Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Do Not Purchase From or Submit To Outlaw Press

Recent events have led me to decide that a reminder of the dishonest, unethical, and illegal actions of Outlaw Press and its sole proprietor James Shipman is necessary.

I am not working and will never work with James Shipman and Outlaw Press. I know that Mr. Shipman has been making statements to this effect on his website. I have not submitted anything to Outlaw Press for publication since I became aware of his illegal practices in 2009. There are no special editions of any of my solos available from Outlaw Press. I also have not given him permission to use articles from this blog in his "magazines." As the current editor of TrollsZine I have not given Mr. Shipman permission to sell printed copies of TrollsZine nor do I have the right to do so. The previous editors have also not given Mr. Shipman permission to sell older issues of TrollsZine. These are fraudulent and libelous statements intended to harm my reputation. I have saved copies of these statements and I am currently seeking advice from an attorney as to what actions to take. Anything of mine that is being sold by Outlaw Press is done so without my permission.

Obviously I am not the only one affected by the actions of James Shipman. He has a long history (since 2001) of trying to sell:

*Free RPG products without permission (Mazes and Minotaurs, TrollsZine, Escape from Khosht, and The Old Dwarf Mine are a few examples)

*Pirated books scanned, printed and sold in clear violation of U.S. and International Copyright Laws (Tunnels and Trolls 1st and 4th edition, Monsters Monsters, Sorcerer's Apprentice #1)

*Stolen writing, particularly material taken from gaming blogs and websites but also taken from previously published RPG products (Gamma World, Dungeon magazine, Sorcerer's Apprentice magazine)

*Stolen artwork

The last matter is what ended up exposing Mr. Shipman's practices. When he opened an Outlaw Press storefront on RPGnow several artists saw their stolen work on the covers of his products. To date over 70 artists and writers have confirmed that their work was used without permission or compensation. The result was the end of Outlaw Press as a perceived legitimate business. Outlaw Press is not and never has been an official publisher of T&T material nor does Mr. Shipman does have permission to use the trademarked Tunnels and Trolls name in the products he sells, most of which also violate third-party copyrights.

Since then Mr. Shipman has been acting to undermine the rising number of small press T&T publishers authorized by Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo and Ken St. Andre by pirating their work. He has been even more active in his work against Flying Buffalo and Ken St. Andre who has repeatedly asked Mr. Shipman (more nicely than he deserves) to stop these practices. Doing business with Outlaw Press only hurts Tunnels and Trolls: the game, designers, the community, and everyone trying to do things the right way by respecting the creative works and rights of others. In my opinion, Mr. Shipman's current actions are just another failed attempt to destroy the community and stop anyone else from producing new, legitimate, and authorized material for T&T.

Here is an extensive yet not exhaustive list of links to visit to learn more about Shipman and Outlaw Press. The first two links will take you to pdf documents showing a large number of examples of verified art thefts, who it was stolen from, and where it was published. It's rather astonishing.

Disclaimer: All of the information presented below is freely available on the web and a matter of public record. It is used here for educational purposes.

PDF cover comparisons of OP unauthorized publications with original artwork:

PDF File 1
PDF File 2

"Geek Related" blog posts on Shipman/Outlaw Press in chronological order:

Geek Related 1
Geek Related 2
Geek Related 3
Geek Related 4
Geek Related 5
Geek Related 6
Geek Related 7

(Note: Some comments on the posts above seem to be from people who have also discovered their material being published without authorization.)

An overview of Outlaw Press activity since 2007:

Alternate Reality Press

RPGNet forums dealing with OP in chronological order:

RPGNet1
RPGNet2
RPGNet3
RPGNet4
RPGNet5
RPGNet6
RPGNet7
RPGNet8
RPGNet9

Posts by writers and artists whose work has been stolen:

RPGSite1

Trollbridge

Mazes and Minotaurs

Troll Hammer

Falck Art


If anyone has had material stolen by Outlaw Press I would urge you to contact Lawyers for the Creative Arts. This group provides free legal advice and will help you get in contact with an attorney who will work pro bono.

Everyone else should file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, the Outlaw Press web host Novatrend (Claudia Eigenmann - eigenmann@novatrend.ch), and his online payment service Paypal. Three or four complaints may not be enough, but 50 or 60 will certainly result in swift action by the parties involved.

If you are a T&T fan who is also writer or artist and you are interested in publishing your work please do so. There are many legitimate publishers of T&T material. Both Flying Buffalo and Fiery Dragon are interested in publishing new T&T material. There are also many authorized independent publishers including Peryton Publishing, Trollish Delver Games, Troll Hammer Press, Tavernmaster Games and my own Lone Delver Games. Self publishing is always an option and is becoming very simple; just be sure to contact Ken St. Andre and Rick Loomis if you are using the Tunnels and Trolls name and rules.

The most effective way to put an end to the activity of James Shipman and Outlaw Press is for the entire community to act together. Boycott Outlaw Press, spread the word about his actions, file complaints, and above all publish.

To close, here is an example of stolen art from the Outlaw Press magazine Hobbit Hole #2 first published in 2001 and reprinted in 2007:


The illustration on this page is by David Sutherland and is from the OD&D supplement Eldritch Wizardry published by TSR and currently owned by Wizards of the Coast. Do you think he has permission to use this image and earn money from its sale?

17 comments:

  1. Nicely done - & it's important to remind people that, because Mr Shipman's repeated theft of intellectual property is ultimately directed towards his 'unjust enrichment' via his commercial enterprise, that the best way to stop him is to stop buying from him, & instead buy T&T products only from licensed publishers.

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  2. I think I heard about this scumbag on the old Necromancer Games forum. Where-ever it was, as I remember it some artist from South America noticed his artwork being used, and posted about it. Then he got dogpiled by people supporting Shipman, but within a couple of days there was post after post by other artist whose artwork was stolen. The whole thing snowballed and it was just incredible how much work and art was being used without permission.

    I'm not sure if that thread is still around but it should have been archived.

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  3. Very nicely done Dan! Looks like Shippy is up to his old tricks again.

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  4. I am no longer caring much, but like you suggest, people concerned should talk to a lawyer. It's the way to do it.

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  5. I can't believe that in a country as severe as the US in terms of copyright laws and intellectual property this Mr Shipman can go on with his shady business unhindered. Beats me.

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  6. The more I hear about this pondlife, the more it makes my p*ss boil!!!! I remember seeing his site a few years back and all the new T&T stuff on it. I'm glad I didn't decide to get back into T&T then!!!

    Well said, sir!

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  7. I remember once when someone (not Outlaw Press) lifted a good deal of text from one of my web sites and passed it off as their own. I reported them to my local FBI office (Federal Bureau of Investigation, not Flying Buffalo Inc). This was years ago. I never talked to a lawyer about it, but simply reported the crime. The FBI investigated and the offending text later disappeared from the site.

    If you go to the official FBI web site, you will see that they pre-authorize the use of the following statements on copyrighted material: “Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.” You can see this paragraph near the bottom of the page at this URL: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/cyber/ipr/anti-piracy

    If someone is breaking the law, nothing is stopping you from reporting them to the authorities. You don't have to take them to civil court. The FBI can take offenders to criminal court if they determine the law is being broken. If enough people report a person to the FBI, and they determine that this person is indeed breaking the law, they might go after him, and save everyone the trouble of having to sue. If you don't care about suing for damages, but just want the guy to stop his illegal activities, this might be how you do it.

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  8. I see that James Shipman will be selling The Dugeon of the Rat, claiming that it has been updated by you especially for Outlaw Press.

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  9. This is yet another false statement IdArcanaRes. There is no business relationship between myself and Shipman. He apparently purchased some print-on-demand copies through Lulu and is selling them at a large mark-up without my consent or that of the author Mike Hill.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Your little blog of banter is not going to stop him. Welcome to the real world, people get screwed everyday. Keep sipping your ale you angry troll.

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  13. Your little blog of banter is not going to stop him. Welcome to the real world, people get screwed everyday. Keep sipping your ale you angry troll.

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  14. Hello all,
    I am not a part of the Tunnels and Trolls community so this is all new and mystifying to me. I am a comic book artist and I have recently been jacked by this clown. It seems like he has been doing this for so long, I am trying to figure out why he is able to get away with this? I have done a video talking about the actions I have taken to sort of try to fight him http://youtu.be/yZyVyLnAphY does anyone know of anyone who has taken these actions or have succeeded in getting their art work taken down from his site? I am looking for anyone else he has done this to, since it seems to be a crime of monolithic proportions. My story was recently on Bleeding Cool News http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/09/19/scamwatch-james-l-shipman-ii-and-outlaw-press my email address is towers113@gmail.com

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