Thursday, July 1, 2021

State of The Tavern Keeper - Why You Never Threaten The Bartender With "Legal Action"

Alright, I figure it's time to address "the elephant in the room." I've heard differing theories as to why I seem to "have a hard-on" for Justin LaNasa, ranging from jealousy over his success, to his abrasive and insulting personality, to disagreements over social and political viewpoints and beyond.

Here's a simple fact: I don't respond well to threats of legal action for asking questions and investigating events that are newsworthy in the gaming community. My first threat of legal action was from Gail Gygax, when I started digging into the fiasco known as the Gygax Memorial Fund. The threat was certainly backed by a willingness to follow through if she had indeed thought she had a case, as she had already spent over six figures litigating the Gygax TM dispute with TSR 2.0. I didn't back off and no such action was ever filed. Instead, it was a simple attempt to intimidate me.

This is why the VAST majority of threats of legal action are made. The one with potentially deeper pockets threatens the one with perceived smaller pockets for making public questions or inferences or opinions with the hopes of shutting down such actions.

These individuals also prefer to insinuate such actions, using phrases such as "you may be liable in court for your words" or "such actions may be costly in a court of law", although some have come right out and threatened to "sue your ass and take your house!" In Justin's case, it was: "Another thing their armchair lawyer you might want to be very careful you might get pulled into this very easily you know what character deformation, slander and even in some case fraud is? I suggest you stop picking sides and steering things could get costly to you to!!"

Although I take such threats seriously, especially as they have the potential to put myself and my family in financial difficulties, or worse, I do happen to understand the laws regarding slander, libel, and the like. As Frank Mentzer once told me, and I am paraphrasing: "My wife and I follow your Ken Whitman coverage closely, and she is often fearful that you'll get sued. I told her 'Tenkar knows where the line is and will gladly walk right up to it, but never cross it. I am never concerned for you'".

If you want me to draw a laser focus on you and your activities, if you want me to be the dog that bites down on your leg and won't let go, threaten me with legal action. Especially a threat that does not spell out my actual violations of the law. General, baseless threats are the most surefire way to get my unwavering attention. I've been threatened with legal action over a half dozen times and I'm still here and I've never backed down.

Justin apparently has a habit of throwing around baseless legal threats, like the ones he's been threatening the various Facebook Groups that have TSR in their name. What makes the group I highlight below extra interesting (aside from the fact they told Justin to effectively pound sand), is that Justin is claiming copyright for logos that are using the original classic era TSR logos that are still copyright by WotC. Justin had all of the logos redrawn and the new ones differ slightly from the originals. Apparently, either Justin can't tell the difference himself OR he's making yet another baseless legal claim in the hopes of gaining compliance via intimidation.

So now you know. 


  1. I am interested in this "character deformation". Can I get some for my characters?

    1. That is not to be confused with "super-deformed" like the Japanese toys. This appears to be something new and different.

  2. Justin is like a hot fart. Smells bad, rises quickly, and goes away leaving nothing but a bad memory. I believe he relies on a pattern of threatening people with legal actions but never following through. Good to see you stand up to his intimidation tactics.

  3. "Character Deformation"... I feel like this must become a d20 System feat. :)

  4. Hahahahaa. Those who run around threatening legal action are the last to actually pursue legal action. Those who have legitimate grievances respond WITH legal action, not threats of such.

  5. Remember that the golden test in court for trademark law is if an uninformed person would be confused as to the source of the product labelled with the mark. Reusing old visual marks, even if drawn slightly differently, is not very strong protection as a result, as an uninformed person is likely to be confused as to the true source of the product.

    And the requirement that the mark is applied to a product is vitally important in any discussion of trademark law. Only actual goods and services can be protected by a trademark.

    As for copyright law, if you intentionally base a work of art directly on an existing work of art, even with making minor variations to it, it makes it a derivative work, which is still protected by the original copyright. The exception is if you change the context of the piece, and that definitely doesn't apply here, since both works are being used as visual marks.

    Of course, the actual validity of these matters can only be decided by a court. And even if you are legally correct, such actions can cost a lot of money, especially since in the US, unless the suit is considered egregious, legal fees generally cannot be collected as part of a court-mandated settlement. So the deeper pockets often have a huge advantage in such matters.

    This is not legal advice. If you need actual legal advice, consult a lawyer licenced to practice in your jurisdiction.

  6. It's like LaNasa is dollar store Trump. Make grandiose claims about you and your accomplishments, threaten legal action against those that disagree with you, say outrageous things and be taken by "surprise" when backlash happen, farm outrage for support, and claim a conspiracy against you. What a tool.

    1. Sounds more like the Biden-Clinton Cartel, but cool. Never heard of the dude. He clearly hasn't mastered English.

  7. He's the guy in the fight that says, 'hold me back!'. I also love how he ends every pulvo fueled 1st grade grammar rant with "Bye! Bye!". Then can't help himself and keeps going. You are really in this clowns head. Just think about how much better he'd look if he never responded to you at all?

  8. Replies
    1. Justin LaNasa according to his linkedIn profile is owner of hardwire Tattoo.
      according to ballotpedia he ran for north Carolina House of Representatives district 20 and lost in the primary. also lost for Wilmington mayor in 2011.

      Other then that I can not find a single item of note he has to do with any role playing community other then he picked up the TSR trademark in 2020 due to Jayson Elliot missing a filing for the trademark. He wants to capitalize on the trademark by recreating some OSR content called Giantlands but due to him and Ernie Gygax comments online and in interviews the community has a soured opinion of them now.


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