Havard wrote: Big Mac wrote:
The first one is the one that has fallen out of copyright.
Right. Sadly it is not the version of Buck Rogers I find the most interesting, but still I am curious to see how this develops.
I'm more interested in this from the legal aspect. The Dille Family Trust are trying to leverage copyright that the movie-script creators say they are not entitled to. This is very important, from a copyright point of view. It's a cultural "land grab".
Big Mac wrote:The TSR RPG is the only version of Buck Rogers, that exists as a RPG, but that was created relatively recently, so is still going to be covered by copyright for a very long time. (And it's not what the legal battle is about.)
Actually there was a second TSR RPG based on the earlier iteration. Perhaps this is why TSR unexplicity switched to the Buck Roger's Adventure game
But I bring up the first TSR RPG because the end of this trial could have consequences for that version of Buck Rogers as well, as you point out at the end of your post.
I didn't realise that TSR had made two Buck Rogers RPGs.
Either way, both of them were made recently, so both of them count as derivative work and have a copyright date for when they were created. You would have to ignore the derivative material from TSR and go back to the original (out of copyright) material for Buck Rogers.
It is possible that somebody could use retro-clone logic to simulate the TSR product, and slap on the Buck Rogers name, because Buck Rogers has public domain material, but it would be risky.
They would almost certainly get a DMCA notice from the Dille Family Trust...even if they were legally right.
Big Mac wrote:There is a lot of weird politics in the history of D&D. None of that really connects to this legal battle.
From what I understand the Dille Family is one of the parties of the legal battle? I brought it up because I was wondering whom to cheer for.
It's Dille vs Dille, from what I understand.
I'm with Flint Dille over the Dille Family Trust, as if Flint Dille wins, we get a cool movie. If they win, we get nothing.
Havard wrote: Big Mac wrote:
I've seen the DragonStrike video and the Wildspace video and I like them both. I don't think they are high art. They do not compare with Lord of the Rings
, for example. But they do compare favorably with Flash Gordon
movie. I think that they set out to be cheesy-camp, and land in the place they wanted to go. So I think that it's a bit unfair for Flint Dille to get stick over them, especially when the other part of TSR was designing the actual games, and desigers like Bruce Heard were writing the novels and artists like Jennell Jaquays were providing concept art. DragonStike and Wildspace were a combined effort by a fairly large team and they might have been an awesome thing that brought a bunch of kids into the hobby...but the experiment didn't work out, so they pulled it. And Wildspace got pulled before Flint Dille even had the time to get the movie edited together. I'm pretty sure he was following someone else's design briefing. I have to say that, if I could go back in a time machine, and be in charge of TSR, I would have suggested that they rewrite both of those things, but we potentially had the opportunity for Spelljammer to return with Wildspace. So I'm definitely happy that the team of people that were pushing for this gave it their best shot.
I know you like those videos. And I will admit that they have their charm, but I will say I think they are pretty awful. I want to clarify two things though. I am talking about the videos, not the games, novels and comics related to them. Those were good solid products. The way I heard it though, TSR West (Flint Dille) typically would only send the designers completed works and they would have to design the games around them being able to give very little input or nothing at all back to TSR West. This was the case with the CDs at least, but it seems reasonable a similar process might have been the case with the videos. Secondly, I am not saying that Dille is a horrible person or that he didnt try his best. What I am saying is that most of the things he was involved with at TSR were pretty poor quality products that probably drained alot of resources from the mother company at a time when TSR was already struggling. We know those aweful CDs inflated the price of the boxed sets they came with, probably contributing to the premature cancellation of the Mystara AD&D line. Now Flint Dille cannot be blamed for all of that. Decisions were probably made higher up. But he was there when it happened.
They are awful. But I'm just saying that they were meant
to be awful.
If you are going to talk about CDs in boxed sets pushing up the prices, you might as well talk about stupid things like sets of 12 card rectangles being imposed on TSR designers, or the pointless ring-bound flipbooks in some Dark Sun products. All those things pushed up the cost price of products and almost allowed the printing company to take control of TSR.
But none of that relates to this legal battle, about Buck Rogers. It isn't anything to do with TSR or TSR's Buck Rogers products.
Big Mac wrote:(And I would happily buy Flint Dille a drink and listen to his stories about Wildspace.)
Buying him a drink would probably be a good idea. He probably has alot of good stories and it sounds like he is a likable guy. He was friends with Gary Gygax and he stayed with TSR after his sister took over. I have never heard anyone say anything bad about him as a human being.
Flint Dille is a pretty cool person to talk to (at least online - I've not met him - not yet). I've obviously spoken to him about Wildspace, but I've also chatted to him about solar panels, of all things.
Havard wrote: Big Mac wrote:
And if you look at what Flint Dille has done since DragonStrike and Wildspace, he has actually hit the spot he was aiming for with those videos, for several other gaming products (including a Ghostbusters game
featuring the movie actors and a Chronicles of Riddic game
featuring Vin Disel).
I am not familiar with any of those games, but it is good to see that he is getting involved with ore prominent people in Hollywood these days.
I think that one of the problems with TSR, was that they wanted to do certain cool things, and didn't have the cash to blow on making enough failures to randomly generate a big success. So they have shelved a ton of projects that might have been awesome, because they didn't return cash in time. And, as you know, they cancelled a lot of things before they actually sold them.
D&D only really became awesome, because people took risks, experimented and were able to make things that might
be bad or good. The fact that everyone has so much investment on every single new product needing to be awesome, is what is stopping us from getting experimental advancement now.
Havard wrote: Big Mac wrote:
So I'm not sure that his record with TSR relates to how good his Armageddon 2419 AD script is, because somebody at TSR has been telling people to make things like the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon
and the various (not too liked) movies, for decades. And when Flint Dille has done almost the exact same thing he did for DragonStrike/Wildspace for other projects, it has been very successful.
To be honest I am surprised that Flint Dille is not listed anywhere on the credits for the D&D Cartoon. I know that Gary Gygax befriended Dille when Gary was in Hollywood working on that thing. I actually like the D&D cartoon a whole lot more than I like the Dragonstrike/Wildspace videos. And that was back in the 80s, so you'd imagine they would have gotten a bit farther a decade or so later?
But anyway, I think that TSR's history shows that every time they have tried to get involved with other things than RPGs it has been a disaster for TSR. Gary leaving for Hollywood almost destroyed TSR back in the 1980s and a decade later the same thing happens under Williams. I guess you cannot blame a company for trying to expand, but it is sad when you see all those wasted investments that could have been spent in other ways.
That might be correct, but this is about the Buck Rogers legal battle. It doesn't have any connection with TSR.
Havard wrote: Big Mac wrote:
And the whole thing with the Dille family here, is that the trust that is "looking after the Dille Family" is gunning for Flint Dille over this, instead of working with
a relative of the person who's legacy they are supposed to be protecting. I don't think that Lorraine Williams was even mentioned in the story, so I'm not sure who at the trust would have been blocking Flint Dille from trying to bring back Buck Rogers.
Hmmm...I missed that part. Last time I heard, Lorraine Williams was the heir to the Dille Family Trust.
If you check out the "Business and Licensing" page on the inthe25thcentuary.com website
, you can see that it names both Flint Dille and Lorraine Williams. And yet the trust is apparently trying to stop Flint Dille from making Buck Rogers movies.
And according to this article: Fross Zelnick Dodges Buck Rogers Malpractice Claims
, Flint Dille had contacted a law firm to defend the Buck Rogers copyright back in 2009, and there was a court case in 2013 about it where it looks like Louise Geer was the trustee and Flint Dille and his sister Lorraine Dille Williams were the beneficiaries of the trust.
So you would think that, if the trust is protecting Buck Rogers for Flint Dille (as well as for his sister) he would be allowed to make movies for himself.
Big Mac wrote:The article in my OP makes it clear that the movie is an adaptation on Armageddon 2419 AD (because Armageddon 2419 AD is out of copyright). And given that XXVc is something that the trust recently licenced to TSR, I think that Flint Dille would have known to not touch anything from the RPG with a barge pole (even if he might have personally invented some of the elements of that RPG).
XXVc is really not connected to the legal battle, but I would be interested to know if TSR bought the rights to make Buck Rogers games (and if Wizards of the Coast still own those rights) or if the XXVc was a temporary licence that has reverted back to the Dille Family Trust. Because if the Dille Family Trust have regained ownership of XXVc, then they could potentially stick up all the old RPG products on DriveThru RPG (just like WotC has been sticking up Dragonlance products created by MWP).
My thought was that if they lost the battle over the early version of Buck Rogers then they might be forced to use the XXVc Setting instead. Typically how this works though is that TSR (now WotC) owns the RPG material while the lisence owner can block WotC from putting out the RPG, but make nothing else of it. So all of that material is probably in limbo. I dont think I have seen the TSR/SSI Buck Rogers Computer Game return along with the AD&D classic computer games either?
Big Mac wrote:And if the Dille Family Trust own XXVc they could theoretically get someone to put out a 5th Edition compatible remake of that RPG.
To be honest I would much rather see a system used for this setting that did not involve classes and levels. Savage Worlds would be a great engine for it I think. But it would be great seeing a return of this incarnation of that universe. I would love to see movies/TV series based on it as well.
But nobody is talking about making Buck Rogers RPG products out of the XXVc material. They are talking of making a movie out of the product that is public domain. That is what the court case is about. It's about trying to prevent that movie from happening.
Big Mac wrote:But, either way, it isn't out of copyright and Flint Dille wouldn't be making anything for it, without an agreement. Ironically, given that he has done pretty well with other things, the Dille Family Trust could probably have earned a bit of cash by hiring him to run a Buck Rogers RPG project. But now there is a legal battle going on, he might end up doing being involved in an Armageddon 2419 AD RPG instead.
Lets hope some agreements can be made. All of these legal battles are silly and everyone ends up loosing money. BTW, I dont think Flint was much of an RPG designer himself so if he was involved in something like that I hope he would bring in some actual designers. As I said, I like his conceptual work on XXVc so maybe that is where his strength is?
The legal battle is what the entire thrust of the article I linked to was about.
They seem to be suggesting that "copyright trolls" claim to own things that they don't actually own and then threaten to sue anyone who wants to use it and extract a "licence fee" that is small enough (compared to the cost of going to court) that people pay up.
Boing Boing were suggesting that Conan Doyle Estate were "getting away with this" until Les Klinger stood up to them and took the claim of ownership to court (instead of paying).
And if you look at the Armageddon 2419 A.D.
article on Wikipedia, it certainly seems that the character and the setting were created by Philip Francis Nowlan. So the character falling into the public domain, should be based on the date that Philip Francis Nowlan died.