March 21, 2013

Villains & Vigilantes Ownership Battle is Over (Mostly)

Villains & Vigilantes (V&V) was the first non-D&D rpg I played and thus has a place in my heart (even if I've never played it since). There was a long running dispute over who controlled the rights to the game. The original creators Jeff Dee and Jack Herman wanted the rights back from Scott Bizar of Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU), the original publisher.

When Jeff Dee and Jack Herman published a new edition of V&V in 2010 (using their company Monkey House Games), a lawsuit claimed they had no right to do so. They counter sued claiming that FGU no longer was a legal company, because they had ceased publication, and thus the rights had reverted back to them. In July of 2012, Jeff Dee and Jack Herman lost a case and were ordered to put up official public notices denouncing certain comments they had made (or potentially had made), such as this one found on their official website for Monkey House Games.

20 months later the lawsuit has finally been decided by the judge and the original creators, Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, have the rights to the game back. It looks as if Monkey House Games has the right to produce new material for the game, whereas FGU can only sell the print copies of the rules. Scott Bizar has filed an appeal, so a final final ruling may take longer, but for now Monkey House Games has the rights.

A link to the court ruling.


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