Were Gygax's post-TSR Gord the Rogue novels flagrant IP theft?

From page 4 of City of Hawks:
"CITY OF HAWKS takes place, in part, in the locale described in the WORLD OF GREYHAWK(TM) Fantasy Game Setting, which was created by Gary Gygax. Characters, towns, places and landmarks from that product are used pursuant to license from TSR, Inc."
Now I'm not versed in the fine points of legalese, but isn't "used pursuant to license" essentially a way of saying, "Yeah, we don't have the rights but we're gonna just publish this anyway"?

Don't get me wrong -- I think it was a shame that Gygax didn't retain the rights to Greyhawk, considering that it was his baby. And it's kind of amusing/interesting how cavalier ACE and New Infinities were here. Did Gary have a leg to stand on, legally speaking? 

I've read bits here and there concerning the fallout after SHE-WHO-WILL-NOT-BE-NAMED bought out the Blumes and took control of TSR. I'm not clear though on whether the Gord books were at issue when TSR sued/seized/destroyed New Infinities.


  1. used per license from TSR means they had the right, the license to use it.

    Far from thumbing there nose at TSR they were using it with permission

    1. Okay. Too bad said permission didn't extend to publishing game materials.

    2. Gary also retained the name rights for many of the characters that appeared in his stories (like Gord) even though he signed over others (like Castle Greyhawk) to the company.