log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E D&D Beyond Cancels Competition

D&D Beyond has been running an art contest which asked creators to enter D&D-themed portrait frame. DDB got to use any or all of the entries, while the winner and some runners up received some digital content as a prize.

There was a backlash -- and DDB has cancelled the contest.

frame.png



Thank you to all of our community for sharing your comments and concerns regarding our anniversary Frame Design Contest.

While we wanted to celebrate fan art as a part of our upcoming anniversary, it's clear that our community disagrees with the way we approached it. We've heard your feedback, and will be pulling the contest.

We will also strive to do better as we continue to look for ways to showcase the passion and creativity of our fellow D&D players and fans in the future. Our team will be taking this as a learning moment, and as encouragement to further educate ourselves in this pursuit.

Your feedback is absolutely instrumental to us, and we are always happy to listen and grow in response to our community's needs and concerns. Thank you all again for giving us the opportunity to review this event, and take the appropriate action.

The company went on to say:

Members of our community raised concerns about the contest’s impact on artists and designers, and the implications of running a contest to create art where only some entrants would receive a prize, and that the prize was exclusively digital material on D&D Beyond. Issues were similarly raised with regards to the contest terms and conditions. Though the entrants would all retain ownership of their design to use in any way they saw fit, including selling, printing, or reproducing, it also granted D&D Beyond rights to use submitted designs in the future. We have listened to these concerns, and in response closed the competition. We’ll be looking at ways we can better uplift our community, while also doing fun community events, in the future.

Competitions where the company in question acquires rights to all entries are generally frowned upon (unless you're WotC).
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


log in or register to remove this ad

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
As a Gen-Xer myself, I never got a participation trophy. If I didn't place in the top three I didn't get any award. I don't really know if participation trophies are still a thing.
I'm also a Gen-Xer, and I remember some school sport contests often handed out ribbons that went way higher than 3rd place. Maybe eighth? Tenth? I don't recall exactly.

What I do recall was wishing I could win once, and then intentionally lose other times, so i could get a ribbon of each color.
 

MGibster

Legend
Putting children in a lot of competitions is that normal of a thing, that there is a whole culture and discourse about if you should or not give trophies to children? Cultural differences are wild...
Oh, yeah. When I was six I started playing t-ball and soccer competitively and this was back in the early 80s. My soccer team, the Cobras, came in 2nd place during the season and I got a lovely silver medal which I may still have somewhere. Sadly, my t-ball team the Muskrats, didn't do so well and we didn't get a trophy. Oddly enough I'm against participation trophies but I sure do have a lot of volksmarching medals....
 


Bolares

Hero
Oh, yeah. When I was six I started playing t-ball and soccer competitively and this was back in the early 80s. My soccer team, the Cobras, came in 2nd place during the season and I got a lovely silver medal which I may still have somewhere. Sadly, my t-ball team the Muskrats, didn't do so well and we didn't get a trophy. Oddly enough I'm against participation trophies but I sure do have a lot of volksmarching medals....
That's... a lot. I think I didn't start competing until I was about 14 or even later, when we had competitions between schools in our city. As a kid I was never worried if I was going to win or loose at something, I just wanted to have fun.
 

MGibster

Legend
That's... a lot. I think I didn't start competing until I was about 14 or even later, when we had competitions between schools in our city. As a kid I was never worried if I was going to win or loose at something, I just wanted to have fun.
Even when we played pickup games in the neighborhood we kept score with each side trying to win. I played for fun too but I wouldn't have had any fun if neither side were trying to win.
 

GuyBoy

Adventurer
I have a split view on this.
I was a very competitive rugby player and athlete, and I always gave everything in order to win with honour. Blood, sweat and tears, with the first being pretty literal in rugby. I value competitive sport.
But...as an educator, I also get the importance of participation in sport being important for everyone and this needs to be recognised.

Sadly, in Britain too, this became demonised by those on a certain political wing (dexter, Dexter) who used “participation trophy” as a dismissive pejorative to score machismo points on those who care about others. Much as they use words like “woke” and “snowflake”
It was certainly ironic to hear a well known US politician who LOST an election decisively dismissing a World Cup WINNING footballer as a “woke failure” after she won Olympic bronze.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Since, as you say, D&D Beyond has categorically stated that they will not sell any of these frames, then why do they need the rights to them? After all, the absolute best defense against getting litigated against is never actually doing anything that can be litigated in the first place. If they are telling the truth and aren't selling that product, then they have zero needs to the rights to the products that aren't winning and being displayed.

This was already addressed upthread. Copyright infringement suit is not limited to exact copy. It is "points of similarity". Taking submissions without that clause means that to be safe they not only don't have not sell/use the original, but they have to never do anything even coincidentally too similar.

Prolific author, J. Michael Straczinski (Babylon 5, Sense8, many comic series) is very active on social media - and he frequently makes the point that if people ever give him story ideas, or ask, "Why didn't you ever do <story idea>?" they are essentially making sure he never will use that idea, because there's now a question of who came up with it.

And, even if they are going to win, the lawsuit is a pain in the neck and a potential PR issue for the future.

Which is to say - your assertion there is equivalent to, "The innocent have nothing to fear from courts," which I think will not pass empirical examination.
 

Don't know what everybody else in the thread has been thinking when they read "exploitation", but this is the definition I've been using internally: "workers in a capitalist society are exploited insofar as they are forced to sell their labor power to capitalists for less than the full value of the commodities they produce with their labor."
A highly politicized definition is certainly not the one I've been using. Nor is one that is restricted to a capitalist society or one that is so limited as to talk about forced labor. None of that is very relevant here.
Of those that are visible, and using the categories of (1) being an artist; (2) being somebody who is not an artist but is publicly involved in games, game design, or game streaming; and (0) being neither,
Very interesting numbers, but how do you categorize these accounts? Is it simple if you recognize those accounts or is their some extensive social research you've done to verify the accuracy of your numbers?
Since, as you say, D&D Beyond has categorically stated that they will not sell any of these frames, then why do they need the rights to them? After all, the absolute best defense against getting litigated against is never actually doing anything that can be litigated in the first place. If they are telling the truth and aren't selling that product, then they have zero needs to the rights to the products that aren't winning and being displayed.
I think this was cleared up, but if not I will say, IP is not just about selling, it is also about distribution. And displaying the content entrants ("Hey, here are our top entries, look at how cool they are!") requires permission (license) to do so.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
The long and the short of it, participation trophies were most associated with millennials who were given awards for participating in sporting events even if they didn't place 1st, 2nd or third. i.e. If you showed up that day you got an award. This coincided with a time when some sports leagues were experimenting with not keeping score during games. Defenders of the practice argued that participation trophies prevented children from feeling bad about not winning and taught them that whatever effort they put into something was good enough. Critics thought participation trophies was a bunch of horse hockey because kids knew they weren't real and it taught kids that whatever effort they put into something was good enough. I can't tell you how prevalent participation trophies actually were as I don't have children of my own.

As a Gen-Xer myself, I never got a participation trophy. If I didn't place in the top three I didn't get any award. I don't really know if participation trophies are still a thing.
Complaining about participation trophies and the millennial generation often goes hand-in-hand, but it's complete BS, just like complaints about political correctness and cancel culture. All of these things exist in real life, but not to the degree and kind that folks complain about, and none of it is new.

I'm Gen-X, and I got plenty of participation trophies when I was a kid, as did my dad, a Boomer.
 

Hussar

Legend
This was already addressed upthread. Copyright infringement suit is not limited to exact copy. It is "points of similarity". Taking submissions without that clause means that to be safe they not only don't have not sell/use the original, but they have to never do anything even coincidentally too similar.

Prolific author, J. Michael Straczinski (Babylon 5, Sense8, many comic series) is very active on social media - and he frequently makes the point that if people ever give him story ideas, or ask, "Why didn't you ever do <story idea>?" they are essentially making sure he never will use that idea, because there's now a question of who came up with it.

And, even if they are going to win, the lawsuit is a pain in the neck and a potential PR issue for the future.

Which is to say - your assertion there is equivalent to, "The innocent have nothing to fear from courts," which I think will not pass empirical examination.
/edit

Reading fail on my part. My 100% bad.
 
Last edited:

KarinsDad

Adventurer
I'm Gen-X, and I got plenty of participation trophies when I was a kid, as did my dad, a Boomer.
Your dad must have lived in a different part of the country than I did. I never saw a participation trophy until my daughter got them.

And even participation trophies are fine for difficult activities like running a mile as a kid. Just not for everything that they are handed out for.
 

MGibster

Legend
Complaining about participation trophies and the millennial generation often goes hand-in-hand, but it's complete BS, just like complaints about political correctness and cancel culture. All of these things exist in real life, but not to the degree and kind that folks complain about, and none of it is new.
Yeah, and I should make it clear that I don't have a problem with millennials or those who are younger. I ran the (paid) intern program at work for two years and I still help with recruiting every year. The experiences we've had with these younger workers over the last 5+ years has been overwhelmingly positive.

'm Gen-X, and I got plenty of participation trophies when I was a kid, as did my dad, a Boomer.
The only time I ever got a participation trophy was in Germany when I went on volksmarches. I did once get second place in a wrestling tournament by virtue of there being only one other person in my weight class that day. I never bothered putting that medal on display because it was a rather hollow.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Your dad must have lived in a different part of the country than I did. I never saw a participation trophy until my daughter got them.

And even participation trophies are fine for difficult activities like running a mile as a kid. Just not for everything that they are handed out for.
OK. Shrug.
 

Fox Lee

Explorer
Bet.

On D&D Beyond's initial contest announcement, there are 119 quote retweets. (clipped)

I will also add myself to this list, as somebody who a) absolutely called them out on Twitter for this, and b) is an artist. Indeed, their announcement only crossed my feed in the first place because of a fellow artist doing exactly the same thing. We are absolutely the ones most likely to call out spec work in our own field. How anybody could claim that the negative response didn't come from artists is beyond me, and certainly reads as a bad-faith attempt to devalue the criticism.
 
Last edited:

TheSword

Legend
I will also add myself to this list, as somebody who a) absolutely called them out on Twitter for this, and b) is an artist. Indeed, their announcement only crossed my feed in the first place because of a fellow artist doing exactly the same thing. We are absolutely the ones most likely to call out spec work in our own field. How anybody could claim that the negative response didn't come from artists is beyond me, and certainly reads as a bad-faith attempt to devalue the criticism.
It was in response to a poster claiming that the competition was pulled because enough artists complained. My point was that not all the people complaining were artists, we don’t know how much of this was a wider PR issue and how much was the result of people who would have been affected by the specific competition. You seem to be confirming that it was an ideological point for you and you would never have seen the competition otherwise for your friend posting as well.

My point stands then, that It’s a shame that a competition to draw something - that was never for sale - was spoiled for amateurs because professionals who had no intention of entering, kicked up a stink.
 
Last edited:

I will also add myself to this list, as somebody who a) absolutely called them out on Twitter for this, and b) is an artist. Indeed, their announcement only crossed my feed in the first place because of a fellow artist doing exactly the same thing. We are absolutely the ones most likely to call out spec work in our own field. How anybody could claim that the negative response didn't come from artists is beyond me, and certainly reads as a bad-faith attempt to devalue the criticism.
Do you use D&D Beyond for your 5e games?
 

It was in response to a poster claiming that the competition was pulled because enough artists complained. My point was that not all the people complaining were artists, we don’t know how much of this was a wider PR issue and how much was the result of people who would have been affected by the specific competition. You seem to be confirming that it was an ideological point for you and you would never have seen the competition otherwise for your friend posting as well.

My point stands then, that It’s a shame that a competition to draw something - that was never for sale - was spoiled for amateurs because professionals who had no intention of entering, kicked up a stink.
The "professional" class of artists you keep alluding too are either already employed/on contract and have a steady income, or are celebrities who probably didn't even notice this contest, much less even think about participating in it. What, do you think Tony DiTerlizzi or Larry Elmore wanted to ruin things for the newbies?

The "amateurs" you keep trying to white knight for are the exact same people who sounded the alarm in the first place. Newsflash: the "starving artist" trope actually does have some basis in reality. Or do you think an artist having a Patreon open but which doesn't cover their cost of living, or doing paid comissions for 2-3 digit prices, or even just having a Ko-Fi open for $2 donations is suddenly a "professional"? I think you're using that word in a way that might be technically correct under the most tortured of readings, but the connotations of which does not apply to this clas of artists in the slightest.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
The "professional" class of artists you keep alluding too are either already employed/on contract and have a steady income, or are celebrities who probably didn't even notice this contest, much less even think about participating in it. What, do you think Tony DiTerlizzi or Larry Elmore wanted to ruin things for the newbies?

The "amateurs" you keep trying to white knight for are the exact same people who sounded the alarm in the first place. Newsflash: the "starving artist" trope actually does have some basis in reality. Or do you think an artist having a Patreon open but which doesn't cover their cost of living, or doing paid comissions for 2-3 digit prices, or even just having a Ko-Fi open for $2 donations is suddenly a "professional"? I think you're using that word in a way that might be technically correct under the most tortured of readings, but the connotations of which does not apply to this clas of artists in the slightest.
The term white knight has always bothered me. It implies that one cannot be genuinely concerned for others. That ones concern is always simply to make themselves look good. I find both of those ideas wrong and dangerous.

also, to turn this on its head for a moment so we can easily see the truth, why are you white knighting for those artists that wanted this contest ended? *Note it’s just the notion that your white knighting is acceptable and his is not that I’m contrasting.

#no more dismissive terms
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top