation.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Headlining this thread "DragonLance Lawsuit Withdrawn" would be accurate, describe what happened, and give the casual reader a clearer understanding of the overall situation.

But no, that's not accurate. You are sacrificing accuracy.


EDIT: And more importantly, why is everyone feeling it necessary to argue with a completely accurate headline, that is further explained in the very first sentence and article? Given the huge number of articles that completely mangle basic concepts (in law, in science, in anything), this might be one of the most inane arguments ever.
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
The recent lawsuit brought against D&D publishers Wizards of the Coast by Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman has been voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.

View attachment 130331

When a lawsuit is dismissed with prejudice, it means that the plaintiff cannot bring the issue back to court. When -- as in this case -- it is dismissed without prejudice, the plaintiff can try again.

In this case it was voluntarily dismissed by Weis & Hickman. We can only guess why; perhaps a settlement occurred? In any case, Margaret Weis tweeted, thanking people for their support, and hinting at exciting news to come.

"Pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiff Margaret Weis, LLC and Tracy Hickman hereby gives notice that the above-captioned action is voluntarily dismissed as to Wizards of the Coast LLC, without prejudice. Defendant Wizards of the Coast LLC has not filed an answer or motion for summary judgment, no proceedings or discovery have been undertaken as to these claims, and this action is not subject to any federal statute which would preclude the dismissal of this action under Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i)."



Hi.

Actual attorney here.

Voluntary dismissal without prejudice means, almost certainly, that there was some kind of settlement agreement.

"Voluntary dismissal" is when the plaintiff withdraws the complaint, often with consent of the defendant. Here, the voluntary dismissal was without consent of Hasbro/WOTC but nothing should be read into that because they hadn't interposed an Answer yet.

"Without prejudice" means that there has been no determination of any of the merits of the case. It could always be brought anew or the dismissal vacated on motion by the plaintiff.

The odds are pretty strong that there was either a limited license granted or some money exchanged. Who knows. The Green Poultice soothes many ills.
 
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embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
I will speculate that the possibility of going to Court and paying money persuaded WotC that there was no inexpensive way to make the issue disappear.
So they agreed to (1) move forward with the project or (2) pay W&H to be finished. Based on Margaret's post, WotC probably overruled the roadblocking decision and will resume work on this DragonLance product.

I will speculate that Hasbro is a multibillion dollar global corporation with its own in-house counsel and this went through them before even being considered to get shipped out to Hale & Dorr and that this whole thing cost them precisely zero additional dollars.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Blame the switch to the Essentials release method for that. Dragonlance was going to be the next setting after Ravenloft (which work on that got repurposes into the Shadowfell thing they did) with a complete reboot of the setting and a new trilogy of novels starting with a brand new version of Dragons of Autumn Twilight written by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files, Codex Alera). He was going to have Tasselhoff not have the dagger he "borrowed" during their first fight on the way to the Inn of the Last Home, which means Flint would've been injured and the three of them delayed getting to the Inn until after Goldmoon and Riverwind arrived and all the ripple effect changes from there. He also had new concepts for the characters, like Raistlin inspired by Dr. Gregory House from the TV show House. The deal fell apart when Butcher learned that Weis and Hickman hadn't been consulted so he pulled out, and shortly after the 4e line was restructured and the release schedule scrapped.
Respect to Butcher for that.
 

Yeah, with the Heroes of the Lance, with the exception of Flint and Tanis, they all need to be younger. I could see Chris Pine playing Tanis, but as for Manganiello, if we're talking any sort of significant role, I think he'd be best as Ariakas.

How about Joe Manganiello as Caramon? He's older than Caramon would be in the series though. Really need actors in their upper twenties/low thirties at the most.
 

bulletmeat

Explorer
A reboot that focuses on the non-offensive elements is about the best we can do.

A reboot of a pretty popular D&D setting is not necessarily going to bring in fans of the world. I think an evolution of the world to a new 'standard' is a better way to go. Maybe, after all the hullabaloo of the last few centuries the 'Gawds' have learned something. The restrictions they have laid upon certain stocks of beings could be lifted and those people can rise above what was laid upon them.

As for Goldmoon & Riverwind, the native american kid I played 1st & 2nd edition with loved those characters. He was happy to see his people with some representation in his favorite game. His family thought it was neat also. Not sure how they feel now, it's be 20+ years. I made a comment once about how I could see them (and the elves from Elfquest, his other favorite) as more proto-celtic and man did he get pissed.

Edit: Still want to Taladas done proper. It' so open to possibilities.
 
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In my land "to bury the war axe" (and "to smoke the pipe of the peace") means gexture of peace and ending conflict, by the Indians, Redskins, Native Northamericans from the old Far West movies. "To unbury the hatchet" means to renew the hostilities.

Dragonlance hasn't got new titles from lot of time age. At least ten years. The metaplot has been totally frozen after the war of souls, hasn't it?
 

In my land "to bury the war axe" (and "to smoke the pipe of the peace") means gexture of peace and ending conflict, by the Indians, Redskins, Native Northamericans from the old Far West movies. "To unbury the hatchet" means to renew the hostilities.

Dragonlance hasn't got new titles from lot of time age. At least ten years. The metaplot has been totally frozen after the war of souls, hasn't it?
Solamnia got a king was about the last metaplot development and that was in a novel released decades ago.
 

jgsugden

Legend
A reboot of a pretty popular D&D setting is not necessarily going to bring in fans of the world. I think an evolution of the world to a new 'standard' is a better way to go. Maybe, after all the hullabaloo of the last few centuries the 'Gawds' have learned something. The restrictions they have laid upon certain stocks of beings could be lifted and those people can rise above what was laid upon them.
Yeah - uhhh ... the advancing the timeline thing has not been well received for the Forgotten Realms. Also, they evolved Krynn so far that it does not resemble the most popular era, anymore. Restoring the most popular elements of it may be hard in a "go forward" approach.
As for Goldmoon & Riverwind, the native american kid I played 1st & 2nd edition with loved those characters. He was happy to see his people with some representation in his favorite game. His family thought it was neat also. Not sure how they feel now, it's be 20+ years. I made a comment once about how I could see them (and the elves from Elfquest, his other favorite) as more proto-celtic and man did he get pissed.
One person's opinion does not matter. What matters is what the Hasbro lawyers think will happen. That is where the decision making will start.
Edit: Still want to Taladas done proper. It' so open to possibilities.
And that would be something they could use more to distinguish a reboot from the original.

There are representations in Dragonlance that would be poorly received by too many people today.

The first series of books is written pretty poorly by modern standards, at least if you expect adults to tread it. They can do a lot better.

However, while a reboot may be the best option for them to have a WotC / D&D Dragonlance in 2021 ... it still may not be a great idea.
 

MGibster

Legend
I will speculate that Hasbro is a multibillion dollar global corporation with its own in-house counsel and this went through them before even being considered to get shipped out to Hale & Dorr and that this whole thing cost them precisely zero additional dollars.
That's true. On the flip side, multi-billion dollar global corporations sometimes mess up like everyone else does. Who knows, maybe in-house counsel advised them of the risks but whoever decided to make the business decision didn't heed their advice.
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
That's true. On the flip side, multi-billion dollar global corporations sometimes mess up like everyone else does. Who knows, maybe in-house counsel advised them of the risks but whoever decided to make the business decision didn't heed their advice.
Doubtful.

Hasbro is, in many ways, like Disney. It has an extensive portfolio of IP and a well-staffed office of general counsel that actively manages it. They deal with IP day-in and day-out. They don't farm it out. And when they do farm it out, it goes to the biglaw law firm where their Chief Legal Officer came from (Hale & Door). Licensing is what they do and one look at the 3,982 different branded versions of Monopoly proves that.

I understand the love that folk have for Dragonlance. But it is a stale IP that hasn't had a new addition in over a decade. If there was $10 million to be made from Dragonlance books, there would have been Dragonlance books.

This lawsuit was filed two months ago. No Answer was filed. The lawsuit was just a kick in the ass to get something done. Weis & Hickman aren't getting any kind of big payday from this lawsuit. They were suing for advance payments and royalties. Nora Roberts gets $10 million per year in royalty payments. That's on 15 million books sold per year.

Weis and Hickman have around 23 million books sold over their lifetime.

If anything, they're getting a limited license to publish whatever book is in a somewhat final form, with Hasbro getting a cut of any profits. I'm possibly curious as to what the advance payments Weis & Hickman were paid but, frankly, I'm curious as to whether the books would even earn out. Their advance payments might be the only money they see from the books.
 
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bulletmeat

Explorer
Yeah - uhhh ... the advancing the timeline thing has not been well received for the Forgotten Realms. Also, they evolved Krynn so far that it does not resemble the most popular era, anymore. Restoring the most popular elements of it may be hard in a "go forward" approach.One person's opinion does not matter. What matters is what the Hasbro lawyers think will happen. That is where the decision making will start. And that would be something they could use more to distinguish a reboot from the original.

There are representations in Dragonlance that would be poorly received by too many people today.

The first series of books is written pretty poorly by modern standards, at least if you expect adults to tread it. They can do a lot better.

However, while a reboot may be the best option for them to have a WotC / D&D Dragonlance in 2021 ... it still may not be a great idea.
The advancing timeline did not work out for Forgotten Realms, that may not be true for Dragonlance. The world itself has been blown up, ripped out of time, etc. in the novels enough that it may be more accepted vs the Realms where the campaign was planned to change and the novels followed suit.
And I won't deny that the first books are not issues today, I just know what my exposure to those have been. But to reboot the whole set of stories is not necessarily a good thing. Admitting, "Hey, we didn't do our best here. We can do better" and writing something with greater contemporary values might be a better move. Not one that lawyers agree with necessarily but that's my opinion.
But I do agree with you that Taladas, or a new (maybe larger) continent on Krynn might be a better backdrop for rebooting future stories.
 

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