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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Banned Again - Venger - Guardians of Galaxy XXX


Yep, Venger Santanis has a product removed at OBS - yet again. The link goes to his blog post about the latest product removed - Guardians of Galaxy XXX.

Haven't read it yet, but Venger is offering it as a free download via Dropbox.

Now, could it have been removed for trademark / IP issues? Perhaps

Does Venger often needlessly stir up shit? Perhaps Definitely. It is his trademark ;)

Is OBS obligated to sell everything submitted? No

Isn't there an Adult Content filter to take care of stuff like this at OBS? I thought so

Did I plan on DLing Guardians of Galaxy XXX? Probably not. While Venger's earlier OSR fantasy releases were in my wheelhouse, his more recent SciFi SlutPorn or whatever he calls it is not. Doesn't mean it doesn't have its fans.


Ah well. Interesting times.








24 comments:

  1. I downloaded and read through it this morning and found it's a decent b movie style adventure. I even read the disclaimer before I got it which clearly stated that it contained content of a sexual nature. I wouldn't be surprised if Marvel/Disney caused this ban though.

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  2. Look at the title. Now look at the characters on the cover. "Now, could it have been removed for trademark / IP issues?" Christ, you even have to ASK? The Disney/Marvel juggernaut was probably all over this the moment he hit the "upload" button.

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    1. Have you seen the parody porn Avenger movies, or the Mad Magazine parodies, or Spaceballs?

      How are either any different than an RPG parody? Both were manufactured, shipped across state lines, and sold and taxed in stores around the country, and went on to do sequels/follow up issues.

      If you haven't read it, light Zedi are Hipster Space Wizards, and Khaan is a character (which I think is actually how Cracked Magazine spelled his name back when Star Trek II came out). It is a parody romp adventure.

      "Guardians of Galaxy XXX" is an amusing title, very akin to "Flesh Gordon" or "2069: A Sexual Odyssey", which is where Venger draws his inspiration: the sexually amped parody movies. Meanwhile Scary Movie lampoons Scream using the same characters, and In Living Color built an Enterprise bridge to do a series of skits mocking Star Trek.

      Note that I'm not even defending him here. I'm actually asking you why a sex-charged comedy RPG is different than a porn parody or comedy parody in print or film, both of which are sold in stores and available right now on Amazon?

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    2. Because those outlets or Amazon are willing to put up with the potential take-down notice, and maybe OBS isn't? Whether Venger has the right to create and sell the thing probably isn't the issue.

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    3. Read my context reply below: I'm in full support of Steve and OBS on this, and I would not only do it myself, my business partners and I have dropped publications in the past due to legal issues. However, that is not an issue present in the comment I was replying to, but rather a different topic.

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  3. Yeah, clear IP infringement with the title and artwork.

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    1. I'd ask you the same questions I asked Tim. How is "Guardians of Galaxy XXX" as a parody title any different than "Star Whores," "Flesh Gordon," or (moving to Mad Magazine), "Harry Plodder and It's Dreadful What Follows," or "The Da Vinci Coma"?

      Those are manufactured, shipped, and sold perfectly legally. Why is an RPG not eligible to be a work of parody? Note the wide net of parody and jokes in the actual book that hits a variety of space opera.

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    2. There are some differences in your above examples. All but "Guardians of the Galaxy XXX" are actually variations on a trademarked title, Flesh/Flash, Whores/Wars, Plodder/Potter which set a basis for a parody defense. Remember, parody *is* a defense. If you are having to plead parody or satire, you are already hemorrhaging money.

      Of course, "parody" is pretty strictly defined these days...most often it is satire being called parody.


      “use of some elements of a prior author’s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author’s works.”


      Now Mad? Their stuff is a great example of parody (at least it was when I was reading it) - providing commentary on something while mocking it. Now, I haven't read GoGXXX so I don't know if it hits parody or satire but the courts aren't exactly big proponents of just calling something "satire"


      "if the new work “has no critical bearing on the substance or style of the original composition, which the alleged infringer merely uses to get attention or to avoid the drudgery in working up something fresh,” the work is less transformative, and other fair use factors, such as whether the new work was sold commercially, loom larger."

      Now, the above isn't the end all beat all of Trademark law...but I think the points are worth noting.

      Simply slapping XXX on something, whether by Venger or by Vivid Entertainment is not really parody or satire. It is the content and intent that matter. Frankly, I'm pretty surprised that Vivid hasn't been sued out of existence but perhaps they've got enough money available to make it not worth suing them. So far, no challenges have been made, but rumblings are that legal challenges to porn parodies are coming, sooner rather than later. Vivid brings in about $100M a year...They have deep pockets but also a lot to lose.

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    3. If it were titled "Guardians of the Galaxy XXX," it would be near identical to "Star Wars XXX." But the original title was "Guardians of Galaxy XXX," and is now on DTRPG as "Guarding Galaxy XXX."

      You say, "Simply slapping XXX on something, whether by Venger or by Vivid Entertainment is not really parody or satire." That may be your legal opinion, but it is the opinion of other lawyers and courts that the elements that constitute legal parody, allowing fair use of the original work, relate to the new work containing commentary on the original work (according to the most recent SCOTUS ruling). Which both "Star Wars XXX" and "Guardians of Galaxy XXX" do, mocking the characters of Star Wars in the first, and a wide ranging set of science fiction works in the second (a la Scary Movie, Epic Movie, or South Park, which regularly goes straight at things like Disney or World of Warcraft by name and using parts of them in their narrative, including Mickey Mouse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF4_4g1B2Ug ).

      And as I note above, it is back up and approved by OBS with the same content and internal artwork (including a nude Gamora character, mocking the trailer where they were scanned) with a simple change of cover and title to "Guarding Galaxy XXX" to satisfy OBS that they will not be caught up in a lawsuit.

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  4. A little context, as it might be difficult to understand why I am presenting the questions: I'm a publisher, and have been in the business for 20 years. In general I am very supportive of free speech and (for United States citizens) being an advocate for education of our rights within the law.

    I also would not personally touch the dang thing with a eleven foot pole as a publisher, and don't blame Steve Wieck for his call on this one. There is being in the right, and then there is staying in business. Sometimes you can be in the right the entire time as you are sued into oblivion by a large corporation who is completely in the wrong and abusing the court system. Being able to say "I was in the right" is small comfort as all your employees have to find new jobs, affecting their families and future, and everything you built over the years crumbles to nothing.

    Venger Sa'tan'is is a great edge pusher. We need more people like him. But Vivid had lawyers look over their entire campaign for Avengers and their other porn parodies (which are startlingly dead on parodies, worth looking into for completely non-prurient reasons if you're interested in parody). Mad Magazine has been sued and won many times... but *was* sued.

    Venger is likely in the legal right here, and Steve is likely in the business right here, as OBS is not big enough to weather a deep pocket lawsuit, nor are many small publisher/distributors; virtually all RPG publishers.

    By the way, here's a completely safe for work example of the level of direct parody -- *that is perfectly legal* -- that I'm talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X56oTgum_VQ

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    1. Thanks for this, Evan. I wasn't trying to fuck anyone over, but many people believe Guardians of Galaxy XXX hit too close to home. Ah, well...

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. I did an image search on the cover art and got hits that were not Venger Satanis. Unless someone stole the cover from Venger, the image is clearly a swipe. Stolen art is a no-no in this business. Remember Outlaw Games? Venger could easily have claimed parody if he didn't steal the art.

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    1. The art might not be a swipe. The piece is by someone (Edwin Huang) on Deviant Art and Venger could easily have licensed the art. Finding multiple instances of a piece of art doesn't make it a "swipe."

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    2. I did purchase the rights to use that piece for the cover. Paid him $100 about a week ago.

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    3. Apologies, Venger. Of course, the does beg the question on whether that artist has the legal right to sell that image since the IP belongs to Marvel/Disney.

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  6. Just a couple observations, the title only omits the word "the" from being the same as the original IP and appends XXX. Guardians of Gynegalaxy would have been analogous to the parodies presented as examples imo and likely wouldn't have had as much scrutiny.

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    1. Looking at it? If not for the cover art and the single image of Gamora the product probably would have had no problem. Guardians of Galaxy XXX only evokes the Guardians of the Galaxy because of the cover. The material within pretty much has nothing to do with the GoG as far as I can tell (save that one image of Gamora). Seriously, I think it was two pieces of art that sank this ship.

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    2. There's an actual Guardians of the Galaxy XXX porn movie on the internet. Just saying.

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  7. Yeah that's because he's not doing the porn paradoy properly. They don't want to get sued by Disney who has a track record of being litigious.

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  8. So, here's a problem you have right off the bat:

    The artist created the cover on their own to represent the Guardians of the Galaxy.

    You find the cover, you like the cover, you pay a licending fee to use the cover.

    A cover that represents the ACTUAL Marvel characters, the Guardians of the Galaxy.

    To use on a product you want to defend on the basis of parody and not as actually representing the Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel characters.

    See where I'm going with this?

    If I'm Marvel's lawyer and know about tineye or if they do ANY research on the artist, this alone creates a pretty big hole in your parody defense.

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    1. I see what you're saying. If I had the deep pockets and time on my side (only thought of the idea a week ago), I would have commissioned a cover that specifically fit the needs.

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  9. we pulled a GOG galaxy spoof cover from the Knights of the Dinner Table line up after the artist contacted us and told us a similar spoof he did had already attracted the Disney lawyers. Though legally it met the qualifications for a parody we honored his wishes. Damn shame though. It really was a great painting.

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    1. That is a shame. Pretty soon, when the new internet happens, everything will be legal and free... dark paradise.

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