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The Billion Dollar Monopoly (R) Swindle

Anspach, Ralph

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ISBN 10: 0966649702 / ISBN 13: 9780966649703
Editorial: Ralph Anspach, 1998
Usado Condición: Used: Good Encuadernación de tapa blanda
Librería: Sunshine State Books (Lithia, FL, Estados Unidos de America)

Librería en AbeBooks desde: 4 de septiembre de 2013

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Paperback--signed by author--spine tight--pages have some marking--cover good. N° de ref. de la librería CL150521002R1

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Título: The Billion Dollar Monopoly (R) Swindle

Editorial: Ralph Anspach

Año de publicación: 1998

Encuadernación: Paperback

Condición del libro:Used: Good

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Monopoly games are notoriously long but the one which triggered the events in this book really got out of hand--it's now twenty-five years old. The problem was that one thing led to another and first I played Monopoly with the family and then I invented a game called Anti-Monopoly. Being a Professor of Economics, I decided to market my idea on my own which turned out to be a lot of laughs (on me) at first . . . but I learned. . .and eventually I developed it into a national best-seller with the help of a few loyal associates. At which point, Parker Brothers showed its gratitude for my buying its sacred game by hitting us with a major trademark infringement suit. While this caused us a lot of trouble, the law suit boomeranged into a giant mistake for Rich Uncle Pennybags, like trading Baltic for the Boardwalk even-steven.

True, we had to take the smug symbol of riches all the way to the United States Supreme Court before we prevailed, enduring six years of being banned from the market and having 40,000 of our games buried in a garbage dump as an arrogant but ill-fated object lesson to other challengers of the Monopoly monopoly. All that's described in the book but another big part of it tells how the law suit stimulated me to check out the background of Monopoly and how I was almost squashed by the skeletons which started to rattle out of the closet. My detective work wasn't as easy as winning Monopoly when you own the good properties because I was up against a mom and apple pie legend about the origins of Monopoly. Central casting in this epic tale was the rags to riches story of a man named Charles Darrow, a supposedly gutsy victim of the Great Depression who invented Monopoly to feed his pregnant wife and kids but was then catapulted into countless riches as the creator of the most popular, privately-owned board game in history.

One mystery phone call on a TV show triggered the hunt which eventually unmasked our hero as an impostor and proved that the whole legend was a corporate- sponsored fraud fabricated to save the business from bankruptcy. I also discovered that Parker Brother's Monopoly was based on a folkgame named monopoly which had been originated by a woman, Elizabeth Magie. Not only that but it had been played on personalized, homemade boards all over the eastern United States for twenty-three years before our folk hero arranged to become a proud papa.

The Monopoly in your closet is the Atlantic City version of this folkgame. It was created by some ingenious Quakers who taught school in Atlantic City. Apart from some designs made by a graphic artist, Darrow's sole contribution to the invention was to copy the Quakers' creation with the faithfulness of a medieval monk transcribing a sacred text. The original work was then suppressed as part of a business scheme to dump Monopoly's real world competition and the nation's media, from Sports Illustrated to The New York Times was conned into trumpeting the fake story.

Yes, ironically enough, the game in which players rip off tenants and utility users and dump competing players right off the board with their monopoly muscle was itself illegally monopolized by means of a fraudulent patent monopoly. And the engineers of the fraud laughed all the way to the bank as they raked in monopoly profits and gouged you and me for a cool billion dollars. And nobody knew about it until Monopoly decided to push Anti-Monopoly off the market--and this book came to be written.


Part detective novel, part history, and part horror story, The Billion Dollar Monopoly® Swindle not only recounts the true history behind one of the world's most popular board games but also reveals a world where the law sometimes seems as arbitrary and unfair as a "Go directly to jail" card. When Ralph Anspach released his game Anti-Monopoly in 1973, he suddenly found himself in the crosshairs of the formidable Parker Brothers legal machine, which claimed that his use of the word monopoly violated copyright laws. While conducting research to gauge the strength of Parker Brothers' case, Anspach discovered that the corporate giant might not even have the rights to the game.

His investigation revealed the existence of a board game called the Landlord's Game that had been played at least 30 years before Parker Brothers published Monopoly in 1935. When Charles B. Darrow was introduced to this game by a group of Quakers, he copied their board and rules verbatim (even duplicating their misspelling of "Marvin Gardens"), then sold it as his own creation. Parker Brothers supported him, putting a copy of the "story of Monopoly" that cited him as creator in every box.

As for the Anti-Monopoly case, Anspach faced down the game moguls in a battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court (and included an unexpected appearance by future independent counsel Kenneth Starr). You can still play Anti-Monopoly today--and Anspach has even started packaging the original version in the game boxes as a bonus. --Matthew Baldwin

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