Earlier this week, Tom DeSanto, producer of X-Men and Transformers, dismissed a major lawsuit against Gail Gygax, widow to the co-founder of D&D.
A bit of D&D legal news this week as a lawsuit over the rights to Gary Gygax’ category of published and unpublished work comes to a close. The lawsuit comes about as a dispute over a deal struck in 2016 between DeSanto and Gail Gygax, which would allow DeSanto to become D&D’s “guardian of the library” and develop projects based on Gary Gygax’ own particular IP.
This particular lawsuit was reported on earlier this year by Kotaku:
In May 2017, DeSanto’s suit reads, he learned that Gary Gygax had a second will. He wrote it shortly before his death. That will, according to the complaint, merely gives Gail a life estate to some of Gary’s IP—the parts his children couldn’t claim. That would mean that, when Gail dies, DeSanto would no longer have the rights to develop Gygax properties, making their contract worthless.
…and as reported by Courthouse News Service, the subject of the lawsuit is over a move by Gail Gygax to try and negotiate a video game deal without DeSanto’s participation. The suit was filed in the L.A. Superior Court, and, according to Kotaku, was dismissed without prejudice earlier this week:
“Unfortunately, my lawyers and I discovered troubling facts about the Estate which prevented me from executing my plans for the Estate,” said DeSanto in a comment to Kotaku. “The dismissal was without prejudice and the interest in the Estate I negotiated for is still on the record. I remain and will always be a great admirer of Gary Gyxax and mindful of his legacy as an icon in the gaming world.”
Reached for comment, Gail Gygax told Kotaku that “I always believed Tom was using the lawsuit as a tool to extend or change the terms of his contract. I’m glad it’s over. Its time to for everyone to move forward. That’s what Gary would have wanted.”
This news follows closely after Hasbro announced that Wizards of the Coast would be working on five or six new digital games for Dungeons and Dragons. So if you’re wondering what Gail Gygax would be building from it’s Gygax specific IP like Castle Greyhawk/Zagyg, and a “catalog of published and unpublished works.”
What does this mean for the IP going forward? Likely that we won’t see anything as a result from this anytime soon. Hasbro and WotC continue their steady progress, and as for the Gygax Estate, we’ll just have to wait and see what comes of it.
Let us know what you think of the news in the comments!