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WotC Gale Force 9 Sues WotC [Updated]

In the second lawsuit against WotC in recent weeks (Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman sued the company for breach of contract and other things about a month ago), Gale Force 9 is suing the company for breach of contract and implied duty of good faith.

Gale Force 9 produces miniatures, cards, DM screens, and other D&D accessories. They’re asking for damages of nearly a million dollars, as well as an injunction to prevent WotC from terminating the licensing contract.

From the suit, it looks like WotC wanted to end a licensing agreement a year early. When GF9 didn't agree to that, WotC indicated that they would refuse to approve any new licensed products from GF9. It looks like the same sort of approach they took with Weis and Hickman, which also resulted in a lawsuit. The dispute appears to relate to some product translations in non-US markets. More information as I hear it!

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UPDATE. GF9's CEO, Jean-Paul Brisigotti, spoke to ICv2 and said: "After twelve years of working with Wizards, we find ourselves in a difficult place having to utilize the legal system to try and resolve an issue we have spent the last six months trying to amicably handle between us without any success. We still hope this can be settled between us but the timeline for a legal resolution has meant we have been forced to go down this path at this time."

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

SiCK_Boy

Explorer
As I said in my earlier post. Saying “tough luck that the production isn’t good enough, you signed off on it” doesn’t stop the relationship souring when a third party is responsible for the quality. It may be technically WOCs fault but by that same argument I see no moral problem with WOC using a different technicality to slam the brakes on the relationship.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in business if the relationship sours, you need to get out otherwise it’s toxic for both parties. If your company wants you out, they’ll always find a way if they’re willing to suffer the consequences no matter what your employment contract says. The same applies to contracts for services.

I suspect D&D considers its reputation worth more than the potential payout to GF9
Yeah, but one has to consider the steps taken by GF9 in response to WotC complaint about that Korean subcontractor.

WotC complained almost a year after the products were distributed. GF9 did cut their contract with that subcontractor and also bought back (or offered to buy back) all the existing stock, at their own expenses. WotC has shown absolutely no openness to any solution... it really stinks of a fake excuse to just get out of their licensing agreement with GF9.

The situation in regards to the French translator is even worse. That company made a French version of the SRD before WotC had even announced they were going to do localizations, they called it “Heroes & Dragons”, but WotC then accuse them of infringing on their copyright? Unless there’s something in the SRD that clearly states it has to exist and be used only in English, that’s pure naughty word... and in any case, certainly not something GF9 has control over. In any case, GF9 also let go of this subcontractor, but again that’s not enough for WotC.

And the document seems to clearly imply that all those subcontractors were approved of by WotC; it’s not like GF9 was picking random companies in various countries... they made what seemed to them sound business arrangements, yet a year later, WotC starts blaming them and trying to punish them for those decisions.

It’s quite possible that WotC is looking to bring more work in house. I think the worst part is the translations; most languages have only been able to receive a fraction of the existing products (at a much more expensive price, at least in French, as someone mentioned; French book are almost double the price of English ones, at least in Canada... and when I bought some while visiting France, they were the same EU price as their US price, so the exchange rate is the markup it cost even there). This mess with the GF9 contract will have us lose probably almost a year of output for translated products... who knows when some new company (or WotC) catches up... and who would risk taking such a contract now, with WotC being such an unreliable partner, and the potential of a 6th edition that could make everything old obsolete even before it reaches the markets...
 

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TheSword

Legend
Subcontracting work is always a risky business for both parties, because you’re trusting your integrity to someone you don’t know as well.. It is assumed that WOC didn’t have the same relationship with the French translators or TRPG that they had with Gf9. Otherwise they would have contracted with them directly.

I see it all the time with maintenance work subcontracted out that comes back shoddy or with issues, by people who don’t get our business.
 

Keefe the Thief

Adventurer
On the internet, btw, people are claiming this is Hasbro realising that Wotc has become a political entity because SJWs and diversity and stuff and that they are finally purging the company so that common sense can rule again and we don´t get teh gays forced on us in books etc. Lawsuits bring out all the idiots, it seems (not that those have to be brought out on the net - they`re always there).
 

Zardnaar

Legend
On the internet, btw, people are claiming this is Hasbro realising that Wotc has become a political entity because SJWs and diversity and stuff and that they are finally purging the company so that common sense can rule again and we don´t get teh gays forced on us in books etc. Lawsuits bring out all the idiots, it seems (not that those have to be brought out on the net - they`re always there).

Fairly stupid claim.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
On the internet, btw, people are claiming this is Hasbro realising that Wotc has become a political entity because SJWs and diversity and stuff and that they are finally purging the company so that common sense can rule again and we don´t get teh gays forced on us in books etc. Lawsuits bring out all the idiots, it seems (not that those have to be brought out on the net - they`re always there).
Unlikely; the Dragonlance issue sounds like the exact opposite of that.
 

ibenny

Explorer
On the internet, btw, people are claiming this is Hasbro realising that Wotc has become a political entity because SJWs and diversity and stuff and that they are finally purging the company so that common sense can rule again and we don´t get teh gays forced on us in books etc. Lawsuits bring out all the idiots, it seems (not that those have to be brought out on the net - they`re always there).
Unfortunately, this is most likely false.
 


MarkB

Legend
Subcontracting work is always a risky business for both parties, because you’re trusting your integrity to someone you don’t know as well.. It is assumed that WOC didn’t have the same relationship with the French translators or TRPG that they had with Gf9. Otherwise they would have contracted with them directly.

I see it all the time with maintenance work subcontracted out that comes back shoddy or with issues, by people who don’t get our business.
I can see where having subcontractors of subcontractors can get pretty dodgy when trying to maintain quality, and at the same time, translation of a somewhat-technical, rules-heavy product requires consistency throughout the range of products translated - i.e. you can't go calling those special abilities that you get instead of Ability Score Increases "Feats" in one book, "Deeds" in the next, and "Accomplishments" in the one after that - so ideally, you need the same team working on each new product.
 



Olrox17

Hero
We really need a snappy insulting nickname for easily offended, hyper-sensitive, not-bigoted-BUT people who pretend that "I want less representation where I can see it!" is somehow NOT a political stance. I propose "Status Quo Warriors".
The usage of such a nickname would almost certainly run afoul of Enworld's "keep it inclusive" rule. You could try using it on Reddit or something, though.
 


jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
All of the virtual tabletop companies are doing business like never before. Roll20 in particular has been very transparent about what a giant spike they've seen.

Your group may not be playing virtually, but many are. (I'm currently running four monthly campaigns via streaming.)
And to add to that, moving to playing virtually often means buying or re-buying core books in VTT-compatible formats.
 


MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I can see where having subcontractors of subcontractors can get pretty dodgy when trying to maintain quality, and at the same time, translation of a somewhat-technical, rules-heavy product requires consistency throughout the range of products translated - i.e. you can't go calling those special abilities that you get instead of Ability Score Increases "Feats" in one book, "Deeds" in the next, and "Accomplishments" in the one after that - so ideally, you need the same team working on each new product.
This is something that keeps me off many translations of game material specially these done in Spain. It is ok with one offs, but with things like RPGs and card games that mean long term products, keeping things consistent is important. Many times it also feels like translations in Spain are too insular and internally inconsistent, and many times poorly done -like translating rogue as "pícaro"-. Hopefully, with the seeming move to do things in-house, WotC will have a more Latin American friendly edition.
 


Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
We really need a snappy insulting nickname for easily offended, hyper-sensitive, not-bigoted-BUT people who pretend that "I want less representation where I can see it!" is somehow NOT a political stance. I propose "Status Quo Warriors".
"Argument Magnets"
 


In addition to the
Regardless, WotC are surely going to have a harder time finding partners who are willing to work with them.
That, and it can affect people's willingness to use their current licensees. For example, this kind of nonsense makes me less likely to buy more stuff at D&D Beyond, knowing that Wizards' licensing department can try to bring that in-house and invalidating the money I spent on it. Particularly since D&D Beyond is owned by Fandom, which is now acting as its own RPG publisher as well.
 


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