Tag Archives: outlaw press

Jim Shipman and Outlaw Press, Ripping You Off Since 2009

menagerieWell, our old friend James (Jim) Shipman of Outlaw Press, who happily steals other publishers’ products, art, etc. is back with yet another scam.  You can read about all his Tunnels & Trolls thievery in these old articles. And he’s back at it, as seen in Bleeding Cool News, stealing someone’s products again, a “Monster Menagerie” product from a small publisher, and he boldly states there’s more to come in an email to the artist that complained.

Our lovely IP laws only exist to protect Disney and other large corporate interests.  Everyone talks about “class action lawsuits!” and the like but you’re talking about huge money and mobilization to try to get whatever $200 is in the accounts of some scumbag in Lawrenceville, IL. You can rip off the little guy blatantly and mercilessly. Resign yourselves to it.  This has been going on for 5 years now.

The only real defense is for all of you to go after his Internet footprint – if you’re an affected publisher or artist send a DMCA takedown notice to his ISP/Web hosts; everyone is welcome to complain to the abuse line at anywhere he uses for email, Web, DNS, etc. At least that could drive him to prefer whatever other petty crime he commits back in Illinois. See the back issues for various emails (currently Jimship2@frontier.com), eBay seller IDs, and IP addresses he uses (4.59.106.0-255 is popular, which is Level3 in the Little Egypt region of Illinois) – and be aware he likes to post fake comments to sites claiming to be from other companies, vandalize Wikipedia entries, etc. He currently conducts his online sales from http://www.outlawpressinc.com via PayPal as op_publishing@yahoo.com. A WHOIS gives what appears to be his parents’ address in Lawrenceville, IL.

Outlaw Games Resurfaces To Rip You Off

Jim Shipman, criminal proprietor of Outlaw Games, has come back again to defraud you and everyone who ever knew you.

As you may know, Shippy has now had his company’s Tunnels & Trolls products removed from Lulu, Amazon and several other outlets in the wake of his art theft, ebay fraud, wikipedia vandalism, and impersonating others. He did take the Outlaw Press website down for a time, but he has recently put it back up and is continuing to sell all the same products with the same stolen art. He appears to currently be in the process of contacting all of his old customers to inform them that he’s back in business. He even states that he intends to publish new Tunnels & Trolls products.

The Outlaw Press website can be found at its original home on the Angelfire servers (http://outlawpress.angelfire.com/index.html), however, he has also has a new home for the site here: http://outlawpress.org/.  Amusingly, he has attempted to disguise the host of the website. A notice at the bottom of his opening page states that the site is hosted in Zurich, Switzerland, and he even provides an e-mail address for the web host. However, a quick DNS lookup reveals that the site is actually hosted by Yahoo. Nice try!

You will notice that Shipman is still insisting on stating that he sells “Official Tunnels & Trolls Products”. Both Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo and T&T creator Ken St Andre have categorically said that he no longer has permission to produce T&T material.

So as a bonus to Jimmy boy, here’s yet another compiled PDF comparing the art in his products to the original pieces from the artists – all of who say he doesn’t have permission, and certainly never paid him for, their art.

Outlaw Press Covers Comparison Part 2

and for those of you who forget easily, here’s Part 1 again.

Here’s the complete list of artists and writers who have confirmed that their material was stolen or used without permission by Shipman:

Artists

  • Al Rio
  • Alan Lathwell
  • Alejandro Gutierrez
  • Allen Palmer
  • Andrew Smith
  • Astrid Castle
  • Bera Karoly
  • Bill Corbett
  • Carolina Eade
  • Chad Sergesketter
  • Chris Quilliams
  • Claire Salvatori
  • Dagmar Jung
  • Dan Mills
  • Daniel Falck
  • Daniel Horne
  • Daniel Hughes
  • Darrenn E. Canton
  • David Arthur Woodward
  • David Lightfoot
  • Ernest Hogan
  • Esko Tolvanen
  • Fredrik Rahmqvist
  • Goran Josic
  • Henning Janssen
  • Isabelle Davis
  • J. P. Targete
  • Jan Patrik Krasny
  • Jason Debit
  • Jeff Lee Johnson
  • Jhoneil Centeno
  • Johann Valentin Andree
  • John Shannon
  • Jon Hodgson
  • Ken Jeremiassen
  • Kent Burles
  • Kory K
  • Liz Danforth
  • M.E. Volmar
  • Martin McKenna
  • Martin McKeown
  • Mats Minnhagen
  • Matthew Kukosky
  • Mauricio Herrera
  • Michael Bielaczyc
  • Michael Ivan
  • Nicolai Gortz
  • Norbert Vakulya
  • Pål Lövendahl
  • Per Eriksson
  • Philippe Xavier
  • Rags Morales
  • Rick Sardinha
  • Selina Fenech
  • Simon Dominic
  • Simon Lee Tranter
  • Storn A. Cook
  • Sven Dännart
  • Sylvain Despretz
  • Terry Ernest
  • Thom Scott
  • Tibor Szendrei
  • Ursula Vernon
  • Zoltan Boros
  • Gabor Szikszai

Writers

  • Andy R. Holmes
  • Chris Conboy
  • Garen Ewing
  • Gianmatteo Tonci
  • Ken St Andre
  • Oliver Legrand
  • Tom K. Loney
  • Tori Bergquist

So everywhere you see this guy spring up – try to crush him and prevent him from profiting from his criminal activity.

 

Jim Shipman Gets Told

Jim Shipman, criminal proprietor of Outlaw Press, is the recipient of an “open letter” from Tunnels & Trolls originator Ken St. Andre posted on RPG.net as well as other locations.

James,

I received your package yesterday with some surprise. Received six copies of the revised Gristlegrim Dungeon. This dismays me, as I told you to quit publishing it back in January of this year when I broke with you. If this parcel was an attempt at a reconciliation between us, then I appreciate the effort you took, but I reject it. Our friendship and partnership is broken and done forever. I do not wish to collaborate on Gristlegrim or any other project with you. Not now! Not ever again! You had no right to add your material to my work. You have no right to continue publishing and selling it. Please stop!
James, you no longer have any right to publish or sell my works. We have no written contracts. We have no formal accounting of royalties. Your habit of sending money and or copies of the items is no longer good enough. Any informal agreements we may have made in 2009 and earlier are terminated on my side of the deal. I no longer wish to associate with you, either professionally or informally.
Find some other outlet for your creativity. Leave me, and leave Tunnels and Trolls, alone. I am rejecting any further association with you.
I hope this is clearly understood. Do not publish anything with my name on it as author. Do not presume to collaborate with me on my projects. Do not keep attempting to infiltrate trollhalla.com under false names–you are banned and unwelcome on that site. Do not attempt to rewrite the history of Tunnels and Trolls on Wikipedia or any other online sources. Do not send me money. Do not send me product. I do not want it from you. However, I am under no legal obligation to send back things that arrive unsolicited in the mail. I won’t waste the money or the effort to send them back. I am not interested in theatrical gestures. I simply wish to terminate our association and to move on with other things in life.
I hereby reclaim my rights to anything I ever gave you to publish. In particular, I assert my right to the novel Griffin Feathers which consists entirely of my own work with some input in the short sections of the book from the members of Trollhalla.
I am forwarding the “royalties” that you sent me to Jeff Freels, the artist whose work you have re-used to illustrate this version of Gristlegrim. He deserves compensation for his work.

James, I am not angry at you, and I do not hate you. I simply will not associate with you ever again. For several years we were, I thought, very good friends. Outlaw Press did a lot for Tunnels and Trolls. You know why that time has ended. Let it go. Move on.
James, I will be publishing this letter in open forums on the internet, so that all the world can see how I feel, and how I react to what I can only believe are attempts to manipulate me and to gain control of Tunnels and Trolls. If you have no ulterior intentions, then forgive me for being suspicious, but I no longer feel that I can trust you.
James, you have your own unique style of creativity. Please go and do your own thing, and stop messing with me and with Tunnels and Trolls.

Sincerely,
Ken St. Andre

For those who are inexplicably puzzled by this, Jim Shipman ran a Tunnels & Trolls publishing outfit called Outlaw Press, to which end he stole art, from more than 30 artists, committed eBay fraud, vandalized the Tunnels & Trolls Wikipedia article, and even tried to impersonate Ken St. Andre on this blog!  And everyone knows about it.  But for whatever reason, he just.  Won’t.  Stop.

I mean, if I were going to put in loads of time and effort to rip off some group – I wouldn’t pick Tunnels & Trolls players; an obscure sub-niche of an industry not rolling in dough anyway.  Come on James, if you are serious about a career as a con man, shouldn’t you at least move up to senior citizens’ Social Security checks or something?

Jim Shipman Of Outlaw Press Still Actively Committing Evil Acts

I tell you what, he’s like a cockroach – you can’t kill him, he just pops back up somewhere else.  Jim Shipman of Outlaw Press is just not giving up on his multipronged attack to steal intellectual property associated with the Tunnels & Trolls game.  For those not keeping track in all these previous articles:

The summary is that first, Shipman stole art from over fifty artists and put it in his publications, often as the cover picture, without permission, recompense, or credit.  It was art theft on a huge scale. Of course, the legal system works great to protect the IP rights of a big company, but for a bunch of solo artists spread across the world, it does both jack and shit.

That would be bad enough, but from there he branched out – ripping people off with eBay fraud as “hobbit_king,” “selling 4u_2,” “jimship1,” “actionseller99” and other aliases, publishing books he doesn’t have the right to (including a 6th edition of Tunnels & Trolls he claims is authorized but the actual owners of T&T say is not), and even trying to impersonate Ken St. Andre on this blog and other locations to slander some of the artists involved in the initial art theft case.

And now where does he show up?  Vandalizing the Tunnels & Trolls Wikipedia article.  Here’s an email from a sharp eyed informant of the Geek’s:

Greetings,

Just thought I’d drop you a line and let you know that the IP address you mentioned back in January as possibly belonging to Jim Shipman has cropped up again on Wikipedia, where an anonymous poster has been repeatedly vandalizing the Tunnels and Trolls article.  (Would it surprise you terribly much to learn that the vandalism has taken the form of ad hominem attacks against Ken St. Andre and inserting multiple references concerning Jim Shipman’s great contributions to the game?)

Your article was referenced on the discussion page, so I thought you might like to know.

Sure enough, the Wikipedia editors were concerned about some edits to the T&T page there.  Someone seemed to be putting “Outlaw Press” in everywhere, breaking links to other legitimate T&T sites, and other such things as described on the Wikipedia discussion page.

Luckily, someone must have done some Googling – because they came across my article about Shipman posing as Ken St. Andre along with the IP address range he was using – 4.59.106.X – and discovered that the odd editor was coming from the same address range!  The obvious conclusion is that Shipman is now into Wikipedia defacement in his bizarrely never-ending quest to rip off everything and everyone even vaguely connected with Tunnels & Trolls.

It makes me happy that the work I’ve done to catalog this wretch’s misdeeds is helping other people identify who’s behind each next scam.

So to sum up your action items:

  • Avoid Outlaw Press like the plague
  • Avoid Jim Shipman like the plague
  • Be careful buying T&T stuff (especially “collector’s items”) on eBay/the Internet, make sure it’s not a scam
  • Keep an eye out for IP address range 4.59.106.0-255 in forums, blogs, and what have you because it’s Shipman acting up
  • Try to change the laws of your city and/or country to actually protect people being victimized in this way without them needing thousands of dollars for lawyers
  • Violate Jim Shipman with a plunger (obvious exception to the second bullet above).

Would Someone Just Please Shoot Jim Shipman In the Head And Get It All Over With?

That’s right.  I’m officially green-lighting a hit on Jim Shipman.  Apparently he’s back AGAIN and plying his illegal wares.  Yes, AGAIN, this isn’t a repeat from:

This is a sad statement on our modern legal system.  With stuff like this, it’s impossible to decently prove criminal charges, and you need money and time and gumption and standing to pursue civil action (which he’d just ignore anyway and leave a shell company to collapse).  Yay, if you’re a company you can get away with anything.  Can’t we put one of those annoying IP rights organizations to work?  Hey, RIAA, you could get some GOOD press for once by suing this dickhead into the Stone Age.

And don’t these Internet sites keep any records?  He’s been reported and his store pulled from Amazon and Lulu and all that multiple times now.  Come on guys.

Anyway, if you are near Lawrenceville, IL, you know what to do.  You don’t even really have to kill him – if ten strangers showed up and just kicked his ass really good then maybe he’d just go get a job at Denny’s or something instead of continuing to pollute our hobby.

Further Jim Shipman Warnings, Sigh

Well, Jim Shipman, sole proprietor of Outlaw Press and the psychotic perpetrator of art and IP theft on a large line of Tunnels & Trolls products has recently moved on to good old fashioned eBay fraud.

As discussed on Tome of Treasures and The Acaeum, Shipman (under the name selling4u2) is selling “first editions” and other rare and valuable Tunnels & Trolls stuff on eBay.  But sadly, what one hapless buyer, who paid $1338 for a first edition, got in the mail was not what he paid for.  (Compare the eBay pic to the recieved pic.)

I can’t imagine the Tunnels and Trolls community is that large – have some of you really not gotten the news yet!?!   WAKE UP SHEELPLE!  This guy is using every existing way and some new ones of ripping people off he conceivably can.

Jim Shipman posts on eBay under the names jimship1, Hobbit_King, actionseller99 and selling4u2, using the hobbit_king@yahoo.com PayPal account.  Try not to get screwed!

Outlaw Press/Jim Shipman Sinks To Demented, Pathetic New Lows In Art Theft Scandal

The Newest Scam

This weekend, there was an interesting new comment on the Outlaw Press Thieving Update article detailing the ongoing blatant art theft perpetrated by Outlaw Press (aka James L. Shipman II) in his Tunnels & Trolls products.  It initially appeared to be Ken St. Andre (original designer of Tunnels & Trolls, who still runs a large T&T online community), calling into question the role of some of the artists in the debacle.  The message was attributed to “atroll”, kenstandre@yahoo.com, the identity he usually posts under.

One thing still bothers me about this whole sorted Outlaw Press mess is that M.E. Volmar and Simon Tranter were Art Directors, with Mrs. Volmar in charge of purchasing all artwork for Outlaw Press for several years (4 total I believe). Now she seems to be its harshest critic. I have to wonder if she purchased all that artwork over the years how she would not know if was stolen? Maybe this is her way of shifting the blame away from herself? Did she take the money from Outlaw Press and then help steal the artwork at the same time? I believe further investigation is needed. I’m inclined not to believe M.E. Volmar’s word at being the innocent Art Director, as she has shone herself to be less than truthful. She may need to be expelled from Trollhalla as well.
–Ken St. Andre

However, a couple things were suspicious about this post.  Besides the somewhat startling claims, there are a good number of spelling and grammar errors.  I haven’t known St. Andre longer than this stuff has been going on, but I’ve noticed that his communications tend to be extremely grammatically correct.  So I look at the IP address the comment came in from, and it’s different from the address St. Andre posted from in his previous comments on Geek Related about this issue.

Hmmm.  Maybe Ken was on a business trip to another state and was drinking wacky juice (accounting for the sudden 5 grade level drop in writing style) and decided to post odd accusations on my blog?  Or maybe, I should email him and make sure this was from him.  Sure enough, upon being contacted via email he confirmed that he didn’t post anything to this effect and that he considers the accusations in the comment to be fabrications.

Sadly, on blogs like this you’re pretty much free to put in whatever name, URL, and email address you want when posting comments – but the IP address tracks you down to where you really are.

I have reported the situation to the abuse department at Level 3 Communications, which is the ISP where the post came from.  In fact, I’d be interested if anyone else has records of who might be posting from IP address 4.159.56.108. If owners of other sites – Trollhalla, Trollbridge, RPG.net, etc. – could check their logs and see if anyone has posted there from that IP it would be interesting.  Naturally Shipman is the leading candidate, but I’d like to have proof.  What do you say, fair readers, would you like to know who posted the above comment? Ask your favorite blog and forum owners to check for people coming from that IP, especially Saturday 1/19 AM.

My own detective work: an IP geolocation indicates this IP address is currently assigned to Marion, IL.   (Such traces are usually pretty good but not necessarily accurate down the the exact town – like running a trace on my IP gets close, Austin, but not my exact nearby city.)  Interestingly, guess where outlaw-press.com is registered?  Lawrenceville, IL (the address on the WHOIS record indicates it’s Shipman’s parents’ house, Leroy and Julie.)  And Outlaw Press has been listed in several places (mostly taken down now due to complains) as a Lawrenceville, IL bookseller.  It’s where Shipman lives.  So same neck of the woods, seems like.  Isn’t technology fun?

Anyway, I talked to Volmar and St. Andre via email about the claims and turns out Volmar did occasional work for Shipman as a direct favor to St. Andre, doing some art and layout, but she and Simon Tranter didn’t do art direction or buying, despite being miscredited on products by Shipman.  Who to believe?  Well, even if the history of lying on Shipman’s part doesn’t make it obvious, there are also numerous other documented complaints by people he has miscredited on his products, so it’s consistent with everything else.

Lulu Shenanigans

Guess what else Shipman’s been up to?   He’s resorting to e-mailing Lulu posing as the trademark owner for Tunnels & Trolls, and telling them that copyright and ownership of the trademark is under litigation. He’s apparently doing this to stop anyone, including Ken St. Andre, from publishing any T&T related materials through Lulu’s print-on-demand service, as this only happened after he tried re-opening his Lulu store, now as James Shipman (http://stores.lulu.com/hobbit_king) and not Outlaw Press, Inc., with a handful of products that were immediately reported as infringing the copyright of several artists and writers by the copyright owners. This claim about there being current litigation on the T&T trademark is a complete fabrication, as the owner of the T&T trademark,  Flying Buffalo, Inc. and Rick Loomis, has said himself that he has not started any litigation regarding T&T.  Ironically, the only product currently listed at the James Shipman store on Lulu right now is a Ken’ St. Andre/Flying Buffalo publication.  Stay classy Shipy!

Ignoble Knight?

Also, jeers to Noble Knight Games, who seems to be happily selling loads of Outlaw Press products, even after everyone from Amazon to RPGNow has removed them.  I know people have contacted them about the situation.  Come on guys, you have a pretty good rep, do you want to sully it by continuing to sell stolen IP?  I’m sure you paid for that stock and it’s sad to take a bath on it, but sack up.

What You Can Do

First, if you are a T&T player, don’t buy any of the Outlaw Press stuff with stolen art or IP, wherever places he finds to list it briefly before people find him and get it taken down (it’s a continuous battle on eBay, Lulu, etc.).

Second, if you admin a blog or forum or Web site, find more proof about who posts from IP address 4.159.56.108.  Post here or email me at geek.related@gmail.com with your findings.

Third, if you’re one of the defrauded artists, continue working on legal redress of the situation.  No one else can do anything about this, and clearly he’s looking to make a long term stand and continue to blatantly defraud people until something’s done about it.

Fourth, if you admin a blog/forum/Web site – be careful, there is “someone” now willing to post lies under false pretenses regarding this issue.  You may need to turn off anonymous posting, observe posts and comments for signs of identity theft, etc.  Clearly someone’s trying to post falsehoods to add FUD to the situation – be observant and prevent that.  All major software – WordPress, phpBB, etc. logs IP address and other identifying information for all contributions, if you don’t know how, take a couple minutes to learn how to find and use that information.