Showing posts sorted by relevance for query james shipman. Sort by date Show all posts
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

More from Outlaw Press

So more Outlaw Press news. You might recal I talked about Outlaw Press and James Shipman stealing art and content from scores of people for his Tunels & Trolls publications. [1] [2] [3]

Well now I have heard from anothee one of the artists.  I have actually spoken to a few of them, many were shocked and saddened that their work had been stolen.  Let's be clear here; if this handful of people is correct then that means he has stolen at least from them. And theft it is. 
This new artist has asked if I can get more of the word out so more artists that have been affected can let their voice be heard, and to help prevent this from happening again.

I am only too happy to help.

-- Begin Included Message --

A small RPG Publisher (Outlaw Press, Inc. run by James L. Shipman II) that exclusively publishes Tunnels &Trolls RPG materials was accused of extensively using and publishing unlicensed art and text for profit by several artist and writers who own the copyright to the art and content in question. Some of the images used by this publisher are work-for-hire art copyrighted by big-name companies like Dreamworks, SKG; Games Workshop; Upper Deck/Blizzard; and Wizards of the Coast.

The discussion about the whole matter of this publisher using unlicensed art started on this thread at RPGNet: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=483885 (which is now 101 pages long, and has been closed). The thread started when it was brought to the attention of an artist, Kevin Bracey, that he was wrongfully credited with the cover art of a product that had actually been created by Mauricio Herrera and used without permission. Kevin Bracey was, however, the creator of the original cover for the product, which was changed when the work was made available in PDF format by Outlaw Press, Inc.

After repeated unanswered communications sent to the publisher by the growing number of artists who recognized their work as being used without a license, mainly as covers for his products, his Lulu and DriveThruRPG stores were taken down with all the questionable products removed. The products were also removed from his own website for a while, but soon afterward were re-listed without showing the cover art--the most readily recognizable and easily identifiable circumstance of copyright infringement. Moreover, Outlaw Press, Inc. removed their e-mail address from their main site, although the publisher’s actual contact details can still be found here:  http://www.biblio.com/bookstores/Hobbit_King.html and here: http://samspade.org/whois/gx6yobsirm43ed7uljbukcymte.

After many more unanswered communications to the publisher, some from past contributors requesting the removal of their freely contributed material from his publications (Tori Berquist, Simon Lee Tranter, Ken St. Andre, Gianmatteo Tonci, and M. E. Volmar included) as a result of their outrage and to show solidarity with the affected artists, the matter was still unresolved and being ignored by the publisher who continued to sell--through his own website, Lulu's Amazon Markeplace and Amazon's CreateSpace--products that were no longer just suspect (on a grand scale) of copyright infringement, but whose permission by the contributing artists and writers to sell their materials had been rescinded.

Some artists, prompted by a lack of answer from Shipman, resorted to leaving notes of art theft on the Reviews section of the products listed on Amazon.com. And eventually, all but 5 of the roughly 130 listed items were removed from the Amazon.com and Lulu’s Amazon Marketplace stores at the request of the art’s copyright owners who were left no choice but to contact Lulu and Amazon.com directly. Of the 5 remaining products (which can still be found here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&sort=relevancerank&search-alias=books&field-author=James%20L.%20Shipman), 2 still present covers with verified unlicensed art--“Troll's Blood & Old Delvers: Tunnels & Trolls Anthology” with Jon Hodgson’s art, and “Lizardmen In Red Water Bay: A Tunnels & Trolls Fanpostal Novel“ with Allen Palmer’s art.

So far, the list of artists that have confirmed the use of their unlicensed art featured on the covers of Outlaw Press, Inc. products (without counting the 10+ contributors who have so far rescinded Shipman’s permission to use their materials) is overwhelming and growing (with around 20 or so other artists who are being contacted to confirm if indeed their art has been used without permission). These 30+ artists, some whose 70+ pieces of unlicensed artwork is featured on several of the publisher's products (see PDF file), include:
  • J. P. Targete
  • Sylvain Despretz
  • Simon Dominic
  • Mauricio Herrera                              
  • Jon Hodgson
  • Daniel Horne                                      
  • Michal Ivan
  • John Shannon                                     
  • Bill Corbett
  • Martin McKeown
  • Mats Minnhagen
  • Ursula Vernon
  • Jeff Lee Johnson
  • Henning Janssen
  • Zoltan Boros and Gabor Szikszai
  • Jhoneil Centeno         
  • Johann Valentin Andree         
  • Bera Károly
  • Alan Lathwell
  • Ken Jeremiassen
  • Jan Patrik Kresny
  • Fredrik Rahmqvist
  • David Lightfoot
  • Allen Palmer
  • Alejandro Guitiérrez
  • Daniel Falck
  • Storn A. Cook
  • Norbert Vakulya
  • Thom Scott
  • Darrenn E. Canton
  • Tibor Szendrei
  • Goran Josic
  • Per Eriksson
  • Kory K.                                                
One of the artists, Daniel Falck, wrote about the situation in his own blog: http://falckart.blogspot.com/2009/12/stolen-art.html
Others have also written about the matter at:
The publisher was also accused of reprinting and selling without the author's permission a magazine called "Mazes & Minotaurs," which is offered for free on the author’s website. The details of this accusation can be found here: http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=625915&sid=e042d3f6c1a9564ba2965e0f91eb94f8#p625915

Moreover, most of the art identified by the artists as used without a license is art featured on the covers of this publisher’s products, meaning that a thorough examination of the interior art used on his publications is yet to be undertaken, and that more artwork could have been used without a license by this publisher and more artists may be in reality affected by his practices.

The requests to remove freely contributed art and content, and the cancellation of the license to publish Tunnels & Trolls materials made by the makers of the Tunnels & Trolls game, Ken St. Andre and Flying Buffalo, Inc., have so far been completely ignored, and nothing close to an apology or explanation has been offered by the publisher to anyone--although he has appeared as Shipy (also his nickname on http://www.trollhalla.com --Ken St. Andre's Tunnels & Trolls website) here: http://trollbridge.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=1163&page=1, (post 162 and 168) mocking the requests and comments about his practices made by the RPG community.

At this point, the publisher claimed that his art was bought from an art broker called David Levine (or David Levin) from the United Kingdom, of whom no record exists anywhere on the Web and to whom Shipman claims to have paid around $2000 for all the art used in his publications. Still, after having been repeatedly informed of his use of unlicensed art, the publisher tried to sell the infringing print products through his own website and made no effort to recall or remove the publications from any of his other still active sales outlets.
Subsequently, after the posts were made by Shipy on the Trollbridge, the publisher's website: http://outlaw-press.com/ announced on its homepage:

“All this month we will be having a X-mas sale. That means most of our T&T prices will be listed for half price or cheaper. So if you are looking to buy something, this month will be the best time to do so.”

And went on to boast about the money he was making off products that still featured all the unlicensed art in question.

“We have lots of new T&T items planned for the coming year (Novels, Solos, T&T Supplements and even a T&T Battle Dice Game Ken St. Andre created). Our sales have continued to grow with the site statics breaking down as such; roughly 3,241 people visit here each day, with 1 in 122 people making a purchase of $50 or more. We are shipping world wide and we continue to expand.”

It is also of note that the publisher sells a magazine called “The Hobbit Hole,” although the word Hobbit and its use is copyrighted to the Tolkien Estate, and highly unlikely to have been licensed to an obscure independent publisher such as Outlaw Press, Inc. and/or James Shipman.




This week, and after having been contacted through e-mail by Shipman (who cited bogus publication rights and falsely claimed owning the copyrights to freely contributed materials whose copyrights were never given to him by the rightful copyright owners), Ken St. Andre terminated James Shipman membership at Trollhalla--St. Andre’s own Tunnels & Trolls fan club--after issuing the following statement:
“Because James Shipman has shown himself to be neither truthful nor courageous nor ethical, I declare that he cannot remain a member of Trollhalla any longer.”


Although the publisher’s website has now been down for a few days, he continues to sell his products on E-Bay under various user names including: jimship1, Hobbit_King, actionseller99 and selling4u2, using the hobbit_king@yahoo.com PayPal account.

Still, a storefront for this publisher and most of his products (which still feature the unlicensed art) can be found by following the product links at the Noble Knights game store here: http://www.nobleknight.com/ViewProdLine.asp_Q_ProductID_E_2147404354_A_InventoryID_E_2147650378_A_ProductLineID_E_2137421451_A_ManufacturerID_E_2145083794_A_CategoryID_E_12_A_GenreID_E_, although Noble Knight has listed the products as no longer in print and are probably just selling old stock.

Not only have the actions by James Shipman been damaging and disrespectful to many, including his contributors and the Tunnels & Trolls community, but his practices have muddied reputations, impacted artists and fans alike, and cast a bad shadow on the whole RPG community and on legitimate independent publishers. This situation needs to be exposed, if only in the hope of helping the affected artists and contributors who have been wronged by Shipman, and the RPG community and independent publishers alike.

-- End --

So yeah, the drama continues.  I am including this more or less as is since it is a good summary of the situation to date and also gives some more information.  This confirms things other artists have told me, so it is nice to have it all in one place.

I hope this all comes to an end soon and the artists get their due.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ken St. Andre responds to James Shipman

Long time readers here know of the whole James Shipman debacle.  Briefly he stole art and content and is selling it as his own.  Here are some links to bring you up to speed.

http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2009/12/outlaw-press-uses-stolen-art-and.html
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2010/01/more-from-outlaw-press.html
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2010/06/outlaw-press-is-back-and-still-stealing.html

Well there is new movement on this front, none other than Tunnels and Trolls' own Ken St. Andre.

Ken has posted and open letter to RPGNet

An open letter to James Shipman from Ken St. Andre:
James,

I received your package yesterday with some surprise. Received six copies of the revised Gristlegrim Dungeon. This dismays me, as I told you to quit publishing it back in January of this year when I broke with you. If this parcel was an attempt at a reconciliation between us, then I appreciate the effort you took, but I reject it. Our friendship and partnership is broken and done forever. I do not wish to collaborate on Gristlegrim or any other project with you. Not now! Not ever again! You had no right to add your material to my work. You have no right to continue publishing and selling it. Please stop!

James, you no longer have any right to publish or sell my works. We have no written contracts. We have no formal accounting of royalties. Your habit of sending money and or copies of the items is no longer good enough. Any informal agreements we may have made in 2009 and earlier are terminated on my side of the deal. I no longer wish to associate with you, either professionally or informally.

Find some other outlet for your creativity. Leave me, and leave Tunnels and Trolls, alone. I am rejecting any further association with you.

I hope this is clearly understood. Do not publish anything with my name on it as author. Do not presume to collaborate with me on my projects. Do not keep attempting to infiltrate trollhalla.com under false names--you are banned and unwelcome on that site. Do not attempt to rewrite the history of Tunnels and Trolls on Wikipedia or any other online sources. Do not send me money. Do not send me product. I do not want it from you. However, I am under no legal obligation to send back things that arrive unsolicited in the mail. I won't waste the money or the effort to send them back. I am not interested in theatrical gestures. I simply wish to terminate our association and to move on with other things in life.

I hereby reclaim my rights to anything I ever gave you to publish. In particular, I assert my right to the novel Griffin Feathers which consists entirely of my own work with some input in the short sections of the book from the members of Trollhalla.

I am forwarding the "royalties" that you sent me to Jeff Freels, the artist whose work you have re-used to illustrate this version of Gristlegrim. He deserves compensation for his work.

James, I am not angry at you, and I do not hate you. I simply will not associate with you ever again. For several years we were, I thought, very good friends. Outlaw Press did a lot for Tunnels and Trolls. You know why that time has ended. Let it go. Move on.

James, I will be publishing this letter in open forums on the internet, so that all the world can see how I feel, and how I react to what I can only believe are attempts to manipulate me and to gain control of Tunnels and Trolls. If you have no ulterior intentions, then forgive me for being suspicious, but I no longer feel that I can trust you.

James, you have your own unique style of creativity. Please go and do your own thing, and stop messing with me and with Tunnels and Trolls.


Sincerely,
Ken St. Andre

He also posted it over on the Big Purple, http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?p=12781787#post12781787

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Outlaw Press uses Stolen Art and Content

Normally I try not get involved in issues online that are not directly involved with myself.  Past events aside, I just really don't have the passion or realy the time anymore.


 
But this is something that I can't ignore.

 
Outlaw Press, inc., run by James Shipman, has been using art he has stolen from the web. He claims he bought it from an "art broker" but too many people have since come out to claim they have never been paid. So his claims are likely another lie on his part.

 
The list of art verified stolen is staggering.

 
You can see a PDF listing it all here: http://stardust-publications.com/outlaw-press/OutlawPressCoversComparisonList.pdf

 
It is 30 pages of stolen art!


Now taking my word for it is not, and should not be, enough. So here is a stack of links of other discussing the issue, supporting the artists and otherwise providing evidence.

 
The RPG.Net thread that found the evidence, http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=483885

 
TrollBridge discussion forum, http://trollbridge.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=1163&page=1

 
EN World’s post on the subject, http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/269217-outlaw-press-stolen-artwork-accusations.html

 
Dragonsfoot. This one is interesting since it deals with Shipman and Outlaw Press stealing Mazes & Minotaurs a few months back, http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=31923

 
Concept Art forum, interesting because these are the artists themselves, http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=176392

 

A list of supporting Blog posts.

This is staggering. I am not sure what James Shipman thinks he is doing here? But this is unconscionable. The RPG community is small, the profits to be had are even smaller. Many of us do this for the love of the game, not for money. Then to have someone steal material so he can profit. Well it is certainly against every reason why I am in this business.

If you read this post, please re-post this posting or post your own somewhere else to let everyone know.

 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

OSRIC Player's Guides: Do we need one?

After yesterday's little drama (and it is good to have these every so often to keeps things lively) I have a couple of random thoughts.

- First it looks like Vince made an honest mistake with the cover art.
This is obviously not a James Shipman deal.  But I'll counter with that if you are going to go through the effort of putting a product together, make sure that what you are doing is 100% legit.  Don't assume anything.  Unless you know 100%, don't use it.  Even then verify.  Even if you buy the art make sure the person you are buying it from actually has the rights to sell it.
Right now I think I am in about as deep as I can get with art for my witch books.  Depending on how these books are priced (I want them to be inexpensive) I might break even with the money I have spent on it so far.  That's not a complaint mind you, I like the art a lot and has a nice 70s-80s vibe to it.

- Secondly does the OSRIC community need a Players Guide?  
Given that this product got so much attention that even I noticed it (and I am far outside the OSRIC community) and there is another project of similar scope on the way.  I would guess so.  Personally I would think you could just print up the OSRIC book's first few chapters and be done with it.

I guess that is part of my confusion.  Is OSRIC a guide or compendium or is it a game in and of itself?
I am not involved enough with OSRIC to really know.  I like the idea of one.  I liked the idea of the one just recently out, but not as a guide or as a book itself but as something that extended the OSRIC concept and potentially raised the bar in terms of production; till it didn't.

Does anyone here play it?  Do you play it as straight OSRIC or are you playing 1st ED AD&D with OSRIC as guide book?




Monday, August 2, 2010

Putting my money where my mouth is...

So I spent a lot of time and text ripping into Outlaw Press, James Shipman and his art stealing ways.
See:

So I have decided to put my money where my mouth is.
I am going to buy a copy of Tunnels and Trolls directly from Flying Buffalo this week at Gen Con.

I have no idea what edition, what book or anything.  But I want to show my support this way.  It looks like 7 (or 7.5) is the most up-to-date edition.  But maybe an older edition would be cool to have too.

If you are going to Gen Con and want to support one of the true pioneers of our hobby, then I suggest you do the same.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Outlaw Press is back and still stealing art

Like a bad case of herpes that flares up to piss you off, James Shipman has poked his head back up and is trying to sell his books full of stolen art.

The new details are here: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=519805

You can read what was said before here:
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2010/01/more-from-outlaw-press.html
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2009/12/outlaw-press-uses-stolen-art-and.html
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=483885

This is so irritating that this guy continues to do this.
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