Posted by Thomas Deeny as RPGs
Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, the creators of the superhero roleplaying game, had Villains & Vigilantes published with Fantasy Games Unlimited Inc. in 1979. When FGU, Inc. dissolved in 1991 as a New York corporation and reformed as Fantasy Games Unlimited, a sole proprietorship in Arizona, publication rights reverted to them (according to the 9th Circuit Court). In a lawsuit in 2011, the New York corporation was ruled as being devolved to a legal entity operating as Fantasy Games Unlimited. But in early 2013, US District Court of Arizona found that all copyrights to Villains & Vigilantes have reverted to Dee and Herman and that FGU’s owner, Scott Bizar, was found to have abandoned the trademark. Mr. Bizar appealed the decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, who has sent it back down to the Arizona court to revisit several issues, including the trademark issue.
Mr. Dee and Mr. Herman, publishing through Monkey House Games, have taken to GoFundMe to raise money to help with their legal costs. “Frankly we need money in order to carry this battle to a final victory,” they write. Both Fantasy Games Unlimited and Monkey House Games are publishing Villains & Vigilantes works, at least until the courts decide who owns the trademark.