Sunday, June 5, 2011

© 1978

On the title pages of both the Moldvay-edited Basic Rules and the Cook/Marsh-edited Expert Rules, there's a copyright statement that reads as follows:
© 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981
TSR Hobbies, Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Now, obviously, "1974" is a reference to the LBBs, while "1981" is a reference to the B and X rulebooks. I assume "1977" is a reference to the Holmes-edited Basic Set. What about "1978?" Is that a reference to the Players Handbook, because, if it is, I find it odd, since it would suggest B/X either used material from AD&D (which is possible, though I can't think of any examples of this) or that it was a revision of AD&D (which isn't really possible, so far as I can see).

Or am I missing something here?

EDIT: I briefly thought that perhaps it was a reference to the multiple editions of Holmes, each of which gets its own copyright statement in later editions of the Blue Book, but, if that were true, we'd also see a "© 1979" too, but we don't. Hmm.

15 comments:

  1. Is this maybe a reference to the Monster Manual?

    As in maybe they made sure the descriptions and stats were consistent across the versions?

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  2. Probably just a belt & suspenders inclusion, because they use terms that are in the Players Handbook along with other books.

    Putting that in there was free, IP lawyers are expensive, and I doubt there would be any consequences if that was not strictly needed.

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  3. The MM is copyright 1977, so that can't be it.

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  4. Jon,

    You may well be right, though it's interesting that none of the AD&D books reference copyright dates beyond their own (except later editions of the MM, which reference the prior ones).

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  5. A lot of great stuff came out that year, including myself. ;)

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  6. It looks like the second printing of Holmes had a different wandering monsters table, and the fourth added some new monsters, so this may be the copyright material from 1978.

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  7. I don't know. But I was born in 78 so I think I have copyright 1978 on me too.

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  8. I think the PHB-link hypothesis is not bad. For example, when I was looking closely at the spell haste, I realized that the double-attacks feature was not in any version of OD&D/Holmes, but it was in both PHB and B/X. So that's evidence for some amount of cross-pollination post-Holmes.

    http://deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2010/04/spells-through-ages-haste.html

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  9. The new TSR Wizard logo is copyright 1978.

    But oddly my first printing - January 1981 copy of Moldvay has c1974, 1977, 1978, 1981 printed inside and the wizard head/ the game wizards logo on the front. It also has a 1980 copyright printed on the front.

    The B2 module, that I know is the original from this box cuz I'm the sole owner, has the wizard logo, copyright 1980.

    Maybe TSR was just really damn confused?

    Or maybe it is an art copyright that they had sitting around from somewhere else - I know most of the first batch of 6 Tournament Modules were all 1978.

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  10. it would suggest B/X either used material from AD&D (which is possible, though I can't think of any examples of this)

    Well, for one example, magic missile is explicitly auto-hit like the PHB version, which contradicts Holmes and is not specified in the original booklets.

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  11. I briefly thought that perhaps it was a reference to the multiple editions of Holmes, each of which gets its own copyright statement in later editions of the Blue Book, but, if that were true, we'd also see a "© 1979" too, but we don't. Hmm.

    Nevertheless, that is still the most likely explanation.

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  12. The DUNGEONS & DRAGONS trademark first issued in mid-1978. Perhaps there's some connection there, even though copyright and trademark are separate.

    The 3rd edition of the Holmes rulebook didn't really add any new material, so as others pointed out above, the 1978 may just refer to the material added to the 2nd edition (the additional monsters were ported over from the Monster Manual). Also, in the 3rd edition, the 1979 is placed on a different line from "1974, 1977, 1978", so it's possible it was just unintentionally dropped.

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  13. U.S. copyright laws changed significantly in 1978, and different rules apply to works copyrighted 1978 and after than to works copyrighted 1977 or earlier. TSR was presumably aware of this, and used the excuse of the 1978 revision of the Holmes rulebook to re-copyright it as a new "edition" to take advantage of the new laws -- the AD&D Monster Manual is the same way, (c) 1977, 1978.

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  14. U.S. copyright laws changed significantly in 1978

    That seems a plausible explanation. Thanks for this insight.

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