Sunday, May 9, 2021

Rant About Pirates


Rant About Pirates
So you may or may not know that I have my own blog, actually one of several, but I digress, where I like to semi-regularly point out some free gaming resources. Ideally I do a "Free GM Resource" over at Frugal GM every Monday, but if I'm not feeling it, can't find something, or life gets in the way I don't get too worked up about it.

I've been at it for 9 years already and that ends up being a lot of freebie posts.

Basically I'm always on the lookout for something I can share and I'm not above revisiting an earlier share to see if it's gotten better. Normally I happen along something during the week as I link-hop and generally screw around online....if I'm smart enough I bookmark it for future exploitation. Anyway I'm always looking at/for stuff and this last week I found a freaking motherload.

Thing is this is super fucked up and while you're already a couple paragraphs in, this "post" is really more of a "rant". I apologize for any perceived bait & switch, here's a 10' video of cute puppies as a peace offering:

We good?

Ok, if you're still reading this we've entered the social contract where you've accepted my consideration and now I get to piss and moan on my soap-box about RPG piracy.

Holy Fucking Shitballs.

For the record, I love having electronic versions of every RPG product I legally own, and I realize that in an of itself isn't always legit. I get that some products are very much Out of Print (OOP), for example HackMaster 4th Edition. You will not find a new copy of this game on the primary market....KenzerCo can't sell it and there is no way that Hasbro will ever renew the license. I fully understand there is a line somewhere between legal and moral, but too many people clearly don't see that line.

Last week I came across another website that was a HUGE depository of most every game system I've every heard of. There were literally HUNDREDS of game systems on this server where you could download pretty much everything made for that game. It was shocking.....and this isn't the first time I've come across such a collection of piracy, and while it was the largest, it wasn't the most shocking.

It was a while ago, but for some time OneBookShelf.....yes, the DriveThruRPG (among others) guys had a link, in their common footer IIRC that went to another depository of "free" resources that were clearly pirated materials. Thing is, something about this discovery really reminds me of the DTRPG info dump. Something about the structure is too similar, but I couldn't compare them now if I wanted to, and I don't want to.

I'd like to know who in the hell thinks it is ok to just dump a company's entire catalog online for everybody to steal. I know that odds are at least one Tavern patron here thinks it's OK to download something they didn't pay for. I know what I posted earlier could be interpreted as a rationalization, but I'm not condoning theft of IP. Now if Hasbro would work out licensing deal for electronic publication of the "back catalog" of KenzerCo products........I don't think I could get to my wallet fast enough.

Now clearly I think we need a mechanism to legally obtain electronic copies of OOP materials that will otherwise never see the light of day, but I'm really just torqued about this piracy in general. This last website just blew me away with the blatant theft of IP. To add insult to injury whoever owns the site has the gall to have a copywrite and claim "all rights reserved"! 

I've talked to a couple content creators that have pirated files on this site and while they (the site) claims to honor copyright and DMCA notices, they do not. Even having a whole copyright page is just another "FUCK YOU" to those content creators. Of course the slimy bastard running this pirate site is doing what they can to conceal their identity.........most thieves would in this case.

Whoever is doing this is using a third party to purchase the domain, which was registered in another country. Lots of clear violations of laws, US and international, and definitely a few Terms of Services for these middlemen......

Lots of work, and certainly some, probably not too much $, has clearly gone in to stealing this information so what? Maybe they can earn some ad revenue off of traffic? Oh nevermind, these fucks accept all sorts of cryptocurrency as donations. Yep, the true mark of today's digital pirates.....untraceable underground currency.

...and I'm done. I just found one of my d30 tables on there. 


  1. If it makes you feel any better, in my experience sites that offer "free" downloads of digital books tend to serve up a big steaming plate of ransomware along with (or instead of) the files. I expect that these pirates sites do the same.

  2. Piracy is as old as the hobby itself, dating back to xeroxed copies of OD&D in 1974, pirated scans on IRC, and PDFs in the modern era. As proliferation of product increases, it becomes harder to find reliable (or any) information on them. A firsthand investigation is required, and no one with a brain will drop $20 on yet another self-proclaimed "groundbreaking" RPG. Piracy is now the equivalent of flipping through an old dead tree copy before you buy it.

    I've made stuff (free and PWYW). It's been pirated. I consider that a mark of honor, that someone cared about my stuff enough to ask someone else to grab it and upload it. If you don't want your stuff pirated, stuck to physical only, you'll only have a 1% chance of piracy and a 2% chance of actually selling anything. If someone pirating a PDF is taking bread off your table then you should get a real job and just do this as a hobby.

  3. I can’t imagine any coffers or pockets would be much fuller if these sites didn’t exist.


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition