That is usually the assumption, but is not actually the case. Current Stern does not own anything from Stern Electronics. Supposedly, Gary Stern's ex-wife owns it all, but I'm not sure if that's actually true or not or just a rumor that keeps getting recycled.
Quoted from gmkalos:
All I know is Planetary Pinball currently owns all Bally/Williams rights (WMS 1989-2000) I believe?
PPS licenses everything Bally/Williams since their beginning from Scientific Games, who owns all the rights.
See the various Gottlieb licensing details here: http://gottliebpin.com/history.html
Stern does. However, the license for the theme is usually for only 3-5 years. So, a new license for the theme would need to be negotiated with HBO before a game or parts (with TFTC assets on them) could be remade.
Quoted from SDM0:
What about the rights to old EMs - are any in the public domain yet?
Depending on copyright renewals on specific works, it's possible that the artwork for some games produced before 1964 may be in the public domain, especially for companies that went defunct before 1978. For companies that maintained their rights (Bally, Williams, Gottlieb), games released before 1978 are likely protected for 95 years after their release. So, for instance, artwork for a game released in 1965 might not be available in the public domain until 2060.
That was bought up by Stern Electronics. So whomever owns Stern Electronics also owns Chicago Coin.
The company went defunct, and it's unclear.
The company went bankrupt, was sold to an investment company in 1979, and was rebranded as Centuri. Centuri then later closed its game division in 1984, but continued with other pursuits. The video game assets were then auctioned off. I'm not sure who actually currently holds the rights.