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-   -   Sir-Tech - Long running legal battles (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2101)

Dhruin June 27th, 2007 01:58

Sir-Tech - Long running legal battles
 
This is an unusual newsbit…I'm not sure what you will make of it but I guess it casts some small illumination on the business end of game making, even back in the day. Lucky Day wrote in to point out a lawsuit by Andrew Greenberg against Sir-Tech, stretching back over 13 years to this judgment in 2005. The source is a summary on Cornell Law School's site but it's rather complex, so I'll use Lucky Day's email:
Quote:

I'm not a lawyer but this appears to be a summary of a second appeal of Andrew Greenberg vs Sir-Tech .

Greenberg is the real life Werdna in the Wizardy series.

According to this summary Greenberg licensed to Sir-Tech in 1981 his 1979 Wizardry game on it and was to receive any and all royalties for related products.

In 1991, Sir-Tech collapsed then transferred its assets to Sir-Tech, Canada. However, they apparently decided that they didn't have to pay Greenberg his royalties.

It was in 1992 that Greenberg discovered they left the country so he filed suit in the state of New York.

Sir-Tech Canada argued that they lacked jurisdiction but Greenberg pointed out that Wizardry products were being sold in the State and that Sir-Tech Canada bought the sirtech.com domain from they former parent company Sir-Tech Sftware, Inc., a New York company.

He won the lawsuit but Sir-Tech appealed and somehow they won. The court stated that Greenberg failed to even raise the the legal violation that he originally sued them over (cplr 302 a, etc.)

Not to be undaunted, Greenberg appealed that decision with quite a bit of evidence. This article shows the results of that decision in Greenberg's favor in 2005..13 years after it began and 3.5 years since the last North American Wizardry release. According to Wikipedia, there has been 15 Wizardry products released in Japan since.
More information.

GothicGothicness June 27th, 2007 01:58

ummm… quite confusing.. someone bought sir-techs license in Japan?

Corwin June 27th, 2007 02:08

If you want real fireworks, mention Greenberg's name to Cleve Blakemore!! :)

Saitcho June 27th, 2007 02:17

Speaking of cleve wassup with grimoire?

Corwin June 27th, 2007 02:30

Don't know, I keep threatening to release the Beta, but Cleve hasn't taken the bait!! :)

Lucky Day June 27th, 2007 02:38

Thanks Dhruin for posting this. This was quite a bizarre find. I was only looking for a Wizfix as my party got themselves killed int he level 4 pits of the proving grounds. But then I find this as well.

I hope my summary is accurate because there's some legal nuances in the language that I know I'm missing. For example the Judge's summary says in the first appeal Greenberg failed to present the case but the footnote gives details that not only did he but he brought up another point of the complaint.

Quote:

Originally Posted by GothicGothicness (Post 33731)
ummm… quite confusing.. someone bought sir-techs license in Japan?

Wizardry was a huge hit in Japan when they brought the game to the NES. They branched off with their own "Japanese Wizardry's". Some say it was even the inspiration for Dragon Quest.

The question I'd like to know then is Greenberg getting royalties for those? They don't sell them in the United States obviously but the money is going somewhere.

Ian Currie was known to lurk on the .Dot boards so I'm curious to hear his side of the story.

I'd also like to if this is it and if Greenberg and Sir-Tech have reached a settlement of sorts. I might try and see if I can get an interview with either of the respected parties.

Sir Tech Canada is still around in name, re: the Jagged Alliance 3D fiasco but I think most of the company are working for Strategy First or EA, Canada in Montreal.

I'm thinking these are Appelate decisions and they can still be taken to the State Supreme court so there may still be legal maneuvering going on.

14 years just for the man to get the royalties for the game he made…geesh

Unre June 27th, 2007 04:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by GothicGothicness (Post 33731)
ummm… quite confusing.. someone bought sir-techs license in Japan?

The series are definitely loved in Japan and probably influenced a lot of Japanese RPGs. Many Japanese RPgamers still prefer TB combat and there are some good (Tactical) Simulation RPGs such as Tactics Ogre, which is my favourite, too.

About the publishing right of Wizardry, it appears a company called AeriaIPM has the right now. Many Wiz fans are anxious since the name is not familier with them.

Dhruin June 27th, 2007 06:05

Huh. Didn't know that.

rg4619 June 27th, 2007 08:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unre (Post 33751)
The series are definitely loved in Japan and probably influenced a lot of Japanese RPGs. Many Japanese RPgamers still prefer TB combat and there are some good (Tactical) Simulation RPGs such as Tactics Ogre, which is my favourite, too.

About the publishing right of Wizardry, it appears a company called AeriaIPM has the right now. Many Wiz fans are anxious since the name is not familier with them.

Well, Sir-Tech Canada/1259190 Ontario had been licensing the name to virtually any Japanese publisher who wanted it, so players shouldn't be too concerned about the transfer (unless AeriaIPM, which is an IP management firm, decides to grant exclusive rights to some undesirable company).

As for Wizardry in Japan, it remains a niche brand, although a devoted following exists.

Unre June 27th, 2007 09:34

Quote:

Originally Posted by rg4619 (Post 33773)
Well, Sir-Tech Canada/1259190 Ontario had been licensing the name to virtually any Japanese publisher who wanted it, so players shouldn't be too concerned about the transfer (unless AeriaIPM, which is an IP management firm, decides to grant exclusive rights to some undesirable company).

As for Wizardry in Japan, it remains a niche brand, although a devoted following exists.

AeriaIPM is building a fund for an online Wizardry game but it doesn't seem to be international one but only for Japanese portable devices.

I still not sure why the company acquired international right but you are most likely right. Probably almost no impact to worldwide fanbase.

Rizzla June 27th, 2007 15:11

Quote:

Originally Posted by Corwin (Post 33733)
If you want real fireworks, mention Greenberg's name to Cleve Blakemore!! :)

Is this Andrew Greenberg an Aborigine, then?

Lucky Day June 27th, 2007 17:34

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unre (Post 33751)
About the publishing right of Wizardry, it appears a company called AeriaIPM has the right now. Many Wiz fans are anxious since the name is not familier with them.

Quote:

The details of the agreement are as follows:
1. Content of agreement

Transferred under the agreement are the entire rights to "Wizardry 6", "Wizardry 7", "Wizardry 8", "Wizardry Gold", and the global rights for the "Wizardry" trademark. Through this agreement Aeria IPM has effectively taken over the comprehensive production rights for all succeeding products bearing the name of "Wizardry" both within and outside of Japan.
What a bombshell! Worthy of its own news headline?

Again, is Greenberg getting paid for this?

Sherwin June 27th, 2007 19:46

If only someone would make another Wizardry game in the states, that would make the next decade worthwhile, or possibly even a Wizardry 7 (not a fan of wizgold) remake with Wiz 8 graphics. Currently working my way through Wiz 8 again but solo fairy ninja.

Stanza June 27th, 2007 23:19

I'm working my way through Wiz6 for the first time right now, trying to find a party build I like (currently in the belfry, grinding bats). I'd be delighted to find more of these games. Thankfully, I still have Wiz7 to go, plus all of the Might&Magics, and the Bard's Tales, praise be to DosBox.

I've been sorely tempted to have a go at creating a console-only Wizardry-style game, but I've got way too much else going on to take on another project. It was nice to see Devil Whiskey, though I wasn't much enamored with the result. There's probably more out there like it, but I think we'll only ever see the like from small, indy houses.

And then by coincidence, while looking for some console programming info for a test app I need, I just now stumbled upon this site: http://www.taat.fi/tmdc/

It never occurred to me that you could do things like this or this with ASCII graphics.

Obviously us cranky old CRPGers aren't then only ones who still like consoles.

Lucky Day July 10th, 2009 19:18

some more interesting stuff

http://www.nynb.uscourts.gov/usbc/al…Tech011905.pdf

Greenberg, in cooperation with good buddy Woodhead, dispute a settlement proposal from the bankruptcy courts for $40000. Computer Games Magazine was a named as a former co-plaintiff and a source of a problem getting their money.

This is the case where Greenberg attempts to get what was due him from the (implicitely) fraudulent sale of the Wizardry asset from Sir Tech Software, Inc to Sir Tech, Canada.

The court is well aware that Greenberg quite possibly could not get a dime from Sir Tech Canada were he to sue them, the real issue is what is in the Trustee's (the State's) interest from this bankrupt company and how much the assets were worth.

An indpendent firm stated they were worth $50k and this settlement of $40k is reasonable. Greenberg and Woodhead disputed that and though the court recognizes them as experts as creators of the assets (more so than CGM et al) the dispute is mainly petty as they made no attempt to even buy the assets themselves when they were offered (brilliant argument against them).

In short, the state wants to get out of this, $40k is reasonable in light of any other paper evidence, they can still pursue a lawsuit against Sir Tech, Canada, and you're just being petty you litigous bunch of… Again, the state just wants out.


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