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Bethesda Comments On Accusations Of Plagiarizing D&D Adventure

Bethesda has issued an apology for plagiarising D&D adventure The Black Road by Paige Leitman and Ben Heisler. Well, not an actual apology, just a brief explanation.

Bethesda has issued an apology for plagiarising D&D adventure The Black Road by Paige Leitman and Ben Heisler. Well, not an actual apology, just a brief explanation.
"We have pulled a previously shared ESO tabletop RPG adventure while we investigate the source. Thank you to those who reached out with concerns.

Thanks again to everyone who highlighted the issue of alleged plagiarism in relation to the ESO Elsweyr tabletop RPG promotion. Our intention had been to create and give away a unique Elsweyr inspired scenario that could be played within any popular tabletop RPG rule set.

We requested that an original scenario be created, and we are investigating why this does not appear to be the case. We have removed all assets relating to this and ask, in respect to the creator of the original scenario, that it should not be circulated.

Lastly, to avoid any confusion, please note that there is no correlation between this scenario and anything that will eventually appear within the video game."
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Well, that's the cynic in me. ;) When companies apologize I don't see it as someone within the company trying make anything better... I see it as them doing it just because they "have to" to get people off their backs, especially considering many of the people who clamor for it are not in any way connected to the situation and are just online trying to act as moral arbiters and shame people into "acting better".
Of course they’re just doing it because they “have to” to get people off their backs. All the more reason for people to get on their backs to pressure them to do it, cause they won’t otherwise.
 

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SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
In the case of company apologies, lets be honest.

We will never know whether they are truly apologetic or covering their butt for PR.

No matter which one it really is, on social media you will have people saying they did it for the opposite reason.


I say take their word for it, and watch to see if similar things happen again...if they don't then things have improved, lessons learned.
 

Motorskills

Explorer
It's OK that their contractor messed up. It's OK they didn't catch it.

What I don't like is their apology once they realized that's what happened. It should have been a much better apology, a much more direct one, it should have named the real authors and appreciated their work more and described the process mistakes which led to this, and, and taken specific responsibility for those mistakes, and what they're going to do in the future to prevent this from happening again and what they're going to do now to make it up to those authors who they wronged.

Huh, I am 180 from you on this it seems.

It's not okay that the vendor's contractor messed up. The vendor hired the contractor, they are responsible. If the company responsible for replacing your roof (vendor) hires a sub-contractor who uses stolen roof tiles, it is the vendor who is responsible for making things right.

It's not okay that they missed it. As above, it is the vendor's responsibility to check that the work has been performed appropriately.

It is okay for the vendor to issue a non-apology at this stage, while the legalities are still underway. It doesn't mean that they shouldn't apologise later, as part of any settlement. It would be better if they don't need to have their arms twisted to do that.


Since the module was (is) for sale, there is potential for financial loss that needs to made right.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
It's not okay that they missed it. As above, it is the vendor's responsibility to check that the work has been performed appropriately.

It is okay for the vendor to issue a non-apology at this stage, while the legalities are still underway. It doesn't mean that they shouldn't apologise later, as part of any settlement. It would be better if they don't need to have their arms twisted to do that.


Since the module was (is) for sale, there is potential for financial loss that needs to made right.

I am trying to think of what legal implications sufficient for an apology remained after the first week of notice about this and the obvious evidence they're the same. All they need to do is talk to the person who did it and that should be the beginning and end of the legal investigation which would be enough to issue a genuine public apology (and I say that as someone with 25 years of legal experience).
 

Motorskills

Explorer
I am trying to think of what legal implications sufficient for an apology remained after the first week of notice about this and the obvious evidence they're the same. All they need to do is talk to the person who did it and that should be the beginning and end of the legal investigation which would be enough to issue a genuine public apology (and I say that as someone with 25 years of legal experience).

I bow to your legal wisdom. :)
 

Mercador

Adventurer
As I mentioned, investigating as they say they are doing is the right thing to do. If it was internal gross incompetence, I'd hope an investigation would find that and they'd deal with it (and any other issues that might come to light if this is the case). And if it is a contractor who did this, then that is what they should deal with.

Too often, someone hired a "friend" contractor to do the work and the work is badly done. The "someone" that hired the bad contractor don't get blame for it unfortunately.
 

MarkB

Legend
I am trying to think of what legal implications sufficient for an apology remained after the first week of notice about this and the obvious evidence they're the same. All they need to do is talk to the person who did it and that should be the beginning and end of the legal investigation which would be enough to issue a genuine public apology (and I say that as someone with 25 years of legal experience).

The first thing I can think of is that they're going to be going through every e-mail and memo involved in the ordering, production and distribution of this product, just in case there's anything in there which could be interpreted as Bethesda being aware of (or even just having cause to be suspicious of) the malfeasance and then going ahead with the project anyway.

Also, the author may not necessarily be co-operating with the investigation. He doesn't have to, unless they bring legal charges. And before they start bringing legal charges they'll want to be sure of the facts of the situation - which is tough without the author's co-operation.

So, sure, it might be something they can clear up in short order. But it might also be something that will drag on for weeks. And if Bethesda do begin legal action, there will probably still be things they don't want to commit to in public until after those proceedings have concluded.
 

For the record, I still remember the scrolls incident with Mojang. Combine that with the liberal amounts of dirty activity with fallout 76, and I have to start questioning their integrity. Combine that with the quality control on games going all the way back to daggerfall (a dos game), and you have a pattern of either incompetence or belligerent greed that goes way back.

I am not judging them based on this issue, I’m judging them based on years of consistent behavior.

And believe it or not, it’s actually going to cost them a customer. I won’t do business with companies that act this way. Not this many times in this short a time period. It’s just too much to blow off as a “15 minutes of shame” moment.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
I dunno, maybe have someone at the company who can competently run some keyword searches online for at least 15 minutes as part of their QC procedure before publishing?

I'm curious what you think should have happened differently here. Assuming that the folks at Bethesda didn't have a specific reason to suspect plagiarism (and why would they?), what sort of competent keyword search do you imagine would have tipped them off?
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
The first thing I can think of is that they're going to be going through every e-mail and memo involved in the ordering, production and distribution of this product, just in case there's anything in there which could be interpreted as Bethesda being aware of (or even just having cause to be suspicious of) the malfeasance and then going ahead with the project anyway.

Also, the author may not necessarily be co-operating with the investigation. He doesn't have to, unless they bring legal charges. And before they start bringing legal charges they'll want to be sure of the facts of the situation - which is tough without the author's co-operation.

So, sure, it might be something they can clear up in short order. But it might also be something that will drag on for weeks. And if Bethesda do begin legal action, there will probably still be things they don't want to commit to in public until after those proceedings have concluded.

Investigation? Is WotC suing them? Why would they sue them? For what damages?

If the author didn't get his last paycheck they probably won't pay him. If they did pay him, they might send a letter but otherwise pursuing it would cost more than they would recover.

Some folks are Bethesda are embarrassed, and the author may have trouble getting more work, but otherwise I bet more time and outrage have been poured into this thread than will come out of Bethesda and WotC combined.
 

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