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From a legal, ethical and economic points of view this was about the most dumb move WotC could make.
It's some nightmarish mix of corporate arrogance, complete lack of competent knowledge on mechanisms of piracy, lack of respect towards customers and just plain, pig-brained idiocy, and I think I just insulted all the well-behaving pigs out there.
All this proves that WotC/Hasbro is run by some bunch of weirdos who got their heads stuck firmly in 90s. It's the AIG mentality on a small scale.
The lawsuit part really escapes my reasoning, and unlike most honest, normal people on this planet I cannot say IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer), because I happen to be one. What the hell are they thinking ? That a court in Philippines or Poland is going to bother with some American corporation seeking restorations for a single, 40 bucks PDF file ? In 1995 you could try this and see where it takes you, but nowadays it's really ... nah, I'm speechless.
THIS IS COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS! I didn't make it in time to purchase things I've been putting off purchasing. I guess I naively thought that they'd be available for a long time.
Way to go WotC! You've sunk to a new low.
EDIT: And don't they know that this just encourages me to find what I want from other sources?
Less than 9 hours left to download all that stuff. Damn.
I'm thinking that if we do see these pdfs put out by WotC again, they'll be saddled with DRMs. If the Sony BGM fiasco and SecuRom/Starforce malware tought us anything, the pirates will be living large while paying customers get screwed over even harder.
This had to have been the idea of some suit that has no idea how the internets actually work. I hope it was some Hasbro stiff at least.
What products were you looking forward to getting that you won't be able to now? I was gearing up to start on a Ravenloft spree, personally.
From what I've seen around and about online, Paizo has already gone to bat for their customers on this. The items are at least still available to download for a while. If what I've read is correct, RPGNow and DriveThruRPG's pdfs are already gone and unavailable.
EDIT- Anything on The Consumerist yet? If not, time to let 'em know.
*sight* ok i posted my comments before... i think
yes... i think this is a bad move...
but Alternity has a special place in my hearth, between a friend and me we were able to buy 5 books we didn't have in our collection...
unfortunately a dozen or so adventures had to be be sacrificed...
well last buck i spend in WotC for sure...
I didn't get the e-mail from Paizo until an hour after the PDFs were no longer available. (I've been on my computer the whole time and my e-mail client is always open in my tray and checks my mail every 10 minutes.)
I was considering some Ravenloft PDFs, particularly anything related to Masque of the Red Death. I've got the d20 Masque of the Red Death from Sword & Sorcery and am hoping to run it as an alternate game to my present 3.5e 1374 DR Forgotten Realms game. I'll probably run Paizo's Hangman's Noose in Masque of the Red Death and just say everyone is human regardless of the few other races involved with no stat changes.
(On another note, I just recently showed some of my players the Pathfinder stuff I've been picking up and they're also psyched about a Golarion campaign after we finish with our FR game.)
Oh well, I can still find stuff on Ebay, I guess. I got Masque of the Red Death and Ravenloft Dungeon Master's Guide off Ebay in the last few months.
What really pissed me of to no end is the fact that I only got notified that I can´t buy ANY WotC pdfs any longer AFTER the sales were stopped. Mind you, I don´t blame Paizo, but Wizards for giving such short notice and thus disabling me (and probably many european customers) from doing any last-minute shopping. I had thought about buying this and that over time, but, well, I guess I will just ignore WotC from now on.
And as others have said, this move will surely serve to stop piracy. *claps hands*
Europe is finally up - and shocked.
* How much does this move hurt paizo (and rpg now)?
* So here are my suggestions...
Funny thing is...I have spent tons of $$ on pdfs of the 4e stuff.
Now if I want a pdf of the upcoming titles, I'll have to wait until one falls of the back of a server...so to speak.
They didn't deter pirating...they just caused it to explode exponentially...
That's what happens when a bunch of bean-counting suits takes over a nerd oriented company....this will cost them thousands of dollars in legitimate sales.
WotC is truly stupendously dense!
As I only just got the news here is Australia (Thanks to Paizo for trying to let everyone one know)....all I can say is that I feel like swearing. I can't believe that by pulling the legal option of getting the older PDFs they think that is going to stop piracy.
So much for my slow by steady collecting of all the 1st and 2nd ed modules.
This is one instance where my crappy timekeeping worked in my favour.
I had to jump up from my PC to go watch 'The Shield', without time to switch off properly.
I went back to log off, and saw the messageboards on fire. Had I been organised enough to log off at 22:55, I would have been in the same boat as you.
Pat Payne wrote:
Given the comical outrage we're seeing here, I wouldn't be surprised if pitchfork dealers see some excellent profits.
I can understand seeing this decision as short-sighted (even though it may very well not be), but the truth is that most gamers don't give a damn about PDF sales - they weren't buying any to begin with. If you don't buy PDFs, there is no reason you should care about this decision. It's just a company experimenting with a different policy. If you do buy PDFs, you won't be able to. Oh no. It might be time to find another way to get your fix. But it's not time to start a crusade over something so trivial.
Dial back the rage a few hundred notches, please.
Well, I got (some of) what I needed, while propping my eyes open with matchsticks, and mailing anyone I could think of who may be affected and unaware.
Got to bed at 4:00am, crashed out, woke up with crusty pinkeye, and found Paizo had beaten me to it with an email to all their customers.
Don't I feel silly. I should have known you would have given such excellent customer service.
And that the whole point of taking them down is supposed to be to discourage the illegal alternative... Gotta wonder about the reasoning behind the decision.
To be perfectly honest, I am not surprised at the decision, it is very WOTC.
What I am annoyed and frustrated about is the timing....you would think that a week's notice at least so people can pick up the stuff they want, or to check their downloads and make sure they have what they have, after all, paid for. Grrr...
Scott Betts wrote:
Here there and everywhere. I haven't seen a single gaming website that isn't up in arms about this.
(On a side note I would also like to thank Scott for helping me win £50)
Scott Betts wrote:
Dial back the rage a few hundred notches, please.
Hello, Scott. I hope your day has gone well so far.
With respect, no. The issue that strikes me here is the immediacy of the closure. As people have been observing, Paizo has done its level best to get the word out, but the warning has come too late for many people.
Wizards, as a company, chose to cut the PDF sales down with very little notice. An additional 24 hours would have cost them very little, and would have been a great kindness to their fanbase. It's not a question of "short-sighted," it's an issue of being rude and abrupt.
Wizards, as a company chose to discontinue to allow Paizo to offer me the downloads that I have legally purchased, despite the fact that they're personalized and manifestly not pirated material. It would have been easy to carve out exceptions for such legal purchases, and they chose not to. It's not a question of being "short-sighted," it's an issue of fairness.
Wizards, as a company, chose to publicly link this action to attempts to rein in internet piracy. I've bought all my PDFs legally, and I don't share them. In Wizards' actions and statement, the company is telling me that my actions are suspicious at best, perhaps even criminal. It's not a question of being "short-sighted," it's an issue of being deliberately provocative and insulting.
You tell us to dial back the rage. You have a lot of nerve, sir.
Scott Betts wrote:
If you do buy PDFs, you won't be able to. Oh no. It might be time to find another way to get your fix. But it's not time to start a crusade over something so trivial.
The entire hobby is trivial, Scott.
But within the hobby, the ability to look back and see the history of D&D is not a trivial aspect. As I said earlier, the real tragedy here is that, a year after E. Gary Gygax's death, and possibly on the day Dave Arneson passes away, the world of Greyhawk becomes closed to legal purchase, except whatever few hard copies a hobby store might have.
PDFs of legacy material --and I mean "legacy" here, it's not just a euphemism for "old"-- has been an essential link to what makes D&D special. It has a 35-year history. People new to the hobby who'd heard about "The Tomb of Horrors" or "what a mess the 1st Edition DMG was" or how kick-ass the original "Ravenloft" module was, or "Planescape" or ... --these folks could find cheap, legal access to this material, and see what things were like, and understand how the hobby has grown, how deep D&D's roots stretch back, and how much we owe to people like Gygax, Arneson, Zeb Cook, Jeff Grubb, Jonathan Tweet, and all the other designers whose genius paved the way to the present game.
We are, as a hobby, much the worse for this decision. Whether "most gamers" ever try to find out why D&D has a special place in the gaming hobby or not, some would, and their choices now are diminished.
Given a choice between "starting a crusade" or a snide "oh no" and cynicism, I think the first reaction is the more reasonable.
Thank you for posting, Scott. I don't agree with you, but you've helped me bring into focus some of my feelings on the matter. Have a good day.
I would also doubt that RPGNow, DriveThruRPG, and Paizo see the move as "trivial", considering the impact this will have on their stores. Particularly PDF-only dealers.
I know you may feel flustered at all the provocation on the 4E boards(and seriously, condolences, I prefer live and let play myself), but is going "y so srs" to everyone unhappy about this for their own individual reasons really such a classy move?
Me, I've seen this crap happen before in other mediums I love, music and videogames. And it's always ended with either a class action lawsuit, customers getting screwed, or both.
baron arem heshvaun wrote:
I just got home from work and it’s 30 minutes past the deadline so unfortunately I have no way to get the downloads of four Planscape pdfs and The Night Below pdf.
Thankfully I own the Planescape Monstrous Compendiums and The Night Below Boxed Set in Hard Copy.
And I am in the same boat. Too late to do anything about it (and no money left in the Credit Account even if I wanted too. Thank the 7 Heavens for the Dragon/Dungeon .pdfs still being available (if by some miraculous fluke the actually happens to be some money in the Credit Account at some distant point in the future...)
And I agree that this will just drive more people to download illegally who would have previously purchased legitimately.
Just woke up here in the UK and got the news. I have eleven Wizards PDFs at Paizo that I'm scurrying to download, and just lost a copy of the D&D Immortals Set at RPG Now.
If this is Wizards' way of making money, it's at the cost of customer goodwill - an important, intangible factor that keeps pirates at bay. If Wizards keeps showing contempt for its customers like this, they paint themselves as a villain, and D&D players more than anyone are morally okay with stealing from a villain.
Scott Betts wrote:
Even so, from a "public relations" standpoint, it done if a very ham-handed way.
Still, Hasbro/WoTC was concerned that some people were stealing from them (... which is understandable: "Where the people that they could identify the problem or the tip of the iceberg?" Who can say?).
It will be interresting to see if in the long run, the bad press hurts more then the loss of revenue does.
Ok, after reading most of this thread up to this point, I believe that some poster should go here just to vent. I already have. so I have to give Saern credit for opening this thread way back in 06 and it is still alive. great idea. This allows all the pent up rage from some and counter arguments in a thread more suitable.
just my 2c
I haven't bought any hard copy books from WOTC since 4ed came out and then only by mistake (missus picked the three core books up for me thinking they would be a good surprise :( ).
I have though picked up the occasional older edition pdf's and was thinking about getting some of the 3.5 books in pdf to go along with my hard copies but I was waiting for the price to drop a bit.
With this move WOTC just lost any chance of any more money from me, something I think may not be unique.
I guess not enough people are buying 4e, so they make sure that the (legal) availability of former editions stuff is as low as possible.
Then, when some who previously preferred to actually pay for stuff you could steal from the net decide to go and steal it from the net rather than not play the game (because prison's better than being stuck with 4e), they put the hammer down. Scare people into getting 4e or nothing (the only smart move is, of course, to abandon wotc altogether).
It actually makes sense for them to go down hard against those who distribute early copies. It beats actually making stuff people want to buy and support - same reason the music and movie industry chose to hunt down "evil pirates" instead of encouraging people to buy the stuff.
I mean, when the 4e core books were leaked, lots of people cancelled their preorders. If they had been shipped, a lot of people would probably not have bothered to return the books, and making money is more important than having satisfied customers who are happy to pay.
The other option - you know, the one paizo does: Give away a free preview (and with preview I mean a large big 400 page beta version) to get people to be excited about the final product and want to buy it - only works if you geniunely want people to really like the stuff, as opposed to be tricked into buying by overhype.
It all goes hand in hand with their general policy: "If you're not satisfied with our products - f*** off! We want drones who buy what we sell, not those who think about products. We're the 800lb gorilla, we're allowed."
Suddenly putting an expiration date on pdfs is a very low blow.
Did that a looong time ago, but it's good to see more people waking up each day, and that my decision is proven to be the right one again and again.
I wonder how long it will take until even the most hard-headed fanboys will give up.
Wow, I'm glad I dumped WoTC long ago and went with paizo/pathfinder. I don't have to worry about how they are going to shaft me yet again.
I gave WoTC my last dime ages ago and this announcement just solidifies what I have thought of them since they took over TSR. Good riddance and kiss my @$$!
Wouldn't it be nice if Paizo and other companies stopped selling WoTC products altogether? You know, pulled the ol' switcheroo on them? Wonder how that would go over? Hmmmmmmm.
Those lawsuits are a terrible idea. The RIAA only gets away with them because
A) They have such a huge market that the people who get pissed off about them won't make as big an impact as those who are intimidated
B) They hide behind the guise of the RIAA and the record labels. People still like the bands and don't blame them and still buy their stuff.
With WotC though, you're attacking a nerd-culture who is a bit more educated about what's going on and far less likely to be intimidated. More likely to get PO'd about your treatment of the fans. These are PDFs we're talking about, there's a big difference in quality of content between a PDF and a physical book. PDFs are far less useful than having the physical copy (as opposed to MP3s which are frequently higher quality than CDs). I'll be perfectly open, our group has pirated just about every 3.5 WotC book and a few others as well. We also BOUGHT just about every WotC book and are STILL buying what few 3.5 books we don't yet have physical copies of. If I didn't get free PDFs with my superscription I'd probably be illicitly downloading Paizo PDFs as well as still buying the physical product.
People do what they can to support the hobby, many of us are not rich but still want to enjoy the full experience of it. Attacking those people is a horrid idea. There's a few people out there who may pirate but never buy, but in this hobby as opposed to music/movies the percentage is minuscule.
I guess a lot of people have moved to usenet, which is fiendishly hard, maybe impossible, to trace.
Templeton Algrith wrote:
At least he doesn't have to see this.
I wonder if White Wolf will follow suit?
Nah. They may be arrogant snobs, but they have standards.
Sudden? Yes. For us. I guess they planned it long ago, only waiting for a good opportunity.
I cannot see anything here.
While IAAL, I am by no means an expert in US-american law. Still, I am wondering what this move spells for RPGnow & co. Didn't they sell PDF products with the stipulation that they could be redownloaded again and again? Then that's part of what the customers paid for with their money. By violating these terms, RPGnow could be looking at a lawsuit either way, either because they violate the agreement they have with WotC or because a customer decides to sue them ...
Re: the filesharing issue: I wonder which percentage of "shared" RPG sourcebooks on the internet are files that were formerly watermarked, then cracked - and which percentage is just plain scans made by some guy at home who just had a scanner handy? WotC's logic may be faulty in more than one way here.
Either way, if I hadn't already decided to stop supporting WotC, I would do so now. Way to alienate your customer base.
Chris Mortika wrote:
Well said, Chris Mortika, very well said!
On a related note: They do not only cancel the older edition pdfs. They also cancel all 4e pdfs. You are no longer able to purchase legitimate copies of 4e pdfs, and if you have done so in the past, there is no way to re-download them. Scott Betts seemed to have missed this point.
If you read the press release, this all started over --among other unnamed issues, I'm sure-- file sharing of the new 4e PH2.
Particularly distressing to me is the fact that a 4e product is the spearhead for losing all the good old edition products making up my non-Paizo PDF library.
I spent two hours today downloading my library off the Paizo server and grabbing up a few other old edition titles I had yet to buy.
I fail to see how Pirate Bay is causing any significant WotC profit loss through the file sharing of pdf copies of the 1E Player's Handbook.
Don't forget that 10 years ago they weren't making any money off their OOP titles.
Not as far as I know. They want all that stuff gone to eliminate competition for 4e. They know they cannot beat the old flavour.
Never used usenet - is it safe from viruses?
Not as far as I know. The content is still not controlled by anyone if I remember correctly.
I guess you'll be alright if you keep your virus scanner fired up, don't use stuff that has weird file endings (the famous "why is this movie file in .exe format?" or "if this is self-extracting, why can't I extract them with my winrar like usual" syndrome), and get your postings from a nice forum, your system is safe.
The main advantage - beyond the "cannot be traced" part, which only matters if you download stuff you don't want to have traced - is the speed. Since the stuff rests on servers, you can get everything full speed.