TSR The Full & Glorious History of NuTSR

Because the Saga of TSR3 has been ongoing for a while, with many landmarks, I thought I'd do a quick timeline for those who haven't had the time (or, frankly, inclination) to keep up with the whole palaver.

As multiple entities refer to themselves as TSR, I will use the nomenclature (1), (2) etc. to distinguish them. However, all the companies below simply use the term "TSR".

The principle people involved with this story are Ernie Gygax (one of Gary Gygax's children), Justin LaNasa (a tattooist, weapon designer, and briefly a politician who refers to himself as Sir Justin LaNasa*), Stephen Dinehart (co-creator of Giantlands with James Ward), and -- later -- Michael K. Hovermale, TSR3's PR officer.

Also linked to TSR3 is the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Much of TSR3’s commercial business appears to be conducted via the museum.

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  • Late June 2021. TSR3 embarks on an astonishing social media campaign where they tell people who don't like Gary Gygax not to play D&D, call a trans person on Twitter 'disgusting', thank the 'woke' because sales are up, insult Luke Gygax, and more. They also block or insult those who question them on Twitter.
  • Late June 2021. Various companies distance themselves from TSR3, including Gen Con, TSR2 (who rebrand themselves Solarian Games), GAMA, and various individuals such as Luke Gygax, Tim Kask, Jeff Dee, and more. TSR3 responds to being banned from Gen Con by claiming that they created the convention.
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  • June 30th 2021. TSR3 blames the widespread pushback it is getting on WotC, accusing it of mounting a coordinated assault on them. In the same tweets they claim that they created the TTRPG business. Ernie Gygax and Stephen Dinehart then deactivate their Twitter accounts. Months later it transpires that this is the date they received a C&D from WotC regarding their use of their IP.
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  • December 11th 2021. The president of the Gygax Memorial fund publicly declares that they were never consulted, and would refuse any donation from TSR3's crowdfunding campaign. TSR3 quietly removes the references to the GMF from the IndieGoGo page.
  • December 29th 2021. TSR3.5 refiles its lawsuit, this time in the correct jurisdiction. LaNasa and TSR ask for a trial by Jury.
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  • January 8th 2020. Wonderfiled[sic]'s Stephen Dinehart threatens to sue Twitter user David Flor for his negative review of Giantlands on the platform.
  • January 10th 2022. TSR3's Justin LaNasa sends TSR alumn Tim Kask a profane message, telling him to "Go suck Lukes/wotc/balls you f*****g coward" and accusing him of having been fired from TSR for stealing.
  • January 11th 2022. Michael K Hovermale claims that the first edition of TSR3's Star Frontiers: New Genesis game was released and has sold out. He says “It was a very small limited run released and sold on the DHSM [Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum] website. It is no longer available, and probably won’t be reprinted.” As yet, nobody has publicly revealed that they bought a copy.
  • January 14th 2022. Michael K. Hovermale resigns as TSR3's Chief Creative Officer and Public Relations Officer after 6 months in the position.
  • March 4th 2022. WotC strikes back with a lawsuit naming TSR, Justin LaNasa personally, and the Dungeon Hobby Shop museum. WotC seeks a judgement that TSR hand over all domains, take down all websites, pay treble damages and costs, hand over all stock and proceeds related to the trademarks, and more. TSR has 21 days to respond.
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  • March 22nd 2022. TSR gets an extension on that WoTC suit. Two waivers of service of summons granted to both Justin LaNasa and the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum. He now has 60 days from March 4th to serve an answer or motion, or suffer default judgment.
  • March 26th 2022. TSR CON takes place at the same time as Gary Con. TSR claims " lol, actually we asked just about every one of the 800 people stopping by, TSR CON, and about 60% had no idea Gary con was going on, and we tried pushing them to go over and attend."
  • March 28th 2022. TSR3 posts images of 'rebound' copies of AD&D 1E books it is selling for $650 each.
  • May 17th 2022. Evidence emerges of Nazi connections via TSR3's Dave Johnson. Public Twitter posts include concentrated hateful imagery and messages over a long period of time.
  • May 17th 2022. DriveThruRPG removes all Dave Johnson Games titles from the platform.
  • May 17th 2022. A jury trial date is set for the TSR/WotC lawsuit for October 2023 (few suits like this actually make it to trial in the end).
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  • July 19th 2022. A leaked version of a beta version of TSR's 'Star Frontiers: New Genesis' game emerges on the internet. The content includes racist and white-supremacist propaganda, including character races with ability caps based on ethnicity, and various homophobic and transphobic references. Justin LaNasa immediately threatened to sue blogger Eric Tenkar, who shared the information publicly ('Mario Real' is one of LaNasa's online pseudonyms). Various evidence points towards the document's genuine nature, including an accidentally revealed Google drive belonging to NuTSR.
  • July 22nd 2022. A video shows a Google Drive that appears to be owned by nuTSR, which contains a list of enemies of the company, usually with the word "WOKE" in caps being used as a pejorative.
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(screenshot courtesy of the @nohateingaming Twitter account)

  • August 30th 2022. Wizard Tower Games announces that they have received a subpeona from WotC regarding TSR and Justin LaNasa. Former NuTSR employee Michaal K Hovermale confirms that he has also received a subpeona.
  • September 5th 2022. Justin LaNasa sends out customer data, including addresses and credit card numbers. LaNasa responds by publicly claiming the evidence is photoshopped and slandering those who revealed it as liars.
  • September 8th 2022. WoTC files an injunction to prevent LaNasa or his companies from “publishing, distributing, or otherwise making available Star Frontiers New Genesis or any iteration of the game using the Marks”.

Have I missed anything important? I'll continue updating this as I remember things, or as people remind me of things!

To the best of my knowledge, TSR3 is not actually selling any type of gaming product.

*if anybody has any link to LaNasa's knighthood, please let me know!

Websites
Various websites have come and gone. I'll try to make some sense of it here so you know what site you're actually visiting!
  • TSR.com is the original TSR website. For a long time it redirected to WotC. The URL is no longer in use. (WotC)
  • TSRgames.com was TSR2 until summer 2021. The site is still running, although TSR2 is now called Solarian Games. (Jayson Elliot)
  • TSR.games was TSR3 until summer 2021. It now goes to Wonderfiled(sic)'s website. (Stephen Dinehart)
  • TSR-hobbies.com is TSR 3.5, launched summer 2021 by Justin LaNasa and Ernie Gygax. (Justin LaNasa)
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
That's the reason I went for far-fetched name for my son (and my maybe future kid, depending how the next weeks go). A Québécois named Alistair is pretty rare (I sure hope so, at least!).
My mom and dads names are Patty and Steve. They said they didn’t like when someone would call “Steve” and three people would turn around. So my siblings and I all have fairly rare names. And while my last name is relatively common in Germany (when I lived there for the first time, I was asked if I was part of the family that supposedly owns a huge transportation company in Munich), I don’t currently live in Germany 😉
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
My mom and dads names are Patty and Steve. They said they didn’t like when someone would call “Steve” and three people would turn around. So my siblings and I all have fairly rare names. And while my last name is relatively common in Germany (when I lived there for the first time, I was asked if I was part of the family that supposedly owns a huge transportation company in Munich), I don’t currently live in Germany 😉
Super-tangent, but know that your name is one the name list should my next kid is born male! Great name, great person, it was automatic (and it sounds pretty bad-ass)! :p
 


Nylanfs

Adventurer
I have a funny story, there's a Paul Grosse in Germany that had an original G-Mail (german email, 4 years before Google started in Germany), ever since they bought the original german trademark holder for that service I have occasionally gotten his emails when people have put them in wrong because we both used our whole name as part of our email address. If I ever get to Germany I plan to look him up. :)
 

So y’all imposters of the dastardly kind? Arrr

If ye be referencing TLAP Day, ye best be rememberin' the most yellow-bellied, chum smellin', traitorous, back stabin', pitiful pirate of all time. The black hearted scallywag Justin Lanasa. Aye, he failed at bein' a politician. Aye, he failed at sellin' arms to the king. Aye, he failed at writin' games. But afore all that, he failed at bein' a pirate.


If Poseidon be merciful, and if the court be swift with the wind behind the sails o' justice, the filthy, feeble blaggard they call Lanasa will soon have all o' his wares sent to Davy Jones' locker. Arr, matey. Raise yer rum to that!
 

Staffan

Legend
There are a couple of other people with my name – my first name is uncommon in Sweden (Stefan is much more common than Staffan), but my last name is one of the top three. And apparently some of them can't remember their own mail addresses and instead give people mine.
 


Whoever left that comment is exactly the sort of person that is LaNasa's market. Heck, if not for lack of errant punctuation and tortured grammar, it could've come from the man himself.

Internet talk is cheap, but the increasingly violent tone of the rhetoric is a cause for concern. Eventually there's going to be someone that listens, as we've seen played out in society at large.

There’s 2 comments on that article so far. one points out that TTRPGs like these are not video games.

The second is a red flag indicating how much work needs to be done:

“Everyone at Woketards of the Cuck needs to be removed from the gene pool for fascism. They are the racists. They are the bigots and they are pure evil... pure filth”

I used to share a name with a person in my city that was...not very good. I would get countless calls from collection agencies and once a sheriff even showed up at my house. But it's probably been over a decade since that happened, so I imagine they've cleaned up their act, moved away, are in jail, or worse.
 

darjr

I crit!
Whoever left that comment is exactly the sort of person that is LaNasa's market. Heck, if not for lack of errant punctuation and tortured grammar, it could've come from the man himself.

Internet talk is cheap, but the increasingly violent tone of the rhetoric is a cause for concern. Eventually there's going to be someone that listens, as we've seen played out in society at large.



I used to share a name with a person in my city that was...not very good. I would get countless calls from collection agencies and once a sheriff even showed up at my house. But it's probably been over a decade since that happened, so I imagine they've cleaned up their act, moved away, are in jail, or worse.
There are places that are exceptionally violent in rhetoric, about RPGs. It’d be laughable if not for what you point out.
 

There've always been people that have gotten more heated about RPGs than they should. But the tone seems to have changed dramatically of late. It doesn't feel like idle talk or just grousing about rules.

There are places that are exceptionally violent in rhetoric, about RPGs. It’d be laughable if not for what you point out.
 

Drake2000

Explorer
I hadn't seen anyone else with my name, and then saw an episode of The Sopranos and I was in the cast list!

OK, it wasn't me, but an actor with the same name. I just tell everyone it's me.
 

NuTSR decided to break their 5 day silence with these words of wisdom:

DHSM lie.JPG


Thanks for the advice, Justin. :rolleyes:


Also, this gem came out of the Oerth FB group:

oerth nutsr ban - Copy.JPG


Xaviar is one admin on the group. Someone may want to warn him that the group co-admin Ernie Gygax is the biggest supporter of "this insanity" other than LaNasa himself. He even wrote the foreword to SFNG: N&N Edition!
 
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VelvetViolet

Adventurer
Racism and deceptive marketing aside, NuTSR is well within their rights to snatch up trademarks that WotC let lapse. The Star Frontiers and TSR trademarks have long since expired because WotC let them languish. WotC doesn't have any right to claim them now, and putting up low quality scans on Drivethrurpg after telling the fansite to take down their remastered PDFs is a jerk move that shouldn't count toward maintaining the trademark anyway. The trademark already lapsed sometime in the 90s I'm guessing since the last book was released circa 1985. Hosting PDFs shouldn't count toward maintaining a trademark, otherwise you could maintain a trademark forever simply because an ebook you released two hundred years ago is still being sold even though you did nothing with the IP since.

It's a really frustrating situation because both sides are in the wrong here. NuTSR really is using deceptive marketing practices to trick fans of the Star Frontiers IP when they don't have any right to it. WotC doesn't have any right to the trademark anymore and shouldn't be allowed to try re-registering until NuTSR's claim lapses, because they clearly didn't care about the IP before and still don't unless they get bad publicity over it.

One of the most telling acts here is that Sasquatch LLC already snatched the Alternity trademark and published their own retroclone a few years ago (it got cancelled and Sasquatch is now MIA, but whatever). This angered many Alternity fans who thought the IP was coming back only to learn it wasn't. What did WotC do then? Absolutely nothing. They still haven't restored the Alternity PDFs they removed back in 2008 during their infamous hissy fit over piracy. Word of advice WotC: the easiest way to prevent piracy is to sell PDFs legally, because when push comes to shove consumers will default to the option with the most convenience. Buying a PDF legally from an online store that will host the file for you indefinitely is more convenient that risking a malware infection or a lawsuit on the high seas.

Also, copyright law should be reformed. There are so many orphaned works being lost to posterity because it is illegal for anyone but the copyright owner to maintain them. This fate has befallen many of my favorite obscure RPG supplements like Grim Tales/Slavelords of Cydonia, Alternity, the paperback Hogshead edition of Puppetland, Aether & Flux, Starship Troopers RPG, and many more. If corpos don't care to preserve nor profit off their IPs, then they shouldn't be allowed to prevent others from doing so. That's a grotesque miscarriage of the original purpose of copyright: allow a creator to profit for a time off his labors, then let anyone else preserve and remix the work.

Anyway, if the judge rules in favor of WotC, then that would set a dangerous precedent for trademark by effectively allowing anyone to maintain a trademark forever. They do this just by registering it, posting an ebook on Kindle Unlimited, and then forgetting about it for centuries. This would prevent anyone else from ever registering that trademark ever again, even if the person who registered it has been dead for centuries or the company went out of business centuries ago. This would create the novel problem of "orphaned trademarks," which is similar to the current problem under copyright law where there are countless "orphaned works" whose copyright is either untraceable or held by owners who are deceased, out of business, apathetic, or don't even know they own it. This would be a bad thing for commerce and pervert the original intent of trademark law.

Like, WotC is currently selling scans of the Amazing Engine RPG from the early 1990s. They haven't produced any books for it since the original printings and are almost certainly only selling the scans to reduce piracy. Do you think their behavior constitutes good faith maintaining of the Amazing Engine trademark, such that nobody else should ever be allowed to register it for as long as the PDFs are sold on Drivethru? I certainly don't. I'm no lawyer or judge, admittedly, but I think that's a perversion of the spirit of trademark law. When trademark law was created, we didn't have computers or the ability to easily make and sell infinite copies of a book's content. So claiming that using electronic storage constitutes maintaining a trademark is no different than claiming that libraries storing a copy of your book constitutes maintaining a trademark, since ebook stores are essentially privatized libraries.
 


darjr

I crit!
Racism and deceptive marketing aside, NuTSR is well within their rights to snatch up trademarks that WotC let lapse. The Star Frontiers and TSR trademarks have long since expired because WotC let them languish. WotC doesn't have any right to claim them now, and putting up low quality scans on Drivethrurpg after telling the fansite to take down their remastered PDFs is a jerk move that shouldn't count toward maintaining the trademark anyway. The trademark already lapsed sometime in the 90s I'm guessing since the last book was released circa 1985. Hosting PDFs shouldn't count toward maintaining a trademark, otherwise you could maintain a trademark forever simply because an ebook you released two hundred years ago is still being sold even though you did nothing with the IP since.

It's a really frustrating situation because both sides are in the wrong here. NuTSR really is using deceptive marketing practices to trick fans of the Star Frontiers IP when they don't have any right to it. WotC doesn't have any right to the trademark anymore and shouldn't be allowed to try re-registering until NuTSR's claim lapses, because they clearly didn't care about the IP before and still don't unless they get bad publicity over it.

One of the most telling acts here is that Sasquatch LLC already snatched the Alternity trademark and published their own retroclone a few years ago (it got cancelled and Sasquatch is now MIA, but whatever). This angered many Alternity fans who thought the IP was coming back only to learn it wasn't. What did WotC do then? Absolutely nothing. They still haven't restored the Alternity PDFs they removed back in 2008 during their infamous hissy fit over piracy. Word of advice WotC: the easiest way to prevent piracy is to sell PDFs legally, because when push comes to shove consumers will default to the option with the most convenience. Buying a PDF legally from an online store that will host the file for you indefinitely is more convenient that risking a malware infection or a lawsuit on the high seas.

Also, copyright law should be reformed. There are so many orphaned works being lost to posterity because it is illegal for anyone but the copyright owner to maintain them. This fate has befallen many of my favorite obscure RPG supplements like Grim Tales/Slavelords of Cydonia, Alternity, the paperback Hogshead edition of Puppetland, Aether & Flux, Starship Troopers RPG, and many more. If corpos don't care to preserve nor profit off their IPs, then they shouldn't be allowed to prevent others from doing so. That's a grotesque miscarriage of the original purpose of copyright: allow a creator to profit for a time off his labors, then let anyone else preserve and remix the work.

Anyway, if the judge rules in favor of WotC, then that would set a dangerous precedent for trademark by effectively allowing anyone to maintain a trademark forever. They do this just by registering it, posting an ebook on Kindle Unlimited, and then forgetting about it for centuries. This would prevent anyone else from ever registering that trademark ever again, even if the person who registered it has been dead for centuries or the company went out of business centuries ago. This would create the novel problem of "orphaned trademarks," which is similar to the current problem under copyright law where there are countless "orphaned works" whose copyright is either untraceable or held by owners who are deceased, out of business, apathetic, or don't even know they own it. This would be a bad thing for commerce and pervert the original intent of trademark law.

Like, WotC is currently selling scans of the Amazing Engine RPG from the early 1990s. They haven't produced any books for it since the original printings and are almost certainly only selling the scans to reduce piracy. Do you think their behavior constitutes good faith maintaining of the Amazing Engine trademark, such that nobody else should ever be allowed to register it for as long as the PDFs are sold on Drivethru? I certainly don't. I'm no lawyer or judge, admittedly, but I think that's a perversion of the spirit of trademark law. When trademark law was created, we didn't have computers or the ability to easily make and sell infinite copies of a book's content. So claiming that using electronic storage constitutes maintaining a trademark is no different than claiming that libraries storing a copy of your book constitutes maintaining a trademark, since ebook stores are essentially privatized libraries.
The fan SF stuff was done under LICENSE from WotC. Which means the fan site acknowledged WotCs copyright and trademark the whole time. They would even state that it could be taken down at WotCs discretion.

Your wishes are not fishes.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Racism and deceptive marketing aside, NuTSR is well within their rights to snatch up trademarks that WotC let lapse. The Star Frontiers and TSR trademarks have long since expired because WotC let them languish. WotC doesn't have any right to claim them now, and putting up low quality scans on Drivethrurpg after telling the fansite to take down their remastered PDFs is a jerk move that shouldn't count toward maintaining the trademark anyway.
Let me stop you here. That's not how the law works. If they kept selling products with those marks (they did), then they are protected (they are). This is a slam dunk case, your personal feelings on IP law notwithstanding.
 

Racism and deceptive marketing aside, NuTSR is well within their rights to snatch up trademarks that WotC let lapse. ...<snip>.... So claiming that using electronic storage constitutes maintaining a trademark is no different than claiming that libraries storing a copy of your book constitutes maintaining a trademark, since ebook stores are essentially privatized libraries.
There is just so much wrong with everything you say. You are wrong about how trademarks law works. You are wrong about your timeline. You are just wrong.

I get what you want things to be, but what you want is irrelevant in a court of law.
 

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