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Пишет Misha Verbitsky ([info]tiphareth)
Re: (я забыл свой логин и мне лень регистрироваться)

-- After the New Infinities Productions demise you started to work on Dangerous Dimensions , a new fantasy RPG to be published by GDW, but the name was quickly changed to Dangerous Journeys because the DD acronym ran afoul of TSR. Despite the change of the name, TSR sued. What were the official reasons for suing GDW? Did you suspect that the last thing TSR wanted was a successful fantasy RPG with your name attached?

-- What I worked on then was the game I had wanted to do while New Infinities was extant. When I began work the genre was horror and Mike McCulley joined me as co-author to produce an RPG I named Unhallowed (here I must say that McCulley was a really excellent writer and I am sad to have totally lost touch with him: I fear that the experience with the TSR suit embittered him thus gaming has lost a potentially influential designer). As this was developing, NEC and JVC became interested in the game, licensed the system in fantasy, so I had to switch gears and rush into development of that genre. Here I enlisted the creative talents of Dave Newton, and between us we produced the Mythus RPG, the second genre of the umbrella system then named Dangerous Dimensions the choice of NEC and JVC from several suggestions I provided. During the process a publisher for a fiction line was lined up and negotiations for other licenses were in progress. Game Designers Workshop was on board as the publisher of the paper RPG. The prototype of the game was shown at the GAMA show in Las Vegas. At that point Williams was informed by her staff at the show that I was about to release a new fantasy RPG.

When we heard that TSR objected to the umbrella title, I immediately contacted NEC and JVC to determine if they would object to a name change to avoid a lawsuit one likely to have little merit, but costly. They agreed with my assessment and I changed the umbrella title to Dangerous Journeys.

Despite that, TSR sued, attempting to get a temporary injunction preventing release and sale of the new game products. In this they failed.

GDW and the rest involved in the project, the big companies plainly excluded, were sued for copyright infringement of the AD&D and D&D games. At this point the biggies dropped out of things, not wanting to become in the lawsuit. This was devastating to us, of course, because we were certain that if they joined us, TSR would have had no recourse but to drop the action, as the corporation was not financially able to fight against powerful corporations. The TSR complaint was patently ridiculous, of course, but to a court totally unfamiliar with RPGs, not worthy of dismissal before proceeding. Imagine someone not familiar with either chess or checkers. So the publisher of the checkers game goes to court claiming chess infringes on checkers. Your Honor, look at the similarities: the board is exactly the same, the game is played by two opponents, each side has pieces called men and there are kings in play. Moves alternate and are varied and, as in checkers, chess pieces can promote to be more powerful. To top that off there are captures, and one side eliminates the other to win! . That was the sort of thing we were facing.

For the interested reader, there is available somewhere online a copy of the original TSR motion put before the court in Peoria, Illinois. Many a person who has read and analyzed its contents will attest to its lack of merit. As noted, however, the court allowed TSR to proceed and so many months went by in which documents were turned over to them, depositions taken, and so forth. The cost of this was very considerable for us, the defendants, and for TSR the legal expense likely ran to something well over a million dollars. Three separate law firms reviewed the complaint filed by TSR and assessed it as one of the sort used by a larger company to force a smaller one out of business.

At the point where it was the turn of the defendants to begin their discovery and take depositions, our legal counsel asked for a great deal of additional money to carry on. Even though they believed we would prevail and knowing that TSR was in financial trouble and was running short of funds, no further work would be done without such advances. I had no choice but to play the hand dealt. Without letting TSR know that we were in a corner, I suggested that as the court was urging, we should discuss possible settlement before trial. That Williams readily agreed indicated to me that we had been correct in assessing TSR s financial position as weak, but as our lawyers were not interested in that, it made no difference. After many meetings and days of negotiations, a settlement was agreed to. TSR got the game system, GDW was paid costs of production for its inventory and we received a large cash sum to be paid in installments.

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