*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 20, 2014, 05:03:20 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 69 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: How to deal with a PDF pirate  (Read 2828 times)
Michael Hopcroft
Member

Posts: 511


WWW
« on: July 10, 2003, 09:51:49 PM »

This happened to another company, not to me, but I was wondering how best I shjould deal with it should it happen to me.

As you know, Guardians of Order just put their Tri-Stat dX core rules, the heart of their proprietary game system, up on RPGNow as a promotional effort. Instead of charging for the book 9the hardcopy sells for $10), they placed advertisements for the rest of their product line among the pages in full-color. It looks pretty darn good.

Along comes this guy who decides "This is a great book, but it would be too much hassle to print". He seems oblivious to the fact that the hardcopy is only $10. So he does some editing on the PDF, removes all the ads and anything else he sees as extranmeous, and posts the results to a yahoogroup's file section.

However innocuous his intent might have been, he succeeded is really pissing me off. If hecan do this to a "free" PDF that isn't his property, he can do it to anybody's books. He can do it to mine. he can do it to yours.

Needless to say, I wrote Guardians and told them what had happened -- even forwarded the download link to them. I hope the list owner doesn't get into too much trouble, but there are limits to fair use and this guy has, IMO, stepped WAY over the line. I was actually offended at his gall. I hope I did the right thing letting GOO know about this.

Now if this had been one of MY products, what should I have done?
Logged

Michael Hopcroft Press: Where you go when you want something unique!
http:/www.mphpress.com
Matt Gwinn
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2003, 10:09:24 PM »

THere is a simpkle solution to stopping people from altering your PDF.  Once you've made the PDF resave it using Acrobat Writer and password protect the editing features.  You can also prevent people from printing the PDF.

,Matt Gwinn
Logged

Kayfabe: The Inside Wrestling Game
On sale now at
www.errantknightgames.com
Jared A. Sorensen
Member

Posts: 1463

Darksided


WWW
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2003, 05:41:03 AM »

Quote from: Michael Hopcroft
Now if this had been one of MY products, what should I have done?



Hopefully, you would email the guy and say, "Dude. You have a game on your site that is my copyrighted material. I don't allow people to post it for free. I'm glad you like it well enough to share but please don't. Thanks."

I usually end with a "Cheers!" or a "Sincerely" followed by my name.

Hey, don't laugh! It works!

- J
Logged

jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Reimer Behrends
Member

Posts: 21


« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2003, 11:43:47 AM »

Quote from: Matt Gwinn
THere is a simpkle solution to stopping people from altering your PDF.  Once you've made the PDF resave it using Acrobat Writer and password protect the editing features.  You can also prevent people from printing the PDF.


Well, the TriStat dX PDF is already protected. The problem is that it is downright trivial to remove protection from a PDF file, since PDF security is just an obfuscation mechanism. Anything that can process PDFs has to be able to read past that protection anyway, and it's up to the application as to whether it honors the security settings. In particular, pretty much any UNIX system these days has a specific command such that <command> input.pdf output.pdf will (purely as an incidental side effect) strip any and all protections from a PDF. Yes, that is illegal, but so is distributing copyrighted material to begin with, so protecting the PDF isn't much of an extra disincentive.

-- Reimer Behrends
Logged
Matt Gwinn
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2003, 11:58:10 AM »

Well, all I can say is that if someone wants to pirate your game they will find a way.  I once saw a 600 page word file of the entire D&D3E players guide.  That's some serious time wasted.

Even non PDF games are victims of piracy and the more popular your game is, the more likely it will get pirated.

,Matt
Logged

Kayfabe: The Inside Wrestling Game
On sale now at
www.errantknightgames.com
Daniel Solis
Member

Posts: 411


« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2003, 01:13:10 PM »

Quote from: Reimer Behrends
Quote from: Matt Gwinn
THere is a simpkle solution to stopping people from altering your PDF.  Once you've made the PDF resave it using Acrobat Writer and password protect the editing features.  You can also prevent people from printing the PDF.


The problem is that it is downright trivial to remove protection from a PDF file, since PDF security is just an obfuscation mechanism.


As I recall, the e-publisher's guide has the result of a survey saying PDF consumers absolutely loathe that sort of thing anyway. Many find it a complete turnoff, even if they have no intention of piracy.

Quote from: Matt Gwinn
I once saw a 600 page word file of the entire D&D3E players guide.  That's some serious time wasted.


True, but not as much as you might think. There are OCR functions on most scanners that can scan pages into text files. It really takes very little effort for a motivated pirate to do his thing. I certainly hope this incident doesn't frighten away potential PDF publishers.
Logged

Meatbot Massacre
Giant robot combat. No carbs.
Adam
Member

Posts: 165


WWW
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2003, 03:03:11 PM »

Quote from: Matt Gwinn
Even non PDF games are victims of piracy and the more popular your game is, the more likely it will get pirated.

Exactly. If nobody plays your game, nobody is going to bother pirating the books. In some ways, it's a stamp of approval. ;-)

In this case Mark did ask the guy to remove the files - and he did - but in my opinion most time spent fighting PDF piracy could be put to better use. Most anti-piracy measures just tend to frustrate the legit users while posing little problem to anyone with a few minutes time and the right applications.

[Speaking for myself, not the company]

Best,
Adam
Logged

Michael Hopcroft
Member

Posts: 511


WWW
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2003, 11:01:06 PM »

Well, my streetcred inthe business may have taken a nosedive.

The person who laterede the PDF I mentioned decided to post a message to the company's message board which consited almost entirely of an attack on my personal integrity. he basically said that everyone was a pirate, whether they were willing to admit to it or not, and that saying something about someone else's actions is the worst for of hypocrisy.

I'm trying to defuse the situation, but I don;t think I dare post to that board again. Or, for that matter, this voard (which the guy  had apopoarently read even though he has never posted here).

So I'm left holding the  bag, knowing I did the right thing and now I  must face the reality that no good deed goes unpunished....
Logged

Michael Hopcroft Press: Where you go when you want something unique!
http:/www.mphpress.com
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2003, 11:10:10 PM »

That's bullshit, Michael. Let the guy rant and steam all he wants for being a pirate -- in fact, you're doing exactly what he wants by withdrawing and worrying about the situation.

It's like worrying about the personal attacks a thief levels at you for calling the cops on him, saying you've caused him irreprable financial harm by destroying his business, that you're a hypocrite for telling on him, and so forth: "I'm mad because you told on me for doing something illegal! You should have just let me get away with it!"

Sheer idiocy. Don't listen to it because the vast majority of intelligent, reasonable people won't, either.
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Bruce Baugh
Member

Posts: 143


« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2003, 11:55:29 PM »

Greyorm pegs it precisely. The right response to swiping is this:

1. Act promptly and courteously. Do not make threats. Point out the rights of the situation - "This is my stuff, and I don't recall giving permission for it to be reposted", or "This is X's stuff; did you get their okay to tweak it and put it up this way?", or whatever's appropriate.

2. If you get a suitable response, yay! You're done. If not, proceed only as long as you can keep cool and courteous. When you can't, stop.

3. Stop.

There will always be someone to take umbrage. Always. It is not possible to satisfy everyone's desires. What matters most in responding - or choosing not to - is tone. Tone impresses almost everyone more than specific details do. If you conduct yourself with composure and good will, you win the support of bystanders. The same is true if you realize you've lost it and admit it and apologize and then stop. People will give you credit for meaning well and not persisting in bad stuff.

You cannot stop piracy. Harlan Ellison can't. Stephen King can't. The RIAA can't. You aren't going to be more abusively persistent than Ellison, more widely respected and doggedly good-natured than King, more horrendously crocked than the RIAA. Piracy is a fact of life, and you will have to live with it. What you can do, if you handle it well, is build sympathy for your concerns and make hardcore pirates of your work look like prats. The members of their subculture will just boast the more, but you can make it so that everyone else thinks they're just twits. You also provide an opportunity for the not-hardcore folks to look good too, if they can say "oh, golly, I didn't mean to do anything wrong" and stop doing it and start doing good things. This is good all around.

It is very unlikely that you are actually going to lose any significant number of sales to pirates. The pirates' subculture values the accumulation of stuff for its own sake, whether or not it actually gets used. Many of them don't actually know what's in a lot of the games or books or music they're hoarding, and that's not the point for them. Conversely, people who actually have an interest in your work will tend to buy it at almost any approximation of a reasonable price. Particularly when it comes to the gaming small press (as with the genre fiction small press, which wrestles with this as well), real readers don't resort much to piracy.
Logged

Writer of Fortune
Gamma World Developer, Feyerabend in Residence
http://bruceb.livejournal.com/
rpghost
Member

Posts: 145


WWW
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2003, 08:00:19 AM »

Quote from: Matt Gwinn
THere is a simpkle solution to stopping people from altering your PDF.  Once you've made the PDF resave it using Acrobat Writer and password protect the editing features.  You can also prevent people from printing the PDF.


That's also the fastest possible to piss of a true customer and not get any return business from them. I can't stress enough, DO NOT LOCK your PDFs. A good portion of the PDF buying market is from people who want to use features such as cut and paste.

James
Logged

Michael Hopcroft
Member

Posts: 511


WWW
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2003, 09:43:23 AM »

Quote from: rpghost
Quote from: Matt Gwinn
THere is a simpkle solution to stopping people from altering your PDF.  Once you've made the PDF resave it using Acrobat Writer and password protect the editing features.  You can also prevent people from printing the PDF.


That's also the fastest possible to piss of a true customer and not get any return business from them. I can't stress enough, DO NOT LOCK your PDFs. A good portion of the PDF buying market is from people who want to use features such as cut and paste.

James


here then are a couple of more reasonable solutions:

1. if you aren't planning to print your game, offer a "printer-friendly" version of the PDF at the same time as you offer the colcor-cover, regular version. You might want to include it in the Zip file. That recudes the temptation for pirates to alter your fiel, preserves the cut-and-paste features (which are extremely useful for gamemasters), and lets the customer feel he's getting a better value for his money.

2. Be vigilant, and develop a fan base that is vigilant. When you find someone distributing your file throughbtheir mailing list or on their website, remind them thatbthey are violating  your copyright and tell them to stop. fans will comply with such requests if their intent is truly innocent, as it was in this case we are discussing now. If they are stealing your material with malicious intent, report them to thir ISP or listserv, then find a lawyer and make with the cease-and-desist orders. The company in question might never have found out about the priated copy if I hadn't told them about it.

3. Cultivate the list moderatos of everyone who does a mailing list about your games. Mailing lists, particualrly Yahoogroups, is where a lot of this activity occurs. Fans are used to posting and reading unofficial support material there -- this is fine, does not violate your copyrights, and buolds the fan base making your product your appealing. An ethical listop will remove anything that smalls of piracy the moment he discovers it. treasure these men and women, provide legitimate material to support them, link to them on your website.  A proactive publisher who cultivates and suppoorts his fanbase is less likely to get stung and better able to react effectively and graciously when he is.

4. DON'T HOLD A GRUDGE. I cannot stress this enough. If someone makes an honest mistake and makes reparations for it by taking down the illegal material, forgive them. Don't continue to threaten and castigate them. You'll not only lose him as a customer if you do, but you'll lose all his friends too. Forgive them publicly if you have to, forgive them privately in any case.
Logged

Michael Hopcroft Press: Where you go when you want something unique!
http:/www.mphpress.com
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!