Monday, October 31, 2011

Dowsing For Dummies

It Halloween. Nice way to top off an already spooky October with the number of individuals that just don't give a F' about doing things the right way.

The latest was the guy who decided to put epub and mobi conversions up on RPGNow of the Swords & Wizardry Core Rules and the Pathfinder Rules. without either publisher's authorization. Before I could finish a mini-review of the S&W conversion, it was already pulled. The Pathfinder version was pulled shortly thereafter. Neither was free (I think they were going for $2.99 each) so that famous excuse won't apply here.

What is with the currently free for all with the intellectual property of others?
Is it just in this corner of the hobby, or is there some movement I don't know about? Are these guys fools, or willful idiots? Playing stupid only goes so far, and I would think with the publicity the previous acts generated, the latest azz would have dotted his "i's" and crossed his "t's" before trying the latest blunder.

I keep stumbling into this shit like a professional water dowser steps in puddles. Problem is I keep finding sewer water. ;)


  1. To be fair, the only real problem with the Swords & Wizardry version was that he was calling it Swords & Wizardry, using the title font, and had himself listed as the author. All of S&W is open game content, although that's not really intended as a way for someone to publish the rules unchanged, it's intended to let people do their own adaptations. The problem was that he was using all the trademarks and Product Identity without following the S&W license for using the Product Identity correctly.

    I explained how that worked, which may have been why he pulled the Pathfinder material. Paizo would have been a lot scarier to deal with than I was. I basically just told him that my reputation is on the line for anything that's called "Swords & Wizardry," which is why the trademark is there, and I think he understood the problem.

    As far as I understand, he's planning on publishing the open game content as "Pocket Wizardry," and as long as he doesn't further mess up the use of the OGL in a way that would cause a problem for me, then I don't have any difficulty with that. I'm pretty free with the use of the Swords & Wizardry IP, the restrictions are just to protect the game's identity, not to restrict people from using it.

    My wife, who owns a Kindle, has been telling me for a while that I need to get the game put into one of the EPUB formats, and lulu is pestering me about it too, so it might be something I have to do myself, at some point.

    Anyway, thanks to the several people who pointed it out to me. He pulled it voluntarily when I contacted him about the trademark problem, and did it on request without the situation requiring any sort of legal threat.

    However, it does grate on me that he put his own name as author on the sales page, and didn't contact me at all about it beforehand. I don't bear the guy any ill will, and I wish him the best of luck as long as he does it right on the second try.

  2. Matt, I appreciate your answer. I'm happy to see he was reasonable when he was spoken to and did the smart thing after doing a fairly dumb and arrogant thing.

    Is it really that hard for folks to read and understand the licenses that are applicable to the products that they wish to base their derivitive works on?

    Maybe that part irks me the most because of my profession - here folks are actually being handed the rules and regulations (applicable licenses) they need to follow (as they are present in the products they are using to produce their works) and they can't be bothered to read or try to understand them.

    As a consumer I don't need to understand the OGL or the S&W license or whatnot - as a publisher working under such I better know them inside and out.


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