I've been following the brouhaha over Tulip Advertising/Pajamas Media/Open Source Media (trademark, trademark, who's got the trademark?) for several months now. Given that in the end all I have to go on are the accounts presented by the two principals I have come to the conclusion that Kenton Kelley got screwed in the finest traditions of Hollywood business practices.
I cannot say that Roger L. Simon is the one reason I decided to establish my own blog but he sat at the top of my meager blogroll because I did regard him as my blogfather.
Business is business. Written contracts serve to protect the interests of all parties - but in the absence of written contracts, it is crucial that everyone involved in a project be forthright in their intentions from the beginning, and as it takes shape.
I'm a land surveyor. In my line of work, there's a substantial amount of liability, complexity, and risk inherent in most any project in which I participate. Some projects do begin "on spec" - a client approaches my employer with a proposal that we provide services that will be paid for based on future profits from the completed product. These arrangements almost always begin based on the professional reputation or prior relationship between principals and companies - real handshake contracting.
I've seen such efforts go both ways: projects that pan out, and prodigious failures with associated painful (one company I worked for actually folded) loss. In the latter category the most common thread was where one party to the deal elected to pursue different objectives than those that were originally defined and then did not inform the other parties. From that point on, whether or not a finished product plopped out at the end of the tunnel, somebody got screwed.
The legal ramifications depend on the arrangements in place. Those have nothing to do with the issues of character, respect, and good faith already put into play.
Based on my understanding of the situation, Roger L. Simon and Charles Johnson broke faith with their partners.
That's all I have to say about that.