Who owns the rights to Pelinore?

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Big Mac
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Who owns the rights to Pelinore?

Post by Big Mac »

After Imagine Magazine, and TSR UK were shut down, Pelinore carried on being published in GameMaster Publications.

Does anyone know what happened to the rights to Pelinore, after GameMaster Publications stoped supporting the campaign setting?
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Havard
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Re: Who owns the rights to Pelinore?

Post by Havard »

I am not sure, but this thread on Imagine Magazine contains some useful speculation:
PelinoreRevived wrote:Imagine was published by TSR UK Ltd, therefore I would think that WotC also bought or inherited the rights to any material that was published therein when they purchased TSR Inc. A lot of the material published in Imagine was recycled material from Dragon Magazine in any event; for example the Barbarian, Cavalier and Thief Acrobat character classes were first published in Dragon, reappeared in Imagine and then were collected in the Unearthed Arcana. The same for new spells etc. So that would definitely be WotC property.

Articles related to Pelinore (and any other material not later published in other TSR publications), I would also think, belong to WotC or the original authors. I'm writing from memory here, but the copyright text said something along the lines of "all material published in Imagine is the property of the Publisher [TSR UK Ltd] unless agreements to the contrary are made in writing".

In GM Pubs, Paul Cockburn didn't reuse any of the old material except for the regional maps of Cerwyn and the Domains (and the places were renamed on those maps also). So all of the material appearing in GM Pubs is the property of Paul Cockburn. I contacted him when I first started pelinore.org to obtain his permission to use some of the material and he advised me, in his "I am not a lawyer" opinion, to steer clear of anything that was first published in Imagine. The ownership of that material, he said, was placed in so many people's hands that it is a potential minefield to establish who has the rights to what.

I would be surprised about the OPs original point that some of the material appeared in 2ed. Imagine was wound up in 1986 and, to my knowledge, 2ed wasn't published until 1989.
and
PelinoreRevived wrote:
Havard wrote:With regards to Pelinore, I didnt know that Paul Cockburn had gone to such lengths to make the GM Pubs version of Pelinore independent of the Imagine rights. That is cool though :)
-Havard
I think the contributors and editors of GM Pubs weren't scared of writing anything that might offend their former employers, especially after TSR removed its advertising (I think around GM3 or GM4). Some of the reviews of TSR products in GM Pubs, and some of the articles about TSR in general, can be viewed as quite scathing. But then, Imagine also published some bad reviews of TSR products. I think there is an interview with EGG somewhere on the internet that discusses the friction between TSR UK and their masters over the pond.

Moreover, I do think that GM Pubs reverted to the old names in GM5 Rod of Seraillian. I'm working away from home this week so I can't cross reference my collection.


Based on this, I would still say it is likely that WotC holds the rights to Pelinore. It is possible that the original authors hold the rights to their individual contents. If so, this could be enough to block WotC to ever do something with the setting again. OTOH, I am not sure WotC at this point would allow something like what Paul Cockburn was doing with his GM Pubs. UK copyright law vs US copyright law might make this even more complicated of course. In other words a big old mess?


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