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WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
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TOPIC: WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
#33729
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
ww2.wizards.com/Company/Press/?doc=20090406

April 6, 2009 — Wizards of the Coast LLC today filed three lawsuits in US District Court for the Western District of Washington against eight individuals, including named defendants located in the United States, Poland and the Philippines, for copyright infringement of its recently-released Dungeons & Dragons® Player’s Handbook® 2. The lawsuits allege that the defendants illegally distributed the Player’s Handbook 2 via free file-sharing websites and that these illicit uploads resulted in a substantial number of lost sales and lost revenue to Wizards of the Coast.

“Violations of our copyrights and piracy of our products hurt not only Wizards of the Coast’s financial health but also the health of whole gaming community including retailers and players,” said Greg Leeds, President of Wizards of the Coast. “We have brought these suits to stop the illegal activities of these defendants, and to deter future unauthorized and unlawful file-sharing.”

The complaint alleges, among other things, that one or more of the defendants purchased digital copies of Player’s Handbook 2 and then illegally posted the copies onto popular file-sharing sites for free access and download by the general public.

Not sure what to think...
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#33730
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
Not sure where this fits in. I got <12 hours to download bought stuff - probably less - was already past midnight here so only the time difference (well - nothing outstanding). It hit my inbox today 1:14 AM.

Thod

Dear Jens,

Wizards of the Coast has notified us that we may no longer sell or distribute their PDF products. Accordingly, after April 6 at 11:59 PM Pacific time, Wizards of the Coast PDFs will no longer be available for purchase on paizo.com; after noon on April 7, you will no longer be able to download Wizards of the Coast PDFs that you have already purchased, so please make sure you have downloaded all purchased PDFs by that time.

We thank you for your patronage of paizo.com. Please check out our other downloads at paizo.com/store/downloads.

Sincerely yours,
The Paizo Customer Service Team
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#33731
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
Some more background - seems not only to be Paizo:

www.icv2.com/articles/news/14693.html - but you can google other sources as well

WotC Ends PDF Download Sales
Citing Piracy
Published: 04/06/2009 10:09pm

Wizards of the Coast has ended sales of PDF editions of its products, which had been sold by online retailers such as DrivethroughRPG.com, RPGNow.com, and Paizo.com. A Wizards of the Coast spokesperson told ICv2, “Unfortunately, due to recent findings of illegal copying and online distribution (piracy) of our products, Wizards of the Coast has decided to cease the sale of online PDFs.”



Wizards of the Coast also filed suit against eight defendants on Thursday, alleging illegal file-sharing (see “Wizards Sues Eight”).



Wizards of the Coast’s products were a very important driver of PDF RPG sales, a segment that some participants believe is over 20% of total RPG sales.



WotC is apparently not ruling out digital delivery of its products using a different format or model. “We are exploring other options for digital distribution of our content,” the spokesperson said.
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#33732
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
Honestly, I'm not surprised that WotC had to do this. Piracy is rampant in the gaming world, and too many people feel they have a license to steal.

It's a far cry from Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. It's outright theft by people that want things and don't want to pay for them.

The sad note is that legitimate distributors of PDFs have to lose out on sales because of the perfidious actions of the pirates.
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#33733
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
Does anyone know if they are still gonna have out of print pdfs for sale?
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#33734
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
Thats the typical problem of PDF Products i think, its too easy to simply
copy the pdf if you have donloaded it.
I wondered when this would happen since they made pdfs available online.

The main problem about online piracy is i think for most people it didn't fells
like stealing, cause the item is not lost by the original owner.

Sad for the honest people that bought the pdfs, hope they all downloaded
their stuff in time and have a copy handy if their PCs crashes.
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#33735
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
Yeah, this is a tricky area. On the one hand, people can always scan the material and create their own .pdf's if they want to do this, so there's no real way to stop the problem. On the other hand, selling the .pdf's themselves just makes it that much easier for potential thieves, taking some of the grunt work out of their task. On the third hand, the digital age makes copyright protection all the more challenging for things like books which lend themselves to instant free transfer -- maybe there is no solution. On the fourth hand, trying to use the technology does make sense, rather than trying to fight it, and kudos to WOTC for trying that by selling things as .pdf's. On the fifth hand, that's not a particularly innovative way to respond to the new market, and may have done nothing other than facilitate infringement.

I'm long since out of hands.

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#33736
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
L, I want to shake hands with you some day!

:D
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#33737
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
Maybe this is just an excuse for WOTC to set up their own on-line pdf store through D&DI and force people to subscribe to even be able to buy anything? I'm not saying WOTC doesn't have the right to protect themselves from piracy or do what they want with "their" products, but this smells too much like what they did with all their licenses (Dragon, Dungeon, Dragonlance, d20, etc) right before 4e came out. Pulling back all the tentacles into the mothership (as some have suggested on other message boards) before they............?
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#33738
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
It might be an Excusse but Just from my play group (and tangental ones), I know how many sales have been lost to Stolen PDFs. While I have purchased PDFs from places like the Game Mechanics and others there are/& were players in our group (and ones we knew people in) who Never purchased pdfs or even the Hardcopy books for that matter and would go looking for the pdfs as soon as the book came out.

I'd love it if I could buy PDF versions of all of the SAGA books, as then I could put them on a JUMP drive and look over them while I am planning my games during my lunch break at work. There are now about 6 books out for SAGA and I can't cart them all to work or even to the game. So having a refrence to look at would be great.
But as some one who shelled out the $35+ dollars or so for the Hardcopy, to have to buy it again isn't something I willdo, I'm not going to buy the book 3 times (as so far for all but two I have purchased the book twice once for Home/collection (they joined my almost complete collection of WEG D6 books) and the other left at where we play for refrence and so I don't have to bring them each week. Buying the book a thrid time is a very significant investment.

But with 3rd (and for SW-RCR)I know there were players in the goup who never bought the books from WotC and wanted the PDF.s for them instead as they were "free". They wanted the content but didn't want to pay for it. I have apolicy in my game of you need to OWN the book.
If you have a PDF to print the pages so you don't have to lug the book around with you every session I don't care, but you have to OWN the book first, and I got to see it, or you can't use it. (if you bought the PDf That's fine as well but most people I game with prefer books as there is somehting about flipping throught them that is so much more satasfying than reading a PDF on screen).

With 4th I know the PDF caused 6 lost sales of the three core books, as we all looked at them, and passed on the game with out buying it (so they are lost but we could have chipped in or just flipped through it as well and they would have been lost a lot fo sales, for our group the game caused the loss of sales, the PDF just allowed us to go yeah we don't like this before it came out. However I know I didn't keep nor use the 4th ed PDF's. I deleted them after deciding I didn't like the game, but I know about 6 people who did keep them though, and 4 or so of them never purchased the Core books, and they grabbed the PHBII right when it came out from those File shares, with out buying the books) So this does have an impact on sales.

I don't know if it's a generation thing, as I saw many Younger kids in the game store we used to play at that would pass around CD's of the latest books they had downloaded. Even people just 8 years my journior see no problem in useing PDFs with out buying the book. I like the PDF format for easy refrence and portability, and would love to see them sold with the purchase of the hardbacks So i can have both legally. But i won't buy the PDF's after I bought the Harback (as I don't have the cash), so I don't buy WotC pdfs. i have however purchased many many others (from WWG, Ebbles, the Game Mecahnics, Green Ronnin, Paizo and various other 3rd party publishers I can't remember, I'd have to go look through my RPGnow account and see the list of all the ones i bought) but that was the purchase of the book, or item and it was usually one of the only was to get it. Paizo is pretty good about that though as they tend to give out PDF's with some of the physical purchases.
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#33739
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
Ghengis Ska

I think the problem with pdf-files today is similar to the problem with photocopied books 25 years ago. It is wrong and I always strifed to buy the games I played. But I remember that copied books were widespread in the gaming groups I played with 25 years ago. Actually - to make it worse - most people tended to give it to a parent who could copy it 'for free' at work as copying lots of pages wasn't cheap either.

I can see two issues here:

a) The electronic age makes it sooo much easier to copy a pdf. You don't even need the original paid book - you just google on some peer-to-peer networks and you get what you look for.
b) Some people still like pdf-copies. Either because they prefer this medium - or because some old books are out of print. The module I bought was the Temple of Elemental Evil - a very old classic for which I didn't bother to watch e-bay for a reasonable priced copy

Stopping the sale of pdf won't stop a). After all - my pdf has my own name included. Not sure how much work it would be to remove it - but a watermark is traceable back to me if I share the file. Therefore if I want to distribute pirated material and go through the effort to remove watermarks I probably can as well find alternative ways to get the first electronic copy.
And once there is a single copy in distribution, then the genii is out of the flask and you will never get it back in again.

But what WoTC did is mainly hurting the people who are willing to pay for pdf - not the people who pirate material. Looking at the public relations desaster in which music companies got themselves this is suprising.

Going after people distributing the pdf in peer to peer - fine with me. Preventing me to buy the files legally - I'm not pleased. I already had (jokingly) an offer at lunch that someone could organize me the books I'm interested in. Well - this is exactly what I don't want.

Well - their loss.

For the very first time I actually thought about looking into the pathfinder system. Should I move on then this would really have been a dump move. I own probably 20+ 3rd edition books from WoTC and I'm a customer who still can afford to buy stuff.

Thod
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#33740
WotC SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
Perhaps they could include an access code with the book purchase to allow for a one-time PDF download of the item. Secure to prevent vandalism / theft of the code.

I don't know much (anything) about PDF security, though. Is there a way to make the file un-copiable or to self-disable if copied or printed more than once or twice ?

Or they could include a disk of the PDF with the same security measures along with the book.

Eh ... just thinking "out loud", here ...
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