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TSR The Mystery Deepens -- Jim Ward Knows Nothing About A New TSR!

The mysteries about a new TSR are just getting more and more confusing! Not only did another new TSR announce its launch recently, they claim to be the original company resurrected, using names like Ernie Gygax (Gary Gygax's son), and Larry Elmore (iconic D&D artist) to back up that claim.

Ernie Gygax was involved with the other current TSR until he and his brother Luke withdrew from it due to legal conflict with their father's widow, Gail Gygax. It's not clear how one can register the TSR trademark with one company, leave it, then set up a new company and register the same trademark while the original company is still trading. Presumably there is some kind of arrangement there. Somebody should make a flowchart!

tsr.jpg

However, Ward appears to know nothing about it!


@darjr posted this image of Jim Ward's Facebook post.

ward.jpeg


Update -- Jim ward has since tweeted:


The new company's flagship product is a science-fantasy RPG called Giantlands, and is co-created by Jim Ward. His name is on the cover. It seems likely that his contribution to Giantlands pre-dated the most recent registration of the TSR trademark, or that the property was acquired by the new TSR.

Be the first kid on your block to get our first blockbuster summer release GiantLands! This crowdfunded game is made in Wisconsin with some of the original TSR team, like Larry Elmore, Jeff Dee and James M. Ward. It will be among the first titles to bring TSR Games back to life. The GiantLands 1st Edition boxed set consists of three booklets, dice and more, a homage to the original D&D set.


giant.png

The new TSR has also registered the trademark for Star Frontiers, a sci-fi RPG which was created by the original TSR in the 1980s. Evil Hat Productions picked up the lapsed trademark in 2017, and the new TSR picked up the again-lapsed trademark earlier this year. They have not yet commented on what access they have to the original Star Frontiers content and artwork, but they used the latter in their announcement, which implies that they might have some kind of license from WotC to use it. I'm sure we'll find out soon!

 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Yora

Legend
Having a trademark actually means very little. It only allows you to use a name for your product. It doesn't gain you copyright for any existing works that have been published in the past.
While trademarks lapse when you don't use them or keep them registered, copyright still last until 75 years after the creator's death.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Having a trademark actually means very little. It only allows you to use a name for your product. It doesn't gain you copyright for any existing works that have been published in the past.
While trademarks lapse when you don't use them or keep them registered, copyright still last until 75 years after the creator's death.
Yes.
 







jeremypowell

Adventurer
But does Ward know about Giantlands?

Because it seems plausible that Ward cowrote Giantlands at some point, and the new "TSR" acquired the rights to publish that. (If Ward had sold those rights to a third party, that party could have resold the rights to the new "TSR.") I'm not sure whether that's more or less likely than the possibility that the new "TSR" is trading on Ward's name for no good reason at all, but it is an alternative possibility, and such things do happen (that is, authors' unpublished work gets resold, and then eventually published by entities the creator has no relationship with).
 



overgeeked

B/X Known World
So TSR folded, was bought out by WotC, one company started using the name TSR and filed for the trademark on the name...then split from itself...filed another trademark on the same name...now has a pending trademark on Star Frontiers...claims to have James M. Ward working for them...when contacted, JMW knows nothing about it...and these same people claim to have a license from WotC for the Star Frontiers IP...while trying to claim the trademark on Star Frontiers using artwork and IP still wholly owned by WotC.

Yeah, I'm going to wait to see something from WotC before I believe a word from the new "TSR".
 
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darjr

I crit!
So I took a look at the discord. And I THINK I found the license post. BUT it was deleted. Just the question about a license and the responses to that questions, now deleted, answer. Oh well.
 



grimslade

Doddering Old Git
Wow. I mean Ernie doesn't have the greatest track record with business decisions, but this is a whole new level of bizarre. Is Gail Gygax going to take TSR3: The Quickening to court before WotC or after? Drawmij knows nothing of this new entity and he is one of their marquee names, plus the whole we'll let the lawyers settle it comment makes this seem like a 3 AM after a long night of drinking experiment.
 



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