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Post Posted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 11:37 pm 
 

Deadlord: That seems a bit much to me- since my grandparents have actually had their savings ripped off I have a pretty good idea of what constitutes stealing. I ain't no thief, and frankly it just isn't your place to label anybody immoral.

Perhaps your definition of "using" a pdf is different than mine- I just read the damn things, and I have NO intention of making money from them. Sheesh, if I like it enough I will buy a copy of the legit thing.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 12:16 am 
 

I think the point Deadlord was making was that there is no grey area. And he's right - something cannot be a 'bit' illegal - it is or it isn't.
Degrees of how serious a crime is is very subjective (It's always worse if it happens to you!), but nevertheless a crime is a crime.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 6:58 am 
 

RWilson wrote:Perhaps your definition of "using" a pdf is different than mine- I just read the damn things, and I have NO intention of making money from them. Sheesh, if I like it enough I will buy a copy of the legit thing.


i don't think DL 36 was out to insult anyone with his comment but his point was very strong and well made though.

PDF files are just the same as MP3's. you can look at it in whatever way you want, but its true.

do mp3's affect the music industry? theres your answer. pdf's are no different.

Al



  

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 7:56 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
RWilson wrote:Perhaps your definition of "using" a pdf is different than mine- I just read the damn things, and I have NO intention of making money from them. Sheesh, if I like it enough I will buy a copy of the legit thing.


i don't think DL 36 was out to insult anyone with his comment but his point was very strong and well made though.

PDF files are just the same as MP3's. you can look at it in whatever way you want, but its true.

do mp3's affect the music industry? theres your answer. pdf's are no different.

Al


Hope I don't offend anyone I buy things from with this  :)

I agree to a point. PDF files of current in print items will affect the gaming industry and I would hope that companies would try to find violaters selling their products they are currently producing and take all legal steps they can.

If an item is out of print it is not affecting the gaming industry. It is affecting the aftermarket resellers. Now it is still wrong but you can not compare someone selling a PDF file of a module that was printed 25 years ago, will not ever be reprinted, and is exceedingly rare and the average person could never hope to see to an MP3 of the latest Keith Urban song. To get it to that point you would have to have an MP3 of a studio cut of a Nina Simone song that was never recorded to vinyl, yet was still once made available somehow. The first affects the artist, the company and the industry. The second affects the collectibles market and the resller market.

Regardless it is still wrong. Just not the straw that will break the back of the gaming industry. It may in fact help current sales of direct retail products. If someone buys PDFs of out of print Forgotten Realms items they may eventually start buying paper copies of the new items. The reason being that unlike MP3s, copies of PDF files printed from a lser printer will never compare to owning the original.

Now will it hurt the aftermarket resellers. Some yes. Those selling mass produced items like the new Wizards items will feel the pinch. But then they can help their businesses by the selling of mid-range items and the premium ticket items which can allow for a greater margin.

Please understand I do not have it out for resellers. The number of items I buy on eBay indicates that. I do though think that the fact that PDF files of most items exist are not killing the market for most resellers though. Look at the price increases in most "collectible" items over the last few months. If you are trying to make a business selling in print gaming items on the web their is a lot of competition out there from the Amazons, Barnes & Noble etc and the fact that PDF files exist are not the thing that hurts the most I would expect.


Information Superhighway - A Rough Whimper of Insanity - Scott Hansen

  


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Post Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 12:16 pm 
 

Yes, it is a good point and I don't have a problem with Deadlord....I have a quick temper and I responded rather offhandedly. Yes I agree it is illegal, and I have exactly two pdfs (OB3 and To the City of Brass) but that does not make me a thief, or immoral, nor was he calling me such as he does not know me specifically, it was a good point made in a general sense...that was my confusion, so no hard feelings anywhere.  :oops:  :lol:  :oops:  :lol:  :oops:  :lol:

  

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 12:23 pm 
 

I should have added that I personally don't give a crap if soemone uses PDF's or not. Not too long ago I made a serious attempt to put a stop to PDF sales on eBay, and I was met with less than lukewarm assistance from WoTC, so fuck 'em.


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Post Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 2:44 pm 
 

Heh, I have found that no matter what the topic is all you can expect from WOTC is lukewarm assistance at best and no response at all at worst. Customer service is definitely not their strong suit, and that is assuming that they have a strong suit.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 5:02 pm 
 

My current stance on owning PDF copies of books:

1. You must own the original item.

OR

It must be a PDF given away for free (for example, the free downloads that DrivethruRPG and RPGNow offer, or free downloads from websites such as Palladium).

2. You must not distribute the PDF to anyone else. Free items can be advertised, and the website of the owner may be given. Direct downloads from the site aren't recommended. (for example, if I wanted to let a friend know that Valley of the Pharohs was available for free, I could point them to The Cutting Room Floor so they could acquire the game, but doing a direct download to the PDF wouldn't be kosher. The sites put this stuff up hoping that you'll buy their new product after all.)

3. Ownership of a PDF of a licensed product entitles the owner to make one print copy for personal use only. Such copies are not to be given away or sold. The exception is a "fast play" product such as GURPS Lite, which can be printed up as many times as desired and given away, pursuant to their copyrights.

Now, I say that this is my current stance, because in my past, I have been a bad boy and have acquired some PDF's for which I don't own the hardcopy. The fact that I barely bother with the disc they're on doesn't make it right to have them though, as I don't have the original (although in some cases, I did own the original and got rid of it).



  

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Post Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:06 am 
 

I make PDFs of the items I buy. I have found that the quality of PDFs available online (DrivethruRPG, RPGNow, etc.) scanned from products published pre-DTP, are pretty poor. I prefer a good quality product and I've found that a scanner and a copy of Acrobat used properly can produce results better than most online offerings. The bulk of my PDF collection is not available online, anyhow, as my interest is primarily in non-TSR OD&D and 1E.

I can see both sides of the moral debate, and appreciate the legal issues, but the threat of losing my collection to theft/fire/flood etc, and the threat of a product being lost to the collector community in general, outweigh the threat of me being prosecuted by the copyright owners.

Attrition will slowly make everything we own, rarer and also more valuable. Some unique items will disappear from the face of the earth, and others will disappear and resurface in 10 or 20 years. The uncommon, and less collected stuff will disappear faster than the more collectable and common items. Someone should be taking it upon themselves to archive these items and they pass, and I have taken it upon myself to archive the early non-TSR stuff, regardless of any moral or legal implication.


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Post Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:15 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
RWilson wrote:Perhaps your definition of "using" a pdf is different than mine- I just read the damn things, and I have NO intention of making money from them. Sheesh, if I like it enough I will buy a copy of the legit thing.


i don't think DL 36 was out to insult anyone with his comment but his point was very strong and well made though.

PDF files are just the same as MP3's. you can look at it in whatever way you want, but its true.

do mp3's affect the music industry? theres your answer. pdf's are no different.

Al


The correlation isn't that direct. When I get an mp3, I'm getting the product in the form I want it in - something I can stick into my iPod and use. When I get a .pdf, I'm getting it in a signifigantly inferior form - something I can only use on my computer, or print out and have in a vastly inferior hardcopy.

No doubt, it's still morally and legally wrong to own PDFs of stuff you don't own a hardcopy of. Although I'm not sure it's theft, if it isn't, it's thus only because of technicalities - it's still a violation of copyright.

That being said, I've got pdfs and mp3s that I shouldn't have, and the moral implications don't keep me up at night.

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Post Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:16 pm 
 

GraysonAC wrote:No doubt, it's still morally and legally wrong to own PDFs of stuff you don't own a hardcopy of. Although I'm not sure it's theft, if it isn't, it's thus only because of technicalities - it's still a violation of copyright.

That being said, I've got pdfs and mp3s that I shouldn't have, and the moral implications don't keep me up at night.

Hmm...as do I, it would seem.  I booted up the old PC the other night and found the Dragon Magazine archive PDFs still on there (haven't looked at them in 3+ years...it's the "spare" machine for when the wife is playing Diablo II and I wanna play too.  Yes, we purchased two copies, we're crazy that way.).  Since I sold the CD Set recently, I suppose I should take 'em off of there...

To my knowledge, I don't have any MP3s...I think I tried creating some from CDs I purchased, and soon realized I don't enjoy sitting at my computer listening to music (or watching DVDs).  Pretty soon the RIAA will be suing me for singing along with the radio...  :roll:

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Post Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:08 pm 
 

It seems there are  two questions here:

1) Validity/Morality/Legality of PDFs.

It is a simple issue. They are generally illegal in the context we are placing them - D&D modules and accessories. End of story. Unless the copyright holder has given permission to copy said item, you cannot (I am not talking about making a copy for use within your own home).

2) Do PDFs hurt sales of the originals?

It would take quite of a bit of research to answer that question. But, in general, I am say yes. Simply, if there were no PDFs online and available, sales could not be hindered. The simple fact that they exist and are readily available on the internet creates an environment where value can be affected. Is it being affected? No idea, but it certainly could and that is enough for me to hate the very thought PDFs.

Even though a much too large percentage of Americans think there is no right and wrong, just degrees of each, the law is the law. Everyone can make a mistake and break the law. We can err in judgement and drive our cars to fast, or miss a stop sign. But willfully reproducing a copyrighted document and placing it on the internet is not an error or misjudgement - it is a criminal act.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 4:54 am 
 

I would say that until the quality of PDFs reach the quality of the paper documents, and until they are widely available to everyone, there is no affect on market value.

The vast majority of collectables bought by collectors are not available in PDF form online. And the bulk of PDFs are incredibly poor quality.

The Dragon Magazine Archive and White Dwarf DVD do not appear to have affected the values of the magazines in hard copy, and I doubt that the overwhelming abundance of 3E pirate CDs on eBay are affecting whenther people buy into 3E D&D.

There can be no doubt that producing PDFs in morally and legally wrong. I do it because I want to preserve my collection and I can't buy good quality PDFs from the copyright holders. If for whatever reason Midkemia products or the Massconfusion tourneys disappear from the face of the earth over the coming decade, I will still have copies in PDF form.


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 9:19 am 
 

I am not going to make too serious of a post here because 1) I dont have the necessary knowledge of federal law to really make any specific argument, and 2) I am guilty of breaking those laws from time to time.  :wink:

The two cents I did want to put in were simply that I dont think that having .PDF's of current and out-of-print items is a major issue as it pertains to the market price of the actual item.  The only example I can really make is I.C.E.'s MERP line.  Several years ago, almost all of the MERP items were available for download for free on News — MERP .com Middle-earth Role Playing Tolkien RPG Community Website.  They were eventually pulled because of licensing issues.  I believe that the owners of the website thought the PDF's were legal because Iron Crown no longer existed but I dont have all the details.  Basically they were asked to cease and desist or face a lawsuit.  I had spent a good amount of time downloading the entirety of the MERP titles available along with thousands of other people before they were pulled from the site.  I still have them and enjoy reading the content once in awhile.

Do I feel bad about owning them?  Of course not.  No one is getting hurt and no one is making money from them.  I dont believe they hurt the collectability of the MERP line either.  The last few years have seen the prices for most MERP items on Ebay skyrocket.  I myself have bought several MERP items for what I thought were decent prices so it is not like I dont plan on buying anymore of them just because I have the PDF.

Now if I was putting them all on disk and trying to sell the disk on Ebay for a profit, I would expect a severe ass-kicking for that.  :twisted:

  

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:00 pm 
 

King, you just pointed out the exact problem with PDF's.
I do not necessarily have an issue with people using them. I DO have an issue with people selling them. THAT is how it hurts market value. When someone buys a PDF of a 3E core book, the seller just potentially fuked someone out of the sale of a legitimate book.


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:32 pm 
 

How can anybody believe that PDF's do not affect the market, that is just silly.  For new material I know of many people using PDF's and distributing them to other gamers instead of buying the books; this obviously impacts sales of new items and is plain theft of property.

As far old stuff goes, reprints always impact sales, especially of the rare and expensive stuff.  many collecors are readers as well (like me) and would take a PDF instead of an expensive collectors item anyday.

Anybody who thinks PDF's, photocopies or other rip-off's do not impact the market is just plain wrong


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:50 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:I doubt that the overwhelming abundance of 3E pirate CDs on eBay are affecting whenther people buy into 3E D&D.


Have to disagree with that. A good friend of mine doesn't own any D&D books - he uses the online SRD and PDFs instead. Were those unavailable, he'd have to get at least a few of the books.

PDFs definately affect the value of the cheaper items. There's really just no question about that. However, I don't think they have any affect on the high end items ($400+ or so), since anyone paying $400 for a book is collecting it, and buying it primarily for collectible reasons, not for playing reasons.

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 1:42 pm 
 

Blackmoor wrote:Anybody who thinks PDF's, photocopies or other rip-off's do not impact the market is just plain wrong


While you are entitled to your opinion, it is just that...your opinion. Sure, get a hold of the number of people that illegally copy rulebooks and such and compare the sales from WotC and other gaming producers with what would have been if there were no illegal PDF's and you will probably find a marginal impact. I would say much less of an impact than the movie and music industry is currently dealing with because of bootleg DVD's and mp3 sharing.

And as far as the out-of-print items are concerned. I dont think PDF's impact it at all. When WotC put all of the out-of-print items for free download on their website, I thought it was great so I proceeded to download everything. I didnt have most of the items they offered and wanted to see what the contents were like. That was around four or so years ago. Since then I have purchased most of those items off of Ebay or other means. One item I still do not have is The North box set for the Forgotten Realms. I simply can never find it on Ebay. If I did find it, I would probably pay way too much for it because I want one that much.

And as far as the really rare items like the Orange B3, ST1, R and RPGA series, etc. If anything the value of these items just keeps going up. Collectors arent going to settle for a copy or PDF. And most people that download the PDF's cant afford the real deal anyway.

People download illegally for all sorts of different reasons. I do think that most people do it just to get information about something they dont have in their hands at the time. Once they get it in their hands, the PDF takes a back seat and is probably not used again. I like the idea of free downloads to find out if I want to buy something or not. I do the same thing with mp3's. If I like the songs, I buy the album. If I dont, I won't. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, it was illegal to share music, not download it...and I dont share any mp3's that I download.  I dont see how that affects the music industry at all. I just dont buy a crappy CD that I wouldnt have likely bought in the first place. To me that is the same as downloading a PDF of the 3.5E Players Handbook and then deciding that the rules suck. If I had gone into a bookstore and looked through the rules I would have likely come to the same conclusion and not purchased it.

I am not going to say anyone is right or wrong. Do what you want and use your own conscience to determine that. Just because a law exists doesnt mean it is 100% lawful.

  
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