TSR TSR3.5 Launches IndieGogo Campaign to "Stop" WotC

The latest in the TSR3 saga, which has gone quiet for a while, is a new IndieGoGo campaign launched to "stop Wizards of the Coast". They cite wrongful bullying of TSR, and refusal to answer requests that WotC show TSR "proof of their claims" (although the campaign page doesn't mention what those claims are).

The IndieGoGo campaign was launched yesterday and has so far raised $675 (at the time of writing).

The action TSR seeks is a "Trademark Declaratory Judgement of Ownership" which is a court declaration about the status of something in dispute.

TSR has launched a campaign to stop Wizards of the Coast

Become a Champion of TSR and Support TSR’s campaign against Wizards of the Coast!

TSR is taking a stand against Wizards of the Coast (“WOTC”) and its wrongful bullying of TSR, our trademarks, and its public libeling and slander of all those who helped create TSR based Dungeons & Dragons and products.

Wizards of the Coast has continually bullied TSR regarding TSR’s legally owned Trademarks. Wizards of the Coast has refused to answer all of TSR's repeated requests that they show any proof of their claims. Wizards of the Coast has the vast resources behind them and is implying to bring them to bear down on TSR.


The new TSR suffered widespread pushback when it launched, which they blamed on WotC, claiming that they were under a "coordinated assault across various channels being mounted.... by [WotC]" The company announced itself earlier this year, having acquired the TSR trademark after the previous holder accidentally let it lapse. It was run by Ernie Gygax, Justin LaNasa, and Stephen Dinehart. After several weeks of controversy, the company split into two -- Wonderfilled (Stephen Dinehart), and TSR (Ernie Gygax and Justin LaNasa).


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The page also indicates an intention to "fight to have WotC's legacy product disclaimer removed" from older products (that's the disclaimer on the older books available on DMs Guild which indicates that those books are products of their time) by claiming that the disclaimer portrays the creators of those older products as "as supporting those alleged prejudices, stereotypes and bigotry, wrongfully claimed to be part of those products".


TSR will also Fight to Have the WOTC Legacy Disclaimer Removed

TSR is suing WOTC for Trademark Declaratory Judgement of Ownership . TSR will also pursue in the near future having WOTC remove the legacy content disclaimer placed on TSR based Dungeons & Dragons and other products, and retractions of any other libel and slander which alleges that racism and other heinous beliefs are incorporated into those products.

This disclaimer attempts to make a statement of fact argument, and therefore paints all of the writers, editors, artists and consumers of those products as supporting those alleged prejudices, stereotypes and bigotry, wrongfully claimed to be part of those products. This statement by Wizards of the Coast opens the possibility for the producers and players of these "Legacy Products" to face ridicule, and face the labeling as "bigots", "racists", "misogynists", and worse Cyber & Physical Attacks!

Wizards of the Coast legacy content disclaimer.

"We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end".


TSR3's Justin LaNasa spoke about the campaign in a YouTube video.


 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen
Why is TSR 3.5 or 3 suing Wizards when they can make their own RPG DD-Like using the OGL/GSL like Paizo did with Pathfinder?
Well, we can only speculate. But yeah, it's a good question.

Based on their actions so far, their business model seems more to be primarily focused on leveraging the TSR name and logos, and the Gygax name (via Ernie) to sell overpriced branded dice & t-shirts, and expensive DMing sessions in the hobby shop, and to license out those names to games produced by others (Giantlands, Dungeon Crawl) so as to cash in on the nostalgia of older gamers. Secondarily, they have sought to exploit that nostalgia to provoke a sense of grievance against younger players and WotC, appealing to reactionary feelings in those older gamers, to fundraise for this clearly baseless lawsuit.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Why is TSR 3.5 or 3 suing Wizards when they can make their own RPG DD-Like using the OGL/GSL like Paizo did with Pathfinder?
I don't have any idea why they do anything...

I know I would LOVE to make my own retroclone. In fact I have 3 different times started notes for it. I just am not good enough to make it work (wish I was) if given infinite time and infinite money I would hire the best RPG people to make my ideas work...

maybe they just can't/
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Why is TSR 3.5 or 3 suing Wizards when they can make their own RPG DD-Like using the OGL/GSL like Paizo did with Pathfinder?
It isn't about the ability to make a game, it's about the ownership of the artwork for the old TSR logos. TSR3 wants to sell themselves as the heirs to TSR and being able to plaster the old logos onto things is a possible moneymaker for them due to the nostalgia market. That's also why they want to market their own Star Frontiers game - another bit of legitimacy in their claim to be the "real" TSR heirs, not Wizards.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Has anyone received an update w/r/t to the actual litigation?

Either the issues brought by WoTC toward the copyright .... or has WoTC filed an answer or Motion to Dismiss in the action brought by nuTSR?
 


darjr

I crit!
It isn't about the ability to make a game, it's about the ownership of the artwork for the old TSR logos. TSR3 wants to sell themselves as the heirs to TSR and being able to plaster the old logos onto things is a possible moneymaker for them due to the nostalgia market. That's also why they want to market their own Star Frontiers game - another bit of legitimacy in their claim to be the "real" TSR heirs, not Wizards.
It was def one thing they were trying to do.

But it also looks like they wanted games to sell.

But even if all they wanted to do was brand things they have Ernie and the Hobby Shop. Both would have brought them contracts just to get Ernie’s look see and stamp of approval and name in the box.

It just seems like such a wasted opportunity.
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
It was def one thing they were trying to do.

But it also looks like they wanted games to sell.

But even if all they wanted to do was brand things they have Ernie and the Hobby Shop. Both would have brought them contracts just to get Ernie’s look see and stamp of approval and name in the box.

It just seems like such a wasted opportunity.
Honestly I think you're right and trying to narrow things down to one thing they were trying to do is probably simplistic.

They very much seem to be following the "throw all kinds of stuff at the wall and see what sticks" approach. TSR nostalgia, making their own games, leaning into culture war stuff, suing Wizards - it really just feels like a "just keep doing stuff and one of them has to work!" approach.
 

Has anyone received an update w/r/t to the actual litigation?

On Jan 11, NuTSR asked the USPTO to stay the Petition for Cancellation filed against them by WotC until the lawsuit filed by NuTSR (the Complaint for Declaratory Judgement in WA) is resolved. On Jan 24, WotC agreed to this.

I don't see any updates on the WA case for the past couple weeks. IANAL.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
On Jan 11, NuTSR asked the USPTO to stay the Petition for Cancellation filed against them by WotC until the lawsuit filed by NuTSR (the Complaint for Declaratory Judgement in WA) is resolved. On Jan 24, WotC agreed to this.

I don't see any updates on the WA case for the past couple weeks. IANAL.

The stay makes sense.

It also means that the next filing by WoTC in the Washington lawsuit should be ... more interesting, since they are less likely to seek a procedural dismissal.
 

That would lead me to think that Wizards' lawyers are pretty confident in LaNasa's lawsuit failing, for all the obvious reasons.

On Jan 11, NuTSR asked the USPTO to stay the Petition for Cancellation filed against them by WotC until the lawsuit filed by NuTSR (the Complaint for Declaratory Judgement in WA) is resolved. On Jan 24, WotC agreed to this.

I don't see any updates on the WA case for the past couple weeks. IANAL.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
That would lead me to think that Wizards' lawyers are pretty confident in LaNasa's lawsuit failing, for all the obvious reasons.

Not just failing. I would watch for the three things (assuming there isn't a motion to dismiss)-

1. If they just file an answer and affirmative defenses, then they are seeking to make this go away and quickly with a rapid victory.

2. If they include counterclaims, then they are trying to expand this and likely end nuTSR's antics with extreme prejudice.

3. If they include counterclaims and add individuals as counter-defendants, such as LaNasa, then they are trying to end nuTSR's antics with extreme prejudice AND making it very clear that they are aware of his LLC shell games and are making sure he has some skin the litigation. In other words, they're angry and seeking retribution.

(Regarding 3, while normally you'd have to go after the LLC and hope to pierce the corporate veil, which is incredibly unlikely, artful pleading and LaNasa's high profile might allow claims to be brought against him individually that would survive a motion to dismiss.)

Regardless, this should be interesting!
 



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