I have just found out, that one of my favourite games has had a second edition. The game in question is Puerto Rico, where a second edition with new artwork and expansion's added.
Great you might think and yes it would be if I happened to be German as this is the Ravensburger edition. Unfortunately the rights to the English are held by Rio Grande and they are being refused the right to use the new art by ravensburger.
Is this common practice in board gaming circles where multiple publishers one the rights to regional versions of games? Are there other board games out there with different art work depending on the region published?
One last question, if Rio Grande own the rights to the English version of Puerto Rico why don't they hire their own artists and make a new version, or they don't have the right's to alter the game?
Yes, this is common. Especially where the original publisher has ties to actual book publishing, where regional rights are baked into the industry, even in this age of digital publishing and a global internet and just as global market-place.
Who knows what Rio Grande's licence says? It may say as you suggest, it may not. It may also be that commissioning new art would cost enough to make the licence (in this industry of tiny profits) worthless.