A quick roundup of what the usual malefactors are up to.
First as usual is Wizards of the Coast. They’ve sent a cease and desist letter to Masterplan, a tool being developed for D&D 4e adventure/campaign planning. They had coded a hook to connect, using your own D&D Insider subscription, to pull in monsters and whatnot. Naturally WotC’s reaction is “Shut down or we’ll sue you!”
This one is even sketchier than usual though, legally. It is pulling information using YOUR Insider account via their publicly available interface. That’s a lot more like the RIAA saying you can’t burn an mp3 you bought to a CD so you can listen to it in your car.
Why anyone would even try to do anything for 4e, I don’t know. It’s obvious that Wizards of the Coast will just come shit on you, sooner or later. Forget them, they’ve killed official D&D, move on.
Second is Catalyst Games. They’ve defeated an immediate ruling on the Chapter 7 request to declare them insolvent and take their stuff to pay all the peple they’re stiffing, but it goes to court on June 18. Looks like they’re just happily moving forward with their six-figure thief as CEO and conducting business as usual, yay. Time will tell if Topps will pull the license, or if subcontracting to a criminal enterprise is OK with them.
Jim Shipman of Outlaw Press surfaces every once in a while to re-open a Lulu or EBay or similar storefront to hawk his illegal Tunnels & Trolls wares before people report him to the provider and have him shut down. He is apparently still able to find suckers, though!
Things have been ongoing but with no new specific major incidents; I declare the RPG Sector Terror Alert to be at Yellow.
EDIT: I forgot one – Palladium Games is suing a computer game outfit called Trion for daring to make a computer game called “Rift: Planes of Telara.” Their request for a restraining order to stop them from showing their game at E3 failed but of course there’s more to come. Story courtesy Living Dice.
God Damn RPG Terrorists!
What mxyzplk fails to mention, of course, is that the problem with Masterplan wasn’t Compendium integration, but rather the fact that instead of simply grabbing items from the Compendium as they were requested, Masterplan simply downloaded THE ENTIRE COMPENDIUM to the user’s hard drive. DDI is a subscription-based service that already lets its users get away with a permanent copy of the Character Builder and Monster Builders for the cost of a 1-month subscription. Allowing the Compendium to be downloaded in its entirety would mean that DDI’s utility as a subscription service would be severely curtailed. DDI is so inexpensive because it’s presented as a subscription service, with the understanding that most users will continue to pay for the use of their service and products. By allowing everything to be localized to the subscriber’s computer, you are giving the subscriber very little incentive to continue paying that subscription fee – and that’s exactly what prior versions of Masterplan have done.
Allowing the download of the entire Compendium was not a great idea, and WotC is fully within their rights to curtail that. Masterplan, to their great credit, has responded in a very mature manner, removing the download links to their older versions and releasing a new version that lacks Compendium integration while they work on a solution. The ideal path to take would be to include Compendium integration, but to only pull material as requested, in the same way that a Compendium search does.
I should also add that there are plenty of 4e-focused apps out there that haven’t been bothered at all by WotC because they abide by the guidelines set up for that purpose. Masterplan didn’t, everyone knew it, and a lot of people expected them to see some sort of response from WotC. No one was surprised when it happened.
Ah, Scott Betts, WotC apologist. Dude, no matter what WotC does you’re always out there saying “But it was TOTALLY reasonable and ABSOLUTELY their right and of COURSE they should do it”. You’ve lost all credibility with me, it’s the same song no matter what they do. If you only defended, say, 9 out of 10 boneheaded things WotC did, I’d think you honestly believed it.
You can believe what you want about me, mxyzplk. I explained the situation factually, without hyperbole or sensationalism, which is more than can be said for your original post. Your audience can choose who they want to lend their credibility, and if they choose you over me, that’s fine. You omitted a number of points that are CRITICAL to the understanding of this issue, points that – if explained! – would have cast the entire situation in a different light.
You can have your sensationalist blog if you want – it’s yours to create, and it’s yours to refer to your own analysis as “gaming industry terrorist watch,” but your blog is public, and anyone can read it and comment on it. I can’t sit here and read what you publish without feeling obligated to set the record straight, because your selective criticism and bias does your audience a disservice, and by extension does the entire hobby a disservice.
Your blog will have improved when you’re able to move on, but up until that point it remains the RPG equivalent of a partisan tabloid.
I’m sure you feel that makes *your* unthinking partisanship morally justified. Enjoy.
Shipman/Outlaw Press has indeed surfaced again.
There’s a new thread about it on RPGNet:
A great blog series following the Palladium vs Trion thing is here: http://www.jasonrichards.net/2010/06/nerd-fight-highlights-of-palladium-vs.html Livingdice.com is the best primary source, but Jason’s analysis is hilarious.
Oh snap, Palladium’s lawsuit has been summarily dismissed. http://www.livingdice.com/4570/palladium-books-v-trion-worlds-rifts-trademark-dispute-the-court-ruled/