Ian's Tortured Souls collection
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:20 pm 
 

wow, this project is amazing. it totally skipped under my radar.

i read all the posts hastily, so it is very likely i missed something, but from what i got the CD has not been released yet, due to copyrights dilemmas.

Should it ever be published, i would surely grab my copy :D

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:45 pm 
 

In a nutshell, The donkeywork is done (has been for quite some time). Basil owns copyright and is the only person who can give permission to produce the product. Also, the only permission he can grant (from discussions back in 2010) is permission to reproduce Tortured Souls as PDFs in their original form. The Complete Dungeon Masters Series would not be included as Games Workshops have a vested interest in those. No point in making this more complicated than it would need to be.

I would like to explore the possibility of packaging, inserts, unpublished materials, interview, disc art (to this end Jon Baker would be a logical request), etc. But thise things are dependent of Basil's thoughts and how much he'd like to be involved in such things.

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:30 pm 
 

Don't you still have the problem that since the company is now defunct, the copyright of all of the independent articles & art fall back to the original authors/artists?

You still need the permission of all people who contributed to the magazine to use their stuff and also their permission to change the media format from print to electronic.

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:52 pm 
 

Mars wrote:Don't you still have the problem that since the company is now defunct, the copyright of all of the independent articles & art fall back to the original authors/artists?

You still need the permission of all people who contributed to the magazine to use their stuff and also their permission to change the media format from print to electronic.

Not really, because as far as I can find in records, 'Beast Enterprises' did not exist as a registered company. Under UK law they operated as 'an individual trading as', and so the individual retains copyriight over his product. As to individual negotiations with any contributors, those contributors (if there were any) are not named or attributed to any of the materials in the product. Unlike sat White Dwarf, Tortured Souls! did not publish Expedition to XYZ by John Smith. Copyright appears to reside with Simon Forrest and Basil Barratt. That's my take on it. I see no obstacle to publishing an Archive DVD so long as the original magazine is retained and not altered.

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:14 pm 
 

Great news! I was going to bump this today as well, as I'd dug out my full TS! collection acquired last year and wondered if this was still on going as I'd love to have the collection on my iPad too for casual reading and safe back up :)


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Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:09 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:those contributors (if there were any) are not named or attributed to any of the materials in the product.


If individuals contributed items to Beast Enterprises and they didn't really exist as a "registered company" then that would suggest to me that anyone claiming to be Beast Enterprises now or affiliated with that organization would have absolutely no rights to authorize any republication of the material or to change its form.

Also, you are wrong, many of the other contributors are named in the magazines.  I have issue #12 handy and it states:

Credits:  Jon Baker, Floorplans: Brendan Hickling, Cover Colour: Jack, Maps: Psi, Scenario Art: Jon Baker, Tim Jeffs, Paul Ward.

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:55 pm 
 

Wouldn't it also depend on the contractual terms at the time?  If the submissions were work for hire or something like that?


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Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:20 pm 
 

Let's see, what's the worst case scenario here?  :scratch:

Ian sells some people a DVD archive they really want.  Ian has interpreted the law wrong.  The police come and arrest him.  Ian goes to jail for a long time.  Ian never makes any more smart remarks about America on these forums.  Ian's RPG collection is sold on eBay by his greedy relatives.  I mean, really, what is the problem?   Ian, sell the Archive DVD's!  :wink:


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Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:51 pm 
 

benjoshua wrote:Let's see, what's the worst case scenario here?  :scratch:

Ian sells some people a DVD archive they really want.  Ian has interpreted the law wrong.  The police come and arrest him.  Ian goes to jail for a long time.  Ian never makes any more smart remarks about America on these forums.  Ian's RPG collection is sold on eBay by his greedy relatives.  I mean, really, what is the problem?   Ian, sell the Archive DVD's!  :wink:


LOL, I agree. Actually, the worst thing that could happen is probably a cease and desist, although even that is doubtful.  I'd buy one under any circumstances should they ever become available.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:09 am 
 

I don't think anyone would bring any kind of legal consequence against Ian but that's not the point.  Copyright infringement is still copyright infringement whether you get caught doing it or not.

This is no different than the guys on Ebay selling burnt copies of TSR stuff on DVDs.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:14 am 
 

Badmike wrote:I'd buy one under any circumstances should they ever become available.


That is probably the most despicable statement I have ever heard you make on these boards.  You lost a lot of respect with that one.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:29 am 
 

I'd buy them under any circumstances as well. It is surely worse to see them sink into oblivion than being concerned with moral/ ethical standards.

I think a cease-and-desist letter is the worst thing that could ever happen, though if i was you i'd have published the issues scanned on the net rather than a full cd.

Maybe the best thing would be to release them for free, thus avoiding many issues (as far as i know, though i'm not certain), because in that case you are clearly not trying to make profit out of it.

Another thing for those that might not know: several issues of TS are already scanned and on the internet.

I should check how many, but IIRC at least five of them.

  

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:05 am 
 

I fully understand and support Mark's position on this. I will not work see a project to fruition that infringest the rights held by a known and available copyright holder. We are not talking about works that can be argued as 'abandoned works' here. I do not know specifically of the terms of the working relationship between Basil Barratt and Simon Forrest, or any agreement(s) they have, but clearly Simon was an influencing force during the life of Beast Entz etc.

Addressing Mark's comments on named artists/cartographers, I have been in touch (back in 2010) with Alan Hinkling and Jon Baker (the two primary contributors who gave the product line(s) their distinctive image), and both were aware of the intended project and my discussions with Basil Barratt at that time (2010). My intent at the time the project was being developed was to progress on the basis that the large majority contibutors (by content) were consenting, and the remainder were proving uncontactable/absent. I had asked Jon if he's be willing to do a piece of artwork for the disc/packaging, and was considering a fold out map for Zhalindor)

Now, if Basil is quite clear that he believes he has the right to develop a product, I am happy to provide all digital assistance to see that to fruition, just as if Tadashi came to me and said he wished to market a complete Thieves Guild Archive. I would be willing to provide the digital images, work with artists, and in the UK, worl with CD manufacturers etc.

TS! and the CDM Series remain among the best of what Britain managed to produce for D&D. But, without approval from the copyright holder this project goes no further I'm affraid.

As regards availability, TS! appears regularly on eBay, for the most part always in excellent shape on account of their original card and paper stick. I don't think we'll see them disappearing any time soon.

<Aside>

I have always been a supporter of PDF releases of gaming materials, in particular, in the archiving of OOP materials that will eventually disappear. I have discussed with, and continue to lobby, some copyright holders who have viable product releases (Mayfair Games/Role Aids jumps to mind here). IMO, so long as the package/product is appealing and the price point low, the majority of potential customers would prefer a real product vs. and illegal download. Selling OOP PDFs will only ever be a niche market product anyways.


Last edited by mbassoc2003 on Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:23 am 
 

I think thats a good point in that this item is not a major item wanted typically. I would certainly buy a full pdf series if it were available as Ian says, and if it leaked onto the net, I doubt it'd be anywhere near as DL'd as the torrents typical with the TSR works.

Lets hope that this may come to fruition, but if not, then so be it.


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:01 am 
 

ashmire13 wrote:I think thats a good point in that this item is not a major item wanted typically.


Just so I am clear on the argument.  Just because it is a small company its okay to steal their intellectual property because they won't be able to/don't care to/don't know someone is stealing their rights - Ya, that sounds logical to me.

I can't express how much the idea of people here knowingly breaching copyright to make or save a couple bucks disgusts me.  I think my opinion is clear so I won't say anymore.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:26 am 
 

This does not apply in this instance, but whilst we're exploring the ethics, I think it is okay to 'reproduce' abandoned works, provided you are able to demonstate that you have complied with the intent and requirements of Copyright Law in the juristictions in which that work was produced, and in which you intend to supply. Ethically, I can see that there are situations where they may be a need to preserve, which is different from a desire to distribute, and the law in the UK does make allowanves for both preservation, and apparently abandoned works. I presume that Google have already demonstrated to the satisfaction of US Law that Copyright Law in the US can be breached for the sake of digital archiving, and that precedent is already set. They do not distribute, although they do allow access to copyrighted information without the copyright holders' permission, and it is accepted under US Law.

Either way, we are talking about a single product collaboratively produced by many, but largely produced by a few main contributors. There can be no argument for not seeking permission in this instance. The same goes for Mayfair Games products, as the company remains in existence, and for the likes of something like Thieves Guild.

Now, if we are to be specific about contacting all contributing sources, that is an assinine argument. At the time periodicals were produced, electronic documentation could not have been forseen, and you cannot hold back society or allow for the destruction of printed materials on the possible objection of one desenting individual. I know that Dragon was pulled on that basis, but that was purely a desire to avoid exploring the issue in the courts. We also cannot live in a society where we all feel free to steal the creative output of others.

It is an issue that cannot be specifically stated in absolutes. The desire of a group of individuals to preserve something also has a recognised weight under the law. I guess we have to accept that individuals each make their own moral decision and weigh up things based on how they see things and we have to trust that people will not intentionally strive to do wrong by others.

As Doug pointed out on another thread, there is also the matter of intent. There is a difference between an intent to preserve, and intent to inform and make information available, and an intent to make profit at another's expense. I'm not saying it's okay to breach another's coyright just because you want to 'preserve a rare work at no profit', but I am saying it makes it far more reasonable to reproduce and abandoned work for the sake of preserving rare works in the absence of anyone else who cares.

It is a very grey area. If you take a product like Warwick Supplement 2, where there is no accurate list of contributors, most of whom were likely not of an age at which they could enter a contract with an editor, and the product is published by a 'club', I could not in good conscience argue against scanning and passing on such information to others. The product is known to have existed once, but whether I am ever to hear from someone who has had personal possession of the item, or we are ever as a community to see such an item, I cannot say.

I would certainly like to think that some wise soul somewhere is scanning and archiving the likes of Doomsday. I've never read a copy, and I doubt anyone is going to respect the contributors' copyright, and I have no personal need or desire for such, but I do think in such circumstanses the needs of society to preserve outweighs the need to respect archaic law that never envisaged digital preservation.

If libraries and corporations are free to breach copyright in the US and UK, then they have established what the values of society are accepted to be. The law will take a frew decades to catch up, but it will change to follow society's values.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:50 am 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:
I would certainly like to think that some wise soul somewhere is scanning and archiving the likes of Doomsday. I've never read a copy, and I doubt anyone is going to respect the contributors' copyright, and I have no personal need or desire for such, but I do think in such circumstanses the needs of society to preserve outweighs the need to respect archaic law that never envisaged digital preservation.

If libraries and corporations are free to breach copyright in the US and UK, then they have established what the values of society are accepted to be. The law will take a frew decades to catch up, but it will change to follow society's values.


Exactly.

If I have every copy of Tortured Souls, what am I stealing? Nothing. I'm just asking for the magazines in a easier to search, easier to read, more compact format.  I fail to see the evilness in such an act.  It is certainly not despicable to want items I already own in a better format (or better formatted, for that matter).  Besides, looking on many bit torrent sites, many issues of TS are already available for download. I applaud Ian for going to the trouble he has to make sure all the legalities are taken care of instead of just putting the material out there. If I don't agree with Ian on a lot of things I do think his dogged pursuit here is commendable, especially (as he says) since google has already had a precedent for archiving works without the copyholder's permission....but since they have the money and influence to change laws in their favor, it's ok I guess.

If the material is work for hire, then there shouldn't be an issue anyway.  Mark, if you have a copy of the TSR Dragon magazine archive, I hope you have destroyed it, as it has been revealed copyright laws were not always observed when releasing this item.  Does the fact that now all 250 of the first issues (which I own) are now available to people who could never afford to collect them change anything? I think it does, the value to the collecting community to see these early issues is paramount IMO.  There are no absolutes.  As Ian says intent has to be taken into account. One of the reasons we have reprinted the Wee Warriors output (with the permission of Pete Kerestan, btw), along with making money for the con, was to make sure people who would never be able to afford the originals could own a copy of POTVQ, Dwarven Glory, and perhaps Misty Isles at a price that would not break the bank. I remember someone on these boards wailing to high heaven when the pdf of the white box was released....for no other reason than the originals would be perceived to be worth less on the open market!  IMO, this is exactly the antithesis of what we should be doing as collectors of this hobby. We should be preserving artifacts of the hobby, true, but when possible we should make sure future generations of gamers who are interested in the origins of our hobby have access to these artifacts.  If it all remains locked up in collections, we are no better than greybeards who buy a rare manuscript or piece of art and lock it up in a vault for only their eyes.  

So many quality gaming items (For example, Midkemia and The Companions), are sliding into obscurity despite their well regarded status in the gaming community.  Hopefully at some point they can be legally reprinted, but I doubt it.  I think that's sad and that makes me angrier than someone who would scan a copy of something OOP for his own reading or collecting purposes.

From reading this forum it looks and sounds to me like Ian has done more than his due diligence trying to put this together. I'll be satisfied with whatever he releases when/if it comes out because I'll know he's done everything humanly possible to make sure it's as legal as can be.  Often these days you can dot every I and cross ever T and still be in violation of some obscure point of law (paid for by lawyers with the express purpose of making copyright law such a morass of crap it requires....more lawyers....to sort through the piles of paperwork). People who study copyright disagree with each other enough to make me see that there is a very fluid standard at work here.  

I would ask anyone who is steadfast in protecting these mutable laws if they feel what Disney has done to protect their moneybags (Mickey Mouse) by passing increasingly ridiculous extensions of their copyright is right.  The Mouse should have been public domain by now except for expensive legislation Disney has done the past few decades to prevent this...moral being, if you have a fortune, you can change the laws to benefit you only.  Personally, I think THAT is despicable.

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:06 pm 
 

Fine.  You have convinced me.  I will start releasing PDFs of all the small press stuff I own.  I will ask $1 each to defray the cost of my time.  If anyone has an item that they would like me to start with, please list it here.

Since it started with Tortured Souls, I will start with this one and offer it for a discounted rate of $10 for a full set of issues in PDF.

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