WotC halts sales/downloads from rpgnow.com part 2

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Of the two approaches to hobby games today, one is best defined as the realism-simulation school and the other as the game school. AD&D is assuredly an adherent of the latter school. It does not stress any realism (in the author's opinon an absurd effort at best considering the topic!). It does little to attempt to simulate anything either. (AD&D) is first and foremost a game for the fun and enjoyment of those who seek the use of imagination and creativity.... In all cases, however, the reader should understand that AD&D is designed to be an amusing and diverting pastime, something which an fill a few hours or consume endless days, as the participants desire, but in no case something to be taken too seriously. For fun, excitement and captivating fantasy, AD&D is unsurpassed.As a realistic simulation of things from the realm of make-believe or even as a reflection of midieval or ancient warfare or culture or society, it can be deemed only a dismal failure. Readers who seek the later must search elsewhere. - Gary Gygax. 1e DMG.
Yeah, we were probably due for a fresh piece of paper. Otherwise, this is just my 'mark' on the new thread.

-Polaris
subscription notice only
If only things were so clear cut and easy...
Suck it up and drive on.
So far, I have not posted on this issue, preferring to lurk in the background and lul at the fecal storm that has been going on, but I think it is time to let my honest opinion be known.

The decision to pull PDFs, while completely legal and understandable, was the most stupid and counterproductive decision that WotC could have made regarding the piracy issue. I understand that the double watermark was designed more as a tracking device than a security measure, and that it could only work once. I also understand that illegal downloading is an issue of concern. However angering your fan base, and inciting nerd rage is not the most intelligent way to deal with such a problem.

That said, there is a subset of the nerds complaining who are stuck on some entitlement binge because the distributes they patronize/d chose to advertise the opportunity for multiple downloads of a file. This was mainly in information loss due to computer crash, or corrupt transfer, and was a wise offer on this level. Wotc has made plans with some of the distributors to assuage the anger of these persons, whether or not their entitlement is correct.

Nobody could imagine that Wotc would pull the files in the way that they did. It has been pointed out that Goodman Games and a number of other smaller companies have pulled PDFs in the past, but handled it in a way that the community felt was correct. This shows that the community is not entirely unreasonable when treated with respect.

As to the cause of piracy, I believe a significant portion of the world at large feels that pure information is something that must be free to all, while still giving compensation to the creators of that information. That compensation is based on two things; the cost of production, and the quality/value of the work itself.

It seems there are a great many who are happy to purchase the information in the form of dead tree and chemical elixirs, and pay for the cost of production thereof, but who are not willing to pay the same, or nearly the same price for the same information in the form ones and aughts transferred electronically through the ether. There is a perception that neither the cost of production, nor the value of the work is enough to charge that much. Obviously there are some who feel that it is.

I personally stay neutral on this matter, as I only purchase dead tree and chemical, but Wotc may loose yet an other customer altogether over this, if the matter is not resolved quickly and satisfactorily. I support the gaming community over a corperation any day.
The cryptography debate seems to have died down, but I think there's some relevant points that I hadn't seen addressed.

Firstly for Polaris, I've taken courses on both applied and theoretical cryptography and I've written my own implementations of DES, AES, and Blowfish.

The issue isn't one of cryptography per se, pirates aren't interested in breaking the watermarks, they want to find them. This is really an issue of steganogrophy, which is basically security via obscurity and isn't a truly viable defense.
Are we allowed to mention other companies here? If not I'll amend my post accordingly, being as on the Rackham forums one can't mention GW or WotC, they're referred to respectively as that UK company and that Seattle/American company.

This bickering over a company's actions isn't new to me, and could point to BSG, though prefer Gall Force as an example of a cycle.

A few years ago GW US - came as a surprise to GW UK - used the IP issue with use of its images as a means of monopolizing on internet sales and mail order. At the time I was posting on the Warhammer Players Society and thought that not only was this a boneheaded move, but it restricted one's choices, there were others in agreement with my reasoning. GW claimed they were supporting the brick & mortar sellers in enacting this ban: internet sellers had to have a physical store and phone lines. Any clear-headed person could deduce that this is a crock, as many of the former were the latter and now that they could only sell over the phone, it'll cost more to have additional lines and staff. Many stores started liquidating their GW stock and/or getting out of internet sales, with only a few having the capital to make the switch to phone orders.

Things were tense enough as is on the WPS forums, when the first shots were made, can't recall if it was one of the yes men/fanboyz or almost everyone else lumped by them into the "hater" faction - the mentality of "if you're not with us, you're against us." Things escalated to colorful language starting with the former calling the latter no good cheapskates and "The Hobby" would be better off without you lot and the latter calling them everything short of Nazis - some did use evil in the same sentence as GW. Soon "volunteers" started showing for both sides: someone would say "I've been a lurker for so long, but though I'd chime in now and say you haters are full of ****." The other side's "hired gun" would enter the fray, being just as if not nastier than the fanatics. I noticed that some of the most fanatical GW supporters are from Scandinavia, found out years later that most wargaming in places like Finland's nothing but Warhammer.

Tried to remain neutral, while pointing out the problem with GW US's business practices, but soon was lumped in with the "haters" - like the Russian Civil War. The greater part of a week or two, ended up being angry on the forum in what turned out to be a BB's equivalent of a WWF Royal Rumble.:D Mods would step in, truces would be called for, but these would soon be broken one person or another seeking a rematch. Eventually the place became like Cold War Berlin and all this hostility was for naught, as GW US could only use this IP excuse in the US, as EU, Canada and other countries have rules against this type of business practice.

Karma - not the sitcom - being what it is, a few months later the Warhammer Players Society(WPS) decided to switch to a subscription based format for the forum, due to bandwidth issues. The most vociferous opponents of this move were the same fanboys who had called others cheapskates and scum.:D There's a moral to be learned from this longwinded tale, but I'll leave it for y'all to decide...
Continue the discussion here:
http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1175731

(Before anyone asks, huge threads have a tendency to crash. They don't always, but it's better to deal with it now before it becomes an issue. )

You know what helps avoid those crashes? Not doing something that prompts so many angry responses... ;)
D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
You know what helps avoid those crashes? Not doing something that prompts so many angry responses... ;)

Oh but that's the thing. 4E was supposed to turn off the obsessive, over-reactive nerds and bring in the complacent video game sheep ;) Who could possibly have predicted that the entirely new customer base would actually care
Oh but that's the thing. 4E was supposed to turn off the obsessive, over-reactive nerds and bring in the complacent video game sheep ;) Who could possibly have predicted that the entirely new customer base would actually care

On the contrary, videogame fans tend to be even more explosive. Ever live through a console war?
On the contrary, videogame fans tend to be even more explosive. Ever live through a console war?

I ROFLed truly the cure for what ales you.
So... summarizing

* WotC has every right to protect their IP

* Pulling PDFs did nothing to prevent theft as previously hosted files had already been stolen and are a permanent net fixture.

* New options for digital versions of books will be designed to prevent theft

* Which might have been more effective if the fanbase had not been threatened, effectively challenging pirates to copy Arcane Power as quickly as possible.

* Theft of PHB2 dwarfed legitimate downloads 10:1

* They say that they CAN track this (although I'm curious how).

* RPGNow has an up-coming Final Download day
http://www.rpgnow.com/wizards_letter.php

* 8 people were charged for pirating the PHB2 through hidden watermarks. However, by removing downloadable pdfs this will not be effective in stopping future piracy

* Greg Leeds interviewed here:
http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/14726.html
and here:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/news/254134-exclusive-interview-wizards-coast-president-greg-leeds.html

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

Also check out my books at 5mwd.com/publishingIncluding Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuildinga compilation of my blog series on Worldbuilding.

 

* RPGNow has an up-coming Final Download day
http://www.rpgnow.com/wizards_letter.php

Good to see some sanity returning. Now if we can only get a "Last Chance to Buy It" day.
The cryptography debate seems to have died down, but I think there's some relevant points that I hadn't seen addressed.

Firstly for Polaris, I've taken courses on both applied and theoretical cryptography and I've written my own implementations of DES, AES, and Blowfish.

The issue isn't one of cryptography per se, pirates aren't interested in breaking the watermarks, they want to find them. This is really an issue of steganogrophy, which is basically security via obscurity and isn't a truly viable defense.

Well, you're right but that backs up what I've been saying all along. Security via obscurity is a technique that only works once. Once the bad guys are aware that you've done that, they will be aware of it and the rest should be obvious. The only reason cypto came into it was because cypto was being used as a justification why this double technique would work as a general solution (by Devire I believe).

-Polaris
* 8 people were charged for pirating the PHB2 through hidden watermarks. However, by removing downloadable pdfs this will not be effective in stopping future piracy

The purpose of watermarking isn't to prevent piracy, its to catch pirates.
The best thing WotC can do, and the only thing that I think would make sense, is offer free pdf downloads to those who purchase the books. Possibly make it a FLGS only offer.
The purpose of watermarking isn't to prevent piracy, its to catch pirates.

And the purpose for catching pirates is to punish them in order to hypothetically anyway have a deterring effect on those who wish to pirate in the future. Thus watermarking IS designed ultimately to prevent piracy (by deterring it). However, ultimately visible watermarking is really designed to stake a company's legal claim to it's IP making it impossible for others to claim that they didn't try to 'protect' their IP. It's like putting a lock on your door or writing your name in ink in your book.

-Polaris
So... summarizing

* WotC has every right to protect their IP

* Pulling PDFs did nothing to prevent theft as previously hosted files had already been stolen and are a permanent net fixture.

* New options for digital versions of books will be designed to prevent theft

* Which might have been more effective if the fanbase had not been threatened, effectively challenging pirates to copy Arcane Power as quickly as possible.

* Theft of PHB2 dwarfed legitimate downloads 10:1

* They say that they CAN track this (although I'm curious how).

* RPGNow has an up-coming Final Download day
http://www.rpgnow.com/wizards_letter.php

* 8 people were charged for pirating the PHB2 through hidden watermarks. However, by removing downloadable pdfs this will not be effective in stopping future piracy

* Greg Leeds interviewed here:
http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/14726.html
and here:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/news/254134-exclusive-interview-wizards-coast-president-greg-leeds.html

* People are now unable to buy any of the earlier rule versions of D&D in PDF form. Despite the fact, that these rules weren't the ones being pirated and didn't threaten to hurt WOTC bricks and mortar sales.
The best thing WotC can do, and the only thing that I think would make sense, is offer free pdf downloads to those who purchase the books. Possibly make it a FLGS only offer.

WotC discussed that at one point and determined it wasn't feasible. The problem is that it basically wasn't possible to prove who owned a book.

Putting a code in a book meant that the code could be "stolen" by someone who didn't buy the book. The only real way to deal with that was to seal the book and WotC wanted the books to be easily perused by interested buyers. Similarly, a receipt mail-in system wasn't really feasible either.

-SYB
Similarly, a receipt mail-in system wasn't really feasible either

Collectible miniature game and CCG companies have done promotional mail in stuff and had it work. For example, Privateer Press has had loads of receipt/box top mail in promos for Monsterpocalypse.

The D&D books basically lack box tops and foil card wrappers to send in. They need some sort of substitute for that.

But it really doesn't matter. Despite rampant piracy, 4e books are selling great. Right now people are downloading the D&D stuff for free (albeit illegally) and WotC is making no revenue from that. So why not make an easy to implement cheap PDF solution (like a coupon code printed right in the book) and not care if people share it?

The problem is that it basically wasn't possible to prove who owned a book.

And I think they shouldn't care. So what if anyone can just look in a copy of the book at the book store and see the code for a cheap PDF of PHB2 is X89B33? It's already being downloaded for free and WotC is making no money off that. So why not let everyone get a cheap PDF? It's certainly not going to bring in less revenue than their current plan for electronic distribution (giving the pirates a 100% monopoly on electronic copies).
The best thing WotC can do, and the only thing that I think would make sense, is offer free pdf downloads to those who purchase the books. Possibly make it a FLGS only offer.

I think they should go cheap rather than free. But the FLGS only idea is great. FLGSs(?) already know how to get into contact with Wizards about organized play and all that. You can use the same system to distribute little coupon cards to the stores that they give people to go online to get a discount on the PDF copy. Someone buys the book, the guy behind the counter hands them the card with their receipt.
Mr.Leeds wants opinions from us 3.Xers supposedly. I think it is more PR, but I have not problem having him put on the spot.

click me
The purpose of watermarking isn't to prevent piracy, its to catch pirates.

Or to punish the innocent. I'm sure their lawyers will invariably use it as a defense, but the prosecution really needs to prove that it was the owners of the original pdf's that uploaded them. If some guy downloaded his copy of PHB2 through his wireless his neighbor could have broken his WEP key and duplicated the download. Now his neighbor uploads it to piratebay while the original shmoe gets dragged to court by WOTC. What if someone had access to his computer and a jump drive, 15 seconds later they could have a copy of it? What if someone broke his account password on the site he purchased it from and just downloaded a copy of it? What if he was using his material on a third party computer and someone recovered a copy of it from RAM or temp files after he was done?

Watermarks give you a starting location at best, from there it really depends what your tolerance is for type 1 errors.
WotC discussed that at one point and determined it wasn't feasible. The problem is that it basically wasn't possible to prove who owned a book.

Putting a code in a book meant that the code could be "stolen" by someone who didn't buy the book. The only real way to deal with that was to seal the book and WotC wanted the books to be easily perused by interested buyers. Similarly, a receipt mail-in system wasn't really feasible either.

-SYB

Another example of WoTC's faith in humanity and it's trust of customers. They could have just made it a really, really long code printed in the book so that if it were to be stolen, the person would have to take the time to copy it down. That would have probably deterred a good chunk of people from stealing it.
Another example of WoTC's faith in humanity and it's trust of customers. They could have just made it a really, really long code printed in the book so that if it were to be stolen, the person would have to take the time to copy it down. That would have probably deterred a good chunk of people from stealing it.

Isn't it obvious that having all of your pdfs pirated is a better option than having some them them pirated?

(Anonymous Wotc Executive)

-Polaris
I've removed or altered content from this thread because baiting is a violation of the Code of Conduct. Please review the Code of Conduct here.

Please keep your posts polite, respectful, and on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks.
Hah! Like I'm even remotely close to the only one. Go ahead, tell me that I'm wrong....you can't becasue you know I'm not.

-Polaris

Your wrong.

Sure, you aren't the only one saying these things, but majority doesn't make truth. Your wrong.

First, you have never proven that this move is morally wrong. You can spew out platitudes about how this decision will only force people to pirate, but in all honesty if its only a matter of convenience that keeps people from breaking the law, then those people probably deserve to go to jail just like those eight hopefully will. If convenience is all it takes to stop you from breaking the law, then you deserve to rot as well.

Some laws are immoral, but to threaten a company with theft-to threaten to violate the rights of the game developers who put their sweat and blood into the game-because they chose to stop providing you with a service they gave freely, is the worst sort of crime. This behavior reveals you to be little better than a brute with a club. What you can't have you will take by force.

Granted, you have yet to come out and advocate piracy explicity, but your posts drip with a subtle menace and approval of those people who would steal from WotC as a matter of convenience. This leads me to think that you may be one of them. If I am wrong, oh well.

You can rationalize that it isn't theft all you want. Really. The fact of the matter is you are taking WotC's ideas from them without their consent or restitution. Theft is theft.

You have also failed to prove that this is a bad financial move. Once again you spew platitudes and bromides common among piracy apologists. You do not have the numbers to prove that this will increase piracy, or to disprove that the pdf sales didn't radically increase piracy.

To put it simply, your wrong. Or perhaps better, it is you who cannot prove yourself right.

If I am wrong, demonstrate it. Provide me with numbers, studies, and the like that demonstrate your position. So far your only tactic, like any good apologist, is to try and shift the burden of proof on others and appeal to some vague common knowledge which you refuse to identify or explain.

If you are truly right in this matter, it should be easy to demonstrate. So far, we are left waiting.
I am a: Lawful Good Dragonborn Paladin
So... summarizing

* WotC has every right to protect their IP

* Pulling PDFs did nothing to prevent theft as previously hosted files had already been stolen and are a permanent net fixture.

* New options for digital versions of books will be designed to prevent theft

* Which might have been more effective if the fanbase had not been threatened, effectively challenging pirates to copy Arcane Power as quickly as possible.

* Theft of PHB2 dwarfed legitimate downloads 10:1

* They say that they CAN track this (although I'm curious how).

* RPGNow has an up-coming Final Download day
http://www.rpgnow.com/wizards_letter.php

* 8 people were charged for pirating the PHB2 through hidden watermarks. However, by removing downloadable pdfs this will not be effective in stopping future piracy

* Greg Leeds interviewed here:
http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/14726.html
and here:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/news/254134-exclusive-interview-wizards-coast-president-greg-leeds.html

My comments on this:

New digital measures designed to prevent theft will inevitably fail.

Even with no official digital books at all, there will still be pirated digital books available.

I seriously doubt they can track downloads that easily and yet aren't doing anything about it.

They still haven't realized that pirated downloads might actually give them more customers (in the way of free advertising for the dead tree manuals).
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
Your wrong.

Sure, you aren't the only one saying these things, but majority doesn't make truth. Your wrong.

First, you have never proven that this move is morally wrong. You can spew out platitudes about how this decision will only force people to pirate, but in all honesty if its only a matter of convenience that keeps people from breaking the law, then those people probably deserve to go to jail just like those eight hopefully will. If convenience is all it takes to stop you from breaking the law, then you deserve to rot as well.

Some laws are immoral, but to threaten a company with theft-to threaten to violate the rights of the game developers who put their sweat and blood into the game-because they chose to stop providing you with a service they gave freely, is the worst sort of crime. This behavior reveals you to be little better than a brute with a club. What you can't have you will take by force.

Granted, you have yet to come out and advocate piracy explicity, but your posts drip with a subtle menace and approval of those people who would steal from WotC as a matter of convenience. This leads me to think that you may be one of them. If I am wrong, oh well.

You can rationalize that it isn't theft all you want. Really. The fact of the matter is you are taking WotC's ideas from them without their consent or restitution. Theft is theft.

You have also failed to prove that this is a bad financial move. Once again you spew platitudes and bromides common among piracy apologists. You do not have the numbers to prove that this will increase piracy, or to disprove that the pdf sales didn't radically increase piracy.

To put it simply, your wrong. Or perhaps better, it is you who cannot prove yourself right.

If I am wrong, demonstrate it. Provide me with numbers, studies, and the like that demonstrate your position. So far your only tactic, like any good apologist, is to try and shift the burden of proof on others and appeal to some vague common knowledge which you refuse to identify or explain.

If you are truly right in this matter, it should be easy to demonstrate. So far, we are left waiting.

There's sweat and blood in my books? Ewww. Did they have a fight to the death whenever there was a disagreement about a rule?

Seriously, step down from the pedestal and take a deep breath. Yeah he hasn't proven himself right, but neither has he been proven wrong. TAnd trying to prove any financial points without data that WotC isn't going to provide is equally futile. If he was making statements that could be proven, I'd support you on calling him out. In this case, trying to prove or disprove his points is like trying to prove that God exists.

Besides, as you pointed out, he isn't the only one that shares these views. Doesn't make it right, but doesn't make it wrong either.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
If they're not going to actively sell PDFs, I think they should at least go with the idea for a cheap download with each book purchase. Proving purchase and avoiding stolen codes would appear to be the major stumbling blocks. I don't think digital downloads are insurmountable as we've been led to believe though. It would require a bit more work but wouldn't it be worth it?

Actually proving purchase won't work; it'll just end up stolen somehow. Download codes could still work though. Put a code on an insert card (like those subscription stubs in magazines). If and when a card gets stolen have replacement cards available at the front register (enough to cover each book in inventory).

Make sure the customer is aware of this prior to purchase because the cashier will undoubtedly forget. Putting the burden on the customer may seem unreasonable. Put a note in red letters on the back cover however and I'd bet they'll be interested enough to do their part. Everyone checks the back before buying, yeah :P? If they do miss it the first time, I'd bet they catch on next time.

As long as a stolen code can be easily replaced there's no problem, and security becomes less of an obstacle. The most important thing is to make as sure as possible that the customer is aware of and gets a cheap download of their purchase.

There's simply no way to avoid stolen codes; that's why the original plan fell through. I think the issue has been over-analyzed though. I say do what is reasonable/possible (use long/complex codes for instance) and then move on. If a code is stolen, the thief still has to pay a negligible price for the downlaod (assuming he or she doesn't just find an illegal copy to begin with of course).

Anyway, just some rambling thoughts on the abandoned idea for cheap PDF downloads ;).
/\ Art
Nyronus,

I have not, do not, and never have advocated piracy as my posts in the prior thread to this made abundantly clear. In fact I rather despise pirates as I've made clear many times. In fact it's a bit more visceral than for a lot of you because I actually was on the other side (being a former computer security manager).

I also am a realist when it comes to pirates which can not be said for Wotc (nor the RIAA or MPAA or some others).

As for my point about the "anonymous Wotc executive" it was snark. I don't know what Wotc is saying, but their actions prompted the snark and so I am sticking by it. I should have clearly labled it sarcasm. I am saying it was now.

-Polaris
If they're not going to actively sell PDFs, I think they should at least go with the idea for a cheap download with each book purchase. Proving purchase and avoiding stolen codes would appear to be the major stumbling blocks. I don't think digital downloads are insurmountable as we've been led to believe though. It would require a bit more work but wouldn't it be worth it?

Actually proving purchase won't work; it'll just end up stolen somehow. Download codes could still work though. Put a code on an insert card (like those subscription stubs in magazines). If and when a card gets stolen have replacement cards available at the front register (enough to cover each book in inventory).

Make sure the customer is aware of this prior to purchase because the cashier will undoubtedly forget. Putting the burden on the customer may seem unreasonable. Put a note in red letters on the back cover however and I'd bet they'll be interested enough to do their part. Everyone checks the back before buying, yeah :P? If they do miss it the first time, I'd bet they catch on next time.

As long as a stolen code can be easily replaced there's no problem, and security becomes less of an obstacle. The most important thing is to make as sure as possible that the customer is aware of and gets a cheap download of their purchase.

There's simply no way to avoid stolen codes; that's why the original plan fell through. I think the issue has been over-analyzed though. I say do what is reasonable/possible (use long/complex codes for instance) and then move on. If a code is stolen, the thief still has to pay a negligible price for the downlaod (assuming he or she doesn't just find an illegal copy to begin with of course).

Anyway, just some rambling thoughts on the abandoned idea for cheap PDF downloads ;).

Well the problem with that is as soon as one thief or even a legitimate buyer gets the file and seeds it through bittorrent or something, it becomes available to everyone again.

As for the replacement cards at the register, in that case why not have ALL the cards at the register and don't have any in the book in the first place (excepting books ordered online of course).

EDIT: However, even though it would not stop piracy, a cheap or free download with purchase of the hardcover book might at least reduce it, plus increase sales. I know I would buy a lot more books if I was getting a free pdf with the book, and the cost to WotC would be negligible.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
I think most of us agree in the final analysis (as the RIAA and MPAA found out the hard way .... at least i-tunes learned it), is that the best and most effective way of compating data piracy (which can never be eliminated) is to reduce the barrier both in cost and convenience for the legal option. How this is done is a matter of hashing out the details.

I-Tunes gets it. Wotc apparently doesn't.

-Polaris
Nyronus,

I have not, do not, and never have advocated piracy as my posts in the prior thread to this made abundantly clear. In fact I rather despise pirates as I've made clear many times. In fact it's a bit more visceral than for a lot of you because I actually was on the other side (being a former computer security manager).

I also am a realist when it comes to pirates which can not be said for Wotc (nor the RIAA or MPAA or some others).

As for my point about the "anonymous Wotc executive" it was snark. I don't know what Wotc is saying, but their actions prompted the snark and so I am sticking by it. I should have clearly labled it sarcasm. I am saying it was now.

-Polaris

So because you can't conceive of a way to stop the thugs right now, we should stop trying to stop them altogether? This attitude does far more to help the pirates flourish than anything else.

Its interesting that you turn around and say you were only kidding when I call you for being bogus, and yet demand that others "prove you wrong." Its also very bad that you make fun of a person whom you just admitted you had no clue what they were saying. You have no evidence to support your position, which is apparently "give up because the bad guys will always win," and you just admitted it by stating you really have no clue what WotC is doing or saying.

Why should I listen to you?
I am a: Lawful Good Dragonborn Paladin
So because you can't conceive of a way to stop the thugs right now, we should stop trying to stop them altogether? This attitude does far more to help the pirates flourish than anything else.

I haven't seen anyone suggest that yet. Saying WotC needs to go about it differently is not the same as saying WotC should ignore it and hope it goes away.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
So because you can't conceive of a way to stop the thugs right now, we should stop trying to stop them altogether? This attitude does far more to help the pirates flourish than anything else.

No, it really doesn't. In fact, it does the opposite. Realizing when a certain approach won't work frees up resources to pursue and approach that has a higher chance of succeeding.

You have no evidence to support your position, which is apparently "give up because the bad guys will always win,"

First, it's not "give up" but "try another tactic". It's the smart move to try something different. Doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results is one definition of insanity.

Furthermore, there is evidence. You'll find it by looking at the amount of web traffic that makes up illegal distribution of digital material. For all the money the RIAA and the MPAA spent on suing people and "fighting" piracy, they have failed.

The plus side is that while some people don't learn and keep trying the same thing over and over, others have learned. TV execs are putting their shows on their websites for free. Music, TV and movies are being distributed at a reasonable cost through a digital format. While some people try the same tactics that have proven unsuccessful again and again, others are learning that the real way to combat piracy is not through heavy handedness but through direct competition in the digital front.

Why should I listen to you?

Because he's being reasonable and realistic and has experience in these matters? Because he's not saying what you accuse him of saying?

In short, you've got him wrong and don't understand his position.
Well the problem with that is as soon as one thief or even a legitimate buyer gets the file and seeds it through bittorrent or something, it becomes available to everyone again.

As for the replacement cards at the register, in that case why not have ALL the cards at the register and don't have any in the book in the first place (excepting books ordered online of course).

EDIT: However, even though it would not stop piracy, a cheap or free download with purchase of the hardcover book might at least reduce it, plus increase sales. I know I would buy a lot more books if I was getting a free pdf with the book, and the cost to WotC would be negligible.

And the moment the books physically come out, they WILL appear on torrent sites, and other means of downloading them (HINT: they are already physically out). Multiple pirates WILL appear swiftly, as soon as they possibly can. Not may, will. Barring the collapse of the 'net, or civilization as we know it, this is not a "may happen" occurrence (again, HINT: the book is already physically out...).

Removing the for-sale PDFs does absolutely nothing productive for WotC. All is accomplishes is cutting off their only valid revenue stream of that sort of product.

Does WotC have the right to remove the PDFs?

Absolutely. Of course they do.

It is morally wrong for them to do so?

Absolutely not, in any way, shape, or form.

Is it incredibly foolish of them to take their only cut of the pie of the digital medium market off said market?

Abso-frigging-lutely. The consumers have every right to tell them right to their face that a given policy or action is incredibly foolish, short-sighted, stupid, or whatever other more colorful terms or phrases one wishes to address to them relaying such a point of view. Moreover, this move DOES actively and wholly remove an entire segment of their customer base who WANT to pay them for their products (albeit they ONLY want to purchase the product in a digital form, for a multitude of potential reasons). To all the folks pointing out the recording and motion picture/television industry, who learned the hard way that this is the wrong approach, yes, yes, yes. This is the worst possible strategy WotC could possibly have taken with regards to this problem.

Sorry, telling WotC this is ridiculously boneheaded is calling a spade a spade. Nothing more, nothing less.
I haven't seen anyone suggest that yet. Saying WotC needs to go about it differently is not the same as saying WotC should ignore it and hope it goes away.

I think most of us agree in the final analysis (as the RIAA and MPAA found out the hard way .... at least i-tunes learned it), is that the best and most effective way of compating data piracy (which can never be eliminated) is to reduce the barrier both in cost and convenience for the legal option. How this is done is a matter of hashing out the details.

I-Tunes gets it. Wotc apparently doesn't.

-Polaris

So, in other words, give up fighting pirates directly (because you can't), and pray you make enough of them happy with you that they'll stop stealing from you and give you some money.

Give up because the bad guys will always win.

You should really try reading more of the thread bone-naga.

Edit: Also:

First, it's not "give up" but "try another tactic". It's the smart move to try something different. Doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results is one definition of insanity.

Furthermore, there is evidence. You'll find it by looking at the amount of web traffic that makes up illegal distribution of digital material. For all the money the RIAA and the MPAA spent on suing people and "fighting" piracy, they have failed.

The plus side is that while some people don't learn and keep trying the same thing over and over, others have learned. TV execs are putting their shows on their websites for free. Music, TV and movies are being distributed at a reasonable cost through a digital format. While some people try the same tactics that have proven unsuccessful again and again, others are learning that the real way to combat piracy is not through heavy handedness but through direct competition in the digital front.

So, in other words, give up fighting and pray you make them happy enough not to steal from you. I understand exactly what your saying. Your saying that it is to hard to fight them so we should stop trying and do what they want instead of bringing them to justice.

Its letting the bad guys win.

Edit: You know, part of trying another tactic might to be say stop selling the exploitable material for a time until you figure out the best option. Like, say, what WotC is doing now.
I am a: Lawful Good Dragonborn Paladin
Give up because the bad guys will always win.

How in the world is making the pirates irrelevant giving up and letting them win?

A friend of mine is a fan of Lost. He's also an aid worker and finds himself in countries where Lost isn't aired. He wants to watch it anyway and has internet access. So he hops onto iTunes and buys the latest episode.

The pirates lost! They were irrelevant. They didn't get another person seeding a torrent. They don't have another person contributing to the scene/pirate community. The content makers got paid.

Low barrier digital distribution is fighting the pirates.

Edit: You know, part of trying another tactic might to be say stop selling the exploitable material for a time until you figure out the best option. Like, say, what WotC is doing now.

And we'll have hard numbers about this very quickly. We'll see how long it is until Arcane Power is up on the torrent sites. Some say it already is.

We also have hard numbers from the past. They include:

The amount of uploads and downloads of D&D PDFs prior to when D&D books were available for sale as PDFs. In short-- every book was easily available and widely distributed on the torrent sites and other file sharing options.

The amount of money WotC makes selling PDFs vs not selling PDFs. Past revenue was sales = pirate copies divided by 10. Current revenue = zero.

I put forward that trying the same tactics that don't work over and over is truly the position of letting the bad guys win. You are advocating victory for the pirates by supporting bad tactics that won't work. Your position is the one that means you give up and let them win because you are intentionally embracing tactics that don't work. Shame on you :D
So, in other words, give up fighting pirates directly (because you can't), and pray you make enough of them happy with you that they'll stop stealing from you and give you some money.

Give up because the bad guys will always win.

You should really try reading more of the thread bone-naga.

No, you don't GIVE UP. I do not see the other posters saying, "Give up!". They are saying, "Change your strategy! This strategy has been proven by multiple industries, at an enormous cost of resources, to not only not work, but to dramatically reduce sales revenue." The labels and companies that encourage free downloads through legitimate means, who don't remove all digital products they offer wholesale, who DON'T try to uber-encrypt or otherwise attempt to safeguard the info or put it out only through proprietary forms, and/or put out reasonably priced digital versions of their products are making MORE MONEY than those who are trying to slam as many legal and technological hammers as they possibly can into the problem.

Again, this does literally nothing to stop pirating. The PDFs will (and are, right now) appearing nearly as swiftly as they previously were before the PDFs were pulled. They are merely high-quality scanned PDFs instead. All this move does is turn a couple-hour turnover into a couple-day turnover (at best). That's it. While totally removing the revenue stream of legitimate digital sales in its entirety. Brilliant!
So, in other words, give up fighting pirates directly (because you can't), and pray you make enough of them happy with you that they'll stop stealing from you and give you some money.

Give up because the bad guys will always win.

True Story: Spending $10K to recover $1K in sales is a good business plan.

>_>

And this is the end of the opposite sketch.

The problem with many hard DRM systems is that you only inconvenience hackers (there was a massive encryption code for one game that was broken in 24 hours because of some insight as to where to start the brute forcing), while simultaneously ticking off your legitimate customers and sending them to the embrace of the very people your methods are trying to remove.

Switching from PDF format to some encrypted file format only adds a couple of hoops that will stop few of the people that care most; it will reduce some amount of casual pirating that leads to the most sales loss, but will possibly end up having people that buy the file end up needing the pirated PDF-conversion because the proprietary format file doesn't work on all systems. They might try and keep it server-side, so you pay to view it through some web app, but that's not super-convenient, and runs into precisely the same problems.