What's wrong with buying/selling used games?

edited May 2007 in Story Games
Split off from here
Posted By: orklordSelfish plug warning:
I've struggled with the idea of downloaded pdfs and used books. My cohorts and I discussed this on the 6th episode of Canon Puncture Podcast.Check out the show.

I discuss my feelings about buying used copies of Sorceror books [...]
The exact show is here.

Do you feel guilty about selling used games, "indie" or otherwise? Guilty about buying them?

I've gotta say, I don't feel the slightest compunction. First, as we've discussed recently, the indie/non-indie split is a lot less stark than people often make out.

Second, by buying a used game, you're supporting the overall market. It's one less copy in circulation at a discount, so the next sale is going to have to come at full price. Also, if somebody knows they'll be able to sell a game if they don't like it, they'll be more likely to take a chance buying it in the first place.

Third, simply getting games into active play encourages additional purchases. If you've been waiting on buying the game, but a discounted copy is what finally makes you give it a try, then so be it.

But most of all, I think the idea that buyers "owe" producers is flawed. If you believe in operating through a market-type exchange, then let the market do its job by discounting products that turn out to be worth less to the consumer than the seller asks.

Fundamentally, I disagree with the idea of buying games just to "support the line/author/business model". With all due to respect to orklord, that's exactly the path that leads toward unplayable, unplayed, "collector's item" games.

Comments

  • Get those games into a good home where they will be played.

    ASAP.
  • Yeah, seriously, as a publisher I've got no objection to people selling, trading, loaning or giving away my game book.

    yrs--
    --Ben
  • edited May 2007
    Yeah, I pretty much sell, trade or give away anything that I don't feel that I'm going to play within one year. Indie or Not.

    EDIT: Nevermind my selling, it's Sold!

    -Andy
  • Why would anyone feel guilty about buying or selling used games?????
  • I am all for buying new material (ie. rewarding the creative force) when it is high quality material that I enjoy. I enjoy it, its creator should be rewarded. I am not for buying material that is awful/unplayable and that I do not enjoy. Hence I am all for downloading, trading, buying for cheap/from another person for the opportunity to find out if it is something I enjoy. Then I will reward its creator.

    And yes, I could trust that the Invisible Hand of capitalism will reward the creators that deserve it. I just don't place my faith in Capitalism. I prefer to take matters into my own hands.
  • To not derail the thread, I have started one for Trading/Swapping/Selling.

    LINK
  • What everyone else said. I'd like for my game to be played, that's concern number one.

    I personally like to support good products by paying money to the producer, but that's my personal preference and not something I expect from others.
  • Buying and selling and just straight trading used games is not only acceptable, I find it to be a good thing.
  • Posted By: Elliot Wilen
    Second, by buying a used game, you're supporting the overall market. It's one less copy in circulation at a discount, so the next sale is going to have to come at full price. Also, if somebody knows they'll be able to sell a game if they don't like it, they'll be more likely to take a chance buying it in the first place.
    I like that you recognize your effect of buying a used game on the original purchaser... buying used games isn't just about a could-have-been original sale that turned into a second-hand sale. It enables "early adopters" to try out more games, and as you point out, take bigger risks, by putting cash back into their pockets. And they "buffer" the cost of games for me... I get to buy more games than I'd be able to afford at full-price. I like high-turnover early-adopters... they subsidize my gaming hobby. :)

    I buy a lot of my games used... the mainstream, $40-and-up books, almost exclusively used. I just can't justify the price of big hardbacks.

    I've not bought any games found at IPR used, though primarily because I've never seen them used.
  • edited May 2007
    Posted By: komradebobWhy would anyone feel guilty about buying or selling used games?????
    I dunno, listen to the podcast. Note: there are several POVs represented there, from "I felt kinda guilty" to "there's nothing to be concerned about at all".

    Also, I'm glad to see writers encouraging the secondary market and borrowing. My personal modus operandi is: if I pretty much have a game of something lined up, I'm happy to pay full price/brand new to get a copy quickly and read up on the rules.

    I do have a collection of stuff purchased either on the "maybe, someday" theory, or out of curiosity about some mechanic, or even bordering on buying to read about a cool setting (Jorune), engage in nostalgia (High Fantasy), and/or look at the purdy pitchers (Jorune, Zir'An). But without a strong commitment to play, I limit myself to used purchases.
  • Eliot,

    In the market we find ourselves in I often borrow books from friends, read them, and if they lead to play buy them. These days, for example, most of my group owns Dogs where we started out with just my copy being shared around. Ditto PTA and Exalted.
  • So, for those who think it's okay to sell/loan game books, is the same true for electronic versions?
  • Sell? I don't sell. Not from any moral objection. I just own until I throw out.

    Loan (really give out permanently as there is no way to take back an electronic version)? Yes absolutely. For me the litmus test for giving something out electronically is, “Will they therefore not purchase it?” The answer to this is almost invariably, no. If they were going to buy it before, having an electronic version will not deter them from buying it. Furthermore, having an electronic version may entice some who were not considering buying it into buying it.

    And for those who were going to steal it? Well they already know where I stand on stealing intellectual property. They will commit this sin regardless.
  • If you don't buy new, you support terrorism.



    (I got nothin.)
  • Who would want a used game?

    It has already been soiled, like a woman who is not a virgin.
  • Posted By: Call Me CurlyWho would want a used game?

    It has already been soiled, like a woman who is not a virgin.
    I think the term you're looking for is "experienced".

    I had personal reservations about selling books (not just roleplaying books) until recently, in the line of "it might be useful, some day". Then I ran out of shelf space, happened to come across someone who wanted a couple of games I haven't used in ten years, and I sold them. It felt good; good home for the books, less cramped shelves. I sold another ten games to a friend few days ago. I reckon I'll be selling a lot of stuff in near future because the fact is that I'm buying most games for reading and inspiration, not for actual gaming use.

    But I'm not selling my novels.
  • Posted By: Andrew MorrisSo, for those who think it's okay to sell/loan game books, is the same true for electronic versions?
    It ought to be in theory, but it feels weird. But I know at least one PDF publisher who's encouraged people to sell his stuff if they don't use it.
  • Um, is anyone who is participating in this thread seriously entertaining the opinion that it's wrong to buy used games? This all appears to be either whomping on a strawman, or "Look! Some guy on the Internet holds a strange opinion!"

    Also, it is totally immoral to borrow books from the library, since you are depriving the authors of potential royalties.

    Also, if you buy used games, you are like Hitler and the Nazis.
  • Posted By: LarryAlso, it is totally immoral to borrow books from the library, since you are depriving the authors of potential royalties.
    I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure libraries pay extra for 'lending copy' versions of books, etc. Presumably that is in part to offset the IP concerns.
  • Because I'm moving in about three weeks, I have bags downstairs of game books I'll be taking to 1/2 price. Bags. Many.

    No guilt. Me wants teh $$. $$ = Wii.

    But it just happens that I tend to play and play my DIY games, whereas all that d20 stuff is just taking up space. So I don't sell the DIY stuff.
  • Posted By: Matt Wilsonall that d20 stuff is just taking up space
    When the end times come, you can use them to up-armor your gun truck.

    Re: this thread, man, I really really want people to play my games. Sell it to somebody who will. Give it to somebody who will. Electronic version? That seems a little dodgier, but whatever. I really really want people to play my games.
  • edited May 2007
    I even think Dread has a line in it that says "Sure, you won't need this book after playing a few times so pass it on."
  • Posted By: Elliot WilenPosted By: Andrew MorrisSo, for those who think it's okay to sell/loan game books, is the same true for electronic versions?
    It ought to be in theory, but it feels weird. But I know at least one PDF publisher who's encouraged people to sell his stuff if they don't use it.
    It can get even weirder. In theory, I can justify to myself selling a pdf copy of somethng and deleting my own file. That would work fine for a game or text supplement. But what about something like a World Works Games model? Those tend to be things that an individual is only going to use once in any case.
  • Electronic versions: pretty much what Robert M said. I get EVERYTHING in PDF. And if PDF is not available I "find" it in PDF. Not neccessarily to distribute it willy-nilly, rather to be able to distribute small sections or to copy and paste for quoting, etc. I readily hand out electronic versions of the PDFs to people interested in a game with the assumption that if they like what they see they will buy it. It's rare that this is not the case.

    There is a truism:
    If someone is not likely to buy a book then me giving them access to it is not causing anyone to lose sales. But it MAY change their mind.

    If someone is likely to buy a book a majority of the folks don't want to rely on a electronic copy at the table or to read in the park.

    PDF sales are a one way profitable street. Better that you (as a designer) get the money than the book going around after being run through a scanner.
  • Posted By: LarryUm, is anyone who is participating in this thread seriously entertaining the opinion that it's wrong to buy used games?
    Since I like the sound of my own voice, I feel like I stated my opinion better on my podcast (which everyone should give a listen... I mean, c'mon, its less than an hour and I use a funny sound effect when people say curse words). However, yes, I felt guilty when I found some indie games at a local bookstore and bought them. Why? Because I had already put them in my cart on IPR and nearly bought them several times, but held off due to budgetary concerns. I was going to buy them, there was no question in my mind about it. Its just hard to justify buying a game when you figure you won't get to play it for six months. I had already bought one of the books on the shelf but delayed purchase of the supplements. Then there they were at $6.50 a piece!

    The reasons for my guilt are as follows:
    * I want to reward creative people who decide to put out a product that I want.
    * The used book price was $6.50, the book was only $20 at IPR (with free shipping if I bought $25 worth). So, I saved some money, but not a ton.
    * All of the money went to a bookstore that doesn't support the indie game industry (listen to the show to hear more about it).
    * The creators won't see a penny of my purchase.
    * The books could have been purchased by someone who might have never bought the game, whereas I was already going to buy it

    So, I'm the strawman. Go ahead, whack away with your free love and hippiness and all that rot. I would think at least some of the game designers out there would like some scratch for their hard work. I know they've earned it.

    Of course, my cohorts on the podcast soundly beat me for my nonsensical ideals, too.
  • edited May 2007
    Orklord,

    Cool to hear your thoughts on this, that's some neato interesting stuff. I will reply because I sense that your guilt needs to be soothed:
    Posted By: orklordThe reasons for my guilt are as follows:
    * I want to reward creative people who decide to put out a product that I want.
    This is a fine and respectable philosophy. And you are actually supporting them in a whole bunch of ways.
    * The used book price was $6.50, the book was only $20 at IPR (with free shipping if I bought $25 worth). So, I saved some money, but not a ton.
    But you also spent money that you had not spent previously. Unlike you, I do not qualify for cheap or free shipping from IPR. So to me, purchases are carefully considered unless I can get them direct from the creator (who tend to charge less than IPR for shipping - The subject of the cost of shipping from IPR to non-US addresses is not one I wish to discuss right now).

    But the point is, you HADN'T bought those games from IPR. There's also a real possibility that you never would have. There are three kinds of games in my collection: "Must Haves", "Impulse Buys" and "Cos They Were Cheap"s.

    Must Haves are things I decided I wanted to buy, then went and bought. (That might be going to a shop or going to a website).

    Impulse Buys are things I either saw in a shop and bought or saw at a con and bought.

    Because They Were Cheap used to mean "Second hand" or "off some bloke on ebay".

    More recently, (due to the shipping costs) got added to an order because once you're over that arserape cost of getting a package from the US to the UK, another $5 shipping on top for one more book seems pretty cheap. I don't mind admitting that some of the Indie stuff I have falls firmly into that category. SotC, for example was a game that I wanted to buy, but couldn't justify the shipping on an order to IPR just for that. So I bought a couple of other things I thought looked neat because, well, I might as well. So I ended up with copies of Burning Sands: Jihad and Hero's Banner as well, which I'd previously had no serious intention of buying. Don't get me wrong, both are fantastic products, but the option of getting them "cheap" was what made me buy them.
    * All of the money went to a bookstore that doesn't support the indie game industry (listen to the show to hear more about it).
    But the person who bought them in the first place did. He bought them from the publisher or IPR or whatever. I mean put it like this:

    Scenario A) Andy buys a copy of Indie Game #418. He reads it and thinks it's cool and all, but realises that life being life, he probably won't get to play it any time soon. So he decides to sell it.

    Later he buys Indie Game #419 because, hey, even if he doesn't get to play it he can recoup some of the money by selling it on.

    Scenario B) Andy buys a copy of Indie Game #418. He reads it and thinks it's cool and all, but realises that life being life, he probably won't get to play it any time soon. Because he feels a sense of duty, honour and guilt towards the author, he doesn't sell the game on.

    Later, he passes on Indie Game #419. It's $20 and he knows he'll never get time to play it.
    * The creators won't see a penny of my purchase.
    But you see, they do, because Andy buys the game in the first place. He won't do so if the secondary market doesn't exist.
    * The books could have been purchased by someone who might have never bought the game, whereas I was already going to buy it
    Can you really say, with 100% certainty, that you would have bought the games? I put it to you that if you were really serious about getting them, you'd have bought them already.

    Feeling absolved?

    Of course, I might be talking complete bollocks, wouldn't be the first time.
  • edited May 2007

    Here's another way: Let's say Andy buys a used copy of The Jiggler's Anthropoid from Zora, who didn't like it, and brings it to his game night. Becca likes it, too, so she gets a copy from IPR.

    Eventually, they both sell their copies used to other groups. You've got AP happening, you've got enthusiastic people, you've got people buying the game who wouldn't have (used) and you've got people buying the game who wouldn't have (new). Those who didn't like it don't have to worry about it any more and it's sitting on their shelf being an irritation.

  • First of all, I love used books in general, including used game books. I think it's related to liking props, you know, like Malcolm's wonderful Cold City dossier. Second, there are a number of books I will only buy used because I no longer wish to give money to the publisher; for example, the nWoD core rules. Third, I only have so much money; I'd buy PTA or DitV used because I know I could pilfer elements, but I didn't enjoy them enough to spend on a new copy when I can put the money on a game I'm more interested in. Finally, there are a number of books that are out of print and can only be found used (e.g., Prince Valiant). Where would we find them now if they hadn't been sold at some point? :-)
  • As someone who has published .pdf books, I've always felt that folks in a group should be able to share the file about amongst themselves. I would very much like it to not go out to the whole world for free, and if everyone really loves and plays the game a lot I'd like it if folks bought their own copy eventually, but I don't hold my breath.

    So sure, share it with your group so everyone can play. Don't pass it on beyond that though.

    As for sales, if someone sold an electronic copy and deleted their own, I wouldn't mind a bit. Go for it.
  • Also, since someone brought up libraries --

    How would those of you on this thread who've published games feel about me giving copies of your game to the RPG Reference Library Special Collection in the Toronto Public Library system?
  • Posted By: Brand_RobinsAlso, since someone brought up libraries --

    How would those of you on this thread who've published games feel about me giving copies of your game to the RPG Reference Library Special Collection in the Toronto Public Library system?
    Woot!

    James
  • edited May 2007
    Posted By: komradebobIn theory, I can justify to myself selling a pdf copy of somethng and deleting my own file. That would work fine for a game or text supplement. But what about something like a World Works Games model? Those tend to be things that an individual is only going to use once in any case.
    Ayup. Then again, before the collectors moved in with their mylar baggies and backing boards, that's what comic books were like. There are also stores that sell used magazines. And then we've got DVD & video game rentals (or what almost amounts to the same thing, selling Bridget Jones or GTA on after you've watched it on the plane/played through).

    Law/business models/ethics basically trail whatever is possible technologically--the Gutenberg age of information commerce is trying to hang on, but I don't think it will survive the century.

    I did a little googling last night on replacements for copyright and I saw one article on "mandatory licencing", something like creating a system whereby people get money from some sort of government- or industry-subsidized pool, based on how many times their stuff gets downloaded. The idea of course is to replace the incentivizing function of copyright--but the article wasn't very positive toward the idea. (One of the chief issues: "shills" for artists who just set up bots to download their files all day.)
  • Posted By: Brand_RobinsHow would those of you on this thread who've published games feel about me giving copies of your game to the RPG Reference Library Special Collection in the Toronto Public Library system?
    I'd feel like kissing you on the mouth.
  • Posted By: orklordSo, I'm the strawman. Go ahead, whack away with your free love and hippiness and all that rot. I would think at least some of the game designers out there would like some scratch for their hard work. I know they've earned it.
    Think about this: if there was no secondary market, many people who currently buy new books might not spend as much buying if they knew they wouldn't be able to recoup some of those costs selling used later on. Buyers would be even more selective than they are now. If no one bought used books, there would be no used bookstores, and new-book-buyers would have to eat the full cost of books the end up not liking/using.
  • Posted By: Elliot Wilen
    I did a little googling last night on replacements for copyright and I saw one article on "mandatory licencing", something like creating a system whereby people get money from some sort of government- or industry-subsidized pool, based on how many times their stuff gets downloaded. The idea of course is to replace the incentivizing function of copyright--but the article wasn't very positive toward the idea. (One of the chief issues: "shills" for artists who just set up bots to download their files all day.)
    Isn't there a system in Canada or Europe or some place where Art sold on the secondary market (ie one collector to another) is subject to a fee (based as a percentage on increase in value) that is collected and given to the artist (or their estate). I think it is subject to some sort of time limit, like copyrights.

    The philosophy being that Artist should benefit for the creating the object that has increased in value, and the Collector should benefit for recognizing its future value and taking the risk in investing in it.

    I don't see much correlation between this and selling a used RPG. Both are intellectual property. But the similarity stops there in my opinion. The artwork is in most cases the some total containment of the intellectual property. The RPG is just the handbook, the shorthand for the intellectual property. It is not the intellectual property itself. Therefore a particular RPG book will not increase (typically) in value over time because it, itself, is not the object of value.

    A more direct approach of the fee paid to the Artist for value added by the intellectual property over time model, would be that if every time you sat down to utilize the ideas, you had to pay a fee. In the other words, every time you gamed, you pay. Sounds kind of like a MMORG, doesn't it?

    A lot of this conversation is starting to feel like the current struggle in all media. As distribution of your product can be done virtually for free, and the ability for third parties to distribute your product is virtually free, how do you get rewarded for your product?

    If you can answer that one, there are a lot folks with a lot of money who would be willing to pay for that knowledge. For me personally, I buy what I use. I encourage others to do so as well. I feel a moral obligation to reward the person who created the basis for my enjoyment. I do so because I want them to continue to do so in the future, and because I genuinely appreciate their efforts.
  • A thread with nobody taking the opposite side is not a discussion. So I'll play devil's advocate, and people can correct me where they understand the arguments more clearly.

    If I understand correctly (and I may not), there is a notion about with authors that, essentially, a book constitutes a single license to read the work. That, basically, what's being sold is not the medium of the book or PDF or whatever, but the access of an individual to the IP. If this is true, then not only is selling a book illegal or even loaning it (unless you have not read it), but public libraries should be banned as well. They being books purchased and shared by whole communities.

    While this sounds crazy, consider the theoretical ramification. A national library purchases one copy of a book. Then they put it online for anyone in that nation to "borrow." How is this not simply legitimized piracy?


    I personally think that the issues of media making distribution of ideas easy will have to be overcome with some new solution. Once all of you Luddites give up your dead-tree media, and move on to the 21st century, it's going to come to a head. There has to be other methods of paying the author.

    And, 'lo, some have emerged. Ransom publishing, for instance. Subscriptions? (http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=20833) Just selling advertising on the download space?

    I'm sure more will evolve.

    Perhaps someday they'll come up with some medium that can only be unlocked by one person's brain. DRM for your genetic code? Until then, however, I think that the notion of sale of right to read is problematic at best.

    So much for devil's advocate...

    Mike
  • edited May 2007

    The only correction I can offer is that in this instance it wasn't an author who had this notion, but a fan. All the authors who've commented here have disagreed with the notion.

    A national library purchases one copy of a book. Then they put it online for anyone in that nation to "borrow." How is this not simply legitimized piracy?

    In fact there are some DRM schemes which created time-limited copies. So you can have libraries (and I think there may be some) which use this to ensure that there are no more "reading copies" in circulation at any given moment than have been properly licensed.

    Personally I think that DRM is like trying to stuff toothpaste back into the tube, and legistlative/enforcements efforts to force DRM are bound to fail--partly because they're a threat to privacy and liberty, and partly because people are just going to do an end-run around DRM by reinforcing alternative methods of exchange between people. E.g., the YouTube model, the blog model, where people "do stuff" for fun, for recognition, to sell advertising, whatever.

    There has to be other methods of paying the author. And, 'lo, some have emerged. Ransom publishing, for instance.

    Also leveraging free content into sale of tangible goods, like T-shirts or whatever.
    Gaining recognition for employment.
    Subsidy via grants and other forms of public or private patronage.
    Some mix of the above such as Games Workshop or Lego paying you to publish your miniatures rules, thus creating demand for their product.

    One thing we shouldn't kid ourselves about, though: the changing economic organization will affect the nature and quality of what gets published. But that's not the end of the world.

  • Libraries are legitimized piracy and if book publishers had anything to say about it they'd all be burned to the ground. This has not changed since the creation of lending libraries.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarPosted By: Brand_RobinsHow would those of you on this thread who've published games feel about me giving copies of your game to the RPG Reference Library Special Collection in the Toronto Public Library system?
    I'd feel like kissing you on the mouth.

    You say that as if you don't normally feel like kissing Brand on the mouth!
  • Posted By: JDCorleyLibrariesarelegitimized piracy and if book publishers had anything to say about it they'd all be burned to the ground. This has not changed since the creation of lending libraries.
    Is there a law requiring Publishers to sell Libraries their published work with the intention of loaning the book out many times?

    If not, why do Publishers sell Libraries their published work?
  • Posted By: Robert Mwhy do Publishers sell Libraries their published work?
    Because libraries are a huge market. Who buys young adult hardbacks? Libraries, and libraries alone. That's just an example, reference works are another. My wife's library also buys 40-60 of a hot best-seller, hardcover.

    Calling libraries legitimized piracy is a little rich, but they are certainly an example of institutionalized radical trust!
  • Posted By: Robert M

    Posted By: JDCorley

    Libraries are legitimized piracy and if book publishers had anything to say about it they'd all be burned to the ground. This has not changed since the creation of lending libraries.

    Is there a law requiring Publishers to sell Libraries their published work with the intention of loaning the book out many times?

    If not, why do Publishers sell Libraries their published work?

    I no longer have my copy of Digital Copyright by Jessica Litman, which discusses the history of book publishers versus libraries. But as I recall, it's exactly as JD said: book publishers have tried to legally block libraries from lending out books, and libraries exist solely because they have a lobbying group that has fought against onerous changes to copyright law. And yet, so long as lending libraries are legal, book publishers continue to sell to libraries, because money is money. Book publisher have also contested the legality of used book stores, which is why the courts established the first-sale doctrine as a limitation on copyright.

    There are identical situations with other media. The movie industry tried to outlaw video rental stores. The record industry tried to outlaw used record stores. I believe the record industry did successfully make CD/record rentals illegal. It's a long-running fight between publishers and distributors, with consumers always getting the short end of the stick.

    The RPG industry is actually blessed, in that there are many small publishers, most of them self-publishers, who take a different attitude towards selling used games. I'm not sure what Wizards of the Coast thinks about used copies of D&D or people lending their copies to friends, but the fact that the SRD explains pretty much all the rules and is available for free from their website suggests that they're OK with that. The idea of licensing printed materials instead of selling them doesn't seem to be as strong in our hobby as it is in the general publishing industry.

    Electronic media is another matter, but I would hope that somehow we can create a compromise that allows creators to be paid and owners to share, so that both sides are rewarded. Since it is a hobby industry, and the creators are a lot closer to their customers than Random House is to theirs, maybe there's some hope. In the meantime, I would suggest that we think about pricing our games so that we can earn back the value of the time we spent creating our products and not worrying as much about what happens to sales after we've recouped our costs.

    I'm of the strong opinion that worrying about "fake profits" (sales that haven't occurred and may never occur) is a dangerous belief.

  • Oh, and an aside: I believe libraries actually get a discount on book purchases. They certainly get a discount on shipping. Google searches seems to confirm this.

  • I like the ideas of libraries being pirates.

    It makes my work-day more sexy.

    Publishers, prepare to be BOARDED!

    AAARRRR!
  • Posted By: Mike HolmesIf I understand correctly (and I may not), there is a notion about with authors that, essentially, a book constitutes a single license to read the work. That, basically, what's being sold is not the medium of the book or PDF or whatever, but the access of an individual to the IP.
    So if a dog chews up my copy of Diamond Days before I finish reading it, the publisher will send me a new copy for free? Sweet!

    OK, more sensibly, that's arse. It's the thing the that made me lost interest in the music industry, that they can't decide what, exactly, they're selling me and can't come up with a reasonable explanation that sounds like something I'd want to pay money for. Am I paying for the CD? If so, it's my fucking CD now and I'll do what I damn well please with it, including copying it to my PC and MP3 player. Am I paying for a license to play that music? If so, please let me have it in an indestructible, unstealable and infinitely portable format so I'll always be able to play it forever NO MATTER WHAT. Am I paying for the right to listen to it? If so, what happens when my buddies come over, do I have to turn my stereo off unless I happen to be listening to music they've paid for too? Also, does that make me guilty of theft whenever I hear pop music on the radio, because I'll tell you now, they'll get the money to pay for my right to listen to Scooch by prying it from my cold, dead hand*. Make up your minds.

    I realise that there are sectors of all industries which start crapping themselves whenever they think that someone might be experiencing their IP without paying. That, alas, is the way of things. That why so much money is wasted each year on things like DRM and Regioning for videogames and DVDs.

    As another aside, there was a case recently where Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells album was given away for free with a Sunday paper. A deal was brokered between the music label (EMI) and the paper, without consulting or even informing the artist. First he heard about it was seeing an advert for it on TV. "By the way Mike, we're giving your album away for free to 2.2 million people, and there's nothing you can do about it," I guess that's one of the dangers of having someone else owning the rights to your work.

    *Actually, they get it from my license fee. Grrr.
  • One thing I want to mention, Rich, is that if they are selling you music they specifically use a perishable medium to illicit money from you later. So the answer is, no, if your dogs eats your book the author is not responsible for what happens on your end. It's a total one way street. All the money is going on one direction and that is how they want it.

    I will come out on a limb here and take a stand - IP is rubbish. Rather, I should say, IP regulation is crap. The music industry is learning this. The movie industry is learning this and the book industry is not far behind.

    There is only one way to control information. Not distribute it. If you let it leave you're mind and your hands then it is no longer yours. PERIOD. If you want to get paid for it then you need to sell it at a price that is fair to you. To be honest this is where the indie industry fails. In the mainstream structure you have publishers. Publishers pay authors to write. They have then been paid for their efforts. PERIOD. Now it's up to the publisher to attempt to recoup their overhead. Trust me. They do. With mainstream RPGs the margins are way closer, no doubt. The distributers are meant to alleviate some of that burden by buying in bulk (200-1000 copies) and distribute them to stores.

    As long as stores order and customers buy then everyone does what they are here to do.

    Now it's laughable that I am lauding the mainstream. But this is why I handle mainstream PDFs regularly and mainstream music with impunity. Everyone has gotten their pound of flesh and now are just getting greedy.

    That being said, the indie market then has a challenge. Why do we write games? Is it to say we're a game designer? Is it to bring people joy? Is it to make a living?

    Time and time again we learn that the digital age is upon us. Information runs freely... no, not freely, rampant. Sell your books at a price that you feel is reasonable. But then you need to let it go because you have no say nor any control once it's left your sweaty palms. Live with it. :D

    Lastly, my MO is a little altered when dealing with indie artists of all sorts. I generally buy directly from them and ask my friends to buy and not rely on the PDF or book I might offer them to sample the material. And honestly if they like what they read they do buy it. But that is community reinforcement and not something that can be codified by the authors.
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