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Role Playing (Games) Games

WotC Releases Old Dungeons & Dragons Catalog As PDFs 224

jjohn writes "Wizards of the Coasts, holders of the TSR catalog, have released rulebooks and modules for most editions of Dungeons and Dragons through a partnership with The web site,, may be a little overloaded right now. Most module PDFs are $4.99 USD." The article points out that these are all fresh scans of the old books. It's also worth noting that the decision to make these PDFs available reverses WotC's 2009 decision to stop all PDF sales because of piracy fears. The only reference to this in the article is a quote from the D&D publishing and licensing director: "We don't want them to go to torrent sites. Why not give them a legal route?"
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WotC Releases Old Dungeons & Dragons Catalog As PDFs

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  • Piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @04:52PM (#42660969) Journal

    The books are going to be scanned and shared whether they post PDFs or not. The only question is whether there's a legit option for those who want to pay.

  • Re:Saving Throw (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:01PM (#42661073)
    Probably because there was nothing stopping anyone from scanning a printed copy of the rulebook or module, converting it to a PDF, and then putting it online. Google even has an auto-complete option for PDF when I just typed in "dungeons and dragons 2nd edition" and wouldn't you know, the second link is to a torrent, and there are several other links within the top ten results to file sharing sites or other torrent sites.

    Some people are going to pirate no matter what you do. However, there are a lot who will gladly pay if you give them to opportunity to do so.
  • by darkwing_bmf ( 178021 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:02PM (#42661083)

    Even if everything you said is true, they could still make more money from paid legal downloads than if they didn't give that option.

  • by Fned ( 43219 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:05PM (#42661133) Journal

    Because no matter how low the cost, the number of people who will not pay for the product by using torrents will far exceed the number of people who will pay for the product simply because they can.

    On the other hand, the number of people who WILL pay is quite a bit larger than the number who would pay for your out-of-print product that's not available electronically, which is zero.

    I'm glad that people are starting to wise up that counting the people who do pay is always, always wiser than counting the people who don't; for so long, so very many copyright holders have been no smarter than that Aesop dog that dropped his bone in the lake.

  • Re:D&D PDFs? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:10PM (#42661187)

    Because he cared about having the files in the future?

    Trusting a cloud provider to the point where you don't have backups is one of the stupidest things I have heard today.

  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:21PM (#42661313)

    I ended up pirating the entire catalog of D&D products because I couldn't find the AD&D 2nd Edition books for sale in either print or PDF form. So at least in my case, not printing them in the first place lead to piracy. Hopefully more companies get with the program.

    Actually, it was your desire to own something which was not made available which led to piracy in the first place. Justify it how you will, but you are the one to blame for your illegal/illegitimate actions (illegitimate probably being the better word). Just because they didn't sell them, it doesn't mean you HAVE to own them.

    Sure, but had they printed them or otherwise made them available he wouldn't have pirated them (assuming he is telling the truth), so it was still them not making it available that lead to his piracy. A thing can have multiple causes, you know, and WotC's stupidity is partly responsible (as, of course, is his desire for them one way or the other).

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:23PM (#42661337) Journal

    Luckily, since they weren't for sale there was no loss on the part of the content creator. Copyright was set up to ensure remuneration for the work of the creators of intellectual property. By not offering these for sale in any form, I see no moral dilemma in obtaining a copy from an alternate source.

  • by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:50PM (#42661719)

    Copyright was set up to ensure remuneration for the work of the creators of intellectual property.

    No, it wasn't. It was set up to encourage creation of content that would "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries".

    The key point is that the "progress" part is what was considered important and desirable, and the "limited times" was key to this, while the "exclusive right" was just a deal with the devil to achieve the greater goal of increasing human knowledge.

    Since we no longer have "limited times" as far as an individual is concerned (as the current law is such that a person will be encouraged to add only one thing to the pool of knowledge and then fight to keep making money on it until they and their children die), there is no reason to require people to keep the "exclusive rights" part of the bargain.

"Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never." -- Winston Churchill