If there's one group online that it's useful to avoid pissing off, it's "the geeks." And one thing that plenty of geeks love is Dungeons and Dragons
. Yet, D&D publisher, Wizards of the Coast, has fans of the game up in arms over the decision to stop a bunch of online retailers from selling PDF versions of its games and books
, while also filing eight lawsuits claiming infringement for unauthorized distribution.... and I have to admit, I can't recall a story ever getting this many submissions from readers here (perhaps there's a bit of overlap in our audiences). In some cases, the demand to retailers to remove these PDFs has caused those who legitimately bought them (but hadn't downloaded them yet) to not be able to get
the product they had purchased. On top of this, Wizards is apparently also looking at employing some sort of DRM for any future digital releases, which also has plenty of people angry.
What's amazing to watch is the pushback from the games' biggest fans. They're wondering why Wizards is limiting legitimate sales
of its products, and looking to make the overall product worse
by limiting it with annoying DRM. As people keep pointing out, piracy is going to happen one way or the other -- but rather than trying to lock stuff down (and, one other aspect of this is requiring all resellers to become "authorized internet resellers"
), why not focus on ways to use that content to build bigger and better business models that don't require treating all
your fans and customers as criminals?