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No More D&D PDFs, Wizards of the Coast Sues 8 File Sharers 501

Posted by Soulskill
from the perfectly-rational-reactions dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On April 6th, Wizards of the Coast took all of their PDF products offline, including those sold at third-party websites like RPGNow.com. From the RPGNow front page: 'Wizards of the Coast has instructed us to suspend all sales and downloads of Wizards of the Coast titles. Unfortunately, this includes offering download access to previously purchased Wizards of the Coast titles.' Wizards of the Coast also posted a press release to their website that states they are suing eight file sharers for 'copyright infringement,' and WotC_Trevor posted a short explanation about the cessation of PDF sales to the EN World Forums."
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No More D&D PDFs, Wizards of the Coast Sues 8 File Sharers

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  • D&D is dead (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Metapsyborg (754855) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:26AM (#27503165)
    WotC killed it with 4e. These are the throws of a dying organization, just like RIAA/MPAA.
  • by furby076 (1461805) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:28AM (#27503193) Homepage
    People will just do what happened BEFORE WotC started selling their rip-off priced pdfs (pdf should not cost as much as the hard-bound book) they will scan them in and put them online.

    The moment you release your information to the public you open it up to be copied.

    BTW their 4e application (a nice piece of software) requires a subcription to update it (that is fine) my beef with it is if your computer gets reformatted you MUST resubscribe (pay money) to get a full version of it. I think that is crap. If I paid for the software to utilize and decided not to pay for my monthly subscription renewal then I should not have to pay again to reinstall the software.
  • by phantomlord (38815) <slashdot&krwtech,com> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:29AM (#27503203) Journal
    What this is really about is them trying to force people to go out and buy 4E material. Having low cost OOP material out there diminishes the value of their current product by saturating the market. D&D is about the story, not about the numbers... so if you have original setting material, it isn't hard to adapt it to current rules.

    They lost me a long time ago when then current head of the AD&D product line tried to assert ownership over all third party content, including homemade settings that weren't tied to any particular rule system, claiming that anything that used the AD&D rules was a derivative work.
  • Re:D&D is dead (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nschubach (922175) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:32AM (#27503241) Journal

    I kind of hoped that 4e was going to embrace the Internet and allow people to create tools for it... I was trying to have high hopes for the future of D&D, but now I wish I could get a refund for my rulebooks.

  • Re:D&D is dead (Score:5, Interesting)

    by furby076 (1461805) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:36AM (#27503313) Homepage
    No it isn't. I've been playing since 2nd edition. So far 4e is pretty decent. Yes it has some annoying aspects (daily abilities, more limited abilities to choose from) but it also has some nice ones (when you raise your stat scores you get to raise two of them instead of one, magic items are simpler, healing is simpler, etc). So it has it's positive traits and it's negative traits but overall it's not bad. It's also a much faster combat system.

    While I hate buying the books over and over again I also realize that WoTC needs to do that every so often to get more sales. I was annoyed from 3.0 to 3.5 because that was a sham (3.5 was fixing 3.0), but 4.0 is a complete revamp so warrants it. There is still plenty of 3.0/3.5 material that you can play that. There are some companies that didn't even change and will continue with 3.5 material.
  • by swordgeek (112599) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:37AM (#27503329) Journal

    Recently I went looking for some 3rd edition books, since I thought they'd be getting scarce soon.

    Scarce? I was mistaken. 3.0 and 3.5 are GONE. Every local gaming store, every local used book store, every online store in Canada, and everywhere else I checked were out of old editions.

    Especially curious was the fact that one of the gaming stores had about 15 full sets of 3.5 at Christmas, but by the second week of January, didn't have a single copy of any sourcebook from that era. Nada.

    Does anyone know if WotC has done a big buyback? It almost seems like someone has been scouring the bookstores methodically, snatching up everything that would suggest an older edition ever existed.

    Ah well, screw 'em. I'll play what I want, and if I can't buy the material, I _will_ download it. Way to go, Wizards!

  • by Psymin (154718) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:52AM (#27503569)
    Paizo has come up with a system that I think rocks.

    If you are angry with WotC and their Vista-like 4e, try the Beta .. Real version should be out this year.

    Free Beta Download [paizo.com]
  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ajs (35943) <ajs@noSPam.ajs.com> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:59AM (#27503661) Homepage Journal

    This is their second salvo, of course. The first was when they decided to yank the rights to Dragon and Dungeon magazines from Paizo, the company that salvaged those two titles from their late-1990s slump and made them popular and useful again. Wizards is no longer the cool company that Richard Garfield and crew took from obscurity to gaming geek super-stardom. Since the Hasbro buyout, they've moved further and further into a campaign of systematically alienating and angering every one of their customers, partners, authors and fans.

    It's sad, really. There were (and probably still are) some good people there. Oh well, Steve Jackson [sjgames.com] will enjoy the business, anyway. They still have plenty of PDFs [sjgames.com] for sale, and even a few for free [sjgames.com]!

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xymog (59935) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:09AM (#27503799)
    If Hasbro is like every other bean-counter-based business, it demands 10-15% growth year over year from its subsidiaries, otherwise no bonuses for executives. Perpetual linear growth is not possible in a finite market, but that doesn't stop the parent company from squeezing the sub (in a decidedly non-sexual fun way).

    Maybe we should send a PDF copy of the Cluetrain Manifesto to the execs at WotC and Hasbro....

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:11AM (#27503833)

    Yup.
    And it's the only way you can get Gods, Demigods, and Heroes where TSR violated a lot of OTHER people's copyrighted material.

    I started with the three book set, greyhawk, and blackmoor after hearing about the "DND" room at a convention.

    ADND (i.e. 1st edition) killed my campaign when the DMG came out. Can't remember why. The PHB and MM were both compatible.

    2nd edition wasn't my cup of tea and i stumbled on the Cyclopedia version and fell in love.

    Lots of home rules later, my 26 year old rules set and Rev 4.0 are actually a lot closer together. I guess we both grew in the same direction. My rules are formatted Cyclopedia style (and probably still have about 40- pages or 10%-15% of Cyclopedia material).

    If I had it to do over again, I think I would simplify things and reduce a lot of these feats (like cleave) to the basics: Unless it is a special squirrelly ability (like flying) then it points down to taking more hit points or doing more hit points.

  • by phantomlord (38815) <slashdot&krwtech,com> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:13AM (#27503859) Journal
    Again, this was BEFORE OGL, D20 and SRD... Dancey supposedly came up with them in response to the complaints we had in rec.games.frp.dnd.

    But if you read through the entire threads on the issue at that time, Dancey was definitely strongly implying a whole lot of "if it uses AD&D rules, we own it." Dancey even tried to claim copyright on the game mechanics (which everyone knows aren't copyrightable... the expression of the rules, yes, but not the rules themselves).

    Not being able to afford a lawyer should they try to assert ownership of my campaign setting (which I had available online at the time), I pulled it and none of it has ever been online again since. In fact, I haven't bought any D&D product since 2000, so Dancey sure did a great job at keeping us 1E/2E people excited about the game as they were getting ready to launch 3E. By the time the OGL came out, I had no faith left in TSR/WOTC/Hasbro and, as the post below illustrates, the possibility that they were still claiming ownership of my material if I used them anyway.
  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:19AM (#27503937) Homepage Journal

    Steve Jackson? gah. Screw GURPS, too many damn specific rules, combat takes to long, and running on a bell curve with their point system make no sense mathematically.

    I gave up on that pile of needless complications 4 years ago.
    Try savage worlds [peginc.com] and have some fun. Play characters that can actually be cool right out of the gate, and only get cooler. There rule book cost 10 bucks.

    What's that? 10 bucks too much to try a new game? well then, I suggest you take it for a Test Drive [peginc.com]

    Do I sound a little fanatical? probably, but I ahve played it since it's release, and still enjoy it, and have played and ran in almost every Genre available.

  • Re:D&D is dead (Score:3, Interesting)

    by furby076 (1461805) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:23AM (#27504017) Homepage

    there was a lot of 3.0 -> 3.5 errata, and in fact you did not nede to buy new books becasue the difference were all laid out on TSR's web site.

    Except there was so much errata try getting it all into the correct place. Imagine if you bought Windows XP and MS said "we have patches for it, it's on our website. You can d/l it, but you are going to have to drop the files into the correct sections. You will have to delete the appropriate files before you drop in the new files. We won't help you with this. Or you could buy our NEW version which is really just the fixes to the OLD version". I would have been happy if they offered some discount "send us your old books and get 10-25% off the new ones"

    that's 11 movie tickets. Spread out over a few years. Considering the books can be found for under 20 bucks, it's even better.

    Bad analogy to compare movies to books. Also, price is not the issue (nor finding them under retail). People had the "option" of getting the fixes for free (and constantly having to reference them which slows up game time...and time is money) or buy the new material at full price which was a fix to mistakes WoTC made.

    And yes, WotC didn't hire Ninjas to sneak in and destroy all previous version

    I beg to differ. They hired gnome ninja's and their move silently, hide in shadows, and forgery skills are epic!

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:25AM (#27504035)

    SJGames is an example of someone "getting" gamers.

    GURPS is about the most flexible and adaptable game system. It allows you to build your own game with just the basic rulebook. Yet there are quite a lot of books, and funny enough, they also get bought. You don't need them. It's not like in other systems where you can't play a ranger without the ranger book because the info you need to make one isn't in the main book. It's not even that those books give you many new rules.

    Most of the time, they give you background information.

    As an example, take the "high tech" book, dealing mostly with firearms through the ages, from medieval times to now. Instead of just noting down a list of weapons and what stats they have, you get background information how those weapons worked, when and how they were used, generally you get a book about guns. More as sidenotes, you also get their stats and some suggestions how to convert their behaviour into game terms. Instead of "it is this way, take the rules and shut up" you get "this is how it works, and that's how we think this is reflected by stats".

    Personally, I feel I get a lot more out of the book that way. I get to know why and how things work, and I get a feel what could work in a given setting and situation and what could not.

  • Re:Quite a shame... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:28AM (#27504097)

    TSR was the love child of two people with a creative idea and the willingness to put it on the line to see it bloom.

    Unfortunately, like most companies formed this way, the business aspect was ignored in favor of the 'beloved product'.

    They never really had a business plan, and if you viewed the history of the company since it's inception, you'd notice that the way they 'made money' was simply coming up with new ways to repackage their idea. And then the founders got into a fight and lost pretty much the whole deal to a numbnut who didn't even like gaming.

    Is it any wonder, when they were purchased by Wizards of the Coast, a company that had a similar history, that the business plan never changed?

    And when Hasbro purchased WoTC, they weren't doing it for D&D they were doing it for Pokemon and to a lesser extent, MtG. They also haven't put any thought into what they should be doing with the older, legacy, properties that came along with the purchase.

    Unlike TSR or WoTC though, Hasbro is a bona fide corporation, they have cube farms and quarterly meetings, middle management and legal divisons. And unlike TSR or WoTC, Hasbro isn't in this for any 'love' of anything other than money. It shouldn't be any surprise that of the three, Hasbro has been the most willing to screw over fans and partners while doing it's double takes and meandering in an attempt to realize a profit on D&D. Not that TSR or WoTC have ever had a history of not doing so, simply that their actions were usually the result of infighting between people who actually felt they had a stake in things instead of some impersonal jackass looking a bottom line on a report.

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mweather (1089505) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:32AM (#27504155)
    If I wasn't going to buy it in the first place, it doesn't matter if I download it. No harm, no foul.
  • by Sandbags (964742) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:34AM (#27504203) Journal

    Actually, per the back inside cover in the new DnD 4e books, and per the DnDi website, you're supposed to get a free PDF copy when you buy the hardcover, plus as a subscriber (this part of the service isn't active yet) all the people in your registered game group (who themselves do NOT have to subscribe) can have free online access to ALL the PDF copies anyone in your group owns. They're calling it virtual game table. We're hoping it's up and running this fall. So far, only the character generator is up and running if you're a subscriber.

    WoTC doesn't want you to have ONLY the PDF. They want at least 1 person in your group to have a hard copy, then all of you can share the PDFs. I agree with this kind of sharing system as it 1) controls distribution, 2) allows simple gaming over a virtual table (not all players have to come in person to play!), and 3) still gives me access to the PDF to copy/paste material into planned adventures, plus 4) I still get to have a shiny hardcover, which is usually easier to search than an electronic copy anyway.

    If you play, you should pay. As a group, 6 or 7 of you should be able to afford a few books collectively, and everyone chip in $1 a month towards the online server (once the virtual game table it's running, I don't recomend it right now. Wonko's 4e character generator, although just a spreadsheet, is superior to DnDi's character generator in many ways.)

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dcollins (135727) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:37AM (#27504237) Homepage

    They want the printed copy if there is one available, if the book is good. I've seen books that are readily available in PDF form (from other publishers) go for three and four digit sums on ebay because they can't be bought anymore. I'm in a similar boat, I want my book in my hand (ever tried bringing a laptop to a fantasy RPG session? Talk about mood killer).

    Allow me to offer up some counterexamples. I was just at an annual gaming retreat with friends last weekend, where we played classic D&D and other games. (a) I ran an OD&D game, and to my great pleasure, one of the players had bought the OD&D PDFs and printed and bound his own little books from them. (b) I also ran an AD&D game, and instead of hauling the big hardcovers with me, I did indeed have them on a laptop, as I've done before, and it didn't bother anyone (kept below table height on a chair next to me).

    Here's the upshot: I was just today going to write my player and recommend he also buy the Supplement I PDF to add to his OD&D books. But now he can't do that. Bizarre.

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:45AM (#27504433)

    I have every DnD 4e PDF book. I downloaded all of them without paying for them.

    I regularly run a DnD campaign, I'm a DCI member, I run RPGA events, etc. I do own the 4e PHB, but that's because I damaged one at a store and felt obligated to the store owner.

    Here's why I pirated all those books, and why I am going to pirate the rest of them:

    Because fuck you, Wizards of the Coast, fuck you. When you brought out 4e, it was supposed to be a self-contained series of books. There were three books - the DM guide, the Player's Handbook, and the Monster Manual. I pre-ordered them from my local store (significantly more than at Amazon, but I wanted to support my local store.) and was ready to try out the new system. I was ready to pitch all my dead tree 3.5 books to see what you'd learned from 3 and 3.5.

    Then you wanted $15/month to access your online content.

    Then you announced that there were more CORE books coming out. There's a release party every month now. Twelve books a year? Are you insane?

    Then you killed the SRD.

    You see me as a cash cow. Fuck you. I'm not paying you a thousand dollars to get all the books when the full set was supposed to be a hundred - or just fifty online.

    If you had released all this content as one package and said, "this is fourth edition", I would have bought the set.

    You're liars, you're fuckups, and I do not reward incompetence with my cash.

  • Re:Hubris (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dcollins (135727) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @12:14PM (#27504903) Homepage

    However, WotC cannot stop other companies making D&D-like games, settings, adventures, and products for 3.x rules -- as long as they're not called "D&D". Several companies are still doing that.

    I am in the industry and have co-authored several products published under the OGL.

    Nontheless, if WOTC decided to file suits against OGL publishers on narrow technical grounds (improper referencing, use of the d20 mark as seen at http://www.d20srd.org/ [d20srd.org], etc.), the will or ability to defend against such suits would be minimal. Even if they were on the right side of the law.

  • by xant (99438) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @12:19PM (#27504979) Homepage

    #1: Their new license basically rapes you if you want to publish OGL content. It's explicitly designed so that publishers supporting 4e must throw away their 3.xE content, including anything based on OGL, and start over. I read it as "ha ha, fuck you publishers, upgrade bitches." So you're absolutely right that this is not about "piracy", this is consistent with a strategy of wizards desperately trying to scramble for more control of the game. It's about kicking out everyone who might make money off their product who isn't them. It's completely retrogressive and I expect Wizards to get killed in the marketplace; it just takes one strong competitor who Does It Right.

    #2: Check out Paizo publishing. They're doing it right, making a game that continues to be freely licensed and does allow other publishers to add on. With the upcoming Pathfinder RPG, they've basically forked the D&D 3.5E rules, opened them up, and given the finger to Wizards. (Incidentally they were one of the PDF resellers who got kicked in the groin by the recent delisting of PDFs.)

    My money's on Paizo. Literally. I'll be spending money on their products as soon as the release edition is available for sale. The beta edition is already a free PDF download [paizo.com]. I've got my copy.

  • by furby076 (1461805) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @12:30PM (#27505147) Homepage
    I like this model where they only expect one person in the group to have a copy of a specific book (though many groups have multiples of each). So if I buy the hard cover I also get the pdf? But if they stop the pdfs this is no longer the case.

    I don't mind the subscription model for the software (they come out with updates once/month) I mind that I have to resubscribe to get material that I previously got...Also backing up is not possible since when you reinstall you have to subscribe to make it a full version (again pay money).
  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @01:09PM (#27505691)
    Obligatory: Stealing != Copyright infringement

    You "steal" a car... owner no longer has car
    You "steal" a pdf... owner still has pdf

    Why do people insist on calling piracy theft? The company may or may not have gotten money... there is no way to know.

    Despite my dislike of Apple, they have music that sells just fine without DRM. Steam is another service that works fine in the face of Piracy. They include services that makes the cost worth the price.

    Maybe WotC needs to rethink their position. They won't be the only company around that needs to rethink their money machine in the face of a new connected world. Books, pdf's, whatever... it WILL be pirated one way or another. What makes it worth not pirating is a service that ties it to something worthwhile.

    Will WotC be another company that fights tooth and nail not to evolve? Time will tell it seems...
  • OSRIC! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SteveFoerster (136027) <<steve> <at> <hiresteve.com>> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @01:42PM (#27506205) Homepage

    If it's 1st edition rules you want, OSRIC [knights-n-knaves.com] is an OGL'ed clone of them, and you can either use old 1e adventures or there's also now a small ecology of new supplements out that go with it. I wish it'd get more attention.

    -=Steve=-

  • Annoying and stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pluther (647209) <pluther.usa@net> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @01:44PM (#27506253) Homepage

    And who the hell at WotC came up with this idea? Combat piracy by making it impossible to get the products people want through legal means? Yeah, that sounds brilliant. The only thing that could top that would be to cut off access to the content they've already purchased with very short notice. Oh. Oh, yeah.

    I did like Paizo's response to this, though. They announced a 35% sale on all of their pdf's for the rest of the month, and that all purchases of their printed products would include a pdf version at no extra charge.

  • by MaerD (954222) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @02:09PM (#27506633)

    Prices are set by supply and demand, not by direct cost per unit.

    Yes, Supply and demand. When you have a book in a digital format which can be copied for the huge cost of $0, the supply (ie: number of available copies) is infinite.

    Now what happens when the supply approaches infinity? The traditional model breaks down and no longer applies.

    The best you can do at that point is set a price that you think people will pay. It's entirely using the demand curve, since the supply curve no longer matters.

    So if you price yourself too high, people will either not buy (or pirate, since we are assuming digital products) your product. If you price yourself too low, you don't make as much off your product. The hard part is finding the highest price you can charge to make the money you need/wish to, and keep piracy at an acceptable level. While this isn't direct cost per unit (which now can't be determined until you sell some, and will approach 0 as you sell more) it isn't traditional supply vs demand..

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Basilius (184226) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @02:25PM (#27506901)

    Whats next? Some sort of physical DRM for printed copies?

    If you dig back into storage and find some of those early 1st edition dungeon crawls, you'll find that they were printed in a lightish blue ink.

    Mimeograph machines and black and white copiers at the time (I don't think color copiers were commercially available yet) had real trouble with that color ink.

    This was intentional. It was, in effect, DRM.

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Morlark (814687) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @02:58PM (#27507483) Homepage

    Sad that parent gets modded troll, purely for daring to contradict the slashdot groupthink's mantras, "Copyright is inherently evil", "Corporations are evil", "Criminals who revel in their actions are really fighting for our freedoms"... What rot. If anyone with mod points cares to actually read the parent post before modding, its contents are purely a list of the facts, and then a conclusion (one of many potential conclusions, granted, but a reasonable one) based on those facts.

    Look, I'd be the first to say that WotC's decision to pull all the PDF download services is a dumb move on their part, and an affront to their genuine customers. They're being dicks, based on the actions of an unfortunate few. And it may well hurt them financially in the long run too. But are people honestly suggesting that we should feel sympathy for these eight scum who actively and wilfully sought to sabotage the hobby that they claim to follow? Because when you mod down decent and well-meaning posts like the parent, that's certainly the vibe I'm getting. And I say: bollocks to that. These eight chumps broke the law, and then they flaunted it all over their intertubes. WotC's watermarked PDFs obviously paid off, and they caught the blighters. If said blighters didn't want to be on the receiving end of hefty fines, perhaps they should have thought of that before they chose to embark upon a lifetime of nautical adventure.

    Oh, and just for the people with mod points that apparently still don't get it: "-1, Troll" does not mean "I do not wish to read your insights, and therefore I shall attempt to bury them". Perhaps rather than burying people you disagree with, maybe you should go bury your own head in the sand, that way you won't have to read things you don't like.

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @03:11PM (#27507659) Homepage

    Yet people still want D&D while they have plenty of options (and are not shy to rationalize torrenting it)

    And so, logically, they should respond to piracy by removing the ability to pay for a legitimate copy? And you think this will put the djinni back in the bottle and there will no longer be any pirated copies on the internet?

    Yes, they will add DRM, just like your library. And people here will cry and conveniently forget reason why it was added.

    I'll remember why: Because they were too thick to realize that the initial leaks to p2p came from publishers, not legitimate .pdf purchasers, and that the DRM isn't going to actually do anything to prevent the guides from being available on p2p.

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @04:17PM (#27508789) Homepage

    Old copies? They will be there, sure. But they will not release new stuff as it was obvious that new stuff will be either leaked or just pirated by "customers". Why continue giving them freebie? Why continue competing with "free as beer" P2P while supplying em with new content at same time?

    So you think there's more money in not competing at all, eh? Yeah that's smart. People were buying the .pdfs. And let me repeat, the leaks came from publishers, who could easily create a .pdf to leak to p2p networks when given the book to print in dead-tree format. And barring that, digital copies will still be made. Face it, they will be online and there's nothing you or Hasbro can do about it.

    Given that, why would you make the illegal copies the only copies online?

    What would you propose, keep current service as "legacy"? To compete with piratebay? With no future? No profitability? Waste of manpower.

    Today, you have some people getting copies off of p2p, and some purchasing them legitimately. In the future, everyone who wants a digital copy will pirate it because that will be their only recourse.

    How much effort do you think there is in creating a .pdf to throw online once you've already created the book? Is some money more or less than no money?

    In their rush to prevent piracy, they are pushing their legitimate customers to it. This is a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @04:41PM (#27509221) Journal

    Money has to be in limited supply. It is a proxy for material goods that are by necessity in limited supply, so that we don't have to resort to barter. That money itself can be printed in practically limitless quantities is beside the point. If it's too easy to copy, then it must be changed.

    The technology today makes it very easy

    Get your head wrapped around that idea. And think, copying will only get easier. DRM is hopeless. They used to call it "copy protection", and it didn't work then either. Copyright is dead, and it's time people understood that. We need other ways to compensate artists and scientists. I've been thinking patronage is the way to go, but maybe not. There's also the services and support model that's had some success, just look at Red Hat and MMORPGs. And the advertising revenue model, which is still of some value though it has been overdone and overvalued. Perhaps a mix of all these is best.

    Then people like you could stop chiding the rest of us for "theft", as if you yourself have NEVER EVER committed copyright infringement, and indeed be out there encouraging as much sharing as possible. Because sharing will be the best way to help an artist. Once again copying will be flattery (the sincerest form!), and flattery will be valuable.

  • Re:[Don't] Profit! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tigerhawkvok (1010669) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @05:25PM (#27509897) Homepage

    Seems to me they really *are* shooting themselves in the foot with this. Consider people like myself:

    • Look at D&D rules via OGL SRDs [d20srd.org]
    • Download some PDFs and realize they are a bit easier to find information in, and I enjoy much of the artwork
    • Purchase several dead-tree versions to the tune of a few hundred dollars. Cash to WotC.

    The 4th ed policies make SRDs harder, and with no PDFs to help draw me to paper versions ... well, they'd entirely have lost customers like me, and several of my friends who did the exact same thing. Bad idea, WotC.

  • White Wolf gets it. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @07:09PM (#27511361)

    White Wolf, another publishing company has offered free copies of its Exalted core book on pdf as a response to WotC's move.

    http://www.teleread.org/2009/04/08/white-wolf-offers-free-download-of-exalted-pdf/

    This is a brilliant way to encourage growth of the player base of the game, who will hopefully buy more supplements and products.

  • by ClayDowling (629804) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @11:32AM (#27519005) Homepage

    I've bought a lot of PDF only products from Steve Jackson Games. Partially because I was picking up things that were out of print, and partially because for GM-only reference material, PDF documents are easier for me to handle when I'm prepping for a game.

    Their e23 store [sjgames.com] has become a major part of their business, and they have pledged to keep downloads available as long as the company still has its doors open. That's saved my bacon a couple of times, like when the USB stick I kept my books on got fried by a faulty device on the USB Bus.

    If you don't mind learning a new system, and you really want to get back to that old-school dungeon crawling feeling that a good D&D game can give you, you might check out their Dungeon Fantasy [sjgames.com] line of products. It's not for everybody, but there's a pretty big community of people who are getting their rocks off smashing monsters and taking their loot.

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