Showing posts sorted by relevance for query shipman. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query shipman. Sort by date Show all posts

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: (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: and here:

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 And eventually, all but 5 of the roughly 130 listed items were removed from the 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 directly. Of the 5 remaining products (which can still be found here:, 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:
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:

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 --Ken St. Andre's Tunnels & Trolls website) here:, (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: 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 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:, 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, October 27, 2010

Jim Shipman (content thief) is at it again

The industry's biggest art thief and all around douche-bag Jame Shipman is trying to take his stolen wares to a smaller-yet-still niche.

Ed and Joe over at Esoteric Murmurs posted this:

Basically Shipman is now using his email list as a way to sell his stolen content.
If you need some more info on who Jim Shipman is and why he is a thief then read these:

But  most of all, read this one:

If you want to buy Tunnels & Trolls then only support the company that makes Tunnels & Trolls, Flying Buffalo:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Art and Content thief Jim Shipman back

You all might remember Jim Shipman; the thief that has been stealing art all over the internet and putting them on Tunnels and Trolls products and selling them as his own.

Well he is back at it.

Now he is trying to lie behind some bullshit disclaimer that the items are "second hand" and not published by him and he therefore has not responsibility over their content.

Can we please shut this asshole down once and for all?

Thanks to Tran Eskoor an Doon for this information.

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.

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:

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 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.

Ken St. Andre

He also posted it over on the Big Purple,

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:

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,

TrollBridge discussion forum,

EN World’s post on the subject,

Dragonsfoot. This one is interesting since it deals with Shipman and Outlaw Press stealing Mazes & Minotaurs a few months back,

Concept Art forum, interesting because these are the artists themselves,


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.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Ugh...Here We Go Again.

Just when I was beginning to forget about Jim Shipman we get another one.

This time I am not going to post any of this guy's "art" since he is sending out DMCA notices to all sites doing this.  Effectively silencing all his critics.

Who is this guy?  Mykal Lakim of Dark Phoenix Publishing.
What is the charge?  Stealing art is the big one, but he is also accused of blatantly ripping of White Wolf's games.

First the art.
Steven Trustrum of Misfit Studios has been collecting all of these.
You can see all the art and the comparisons on his Plus page.
The amount is not Shipman staggering, but still very damning. Of course the balls this guy has claiming his stuff is original is just as staggering.

If it were only one person making this claim that's one thing.  But this is Matt McElroy and he is not prone to this sort of thing.  More to the point he is a professional and would not make claims like this lightly.
Also he is not the only one.

Secondly is the content of his books.
Matt McElroy also covers some of that in his link, but your best bet is read the forum threads.
A review,
Discussion on the review,
and finally a discussion on the books and art that got Lakim permabanned,!

Now keep in mind that I have seen dozens of D&D-clones in the last few years.  Some are built on the SRD others are rip offs.  This seems to be a different sort.

You be the judge and report back here if you see it or see it differently.

Edited to add:  I added Steve's link instead of Matt's.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Why Plagiarism is a problem

So I wasn't going to go on (and on) about this, but I had a number things happen this morning that made me rethink it.  For starters I read this posting in my feed today about how plagiarism is a huge issue in the novel writing business.

Then there was an unrelated Facebook posting about reporting plagiarism and piracy when you see it (I am not at liberty to link that though).

And this one has been sitting in my drafts now for a bit.

Then to top it all off I got a renewal notice today at work that my subscription to Turnitin was updated.

One thing we should do though is talk about what plagiarism is and what it means to the gaming community.
Look, there is no why to gloss this over, plagiarism is theft. It is the theft of ideas, or expressions or words and it still theft even if you can't touch it or feel it. It is intellectually dishonest and frankly arrogant.  
Turnitin actually has a nice infographic on the various types of plagiarism and how prominent they are in academics (the data they have).

The types of abuse we see most often are of the CTRL-C and Mashup variety (and I can think of a few cases of the 404 Error type).

We have had our share in the RPG world of late. So for the Tracey Alley types she used something and then tried to pass it off as her own.  If you are smart you there two things going on here. There is the willful use of someone else's ideas AND the arrogant presumption that it was ok to do so because no one was watching.   Somewhere below that is the Mykal Lakim types that try to pass of someone else's work as their own and then stubbornly and arrogantly defends their rights to do so. Where you might argue that in the first case she "forgot" (which I don't buy) where the map and names came from, in the second there is art and text lifted right out of other peoples work.  The Jim Shipmans of the world might be the worse, taking the material from multitudes of others and passing it off not only as his own, but selling it as his own against the repeated requests of the IP owners.

Now bringing these to light is never a good thing really. It causes animosity and even ends up putting money in the pockets of the people selling stolen goods.  Hell I have to admit I have wanted to shell out the bucks for a copy of Lakim's Vampire book just to see how bad it really is.  But I am loathe to give him any money.

The accusations of being an "internet bully" also come up.  To that I say, what else do we have? Getting the word out is the only recourse a fan has. If the above linked authors (and more I know personally) are to be believed they are very appreciative of the negative attention thrown on the thief.   Plus I have purchased books from authors and game designers because their material had been stolen as a show of support.  I have this blog and a little bit of cash to throw at the problem.

But people around here will say, but what about the OSR? Haven't they based their entire existence on plagiarism of one level or another? Well I do believe in Intellectual Property (and Intellectual Capital) but I also believe in community.  The OSR as a whole is a community using a set rules release specifically for the purposes of sharing and publishing your own materials based on it. This isn't a contradiction. Now I do feel that some products out there are a little too close to the source material. I also feel we simply do not need another retroclone to play the exact same game we have been playing for years.  But I also know market realities.  I could have released my Witch book for example using a proprietary game system and my sales would have been about 5% of what they were.  The OGL does the heavy lifting it also brings in an audience.

Sometimes I feel this is often more Quixotic than some of my other crusades or activism. And I am atheist that grew up in the bible belt, so you would think I'd know a hopeless cause when I see one.

I don't know. What are your thoughts?
Do I have a point or should I just go back to my windmills?

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.

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:

You can read what was said before here:

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