The Collector's Trove: Ernie Gygax Collection Discussion
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 10:35 am 
 

Well, I believe the copyright stays with the original owner. Ernie retains the copyright to the actual words written in the adventure. I believe this was listed in the auction. The buyer of the auction owns only the physical item, and not the copyright on the words. Ernie would have to give permission to publish this as an adventure, or to sell copies of the pdf.

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:14 pm 
 

zhowar wrote:Well, I believe the copyright stays with the original owner. Ernie retains the copyright to the actual words written in the adventure. I believe this was listed in the auction. The buyer of the auction owns only the physical item, and not the copyright on the words. Ernie would have to give permission to publish this as an adventure, or to sell copies of the pdf.


Quite correct :D


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Post Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:32 pm 
 

Howdy,


mbassoc2003 wrote:It wouldn't be copyright infringement if the seller were the copyright holder. Besides, is it not the same as Bottle City going to print after Mike spent $3600 of the original map and notes? I would consider it fair game for a seller to sell PDFs having already sold the original, just as I wasn't pissed when a second photocopy of City of the Revenant was put up for sale six months after I paid $600 for my copy. It is the seller's IP to do with as he sees fit, and I'm sure Paul would honour any request for refund if the buyer were unhappy with future developements, as would the IP owner.


Exactly so. As stated in all of the auctions, ownership it is for the actual item, not the IP rights.

If the IP rights transferred to the owner of the physical copy you can bet that the item would have never been offered for auction in the first place. I'd say that about 75% of Rob's manuscript items would never have been sold if he knew he would have to give up the IP ownership. Of course, for the ms. of already published items the point is moot as the IP already belongs to somone else, e.g., Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure ms.

I think that is why most of the TSR fantasy art being held by collectors are rarely seen in public auctions. In most cases the owner of the artwork, both physical copies and copyrights, is TSR/Wizards/Hasbro. Offering prints for sale or using that artwork in new publications would be a big no-no I would think.


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Post Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 7:52 pm 
 

TSR used to purchase first publishing rights to artwork...like for the cover of Dragon, for instance.

At least that was their policy in the golden age.  Also, I would suppose that the work of staff artists would also belong to TSR.

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 8:35 pm 
 

Howdy,

FormCritic wrote:TSR used to purchase first publishing rights to artwork...like for the cover of Dragon, for instance.

At least that was their policy in the golden age.  Also, I would suppose that the work of staff artists would also belong to TSR.


The latter is incorrect, at least for the early days. According to Dave Sutherland it was all work done as employees. That is, TSR paid them a salary to do the art, they were not done as contract work and therefore the artists did not own them, the company did.

Dragon magazine covers done as contract art were different - unless done as a paid staff artist.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:46 am 
 

I'm not sure I see the value in buying a "unique" item, then. If a cheap PDF can be knocked off at the whim of the original writer, does it not devaluate the "unique"? I'd compare it to the OB3/PDF issue, but OB3 is not unique, so the devaluation is minimal at best.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:53 am 
 

Deadlord39 wrote:I'm not sure I see the value in buying a "unique" item, then. If a cheap PDF can be knocked off at the whim of the original writer, does it not devaluate the "unique"? I'd compare it to the OB3/PDF issue, but OB3 is not unique, so the devaluation is minimal at best.

The only person in recent history who has experienced this is Improv. Perhaps he could give his insight into purchasing a 'unique' and later seeing it go to print?


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 10:21 am 
 

In my opinion, in that case it would only increase the value of the original.  Owning the manuscript to a published item that is well known among collectors increases the familiarity of the item and, thereby, interest in and collectibility of the original.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 1:32 pm 
 

I think how the item is evaluated definitely changes.  It starts off as being a truly unique item then goes to being an the manuscript version of a published item.  I would think that the latter item would not be as valuable.  I think you can do some kind of comparison of the Bottle City manuscript with some of the TSR stuff that have manuscripts like the R-series.

I think the biggest problem in this comparison is that the R-series modules themselves sell for a lot of money and are currently out of print.  With Bottle City, the products are just being released.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 2:32 pm 
 

I suppose it probably also depends on what the item is - for example, a photocopy of a piece which stays in the hands of the creator would be devalued if a finished printed version comes out.  If on the other hand, the manuscript was different from the finished version (perhaps revealing some of the author's thinking) that would keep a lot of its value.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 3:40 pm 
 

red_bus wrote:I suppose it probably also depends on what the item is - for example, a photocopy of a piece which stays in the hands of the creator would be devalued if a finished printed version comes out.  If on the other hand, the manuscript was different from the finished version (perhaps revealing some of the author's thinking) that would keep a lot of its value.


I agree completely:  editorial revisions, notes, comments, changes, etc. show a lot of insight into the authorial creative processes; having the manuscripts in hand enables comparisons between published products and authorial/editorial manuscripts, which offers valuable insight into the writing and editing/production stages of books (whether literature or D&D books).


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 5:49 pm 
 

Oh, I agree wholly that a manuscript or piece that was later PUBLISHED would be worth the same or more. I'm taking about photocopies being sold off.
My mind being the fog bank that it is, I thought I recalled some problem last year with that same issue. I don't recall the details.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 5:52 pm 
 

I think the issue last year was the Robilar character sheet replica that was sold.  I don't think the auction mentioned that 2 other copies also existed.  I forget if a second one was sold on Ebay.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 11:29 pm 
 

Ah, I figured Frank was referring to the ToEE manuscript copy at GenCon (copy later unsold and original returned to Gary by Frank Mentzer).


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:44 am 
 

Whoops, it was the Robilar one. Sorry, I got my screwups screwed up.


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:43 pm 
 

No worries Frank.  I can read your mind - ack! let me out!

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