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  #21  
Old November 13th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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Takei Takei is offline
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Forgive my rambling, but this is a topic that comes up often in converstaion with a friend whilst we're driving to various gaming sessions.

A few quick questions to the industry;
How many sales are LOST because of piracy?
How many sales are MADE because of piracy?
How many people with pirated pdfs on their computers had no intention of buying the game anyway?

These are very relevant questions. The first one especially so, as how many people do any of you know that will use a pirated pdf from their computer whilst at the gaming table? How many print these pdfs out to use at the table? I suspect the honest answers to be "maybe a couple."

As to the second question, I'm sure there are people out there that were unwilling to risk $30-40 on a book they might not like, but after browsing a pirated pdf decide to go ahead and buy the book.

This leads me to what I think the industry could do to help itself. Sell reasonably priced ($10-15, not this 95c off stupidity) watermarked pdfs to try and grab the uncertain market. This price is around the magic impulse buy figure, and the vast majority of customers that like and intend to use the book will buy a hard copy as well. That's two sales! The customers who didn't like the pdf don't feel as bummed for blowing $10-15 rather than the $30-40 for the book (which also runs the risk of being returned).

I can hear the "it costs a lot to produce books" crowd starting up now, but hear me out. Certain costs are the same if it's dead tree or pdf. I'm guessing here that the cost of writing, art and layout are the same. From this point the file needs to be processed for dead tree or pdf printing and that both of these processes involve more-or-less the same effort and cost. I keep hearing that books are sold into the distribution chain at about 50% RRP, so by selling a pdf directly at 50% RRP a publisher is making more profit than with a hardcopy. The pdf is a one time cost instead of a recurring physical cost for printing materials and shipping.

Green Ronin done something similar with Blue Rose. The pdf went on sale for $16 (IIRC), then a couple of months later the physical book went on sale. In the intervening time they also managed to get customer feedback and reduce the amount of errata the physical book would have had! (An updated pdf was also sent out to customers).

I've rambled enough, but I'm sure you all see what I'm trying to say.
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  #22  
Old November 13th, 2005, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gnusam Netor:
I honestly don’t believe that robbing is a good idea - from rich or poor. I believe that it is a human right to own stuff (objects and to some extent ideas). But there is the problem that it is tricky to put ownership on an idea, it’s immaterial and as long as the actual object is not “stolen” that containis the idea (a book), nothing is lost to the owner.
Ideas cannot be copyrighted nor patented. The idea of having artificial gravity or null gravity propulsion that has appeared in many sci-fi books, movies and TV series cannot be protected with a copyright. The idea of intergrated circuits in a microchip cannot be patented. The actual product, the book (RPG or otherwise) that has the idea of artifical garvity included in it is a work built upon an idea and it can be copyrighted and protected. The actual product, the Intel microchip, that is based upon the idea of the intergrated circuit can be patented and protected as a work.

So when you copy a book or copy a song you are not just copying an idea that is included in it you are copying somebody's work. By coping this work you have denied income to the person who produced the work. In essence you have "robbed" him of income. You can use ideas in it (such as aliens invade Earth, artifical gravity, ancient alien civilizations have spread mankind across the universe) in your own work but you cannot copy somebody else work without due compensation (or permission) to it's producer/author.
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  #23  
Old November 13th, 2005, 04:17 PM
Gnusam Netor Gnusam Netor is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff M. Hopper:

Even though intellectual property is immaterial, it still took time and effort from the creator to bring it into being. You are doing the author of that intellectual property a disservice by not paying for that time and effort with an illegal download.
I agree, it took time and effort to create it– to create the idea. I also agree that I might do the creator a disservice by not paying for his work, if he wants to be paid. But I don’t steal since, to use Hemdians words:
”Well the theft isn't of the item, per se, as it is a copy. The theft is in any lost revenue.”

If I have money to pay with and don’t pay when I get it, then I believe it is wrong.

Quote:


Comparing the two different types of entertainment producers is a fallacy, especially when it comes to profit and loss for each.
I agree, it does not matter if you copy the work of rich or poor –If you can pay you should pay.

So, to quote myself:

“I don’t see that – without exception – the gaming industry is hurt by “obtaining unpaid PDFs” as you wrote. In some cases sure, but not all. ”

And then a little refine(quote):

“I don’t see that – without exception – the gaming industry is hurt by obtaining unpaid PDFs if you can’t pay for them. In some cases sure, but not all. ”
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  #24  
Old November 13th, 2005, 04:27 PM
Gnusam Netor Gnusam Netor is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Randy Tyler:
when you copy a book or copy a song you are not just copying an idea that is included in it you are copying somebody's work.
Thanks, when I wrote “idea” I meant “the idea AND the work it took to formulate it”.
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  #25  
Old November 13th, 2005, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gnusam Netor:
If I have money to pay with and don’t pay when I get it, then I believe it is wrong.

I agree, it does not matter if you copy the work of rich or poor –If you can pay you should pay.

“I don’t see that – without exception – the gaming industry is hurt by obtaining unpaid PDFs if you can’t pay for them. In some cases sure, but not all. ”
So, are you saying that it is acceptable to steal something (by illegally DL/file sharing a PDF) if you can't pay for it? Why aren't all economic classes held to the same legal standard when it comes to theft? Shouldn't the person who doesn't have quite enough money to buy his favorite RPG supplement adjust his budget to make the purchase or perhaps take an odd job (shovelling snow out of a neighbors driveway or mow a neighbors lawn) to earn the extra money to buy want he wants instead of stealing it through illegal file sharing of a PDF? After obtaining an illegal copy of an RPG supplement from a friend do you send the maker of the product a check the next week to pay for it now that money isn't so tight (after payday that is) or do you conviently forget about the illegal DL/copying?
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  #26  
Old November 13th, 2005, 10:27 PM
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On the lighter side of things: Three geeks. No lives. Roll for initiative.
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  #27  
Old November 14th, 2005, 04:04 AM
Gnusam Netor Gnusam Netor is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Randy Tyler:
So, are you saying that it is acceptable to steal something
No, that is not what i'm saying.
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  #28  
Old November 14th, 2005, 04:53 AM
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The US Copyright laws are badly broken: most artists would agree, but at various ends.

AS a performer, I need to obtain permission to use anything written since about 1900... including happy birthday... if I wish to do it in public.

As a composer, however, I have little ability to enforce my creative property.

The problem is that far too many schmucks and meshugenas (go look them up...) don't believe in the ownability of ideas or even processess. If we go back to that mode, the entire entertainment industry collapses. We go back to the roaming trouveri I troubadori.

For better or worse, Roger Sanger owns the right to control distribution of NEW COPIES of the DGP materials. US Copyright does not currently permit restrictions upon the resale or giving of tangible versions away,save for tangible versions created from intangible ones, but does prohibit thrid party production of new tangible versions. In other words, Roger has the right to say "Yes, Joe can make copies for his friends" and "No, Fred, you can't". Marc Miller is in slightly less clear territory. Some of the DGP materials are clearly derivatives, and thus require MWM's direct permission, as well as Roger's. Other bits, however, are whole cloth their own, and could fall under fair use (101 Vehicles, 101 Robots, the Adventures), but as part of the larger whole are clearly still based upon MWM's work. If Roger charges for it, it's an issue of contract, since Roger contracted and accepted the status of the contract when he purchased the enmeshed rights.

If I, not having accepted any such contracts (OK, that's not true, anymore, due to playtest agreements for T20), choose to incorporate ideas from those, but file off the names and don't duplicate the exact wordings, could produce functionally compatible materials clear of copyright and trademark. (That I've essentially agreed not to is part of Hunter's T20 playtest requirements of those few years ago... and with good reason. Game systems are generally not protected by copyright, and the processes are seldom unique enough for patent.)

The problem is one of deprival of value. If I infringe Roger that way, since he's blocked from profit by MWM, his real losses are nil, and his potential losses are minimal. If I instead pull such a stunt on Hunter, his potential losses (or QLI's, really) are FAR higher, since QLI is currently allowed to make money on the derivatives. Further, In my case, I've contracted to not do so, so Hunter then has DIRECT breach of contract, plus intent to infringe upon intellectual property rights.

Now, going a step further, If I duplicate DGP materials, I deprive MWM of the potential for legitimate royalties. I also have stolen control from both MWM and Roger.

Not that I will stop someone from copyiing my books, but if they do so, they have literally stolen them to do so. I don't loan them out. Now, under MWM's cloning policy, I'd have allowed one copy, on the basis that RS's losses are potentially nil, since he's not permitted to make any moneys on it until he recontracts with MWM... and I'd be in breach of the law, but not in such a manner as to have been actionable at the time. Now, however, is a different matter.

Worse still is electronic editions. One is contracting by purchase not to redistribute nor to make excessive copies on tangible media, nor to distribute nor sell tangible copies, nor to resell the intangible source. Reselling that is breach of contract, pure and simple, and thus civilly actionable. It's also a potential civil action under copyright law, and if one has to decode an encrypted file, it's also a violation of DMCA... and potentially criminal thereunder.

Now, in one case, I've specifically got permission to have the materials on more than one machine... but I've also secured from the players agreement to destroy when the campaign endsand not redistrubute at all. In another, I was specifically told to redistribute to those files to singed-on playtesters. But those were the special exceptions.
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  #29  
Old November 14th, 2005, 06:00 AM
Gnusam Netor Gnusam Netor is offline
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Ok, I will correct myself against better judgement.
Quote:
Originally posted by Gnusam Netor:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Randy Tyler:
So, are you saying that it is acceptable to steal something
No, that is not what i'm saying. </font>[/QUOTE]Yes, I believe that 'stealing' is acceptable in some cases. A Governments taxation of its citizens is a form stealing (under my def of stealing) and I believe it has a right to do so. There are some other cases as well, but gov-taxes illustrate it well enough.

But once again, what I commented on in the beginning of the thread is not a form of stealing, since the owner has not lost anything, not a sale and no item.


Quote:
Originally posted by Randy Tyler:
After obtaining an illegal copy of an RPG supplement from a friend do you send the maker of the product a check the next week to pay for it now that money isn't so tight (after payday that is) or do you conviently forget about the illegal DL/copying?
I borrowed the 'pocket Empires' book from a friend, is that stealing in your mind assumingi only read it? Anyway, you do raise an interesting point (in your own hostile way ). If the copyright owner doesn't lose a sale when you obtain an unpaid pdf from a friend, does he lose a future sale if you get more money in the future? I think so, hence you should send him a check. Would I do that though? I doubt it.
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  #30  
Old November 14th, 2005, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gnusam Netor:
But once again, what I commented on in the beginning of the thread is not a form of stealing, since the owner has not lost anything, not a sale and no item.
Actually, the owner has lost something. The owner has lost the opportunity for a sale and thus the chance to profit from his own work.
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