TSR Wizards of the Coast Requests Injunction Against NuTSR

The legal team for Wizards of the Coast filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against TSR LLC, Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum LLC, and Justin LaNasa on September 8, 2022 to prevent the publication of Star Frontiers New Genesis. The motion seeks the court to issue an order preventing LaNasa or his companies from “publishing, distributing, or otherwise making available Star Frontiers New...

The legal team for Wizards of the Coast filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against TSR LLC, Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum LLC, and Justin LaNasa on September 8, 2022 to prevent the publication of Star Frontiers New Genesis.

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The motion seeks the court to issue an order preventing LaNasa or his companies from “publishing, distributing, or otherwise making available Star Frontiers New Genesis or any iteration of the game using the Marks”. Wizards of the Coast’s lawyers claim that the company would suffer irreparable harm to their reputation due to customer confusion and that Wizards of the Coast may become associated with the playtest document content containing "racism and transphobia".

Accompanying the motion were two declarations of support with further corroborating evidence. The first came from Elizabeth M. Schuh, Director of Publishing and Licensing for Dungeons & Dragons for Wizards of the Coast, supporting the claims of Wizards of the Coast’s investment in the TSR brand, tracing the history through the company’s acquisition in 1997 to the release of Star Frontiers products on OneBookShelf (parent company of DriveThruRPG and Dungeonmasters Guild) and through to the purchase of D&D Beyond.

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Schuh’s declaration continues, stating that from the original filing of the countersuit until the end of July 2022, “Wizards believed TSR LLC was not actually selling or distributing any games bearing the Marks” and that Wizards of the Coast is concerned about the problematic content contained in the playtest document.

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The declaration concludes with Schuh stating Wizards of the Coast’s philosophy of “an inclusive culture for gaming, including for its Dungeons & Dragons products”, including copies of the June 2020 blog post stating a change to the depiction of race in D&D, the October 2021 Sage Advice column by Jeremy Crawford on stat block and race changes starting with The Wild Beyond the Witchlight, and the recent September 2 apology for the Hadozee race in Spelljammer: Adventures in Space. A September 9 article from the website Study Breaks titled “The Dungeons & Dragons Community Is Committing to Diversity” is used to support the claim that “The gaming community, through press and player forums, has noted Wizards’ efforts”.

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The second declaration is from Lauren Rainwater, a partner at the legal firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP representing Wizards of the Coast in the suit. This declaration focuses on brand confusion with screenshots from the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum’s “Out of Stock” store page for Star Frontiers New Genesis along with posts from EN World and Reddit documenting users posting their confusion at news about the game’s offensive content.

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The exhibits from Rainwater’s filing include documentation of the trademark registration made by LaNasa, further screenshots of TSR-branded products for sale in the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum webstore, social media advertisements for Star Frontiers New Genesis, a copy of a TechRaptor story from July 2022 titled “TSR’s Star Frontiers New Genesis Playtest Contains Racist Content”, and screenshots of the Twitter thread by user @NoHateInGaming documenting material from the leaked playtest document.

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And to support the claims of offensive content contained in the Star Frontiers New Genesis playtest document, Exhibit E of Lakewater’s declaration is a copy of several pages from the playtest document obtained via subpoena from Don Semora of Wizard Tower Games. Multiple sections of the document are highlighted featuring the more obviously offensive statements, the majority of which were previously detailed in the above-linked thread by @NoHateInGaming.

If granted, the injunction will only prevent LaNasa, TSR LLC, and Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum from publishing Star Frontiers New Genesis or any other products using the “Star Frontiers” name, but it will not cover other “infringing activities” such as the use of the TSR trademark. The court precedent (one of thirty cited in the motion) Price v. City of Stockton requires that the injunction request have a narrow scope to prevent an injunction from sweeping too broadly when weighing the balance of hardships. As Wizards of the Coast is claiming the damage will be done to the company’s brand reputation due to the content in Star Frontiers New Genesis, the injunction is solely to prevent its release.

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The motion is noted for consideration for September 30, 2022 (the date the court will consider the motion) with oral argument requested. And for those who need a refresher on this entire TSR business, Morrus assembled "The Full & Glorious History of NuTSR" with a timeline of events.
 

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott


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Saracenus

Always In School Gamer
Last edited:


Abstruse

Legend
I feel bad rooting for corporate lawyers, but in this case I'm going to ignore that and root for corporate lawyers.
If you're going to root for any corporate lawyers, Davis Wright Tremaine isn't a terrible choice. They filed the class action suit over the Exxon Valdez disaster and got over a billion dollars for 30,000 fishermen, residents, and Native Alaskans affected by the oil spill, and last year they got a billion dollars for residents of rural Oregon counties who were denied lumber industry revenue.

If nothing else, keep in mind the scale DWT normally works in when LaNasa inevitably starts posting his "response" on social media...and remember that the Wizards of the Coast legal team includes two partners from the firm.
 

I feel bad rooting for corporate lawyers, but in this case I'm going to ignore that and root for corporate lawyers.
Same. Feeling super dirty.

But it does emphasis an important point: This is happening because base, eager bigotry is not profitable for a large corporation like Hasbro. And while corporate diversity efforts are nearly always calculating, slick and honestly disingenuous, this is movement towards a better society.
 

thirdkingdom

Hero
Publisher
Same. Feeling super dirty.

But it does emphasis an important point: This is happening because base, eager bigotry is not profitable for a large corporation like Hasbro. And while corporate diversity efforts are nearly always calculating, slick and honestly disingenuous, this is movement towards a better society.

As we say in AA, you gotta fake it 'til you make it. Corporate diversity efforts may be the above, but at some point they will cease to be and instead become standard.
 



Abstruse

Legend
It is seriously weird seeing the stuff we've been posting about for months in the other NuTSR thread show up in a real life court document. Reassuring and rewarding, but also really really weird.
I remember when one of the lawyers in the case followed me on Twitter. Not sure if they still do. My ramblings about the Hellraiser movies and obscure references to Red Dwarf might have chased them off...
 

grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
Why are we feeling bad for rooting on the Corporate lawyers? Do we want a plucky young lawyer to fight this? No, we want an army of Goliaths stomping and extirpating NuTSR. The cause is just and we want the best methods possible. Legal scorched earth. I want LaNasa's children's children feel the shame.
 

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