The Big Irony
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 7:27 am 
 

I guess this is just an observation that has been on my mind of late, but the copyright infringement issue has always been an area of concern on the forums.

Currently, it seems that the only entity with the actual power to stop sellers from selling pdf's (namely WOTC) is not truly concerned with pursuing it (especially of late).

And why should they be? In order to stop it on eBay alone, they would need an employee to monitor and report all infringements to eBay. . . each and every one! Even if they only addressed those reported by others (say one of us) then one of their employees would still need to pursue it.

And are they losing any money? Well, yes they are on the 3rd edition stuff, but at this point anything out of print is really of little concern to them - they still hold the rights to formally publish, so "no big deal" if a few other obscure parties make a little quick cash off of a .pdf

So, ironically, if we really wanted WOTC to step in and address the copyright issue, then we should encourage the sale of illegal pdf files. In particular 3rd edition. . . though any pdf's will do. Make it so much of an issue that WOTC has no choice but to address it and agressively attempt to pursue those who sell them (and perhaps follow with legal action).

OF COURSE, THE ABOVE IS A TONGUE-IN-CHEEK STATEMENT - we would never actually do it, but I believe that it will never be seriously addressed by the powers-that-be unless were to rise to an "unacceptable" level.


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 7:31 am 
 

Good point, but isn't it more effective (and more enjoyable) to deal with it ourselves? We should keep a Kill Chart to see how many illegal auctions are brought down.


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 7:40 am 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:Good point, but isn't it more effective (and more enjoyable) to deal with it ourselves? We should keep a Kill Chart to see how many illegal auctions are brought down.


Ditto.

Unless the PDF hits their sales, then I can't see that WotC are going to be too bothered.  So a pdf of anything out of print can't hit sales (well not directly).  So we will have to deal with those where we can.

But get 3E pdf's up to a huge level and WotC might force eBay's hand.  And this could result in a wider policing of pdf's.  Nice thought.  But unlikley though.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:06 am 
 

johnhuck wrote:
Deadlord36 wrote:Good point, but isn't it more effective (and more enjoyable) to deal with it ourselves? We should keep a Kill Chart to see how many illegal auctions are brought down.


Ditto.

Unless the PDF hits their sales, then I can't see that WotC are going to be too bothered. So a pdf of anything out of print can't hit sales (well not directly). So we will have to deal with those where we can.

But get 3E pdf's up to a huge level and WotC might force eBay's hand. And this could result in a wider policing of pdf's. Nice thought. But unlikley though.

I'm more concerned about someone making PDF or photocopy forgeries of rare/valuable stuff (stuff that affects our collecting community).  
Why do we care if someone makes PDFs of 3E again?  (Thanks for the helm, Frank, all sense of "principle" lost :) ).

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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:08 am 
 

Maybe any use of PDFs that attracts players is a good thing. I can't imagine trying to DM from a laptop using PDFs, and PDF quality will never be good enough to produce fake copies of the rarities.

Part of the pleasure of the game is leafing through a used manual, keeping your DM notes and characters in scribbles on paper, and rolling dice.

There are no end of programs out there that generate characters and role dice for you. I have a dice program for a pocket PC that rols any combination of dice, but its not the same as roling the bones.

PDFs won't harm the collectors market and will only increase WoTC's proffits.

The people who stand to lose are the small time d20 publishers.

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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:07 am 
 

PDF's of out of print material hurts all of us. PDF's of in-print material hurts the resellers. There is absolutely no benefit to us.


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:02 am 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:PDF's of out of print material hurts all of us.


Is that on the basis that it lowers the cost of OOP materials? The last ST1 I saw on eBay went for upwards of $1000, yet there has been an ST1 PDF circulating for the past two years?

Collectors will still pay top dollar for OOP material regardless of whether or not PDFs are available. I've had a PoVQ PDF for almost a year now, and yet I've just shelled out $880 for a 1st Edition.

If you owned a copy of PoVQ or ST1, do you feel threatened or cheated that other people have PDF copies?

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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:28 am 
 

Who knows what the future holds?  

PDF's just "feel" wrong.  Especially on the selling front.  I have dozens of extra CD-RW's just waiting to be filled.  I could of course use the extra cash.  But the CD's continue to sit there collecting dust.  

Spin:  Perhaps PDF"s will actually increase the value of printed material, especially rare material.  I know, it sounds crazy (perhaps maxwell's mental illness is somehow contagious through reading the forum posts), but hear me out...Unfotunately, having access to digital information will inevitably lead to the haphazard destruction of print (i.e.  some people will simply discard books or store them away without appropriate protection from the elements and time).  Additionally, every year less and less printed material will survive.  How many copies have been lost to fire, flood, and mold that we do not know about?  Annually, the rare get more rare in print.


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 11:32 am 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:
Deadlord36 wrote:PDF's of out of print material hurts all of us.


Is that on the basis that it lowers the cost of OOP materials? The last ST1 I saw on eBay went for upwards of $1000, yet there has been an ST1 PDF circulating for the past two years?

Collectors will still pay top dollar for OOP material regardless of whether or not PDFs are available. I've had a PoVQ PDF for almost a year now, and yet I've just shelled out $880 for a 1st Edition.

If you owned a copy of PoVQ or ST1, do you feel threatened or cheated that other people have PDF copies?


The real problem in my eyes on pdf's isn't the short term effects. I think ithe problem lies in the long term effects on the value of the item.  The more pdf's of an item there ends up being, the less of a potential "real" collector base there would be.  Part of the value of rare items is the mystique the surrounds them, and if the market is flooded with pdf's a lot of that mystique is lost.  Look at other types of collectibles.  What makes one unique item more expensive and collectible then another?  Why do people spend millions of dollars on a Picasso painting and not spend millions on some other artist of equal quality from the same time frame.  Its all about how eccentric an item is and the history/story that surrounds the item. "Real" Collectors want to own odd things or things that have a dramatic event or story that surrounds them.  The more fakes of an item there are the less chance that has of happening and therfore items lose potential value as less people may want them for those reasons. Just my $0.02


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 11:55 am 
 

bclarkie wrote:The real problem in my eyes on pdf's isn't the short term effects. I think ithe problem lies in the long term effects on the value of the item. The more pdf's of an item there ends up being, the less of a potential "real" collector base there would be. Part of the value of rare items is the mystique the surrounds them, and if the market is flooded with pdf's a lot of that mystique is lost. Look at other types of collectibles. What makes one unique item more expensive and collectible then another? Why do people spend millions of dollars on a Picasso painting and not spend millions on some other artist of equal quality from the same time frame. Its all about how eccentric an item is and the history/story that surrounds the item. "Real" Collectors want to own odd things or things that have a dramatic event or story that surrounds them. The more fakes of an item there are the less chance that has of happening and therfore items lose potential value as less people may want them for those reasons. Just my $0.02


If that were the case, why do UK 1st edition hardbacks of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone go for thousands of dollars. Don't these people know they can walk into any book shop and pick up a copy for a few bucks? Or download a free copy in PDF format from Kazaa?
The same could be said for all songs and books that are now deemed to be in the public domain. Why do physical early copies have value when the content is known and freely available? People aren't buying these because of the mystique.

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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:04 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:
bclarkie wrote:The real problem in my eyes on pdf's isn't the short term effects. I think ithe problem lies in the long term effects on the value of the item. The more pdf's of an item there ends up being, the less of a potential "real" collector base there would be. Part of the value of rare items is the mystique the surrounds them, and if the market is flooded with pdf's a lot of that mystique is lost. Look at other types of collectibles. What makes one unique item more expensive and collectible then another? Why do people spend millions of dollars on a Picasso painting and not spend millions on some other artist of equal quality from the same time frame. Its all about how eccentric an item is and the history/story that surrounds the item. "Real" Collectors want to own odd things or things that have a dramatic event or story that surrounds them. The more fakes of an item there are the less chance that has of happening and therfore items lose potential value as less people may want them for those reasons. Just my $0.02


If that were the case, why do UK 1st edition hardbacks of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone go for thousands of dollars. Don't these people know they can walk into any book shop and pick up a copy for a few bucks? Or download a free copy in PDF format from Kazaa?
The same could be said for all songs and books that are now deemed to be in the public domain. Why do physical early copies have value when the content is known and freely available? People aren't buying these because of the mystique.


It could be for the same reason that people in the States 5 years ago were spending thousands of dollars on Ty Beanie Babies. I think it maybe more of a fad, and in the end, 20 years down the road people will not be spending the same money for them. Perceived rarity will also spike a value of an item (e.g 1st/2nd prinitng Dieites & Demigods) but eventually the market will corrects itself in the long term if the item(s) turn out to not be so rare.


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:09 pm 
 

PDFs have impacted the values of the low-to-mid-range collectibles a bit. Prices have dropped on a lot of the cheaper RPG items. Probably a lot of that is due to the effect of eBay, and people rummaging through their closets, increasing the supply of once-scarce items. But I think that PDFs -- and don't forget there's plenty of legal ones available (DriveThruRPG.com, etc.) -- have drawn away some of the casual buyers that might have spent $20 on an OOP book, now pay $4 for a PDF.

But just like the rich and famous want "real" art, not reproductions, RPG collectors willing to pay $100 or more won't be satisfied with a PDF.

Also, PDFs are lousy at reproducing box sets, especially the poster maps.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:26 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:It could be for the same reason that people in the States 5 years ago were spending thousands of dollars on Ty Beanie Babies. I think its more of a fad and in the end, 20 years down the road people will not be spending the same money. Perceived rarity will also spike a value of an item (e.g 1st/2nd prinitng Dieites & Demigods) but eventually the market will corrects itself in the long term if the item(s) turn out to not be so rare.


Damn. There goes my pension plan.... Maybe it's about time I sell my ST1s. This time next year they'll only be worth $100.

I've got a box of something else here.... * Looks under desk * Behind boxes of junk *
Ah... Here they are... Just gimme a minute while I open this up.... Eye of the Dragon? Never heard of it. Why the hell did I buy these?

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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:01 pm 
 

As a "Reader rather than a "Collector" of OOP items, Im struggling to see why I should care that the value of low-mid rarity items has come down.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 3:13 pm 
 

As a "Reader" rather than a "Collector" of OOP items, Im struggling to see why I should care that the value of low-mid rarity items has come down.


Exactly. PDFs are here to stay, and the casual buyer is a winner for it. Collectors may not like the new reality, but it doesn't really matter.

PDFs are nice for printing a page or two from a perfect-bound manual that you don't want to wreck by smashing it into a scanner, but...

...printing out the entire 96-page book? That entails some cost in time, ink, and paper. And they still haven't developed a non-fatiguing computer screen on a portable, durable (as in droppable, like a book), inexpensive platform. When they do, E-books will spread like wildfire.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 4:35 pm 
 

Ahhhh progress!!


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 5:29 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:If that were the case, why do UK 1st edition hardbacks of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone go for thousands of dollars. Don't these people know they can walk into any book shop and pick up a copy for a few bucks? Or download a free copy in PDF format from Kazaa?


Harry Potter books can't be played. I personally will not shell out $1,000+ for ST1, since I can get the PDF and play the module. If I couldn't, I would probably pay the grand, just to be able to play it.
But, I think maybe you are right. I will start searching out/making PDF's of all the rares I own, and sell them. Makes sense to me.


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:42 pm 
 

Everyone keeps talking about this ST1 PDF but no one is listing its URL.  
Where is it?

  

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Post Posted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:51 am 
 

dathon wrote:Everyone keeps talking about this ST1 PDF but no one is listing its URL.
Where is it?


Yah!! I want one too.


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Post Posted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 2:28 am 
 

Regarding the whole issue of the legality of pdfs and a person's oponion of them. . .  I think that you can sum up the various attitude's as follows:

1- Absolutley won't have anything to do with .pdf files
2- Would own .pdf files ONLY if an original of the item were in their collection.
3 - Doesn't mind owning a few pdf's and searching for a "free" download or trading them with friends
4- Will actively seek out and buy illegal .pdf files
5- Will actively create and illegally sell .pdf files (anything for a buck, right?)

I am sure that most of us here are in either Group 2 or 3.   Sure, there is always an uproar about illegal pdf's and rightly so. . .  when someone actively creates and sells them (on eBay for instance) they do, in fact, undermine and lower the values of collectable items.  Further, they are in competition with other sellers of legitimate items and can potentially lower the final sale price of everyone on eBay.

Yet, I don't have any moral issues with acquiring the occassional (or frequent) pdf file and downloading it.  So what if you have an ST1 pdf?  How many hundreds of mp3 files are on my computer?  How about all of you?  I bet the Acaeum membership total of illegal mp3 and pdf files is staggering. . . is it legal?  Well, no. . . . but we all do it anyway. . .

Personally, I don't have one pdf files in my possession - I absolutely HATE reading anything lenghty on a computer screen and a printed copy is just too ugly to be endured. . .

But. . .

- Should selling .pdf files on ebay be condoned?
- Should we allow forum users to post a list of all their .pdfs in the classified section for trade or sale?
- Is it right for Cougar to have pdfs of all the rare on his mailing list and sell them for profit?


In my opinion, the answer is "NO" to all the above.  A little shady dealing on the side never hurt anybody. . . but keep it cool and don't insult the rest of us by thinking that you are the "genius" who is going to make a "ton" of money on eBay by selling hundreds of CD compilations with  one day auctions and $10.00 shipping charges.


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