Ian's Tortured Souls collection
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:10 pm 
 

Badmike wrote: If the work is not in print and the original creator is not seeing a dime from any re-publication that may not happen, I'm not too upset.


I guess this is why NTRPG feels entitled to breach copyright and reprint whatever they want to help support the con.  Can we expect some good items again this year to help defer the cost of the poster purchases?  Maybe you can reproduce the posters.

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:18 pm 
 

PDF Pirate King wrote:
These guys are making millions off their work thanks to TSR.


Millions? Ya think so?

Now, they are living off reputations (created while getting paid by TSR) that allow them to charge more for their work and get more work strictly because they worked for TSR.  My heart bleeds for them.


What work?


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Post Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:19 pm 
 

PDF Pirate King wrote:
I guess this is why NTRPG feels entitled to breach copyright and reprint whatever they want to help support the con.  Can we expect some good items again this year to help defer the cost of the poster purchases?  Maybe you can reproduce the posters.


Yes. And I doubt the cost needs to be defrayed.


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Post Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:28 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:That said, according to UK law, unattributed works in a periodical are considered abandoned after the 25 year coppright period has elapsed, if copyright of those works are not claimed by the publisher. By removing the authors' names, Beast Entz have elected to assume full ownership or abandone rights of copyright on an article by article basis. The right are entirely theirs (Beast Entz Owners) in regard to written word. Only the artwork carrying a signiature falls outside of that, and US Law can be ignored.


This makes absolutely no sense.  A couple points:

1) Beast Entz does state contributors to the magazine but not always on an article by article basis.  Although some are: "Runequest material supplied by Daniel James".  According to what you have said, because this article is authored, it reverts back to Daniel James not Beast Entz.

2) Articles where authors have not been listed.  I'm sure at the time of publication the author was known to Beast Entz and they dropped the ball by not publishing the authors name and not giving them credit for what they have written.  According to what you have stated, is that since Beast Entz screwed these authors years ago by not crediting for their work, they can now claim complete ownership of it?  That makes no sense, perhaps you can clarify.

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:37 pm 
 

I like PDFs. I like them so I can tell what something is before deciding if it is worth hunting down. I'd have said thousands (probably) had I stuck to this idea, nd not waste money buying crap I wish I didn't even know existed.


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Post Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:39 pm 
 

1. Yes, if authorship is specified in the periodical, copyright reverts to the specified author. If copyright is not specified in the periodical, copyright is assumed to revert to the ownership of the magazine publisher, and where that publisher does not claim ownership, it is considered abandoned.

2. No, the owners cannot claim 'ownership' of the copyrighted materials. They are assumed to retain ownership, or to be acting as agents of the copyright owner inperpetuity; unless they specify that they do not own that copyright. In that situation, they either specify an author, in which case a designated copyright owner is known, or they do not know who the owner is and do not wish to continue to act in the absent author's interests, in which case the copyright is abandoned.

The principle is that after 25 years, artwork and articles appearing in a periodical revert to their original contributor's ownership (for the remaining 50 years), and that, if the contributor is not knwon, the publisher of the periodical (to whom the contributor originally entrusted their works) is assumed to be continuing to act in an absent contrinutor's best interests until the contributor chooses to identify and claim their work.

The 'abandoned works' situation only occurs if the publisher chooses to declare that they are no longer acting on behalf of unknown contributors to their periodical after the 25 year copyright period has elapsed.


This week I've been mostly eating . . . chicken and wild rice soup.


Last edited by mbassoc2003 on Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:43 pm 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:Millions? Ya think so?


As many as the "millions" TSR/WotC/Hasbro have made strictly on the artwork itself.

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:What work?


They all have done work since TSR.  Most of the artists have done work for other RPG companies or even selling commissions.  Look at the Elmore website:

http://larryelmore.com

He even sells prints of a number of the works he created for TSR.

An aside for Mike: Is it okay to copy the TSR Dragonlance works that contain Elmore art where he is selling prints - or is that where you draw the line?

Kuntz had a small company called Pied Piper Press that no one would care about if he hadn't been part of TSR in the early days.

Erol Otus - too many pieces to list, but even the Acaeum commission him to do a piece and prints.  Would we have done it if didn't do any of the early TSR covers?  Of course not.

Etc, Etc.

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:45 pm 
 

PDF Pirate King wrote:
You'll have to clarify what you mean by "pirated" here.  Suppose the old owners of Beast Entz give their permission to create and sell a DVD (where they may or may not get a cut of the profits).

It is clear that the company is defunct and the copyright of all stuff has reverted back to the original author/artist.  In which case, now, not only are those who create the DVD profiting from someone else's work (who they do not have permission from) but also the old owners of Beast Entz are profiting from those people's work who they no long have permission to use.  They are now the ones pirating others peoples work and profiting from it.  Why should they?


I don't think you're right on these legal issues. And, I think that the resulting moral judgments are entirely premature.

Aren't you taking a long stride in declaring the company defunct and reverting the ownership back to the original authors?  If I don't publish anything for twenty years, does that automatically make my company defunct?  Do I lose the right to everything?  I doubt that.

It seems to me you're just assuming that this is what their original contract said and that this would be standard law.   It also seems you're assuming that Beast Entz wouldn't have legal standing to profit from their publication no matter what form the publication might take.  I seriously doubt that there was a limit on print runs on the magazine, nor a time frame for publication.

Electronic rights hadn't entered anyone's head at the time.  There might be a technical argument about new types of media that did not exist when Tortured Souls was first printed.  This would be an issue for any interested party to raise.  It would be a ridiculous point to raise given the small nature of the proposed electronic distribution.  Even this possibility does not make the electronic publication of the magazine a moral issue.

There is a world of difference between what Ian is exploring and people who post unauthorized copies of copyrighted material on the internet.  

This point of view does not seem unreasonable at all.  Is there something else I'm missing here?


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Post Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:52 pm 
 

I know you were saying "millions" for rhetorical reasons.

No individual is making millions in RPG publishing.  It just isn't happening.


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:30 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:Aren't you taking a long stride in declaring the company defunct and reverting the ownership back to the original authors?  If I don't publish anything for twenty years, does that automatically make my company defunct?  Do I lose the right to everything?  I doubt that.


In many cases, the rights revert back to the authors as soon as the publication goes "out-of-print".  In other cases, it depends on what rights were even given in the first place - some being a one-shot publication.  These are in place to protect the author who created the work.

FormCritic wrote:Electronic rights hadn't entered anyone's head at the time.  There might be a technical argument about new types of media that did not exist when Tortured Souls was first printed.  This would be an issue for any interested party to raise.  It would be a ridiculous point to raise given the small nature of the proposed electronic distribution.  Even this possibility does not make the electronic publication of the magazine a moral issue.


Changing the format for which a contributed piece is intended is a big moral and legal consideration.  Suppose someone contributes art and the publisher likes it so much they want to use it as a poster to sell as an individual item.  Suppose an author contributes a module (such as to Dungeon magazine) and the company wants to produce it as a stand alone.  I would definitely think it immoral and illegal for a company to change the format for which the submitted item was intended.  Changing from print to PDF archive is a similar argument.

FormCritic wrote:There is a world of difference between what Ian is exploring and people who post unauthorized copies of copyrighted material on the internet.


This depends on who you believe holds the copyright.  If you believe that the owner of the old company still holds the rights then sure there is a difference.  If you believe that the rights reverted back to the original authors/artists then not as much difference.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:31 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:No individual is making millions in RPG publishing.  It just isn't happening.


I don't think any company is make millions either.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:48 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:Aren't you taking a long stride in declaring the company defunct and reverting the ownership back to the original authors?  If I don't publish anything for twenty years, does that automatically make my company defunct?  Do I lose the right to everything?  I doubt that.

In the UK copyright of materials published in a magazine/periodical lapses after 25 years, and the ownership of said copyright then reverts to the original author by default for the remaining 50 years of its copyright, or to the owners of the publication as the authors' agent if no author is credited. That 25 years has just lapsed, and that is why this line of discussion was introduced.

PDF Pirate King wrote:

This depends on who you believe holds the copyright.  If you believe that the owner of the old company still holds the rights then sure there is a difference.  If you believe that the rights reverted back to the original authors/artists then not as much difference.

Beast Enterprises Limited never actually existed as a company under UK Law. It was a title of convenience, and the enterprise was the product of the individual(s) who published it acting as sole traders under that name. They are recognised as sole owners of copyright unless specified otherwise, and assumed to be acting as the agents of any undisclosed copyright holders imperpetuity.


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:58 pm 
 


These guys are making millions off their work thanks to TSR.  With full disclosure on who would own the rights of their works, they all signed their contracts and even accepted payment for their work while employees at TSR.

Now, they are living off reputations (created while getting paid by TSR) that allow them to charge more for their work and get more work strictly because they worked for TSR.  My heart bleeds for them.


Wow, now you're credibility is shot.  You really think Rob, Tim and company made millions?  Dude, you're batshit crazy.  Is this exaggeration for effect, or are you serious?

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:00 pm 
 

PDF Pirate King wrote:
I guess this is why NTRPG feels entitled to breach copyright and reprint whatever they want to help support the con.  Can we expect some good items again this year to help defer the cost of the poster purchases?  Maybe you can reproduce the posters.


Well, you can't expect any. I'll talk to Doug and make sure you can't buy any yourself, I would hate you to compromise yourself in any way.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:59 pm 
 

In the case of TSR and the module in the magazine, TSR would have every right to print it in another form.

All of their author contracts were work for hire and full ownership went to TSR.  

I do hope this project can be completed, Ian, with everyone happy.


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:02 pm 
 

Things getting hot around here  8O


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:53 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:In the case of TSR and the module in the magazine, TSR would have every right to print it in another form.

All of their author contracts were work for hire and full ownership went to TSR.


I'm sure this is true for TSR staff but I am thinking more on those individuals who mailed in items for TSR to use.  In the case of Dragon magazine, converting to PDFs in electronic form was not covered and this is why TSR ended up having to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Also some items like Knights of the Dinner Table had a different contract not to be reprinted or reused.

In other cases, later artwork created by Elmore is used in TSR products but I'm sure he had a better contract that would give him more money if they were used in another application - and he is still entitled to sell prints, etc.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:55 pm 
 

Badmike wrote: I'll talk to Doug and make sure you can't buy any yourself, I would hate you to compromise yourself in any way.


Thanks for the reminder, those ones are "by donation only" :)

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:03 pm 
 

PDF Pirate King wrote:
I'm sure this is true for TSR staff but I am thinking more on those individuals who mailed in items for TSR to use.


To be clear:  Every article and adventure submitted by freelancers and published by TSR was contract work for hire.

TSR made clear to writers that they did this in order to protect their proprietary control of the game and avoid complications for re-prints. Their emphasis was on control of the game and use of material from any one publication in another publication.  So, for instance, a monster, magic item, character or spell  from a magazine article could be used by TSR in a book or another module. They paid a fairly generous per-word price for all submissions, and they offered flat rate terms for editing work.

I believe it was probably use of artwork (and comics are artwork) that caused problems for Dragon magazine in electronic form.

The terms for artwork...and particularly cover artwork...were different.  For cover art, TSR did not acquire rights to the piece.  They acquired only first print rights.  (And I presume that art created by staff artists was TSR property to start with.)


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:12 pm 
 

I remember one incident at TSR that I found funny.

They printed a Norse-themed adventure in Dragon that had a dwarf named Balin.

Iron Crown Enterprises protested that Balin the Dwarf was a Tolkien creation and thus belonged exclusively to Iron Crown for RPG purposes.

TSR printed a correction in their next issue of Dragon.

Iron Crown did not own the name Balin or Balin the Dwarf any more than I own the names Zeus or Apollo.  All of Tolkien's dwarf names were taken from The Eldar Edda.  What Iron Crown owned was Balin Son of Dwalin from the Lonely Mountain.


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