D&D 5E Basic rules paperback tweeted by Morrus

fanboy2000

Adventurer
Here's the line of line of posts my first post was responding to:

Personally, I just want to print out my own copy - with a cover, incidentally - so I have a ‘complete’ game with the Starter set. But say I was to distribute other copies to my players so they can prep, would this be illegal then?

Technically, yes. But you'll get away with it, and they really should explicitly give permission for that. But it's illegal, yes. Can they not download it themselves?

At the moment it’s conjecture anyway - but I don’t assume to know what access they have to computers and printing facilities.

It's not conjecture. If you don't know if they've given you permission to do something, they haven't. It's really easy.

You'll know when they give you permission to print and sell their property.

No conjecture. No guessing.
It's possible that I'm wrong, but this doesn't look like TrippyHippy (getting it right this time!) is talking about posting the Basic PDF on a POD server.
 

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fjw70

Adventurer
You appear to be arguing with yourself. You definitely appeared to be saying it was legal before, and I can make no sense of any of your prior posts if that was not your point, given the context. Which is why you just got the snarky Monty Python reply from Morrus.

Looks to me that fan boy was saying the it is probably okay to print it out and give it yo your players and probably not okay to post it on Lulu.

Personally I have no idea if either one is okay or not since I am doing neither.
 


Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Here's the line of line of posts my first post was responding to:







It's possible that I'm wrong, but this doesn't look like TrippyHippy (getting it right this time!) is talking about posting the Basic PDF on a POD server.

What did you think "You'll know when they give you permission to print and sell their property." meant when Morrus said it? You cut some of the context of those posts, but to me it's obvious Morrus was responding primarily to the POD portion.
 
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dream66_

First Post
Is it illegal to post up a Monty Python sketch?

[video=youtube;OGqX-tkDXEk]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGqX-tkDXEk[/video]



I don't wanna argue the POD thing but I wish they had put the printing rights on more than the character sheet, they gave us a printer friendly version,

I can print it myself not legally but without enforcement, but I can't take it to kinkos and get it printed nicely.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
This thread gives me a Nefarious Idea. IANAL, of course, just a little thought experiement.

Copyright law doesn't restrict reselling things that were legitimately acquired with permission of the rightsholder.

WotC is putting out a PDF of the Basic rules. Those PDFs are legitimately acquired with the permission of the rightsholder.

So per the doctrine of first sale, it seems that while selling a printed copy is problematic (since you're making a printed copy), you could sell that PDF. You could then presumably go to WotC's site and get another one, and even sell that one, if you wanted. So, like, it could be legal to put this PDF up on e-bay. Or, you could download like 10 copies, sell them all.

Now it would be a violation of copyright, as I understand it, to click on that PDF file, and choose "copy" from the menu that pops up, since you're not the rightsholder. It would also be a violation of copyright to print it from your home printer, or to take it to Kinko's and copy it. All of these are unauthorized duplications.

But basically: copyright is weird. I'm sure WotC doesn't want to enforce every aspect of it here. But I wonder what aspects they do want to enforce. Is putting it up on lulu a step too far? More than likely. Is making a home copy something they're going to overlook? Probably. But there's a swath of grey area where it's not clear what they'll overlook and what they'll enforce. Which is probably reasonable from WotC's perspective -- gives them flexibility.
 

dream66_

First Post
So per the doctrine of first sale, it seems that while selling a printed copy is problematic (since you're making a printed copy), you could sell that PDF. You could then presumably go to WotC's site and get another one, and even sell that one, if you wanted. So, like, it could be legal to put this PDF up on e-bay. Or, you could download like 10 copies, sell them all.

Depends on where you are.

Wikipedia CC BY-SA said:
The U.S. Copyright Office stated that "[t]he tangible nature of a copy is a defining element of the first-sale doctrine and critical to its rationale."[2]

However, in Europe, the European Court of Justice ruled on July 3, 2012, that it is indeed permissible to resell software licenses even if the digital good has been downloaded directly from the Internet, and that the first-sale doctrine applied whenever software was originally sold to a customer for an unlimited amount of time, as such sale involves a transfer of ownership, thus prohibiting any software maker from preventing the resale of their software by any of their legitimate owners
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
WotC is putting out a PDF of the Basic rules. Those PDFs are legitimately acquired with the permission of the rightsholder.

So per the doctrine of first sale, it seems that while selling a printed copy is problematic (since you're making a printed copy), you could sell that PDF. You could then presumably go to WotC's site and get another one, and even sell that one, if you wanted. So, like, it could be legal to put this PDF up on e-bay. Or, you could download like 10 copies, sell them all.

You could sell them. But, why? I mean, the guy can go to WotC and get his own for free? Why does he need to pay you for it? If you're good enough a salesman to manage to sell stuff people can get for free, wouldn't it be easier to do it with something legal? Like, I dunno... air?

Now it would be a violation of copyright, as I understand it, to click on that PDF file, and choose "copy" from the menu that pops up, since you're not the rightsholder. It would also be a violation of copyright to print it from your home printer, or to take it to Kinko's and copy it. All of these are unauthorized duplications.

Yep. Technically, in order for it to not be an illegal duplication, you'd have to originally download it to some portable media (say, a thumb drive), and sell the physical thumb drive that has the file upon it. And, you'd have to come up with some way to demonstrate that's what you did, rather than just copying the file from your hard drive to the thumb drive, which would technically be illegal.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
This thread gives me a Nefarious Idea. IANAL, of course, just a little thought experiement.

Copyright law doesn't restrict reselling things that were legitimately acquired with permission of the rightsholder.

WotC is putting out a PDF of the Basic rules. Those PDFs are legitimately acquired with the permission of the rightsholder.

So per the doctrine of first sale, it seems that while selling a printed copy is problematic (since you're making a printed copy), you could sell that PDF. You could then presumably go to WotC's site and get another one, and even sell that one, if you wanted. So, like, it could be legal to put this PDF up on e-bay. Or, you could download like 10 copies, sell them all.

Now it would be a violation of copyright, as I understand it, to click on that PDF file, and choose "copy" from the menu that pops up, since you're not the rightsholder. It would also be a violation of copyright to print it from your home printer, or to take it to Kinko's and copy it. All of these are unauthorized duplications.

But basically: copyright is weird. I'm sure WotC doesn't want to enforce every aspect of it here. But I wonder what aspects they do want to enforce. Is putting it up on lulu a step too far? More than likely. Is making a home copy something they're going to overlook? Probably. But there's a swath of grey area where it's not clear what they'll overlook and what they'll enforce. Which is probably reasonable from WotC's perspective -- gives them flexibility.

Consumer confusion with trademark.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Umbran said:
You could sell them. But, why? I mean, the guy can go to WotC and get his own for free? Why does he need to pay you for it? If you're good enough a salesman to manage to sell stuff people can get for free, wouldn't it be easier to do it with something legal? Like, I dunno... air?

(a) If my thought experiment is valid, it's legal to do it with this pdf, too.

(b) Bottled. Water. :) People buy free things all the time.

Consumer confusion with trademark.

So why would that apply when re-selling this PDF, but not apply when a I sell the PHB to a used bookstore for them to sell? And wouldn't a simple disclaimer ("By purchasing this PDF, you agree that I am not officially affiliated with Wizards of the Coast in any capacity") go a long way toward neutralizing that?
 

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