WOTC Suspends Sales, Re-Downloads of All Downloadable Products
From the front page of RPGNow.com: "Wizards of the Coast has instructed us to suspend all sales and downloads of Wizards of the Coast titles. Unfortunately, this includes offering download access to previously purchased Wizards of the Coast titles. We are in discussions with Wizards about their decision to change their approach to digital sales of their titles and will post more information as we have it. If you would like to let Wizards know your opinion on offering D&D titles for download, we suggest the D&D Message Boards found here (linked to gleemax)."
A post on the Gleemax forums would seem to indicate that the issue was one of piracy:
Hey all. I wanted to step in and add shine a mote of light on the subject.
Unfortunately, due to recent findings of illegal copying and online distribution (piracy) of our products, Wizards of the Coast has decided to cease the sales of online PDFs. We are exploring other options for digitial distribution of our content and as soon as we have any more information I'll get it to you.
Wizards of the Coast
“Violations of our copyrights and piracy of our products hurt not only Wizards of the Coast’s financial health but also the health of whole gaming community including retailers and players,” said Greg Leeds, President of Wizards of the Coast. “We have brought these suits to stop the illegal activities of these defendants, and to deter future unauthorized and unlawful file-sharing.”
Posts on the Paizo Forums seem to indicate that this decision will affect all online retailers, and not just RPGNow, and will include not only 4th Edition product but all older product as well. The formal Paizo announcement reads as follows:
Dear paizo.com customer,
Wizards of the Coast has notified us that we may no longer sell or distribute their PDF products. Accordingly, after April 6 at 11:59 PM Pacific time, Wizards of the Coast PDFs will no longer be available for purchase on paizo.com; after noon on April 7, you will no longer be able to download Wizards of the Coast PDFs that you have already purchased, so please make sure you have downloaded all purchased PDFs by that time.
We thank you for your patronage of paizo.com. Please check out our other downloads at paizo.com/store/downloads.
The Paizo Customer Service Team
Apparently coincidentally, WOTC today announced a new Internet Sales Policy which, according to a press release, establishes "clear guidelines for online sales of Wizards’ product, and requires that retailers register with Wizards by signing an Authorized Internet Dealer Agreement." The agreement, in part, reads as follows:
"At all times You will maintain at least one (1) Retail Location primarily selling adventure/hobby games, comics, models/collectibles, or collector cards directly to Consumers.marketing materials for your Retail Location(s) and Authorized Retail Websites, provided, that such Authorized Retailer Logo solely appears in the lower left"
However WOTC sources have said that the "cesation of PDF sales has absolutely nothing to do with the Internet Sales Policy. I know it's the 6th of April and I can definitely see how the two would appear linked, but the truth is, this is a completely seperate matter." (sic)
More details as we get them.
- Press Release 1: http://ww2.wizards.com/Company/Press/?doc=20090306
- Press Release 2: http://ww2.wizards.com/Company/Press/?doc=20090406
- Retailer Agreement: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=retailer/support
- Gleemax link: http://forums.gleemax.com/forumdisplay.php?f=693
- RPGNow thread: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=446897
- RPGSite thread: http://www.therpgsite.com/showthread.php?t=13888
- ENWorld thread: http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/253848-wizards-coast-puts-stop-online-sales-pdfs.html