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.

injunction.png

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.

Filing1.png

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.

Filing2.png

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”.

filing3.png

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.

filing4.png

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.

filing5.png

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.

filing6.png

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.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

The court filings only show the stuff in the Star Frontiers playtest. They haven't even started going after them for the social media posts under the TSR name, which is where I always assumed they'd start when it comes to injunctions.

I think they're just focusing on stuff in the N&N version of SFNG because it was so amazingly blatant. There are certainly things Lanasa posts on the NuTSR FB that could be used, but it would require a lot of context and explanation to prove it's harmful and not just a questionable opinion. But Dave Johnson's work is so immediately offensive it requires little to no explanation. To add Lanasa's stuff at the end of that only makes the filings longer and potentially adds in confusion. And any example that even a little questionable gives Lanasa's lawyers something to argue against, where they really have no excuse for the SFNG material.

I believe the phrase lawyers would use in this case is "don't gild the lily".
 

log in or register to remove this ad


Abstruse

Legend
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.
I think it's more a reaction to how badly LaNasa's ruined any chance of winning the court of public opinion. Normally you want to support the scrappy independent underdog fighting the billion-dollar megacorporation with its team of high-priced lawyers. But LaNasa has so thoroughly poisoned the well that even the people who would normally support anyone in a battle against Wizards of the Coast just on general principle or more specifically because they disagree with the diversity initiatives and more inclusive changes to the game have abandoned him for being too toxic.
 



Abstruse

Legend
Well, I was reading along and thinking "this isn't so bad..." Then I got to this part:
[snip]
Oh boy, wait until you get to the actual presentations of those "races"...

Also just the diversity of the bigotry on display. I'm still surprised as a Cajun that I didn't notice the line "those in the south can speak creaole". First off, the name of a culture, language, or dialect should be capitalized. Second, it's spelled "Creole". Third, it's not a "racial language", it's a cultural dialect. And unless you're from the area to understand the nuance, I'd just stay away from using the word "Creole" in general because it's used very differently in Louisiana and immediate surrounding areas than it is in other places.
 


Stormonu

Legend
Well, I was reading along and thinking "this isn't so bad..." Then I got to this part:

View attachment 260965

And this:

View attachment 260966
And this...

View attachment 260967
Along with the ideas of racial superiority for white skinned, blue eyed people, with lastly the "subraces" of playing something that isn't white:

View attachment 260969
I mean, that's horrible stuff - but is that from their REAL playtest document or from the spoof put out several months back?
 

Abstruse

Legend
So I'm not a lawyer, and I'm not fluent in Legal-ese.

What happens next?
The court well set a date for the oral arguments from both sides for and against the injunction and make a ruling. There are a lot of specifics that apply strictly to the Western District of Washington court, like the "Noted for Consideration" date of September 30 (based on my reading of the relevant rules) is the next available date on the court's schedule for a ruling on the motion, while WotC's lawyers specifically requested oral arguments (which normally isn't done in the Western District court unless it's specifically requested).

Justion LaNasa continues to do stupid things, and we continue to laugh, I expect.
Also, this.
 


Abstruse

Legend
I mean, that's horrible stuff - but is that from their REAL playtest document or from the spoof put out several months back?
Those are all screenshots are from the Twitter thread by @NoHateInGaming (you can tell because the reddish highlighting used). However, it matches the document used in the court filing (which used yellow to highlight), which was obtained by subpoena. Wizards of the Coast's lawyers are pretty confident it's the real playtest document if they entered it as evidence in the case. Specifically entered by one of the firm's partners.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I mean, that's horrible stuff - but is that from their REAL playtest document or from the spoof put out several months back?
It's the real one, as Steampunkette notes.
You may be thinking of the spoof from a while ago that was a parody of nuTSR's earlier rules set that was, iirc, mostly a copy-paste of the d20 SRD. It modified nuTSR's with a bunch of fake meta-comments, modified art, and eyeball-stabbing typefaces.
But that was really a different game, a previous version on a completely different rules chassis. Afaik, even nuTSR's own doc for that version didn't contain the egregious racism and bigotry that their most recent playtest doc contains. I might be wrong on that, tbh; I haven't looked at it in a long while.
 


Stormonu

Legend
It's the real one, as Steampunkette notes.
You may be thinking of the spoof from a while ago that was a parody of nuTSR's earlier rules set that was, iirc, mostly a copy-paste of the d20 SRD. It modified nuTSR's with a bunch of fake meta-comments, modified art, and eyeball-stabbing typefaces.
But that was really a different game, a previous version on a completely different rules chassis. Afaik, even nuTSR's own doc for that version didn't contain the egregious racism and bigotry that their most recent playtest doc contains. I might be wrong on that, tbh; I haven't looked at it in a long while.
Yeah, I thought I had downloaded a copy of the parody, I seem to recall it being damn funny. But I just cannot believe that someone would be ignorant enough to actually type up what's in those screenshots for an actual game and try to be serious about it. I just ... can't believe someone ... would.
 

Jedion357

Explorer
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.
What he said.
 


Retreater

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 a recent post criticizing that our complaining on these boards goes unnoticed by WotC - and now their lawyers are using posts from here to gauge community reactions.
It seems we do have an effect on the industry - and hopefully in the case against NuTSR, a positive effect.
 

Real one. You can "Enjoy" the rest of it on NoHateInGaming's twitter.

When it comes to the whole NuTSR saga I've mostly trusted others when they said their stuff was toxic and awful. I did not realize how bad it was until I read through that twitter thread. Trans and non-binary specifically disallowed, the "Mutiny Shall Be No More" space law equating a slave revolt to mutiny so feel free to kill slaves on your ship because the law will protect you, and this
From the Examples of Races list:
  • Negro (Sub race Ulfar)(HUMANOID CLASS) -Tall, thick bodied, dark skinned even purple dark, brown eyed race with large strength average intelligence ALL Attributes are in the 10+ range, except intelligence which is maximum 9+.
  • Nordic (Ulfar)(HUMANOID CLASS) -Tall, blonde, blue-eyed race with exceptional attributes and powers ALL Attributes are in the 13+ range.
These two appear alongside the other Humanoid races of cyborgs, clones, grays (think Asgard from Stargate), greens (they are fast, I guess?), and reptiles. It even says in the previous section for Humanoids, "Please not about sub races within humans" and then immediately follows with this garbage like we don't know what they're trying to do.

WoTC's lawyers are doing everyone a solid by going after these guys.
 

MrZeddaPiras

[insert something clever]
It is beyond me how, in an era where every silly IP that was famous for 10 minutes in the '80 is worth a Hollywood reboot, Hasbro managed to let Tsr and all those other tradermarks lapse.
 

It is beyond me how, in an era where every silly IP that was famous for 10 minutes in the '80 is worth a Hollywood reboot, Hasbro managed to let Tsr and all those other tradermarks lapse.

The answer to this is simple: they didn't let the trademarks lapse. That's stated multiple times in the legal filings. It's the reason NuTSR is screwed; what they tried to do is illegal.

What Hasbro didn't keep up to date is the registration, which is not a requirement the maintaining the trademark.
 

Related Articles

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top