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Villains & Vigilantes Creators Sue Publisher

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the neater-than-garotting-them dept.

Role Playing (Games) 71

rcade writes "Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, the creators of the super-hero roleplaying game Villains & Vigilantes, have filed a federal copyright lawsuit against the game's longtime publisher Scott Bizar of Fantasy Games Unlimited. They allege that Bizar has no rights to publish the game because his corporation was dissolved in 1991, reverting the rights to them. Dee and Herman revived the old-school RPG last year and have been battling Bizar ever since. Sadly, this suit will not be resolved by muscle-bound men in tights."

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71 comments

How About ... (0)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992342)

How about we try a new roll playing game where everyone acts like adults and business people and resolve their differences without suing everyone and invoking copyrights, trademarks and patents?

Re:How About ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992382)

How about we try a new roll playing game where everyone acts like adults and business people and resolve their differences without suing everyone and invoking copyrights, trademarks and patents?

So only children file lawsuits now?

Re:How About ... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994402)

Children don't, but childish adults do. The adults incapable of voicing their disagreements in public, based in fact and working with others of differing opinions to come to a satisfactory conclusion.

Re:How About ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36994490)

Microsoft legal: "We noticed you seem to be using our IP, but that's OK, you can license it". Apple legal: "We're suing you for using our IP".

Re:How About ... (1)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994810)

Are you trying to suggest that Apple is more evil than Microsoft? Heresy! Beware, hordes of Mactards will descend and burn your house down.

Re:How About ... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#36996390)

Beware, hordes of Mactards will descend and burn your house down.

They'll try, but the iPhone lighter app isn't as hot as it looks.

Re:How About ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992406)

How bout you make your living coding something and have someone else steal it/copy it/profit off it illegally. The try to keep your hippy, everyone just be friendly and share attitude.

Re:How About ... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992414)

RTFA?

Brent Rose, the Tampa attorney representing Dee and Herman, told me in email that the suit was filed after other means of resolving the dispute were attempted. "There were cease and desist letters issued by both sides," he said. "We requested arbitration or mediation or even just a teleconference to just try and work things out before filing our federal lawsuit, but our written requests were either ignored or refused."

Re:How About ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992518)

How do you propose that would work?

Company1: I own that.
Company2: No, I do. ...
You: Work it out guys, come on!
Company1: I own that.
Company2: No, I do.

You can't really expect people to not be greedy-it's completely unrealistic. People are greedy. They aren't going to give up money just because you want them to play nice together.

Re:How About ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992520)

How about we try a new roll playing game where everyone acts like adults and business people and resolve their differences without suing everyone and invoking copyrights, trademarks and patents?

Roll playing game?

A game where you roll dice and... thats it. Takes all that pesky role playing out of the game.

Re:How About ... (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992714)

Please, not another discussion of D&D 3.x.

Re:How About ... (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993100)

Please, not another discussion of D&D 3.x.

Okay, how about D&D 4? I've started gold farming with my tank.

Re:How About ... (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#36996358)

Anything after AD&D ain't worth the time invested.

It's just simply no RPG anymore. It's just "hack monster, cash in loot, equip loot, become more powerful, rinse, repeat". Seriously. If I wanted to play WoW, I'd play WoW. I play D&D because WoW cannot give me what D&D gives me: A GM that gives me interesting, funny, exciting adventures with nonscripted quests where I may decide when, if and how I solve them.

And most of all, a new dungeon every time I play. Not "heck no, not again this one, it takes almost 30 minutes to get to the boss here".

Re:How About ... (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#36996416)

I could've sworn that all the 3E campaigns I was in had a GM, perhaps I failed my roll to disbelieve.

Re:How About ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36997700)

You only get to make a disbelief roll if you are actively disbelieving the object's existence. You never even had a chance from the sound of it, you poor soul. But it's not your fault, it's WotC's.

Once the Dungeons and Dragons label was transferred from TSR to WotC, that was the beginning of the end. Now I just play the extinct Vampire: the Masquerade (though it's getting a 20th anniversary release sometime this year, it's already in play-testing phase, it has altered rules so I'm interested in seeing how they re-balance some things).

As for roll players vs. role players... As the great great grandparent of this post already mentioned, it's simply the difference between pen and paper role-playing games and D&D 3.x. D&D 3.x is just a really complicated Yahtzee, except the rules change based on who brought which books.

Re:How About ... (1)

petteyg359 (1847514) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993374)

A roll playing games? What has Mon Santo been putting into the wheat?!?!

Re:How About ... (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 2 years ago | (#36997660)

You are giving him crap about using a word that sounds exactly the same, then you type a company's name incorrectly?

http://www.monsanto.com/Pages/default.aspx [monsanto.com]

The name is one word, not two, but at least you used all the letters in the correct order. :)

Re:How About ... (1)

petteyg359 (1847514) | more than 2 years ago | (#36999914)

Retroactive excuse: Their stock is MON. I'll claim that I just forgot the link and put in the space to separate the ticker from the continuation of their name.

Grammatical return fire: You're capitalizing god in your signature as if it were a proper noun...

Re:How About ... (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993814)

How about we try a new roll playing game where everyone acts like adults and business people and resolve their differences without suing everyone and invoking copyrights, trademarks and patents?

Wait, do you want something where everyone acts like adults and business people?
Or do you want something where everyone resolves their differences without suing everyone and invoking copyrights, trademarks, and patents?

Because, in the real world, "adults and business people" actually are usually the ones using lawsuits invoking copyrights, trademarks, and patents in resolving their differences.

Re:How About ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36994424)

Business people aren't adults. Business people are like the children that change the rules of the games they are playing while playing them for their own benefit and if that new rule happens to benefit someone else more than them, they steal the ball and run home to mommy. If business people acted like adults, they'd be able to solve disagreements without having to sue 100% of the time.

Re:How About ... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994786)

I agree! Since we are talking about a role playing game here I suggest a simple and quick resolution to the dispute...the teams, lawyers and all, dress as their characters, with real armor and real weapons, take 50 paces and come out a swinging! We'll give bonus points for the first team that drops a lawyer, although you only get half points if its your own lawyer. My money is on the elf! (They have long range bow attacks ya know)

Re:How About ... (2)

genner (694963) | more than 2 years ago | (#36995966)

How about we try a new roll playing game where everyone acts like adults and business people and resolve their differences without suing everyone and invoking copyrights, trademarks and patents?

High fantasy isn't for everyone.

Re:How About ... (2)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#36996348)

"How about we try a new roll playing game where everyone acts like adults and business people and resolve their differences without suing everyone and invoking copyrights, trademarks and patents?"

I'm sure there is a GURPS book for that.

Re:How About ... (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 2 years ago | (#36998204)

I'm reminded of the joke illustration in the 1st edition AD&D DMG, where a group of fantasy characters are sitting around a table playing "Papers and Paychecks".

Sadly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992424)

Sadly, this suit will not be resolved by muscle-bound men in tights.

There are so many puns here.

Ahhh.. FGU.. the old days.. (3, Interesting)

sstamps (39313) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992528)

I remember our interpretation of their acronym:

Fscking Game's Unplayable

V&V was a hell of a system - for its time (1)

Daniel_Abraham (1058448) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992568)

Don't get me wrong, I loved V&V, I played it for years, but it's so amazingly outdated now. If you want the same feel but with a smoother system, try out Icons from Adamant Entertainment. You get the awesomeness of a randomly-rolled superhero (try it, it's a great creative springboard), a nice combat system, no miniatures to worry about, and a great story balance between high-powered supers and lower-powered ones. And yes...these are the same folks coming out with the Buckaroo Banzai RPG.

Re:V&V was a hell of a system - for its time (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993112)

I have often wondered how does a book based on pure fantasy become "outdated"

Re:V&V was a hell of a system - for its time (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993304)

The _system_ is outdated. It was published in 1982. Just to give you an example of another outdated system, early D&D had you roll high for some things (attack rolls) and low for others (saving throws). In some cases, low scores were good (Armor Class), but high scores were good for others (hit points). One of the nice things D&D 3E did was to toss all that out the window and say "rolling high is good, high scores are good" across the board.

In this case, one of the dated elements in V&V is the Power vs. Power chart - some powers are better against others, and you needed to look up a chart each and every time. That's an old-school philosophy for RPGs. No charts is better, because there's no interruption in play. And don't get me started on the carrying capacity equation. I'm not afraid of math, but it's really too much. [ (Str / 10)^3 + (End/10)] x Weight / 2 = Carrying capacity, which determines your hand-to-hand damage. Going on, there's three whole pages (out of a 50 page book) on laws. Pre-Internet, that's kind of useful. Nowadays, it's not necessary.

Still, gotta love a system that has separate tables for "Crustacean powers" AND "Mollusk powers".

Re:V&V was a hell of a system - for its time (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993844)

I have often wondered how does a book based on pure fantasy become "outdated"

Games, including RPGs, aren't based on pure fantasy. Sure, the setting and story are based on fantasy, but game system designs draws from an evolving palette of tools to achieve the desired ends.
 

Re:V&V was a hell of a system - for its time (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 2 years ago | (#36997664)

Most games from that era actually look quite similar to D&D, and in some ways V&V was no exception. For instance, I believe normal stats were 3-18 (not that they couldn't be boosted or reduced - I remember insect powers reduced my character's intelligence to zero, but then I got power armor with intelligence 22...). Also there could be a massive disparate power balance - I think I had something like 11 powers when all was said and done, but two other heroes had only two. The GM went out of his way to pummel my character because he was so massively imbalanced when compared to the others (I could fly, had power armor with a force field and weapons, controlled the elements, could change solids to liquids, had insect powers, could shoot energy bolts, and had absorption as I recall - another char could basically run fast and shoot a gun and would be killed with 1/50 of the damage just my power armor's shield could take).

If you compare basic things like character stats and names of those stats for most late 1970s to early 1980s games, they are nearly identical, and usually those stats don't really mean much. Ars Magica was the first RPG I remember that really strayed from the familiar tropes, with stats from -7 to 7 (I believe) and an intentional imbalance of power (mages just are better in that game), and stats that actually directly influenced rolls, but several others did about the same time with different schemes (e.g. Cyberpunk 2020). In older games stats like strength influenced rolls like D&D's "bend bars and lift gates," but you never made direct stat checks and you had to role-play to those stats (so if your int was 3, you needed to act like you had an int of 3 - we had one guy that the GM forced to roll a D30 [yes, a D30] and get a 1 to volunteer a smart idea).

They'll get back together to make a new RPG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992580)

Lawyers and Losers

Re:They'll get back together to make a new RPG (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992728)

Sadly, that title sounds about right. There will be lawyers on one side and losers on the other.

In any RPG lawyers would have been hit with the nerf bat by now so hard...

Re:They'll get back together to make a new RPG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992938)

The problem is that Lawyers are being played by the devs.

Confused about Bizar's rights. (2)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993624)

FTA:

Our contract was with Fantasy Games Unlimited, Inc. -- which, we recently discovered, was "dissolved by proclamation" by the state of NY in 1991 for failure to pay state taxes. It no longer exists. And the contract clearly stated that if FGU, Inc., ever ceased to exist, then the publication rights reverted back to us.

If this is accurate, then how does this Bizar guy even have a leg to stand on to fight this? How can he claim anything at all? It seems like any litigation would reach the point where that bombshell is dropped and the judge would place judgement against Bizar for whatever these guys are asking for.

Re:Confused about Bizar's rights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993916)

Publishing contracts are complicated in bankruptcy. From what I've heard, contracts usually have a term that says something like, "in the event of Publisher going bankrupt or ceasing to exist, all rights revert to the Author". But legally these terms are not always enforceable. The contracts themselves become assets in the bankruptcy and so are governed by laws etc. related to bankruptcy, not the contract itself. This problem bites authors submitting to small presses all the time.

Re:Confused about Bizar's rights. (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994026)

Well I do understand that much, but the thing is, this Bizar guy seemingly has no claim to the game anymore. It's either in the hands of the government or the hands of the original author (which was the stipulation in their contract).

I'm not sure why this Bizar guy thinks he has any claim to sell the game anymore.

Re:Confused about Bizar's rights. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994454)

No contract can violate law. If law says "in the event of bankruptcy, 100% of assets are owned by the receivers" then no clause in a contract can violate that law. Publication right is an asset. It would have to be handled according to bankrupcy law, even if that violates the contract. Thus, anyone who bought 100% of the assets that were held for bankruptcy would have a claim on the illegally rescinded publication right.

I know this contradicts the Slashdot Libertarian streak where you should be able to write contracts that violate law and the contract would trump law, but that's not how the US works. So he likley does have a claim, unless you can prove that the contract clause was indeed valid and properly executed. Everything I've heard of similar ended up with the contract considered illegal at the time of signing and the person suing losing much more than if they had just not sued. Severability is a bitch, and I'd like a law to invalidate severability. So many times companies knowingly put in invalid clauses hoping to litigate on them later, knowing that they'd be likely to lose and that it wouldn't cost them much but cost the winner much more, and wouldn't affect the contract otherwise. The courts will rull that the contract as signed was invalid and that the clause was invalid at the time of signature and is severable from the contract, and thus stricken, leaving Bizar as the righful owner of the publishing rights (assuming a standard severability clause was included in the contract).

Re:Confused about Bizar's rights. (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994580)

...Again, that's not what I'm talking about.

First of all, I'm not sure where you're getting all this "the courts will rule the contract as signed was invalid" stuff. As far as I know, no one has even seen the contract to be able to make such a claim, and the idea of the ownership rights being given back in the event the company ceases to exist certainly isn't "invalid" - granted there are certain situations where that could not be upheld (like in the event of bankruptcy).

My whole point was I can't see where Bizar gets the idea he has any claim to the game once his company was dismantled. Either the people who obtained his assets have the game or the original creators do. I don't really care which one has them. I care that Bizar doesn't, since it would make no sense that he could.

Re:Confused about Bizar's rights. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994868)

My whole point was I can't see where Bizar gets the idea he has any claim to the game once his company was dismantled. Either the people who obtained his assets have the game or the original creators do. I don't really care which one has them. I care that Bizar doesn't, since it would make no sense that he could.

I just gave likely legal issues that would prove you wrong. What I talked about directly addresses the question of claim to the game. He claims that there was at least one clause that resulted in the rights reverting to him in the even of some legal actions. I pointed out that such reversion may not be valid, depending on the legal actions that trigger them. You haven't disagreed with anything I've said, other than to state that you have the opinion that my premise is not sufficiently founded. I assert that my level of experience in this matter exceeds average and that from my above average experience, the premise is more likely valid than not. If you have average or less experience in bnakruptcy law, then you do not have a foundation from which to criticize. If you have more experience than me, then you'd likely have been able to come up with a response better than "nuh uh." This is a contractual dispute, those are common. It it only interesting in that the contract likely directly contradicted law, allowing the libertarian vs everyone arguments of "they can't mess with our right to form agreemeents with others" and such, and the fact it is about copyright, which many here find interesting.

Re:Confused about Bizar's rights. (1, Insightful)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 2 years ago | (#36995044)

You're also completely ignoring the point, which is Bizar didn't hold the rights, his company did. His company was dissolved by order of the state, for failing to pay state taxes. At that point the publishing rights are an asset of the company and, as far as I know, it becomes the duty of receivers to dispose of them in whatever manner they see fit, in order to repay any creditors.

It's possible, of course, that Bizar personally bought those rights back from the receivers, but I suspect it's not likely. It's also possible they sold them to someone else. If they ended up not selling them for some reason - like no-one wanted them - then I have no idea what happens to them; I would suppose they revert to the copyright holder, but IANAL, etc.

The fact that "on dissolution, publishing rights revert to us" clauses are generally void, isn't really relevant, as far as I can tell. The argument isn't that the copyright holders should have the publishing rights because the company was disolved, it's that Bizar doesn't have them any longer and so has no right to publish the work. A rebuttal of that argument would be demonstrating that he does hold the publishing right still and how.

What I imagine Bizar's argument to be (2)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#36995278)

Corporations that are dissolved by the state do not cease to exist, but once dissoved only have the legal capacity to pay off outstanding debts and disburse assets to shareholders.

The chief shareholder and/or chief creditor of FGU was Bizar.

Consequently, most assets including (but not limited to) the right to publish V&V were assigned to Bizar.

Bizar then formed a sole proprietorship with the name FGU which, as a sole proprietorship run by him, has the right publish whatever he has the right to publish.

If it is true that the clause about right to publish ceasing to exist if FGU the corporation was dissolved is unenforceable, there are many chains of events that end in Bizar having the right to publish V&V. The example above is just one scenario among many plausible scenarios. I do not know if any of the "facts" I presented above are accurate. I'm just laying out a plausible example of how it might be that Bizar believes that he has the right to publish V&V.

At any rate, Bizar will most likely file a response to the complain soon. When he does, his side of the story will be presented.

Re:What I imagine Bizar's argument to be (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 2 years ago | (#36995352)

OK, that would actually make sense, assuming the facts as stated are correct.

Re:What I imagine Bizar's argument to be (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#36995358)

Entities that enter into bankruptcy have all assettes "owned" by the court until discharged. A contractual "theft of assets" isn't possible if contrary to bankruptcy law. They assigned a type of non transferable copyright. Likely what they did could have been done with the right contractual language, but likely it wasn't done with the right contractual language. People generally higher the right lawyers long after they should have. From the description of the argument, my characterisation is 100% correct, and nothing anyone has added has indicated any flaw in my premises, reasoning, or my characterization of the governing law. I'm happy to be wrong. Just tell me what point is wrong and why. At this point, I have an educated guess that is consistent with all the facts available (better than most of the guesses flying about here), but you are right in that we don't have all the information avaialable, nor am I a bankruptcy lawyer. And none of that matters because the judge can overrule the contract and the law if he so chooses. YAY case law system where a judge can, for eevry case, make up as much law as he'd like, and it's published only in a manner that is inaccessible to lay people. The US legal system is fatally flawed. Ignorance of the law is no defense, but knowledge of the law is impossible by design.

Re:What I imagine Bizar's argument to be (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37000778)

I'm not certain that bankruptcy laws matter in this case.

TFA stated that the corporation was dissolved due to nonpayment of taxes. That's not the same thing as bankruptcy.

Re:What I imagine Bizar's argument to be (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37001916)

If they didn't pay their taxes, killing the corporation in retaliation is a bad way to collect those taxes. Without the details of the dissolution, I can't speak as to what law governed the dissolution. Likely, there was some law that covered it, in which case, the law always trumps contracts. Thus my original point stands.

Re:What I imagine Bizar's argument to be (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37002352)

No, your original point does not stand. In most cases a company has to actively file for bankruptcy to be dissolved for reasons of being bankrupt.

If a company is making money and not paying taxes, dissolving the company in order to render it incapable of legally transacting business other than paying off creditors and disbusing remaining assets to shareholders is a very good way to recover tax moneys as the government tends to be first in the line of creditors.

When faced with such a situation, most companies negotiate with the state and pay up in order to renew their corporate charter.

And, one thing we do know is that the the dissolution was for non-payment of taxes rather than bankruptcy or some other reason as this is a fact stated in the complaint. Moreover, it's a fact easily verifiable through the office of the secretary of state of whatever state FGU was incorporated under. TO be fair, the dissolution might be an "alleged fact" rather than a mere "fact." But no one is alleging that FGU went bankrupt. Bankruptcy would only apply if FGU filed for such.

Re:What I imagine Bizar's argument to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36995714)

Corporations that are dissolved by the state do not cease to exist, but once dissoved only have the legal capacity to pay off outstanding debts and disburse assets to shareholders.

Citation, please? Because I too was under the impression that when a corporation was disincorporated by the State for failure to pay taxes, all of its remaining assets were seized by the State as payment of the debt. At that point it becomes the State's obligation to sell those assets, if it can, to attempt to reclaim the money owed it. You're saying is that that is still the obligation of the no-longer-existent corporation's owner. I don't believe you're correct.

E.g.: Hutchinson News - Tax reps seize Dairy Queen on Main St. [hutchnews.com]

State officials seized the Dairy Queen on North Main Street in Hutchinson on Friday for nonpayment of taxes ... shut the business at 2515 N. Main St. late Friday morning and seized all the assets of its owner, Hutchinson Treat Inc. ... The state will sell the business assets at public auction to pay the taxes owed, said Department of Revenue spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda.

Re:What I imagine Bizar's argument to be (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37007882)

Two different issues there:

1. Failure to pay taxes. This means the corporation didn't even file.
2. Failure to pay taxes owed. This means that the corporation owed taxes and didn't pay regardless of whether or not they filed.

In most states, the first of these can mean the end of the corporation if the coporation didn't owe any taxes. Imagine a corporation operating at a loss. They owe few, if any, taxes.

The second of these frequently overlaps with the first. But it doesn't have to. It is what gives the state the right to seize assets.

But, in both cases, laws will vary from state to state. As an example, consider what happens in the state of Massachusetts: http://www.sheehan.com/publications/articles/What-Happens-When-a-Massachusetts-Corporation-is-Dissolved-_176.aspx [sheehan.com]

The Secretary of State may administratively dissolve a Massachusetts corporation for failure to file its annual reports or pay its taxes for two consecutive years. The Secretary of State is required to notify the corporation of the administrative dissolution. An administratively dissolved corporation may seek reinstatement by curing the circumstances that led to the dissolution, paying any outstanding corporate excise taxes and related interest or penalties, and filing an application for reinstatement with the Secretary of State.

If a corporation allows it to be administratively dissolved, the Secretary of State generally does not seek to collect the annual report fees and late fees leading up to the administrative dissolution. Of course, the corporation must pay other taxes and fees that are due and owed to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, (the "MA DOR"), and other governmental agencies, if any.

Does that clear things up sufficiently?

Re:What I imagine Bizar's argument to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37022262)

Clear as a whirlpool in a mud puddle.

laws will vary from state to state

Okay. Since we're talking about New York, I searched for New York.

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/TAX/9/203-a [findlaw.com] (very much summarized)

[C]orporations [which] have not filed reports ... during the period of two consecutive years [or] have been delinquent in the payment of taxes for any two years ... [shall be] dissolved and their charters forfeited ... Upon the publication of such proclamation ... each corporation named therein shall be deemed dissolved without further legal proceedings.

The names of all corporations so dissolved shall be reserved for a period of three months immediately following the publication of the proclamation, and during such period no corporation shall be formed under a name the same as any name so reserved or so nearly resembling it as to be calculated to deceive

Any corporation so dissolved may file in the department of state ... if the commissioner of taxation and finance ascertains that all fees and taxes ... as well as penalties and interest charges ... have been paid. ... such certificate of consent shall have the effect of annulling all of the proceedings theretofore taken for the dissolution of such corporation ... if it is filed later than three months after the date of publication of the proclamation the secretary of state shall collect a further sum equal to one-fortieth of one percentum of all shares with par value and two and one-half cents for every share without par value which such corporation was authorized to have at the time of such publication.

As far as I can tell from that, the corporation is more or less in limbo. It doesn't legally exist, but if the taxes and penalties are paid, it's as if it never ceased to exist. Its name isn't protected any longer, which means that someone else could create a new corporation under the same name, but that would be a totally different corporation; if he wants to recreate the original corporation he needs to pay the taxes and penalties.

The question then appears to be: Did he ever pay the state and file to reincorporate? If not, the corporation still doesn't exist and he has no right to use its intellectual property for his own personal gain.

And it still doesn't do much to explain what happens to its assets in the interim, particularly intellectual property. It's basically in debtor's prison: the corporation can't exist until it pays its taxes, but it can't pay its taxes because it can't operate as a corporation in order to earn the money to pay.

The copyright either belongs to the state or to Dee & Herman, depending on whether their contract was legal. But I don't see any way Bizar could get away with thinking it was still his.

Assume [Re:Confused about Bizar's rights.] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36996204)

What AK Mark wrote needs to be prefaced by "it's possible that..." or "I speculate that..."

Almost all of the reasoning here is based on guesses and speculation.

...Thus, anyone who bought 100% of the assets that were held for bankruptcy would have a claim

Maybe. Depends on the details of the bankruptcy, and what the court said.

on the illegally rescinded publication right.

You are stating that the publication right was "illegally rescinded." Without any knowledge of the contract or the case, you cannot state that with any certainty.

...So he likley does have a claim,

Maybe. Depends on what the court said, and what the contract said. You should rephrase "likley" to "it is not impossible that..."

unless you can prove that the contract clause was indeed valid and properly executed.

This one is just plain wrong. Sorry. The burden of proof is to show that a contract is not valid, not that it is.

Everything I've heard of similar ended up....

"Everything I've heard" is an argument with no legal validity.

The courts will rull that the contract as signed was invalid and that the clause was invalid at the time of signature and is severable from the contract, and thus stricken,

This is pure speculation, unless you've seen the contract and know the details of the bankruptcy as well as the case law of the particular state. I suggest substituting the word "might rule" instead of "will rull".

(assuming a standard severability clause....

That's the key here, "assume." What you will conclude depends on what you assume.

V&V was a fun game. (3, Insightful)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994336)

Once upon a time, I owned a game shop, I enjoyed playing V&V myself because it was a break from DMing. We had a super fun cheesy time, bellowing battle cries while we tossed dice to see if we fell flat on our face or landed a deadly blow. We had a GM for V&V nicked named Dizzy, and he put on a great game. Thinking back there are just some things that don't translate well into computer gaming. The social aspect of it being the number one thing that comes to mind. Gone are the late nights, the delivered pizza boxes stacked up, piles of empty soda cans and playing hard until everyone is goofy tired, played out and ready to crawl home and sleep late. We smoked too, a thick haze choked the pastiest of geeks, so we had a fan blowing it out. It was a place to go for so many people. Kids used to tell us that they would much rather be gaming at the shop than out at a party.

I still remember my cheesy character I named "The Black Mask", who wore a black mask...real brilliant, huh? But it I played it up until it would slay the lactose intolerant.

Re:V&V was a fun game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36997962)

DC comics must have been watching your games; there's a batman villian called Black Mask who wears a black mask.

back? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994702)

I didn't even know it was back. Wow.

Does it still feature the "you, the player, are your superheroes secret identity" gimmick? I'd buy a copy just for that. It was an unbelievably cool idea.

Re:back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36998682)

I didn't even know it was back. Wow.

Does it still feature the "you, the player, are your superheroes secret identity" gimmick? I'd buy a copy just for that. It was an unbelievably cool idea.

Yes, it still has the 'play yourself' option.

Re:back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37003960)

Playing yourself was one of the great tropes of V&V. I had a blast of playing myself with superpowers, while going full-out munchkin (Didn't matter, as everyone was in the group, and in all honesty so were the writers of all of the V&V modules, so it all balanced out). Took that character from awkward high-school student to full-fledged, taking-names-and-kicking-ass cosmic-level superhero, and had a blast of a time doing so.

Late nights, rolling dice, socializing, piles and piles of pizza boxes, smoking too many cigarettes to even contemplate, good times! Online MMORPGs are nice, but they still pale in comparison to pen-and-paper RPGs, IMHO.

V&V will always have a special place in my heart to this day. Someone commented earlier that the table based look-up and Power vs. Power slowed down gameplay. I always thought that it was V&V's special sauce, but YMMV.

Wait. (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#36995896)

The creators of something have to sue a distributer to retain ownership? What a perfect representation of ownership in the 21st century.

Was an "easement" created? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#36998074)

The fact that this went on for so long and the plaintiff didn't have any problems until recently would seem like an "easement" of sorts has been created, at least with respect to copies made in the past.

Yes, I know easements are for real estate but the concept is portable: If you knowingly let people use your property (real, physical, or otherwise) over an extended period of time and don't at least say "woah, ask permission first next time, please" you may lose exclusive control over it.

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