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WotC Dungeons & Dragons Fans Seek Removal of Oriental Adventures From Online Marketplace

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Thank you. I was just trying to gauge how much of it was was situating it as being reflective of "an exotic part the real world" (as opposed to making it "just more pastiche like we did in the PhB". I haven't actually read a copy for decades, but would believe some of the inside is troubling.
I don't agree with Dire Bare and think that Pemerton has the much more accurate view of the material.

The most offensive material, IMO, is on the front and back cover; the title and the "exoticism" come hither.

The next major issue is that melange of various distinct histories and cultures as the "Orient" when it is primarily Japan and China, and specific tropes and periods of time for each.

Other than a few other missteps, I would argue that it less offensive than most material produced during the "golden age" of '74-'85 of D&D, and unlike say, Deities & Demigods it was at least trying to be respectful, especially in the context of its time.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The Protagoras is my favourite work by Plato - how he ferreted out of Protagoras that he actually believed the opposite of what he claimed to believe. I do not think it is uncommon for people, including people who consider themselves "good", to hold beliefs that are vulnerable in the same was Protagoras' were.
Nonsense. If you have to twist meaning and nitpick definitions and contort logic to reach a “gotcha” conclusion that is the opposite of what is presented, as you did in the post I replied to, then your conclusion is false.
 


Good. That's a nice first step. But providing a definition of something is not enough to prove its existence. Likewise, I can provided a definition of a unicorn, but that does not mean one exists for me to find one in the local forest.

Now, the base definition you provided is "a unified body of individuals". All other definitions stem from this one, indicated by the indentation (I'm sure you already know this). Thus, we should prove that a unified body of individuals can exist. I agree that we act as if we form unified bodies, but can any body of individuals truly be unified? Personally, I'm skeptical.

Then we must ask, is the Asian American community unified? My answer is "probably not," though I am open to evidence to the contrary.
This is a few pages back, but this is just so backwards and confused I morbidly want to know...

Do you believe any community exists?

Because a unified organization fo Asian Americans existed and made a group.... but you said that wasn't the community, that they just proved that they believed a community existed... so, does any community exist?


I live in a neighborhood, I am not unified with my neighbors, so no community.
I talk on this forum. I am not unified with everyone on this forum, so no community.

Using this definition literally would be the death of the concept of a community, despite our being social creatures being a scientific fact... so what are we even doing here?

I don't know why people have community groups. I don't know why people are flat Eathers or moonlanding deniers. For community groups, I might hypothesize that they serve a purpose of combating loneliness, isolation, and meaninglessness for those individuals. I have worthy justification for those propositions, however.

I'm not excuse racism because it's irrational. Irrationality is never excusable and should instead be rectified.
Wow. Yep. You deny the existence of communities at large. They are a conspiracy theory....

What a depressing way to see the world.



The answer to Bad Art is never to destroy Bad Art. It is sometimes Better Art, and it is always More Art.
I loved almost your entire post. However, this part I wanted to pull out.

I'm not going to repeat (for the dozenth time) that none of us want to see the book banned, instead I'm going to take this idea of destroying Bad Art and I want to ask, is even the most extreme position of the guy on Twitter destroying art?

Destruction in the literal sense is to make something gone. To remove it, delete it, and never let it see the light of day again.

But, would removing the 1st edition OA from DMs Guild do that? No. Not really. I showed early in this thread that it is trivially easy to find it for free on the internet.


And, remember what one of his statements was, that WoTC is still selling the book. They are still making a profit, and at this point 50 years down the line, every sale is pure profit for that product. So, is it the destruction of art to stop selling merchandise?

A lot of old comics were sexist in a lot of ways. You can't go out and buy those. Is that because the comic's companies went and destroyed their old art? No. It is because they stopped selling and printing those comics and focused on new comics. They aren't bothering to reprint their old stuff, because it is bad and they don't want to spend the time and effort finding it and scanning it onto the internet.


And I think this is the part that makes me the most curious. I didn't even know 1st edition had this book. I certainly didn't know they sold it still. If, instead of a tweet storm and all this, WoTC had quietly removed the book when they put out there statement, would any of us have even noticed? Would it have been the destruction of art if they stopped selling a supplement to a version of the game that is played only by less than 1% of their player base?

We'll never know, but it makes me wonder. I also wonder if they donate the last two hundred sales, put a disclaimer, and make the pdf free to own, what would that do.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I'm not going to repeat (for the dozenth time) that none of us want to see the book banned, instead I'm going to take this idea of destroying Bad Art and I want to ask, is even the most extreme position of the guy on Twitter destroying art?

Destruction in the literal sense is to make something gone. To remove it, delete it, and never let it see the light of day again.

But, would removing the 1st edition OA from DMs Guild do that? No. Not really. I showed early in this thread that it is trivially easy to find it for free on the internet.
To repeat the issue that I have with this:

1. This person is not calling out Drive Thru, he is calling out WoTC.

2. He is not demanding that it not be for sale, in fact, he has stated that he would be more angry if it was free.

3. This means that it is a call for it to be completely removed.

4. Posting a link to AN ILLEGAL PIRATE SITE is not acceptable. Even if you don't have severe moral qualms about that for reasons I do not understand, these can be shut down and destroyed at any time.

Earlier, I posted in detail why this is not okay. This is the equivalent of saying, "Yo, Babylonians had to deal with cuneiform on clay tablets; you should thank the stars that you have antibiotics and stop complaining that we are trying to make things completely unavailable."
 


Remathilis

Legend
Is the class archetype problematic? I think so, others do as well. How best to deal with it? I don't know . . .
It can join Monk, Druid, Bard, Paladin, and Warlock in the "problematic archetype" boat. That boat probably won't be sailing to the distant shores of 6th edition.

Though to be fair, the boat has been kept up for a while by the assassin, samurai and warlord classes.
 

FaerieGodfather

Aberrant Druid
I'm not going to repeat (for the dozenth time) that none of us want to see the book banned, instead I'm going to take this idea of destroying Bad Art and I want to ask, is even the most extreme position of the guy on Twitter destroying art?
Let's not quibble over semantics: there is no legal or political framework for the sale or possession of Oriental Adventures to be prohibited. Nobody's going to get arrested, nobody's going to burn someone else's books, and so on and so forth.

But what you are talking about is Wizards of the Coast exercising their rights under copyright law to make producing and/or selling new copies of Oriental Adventures illegal. The only copies in existence will be the only legal copies in existence ever, exactly as it was before Wizards of the Coast made them available electronically and print-on-demand.

What you are suggesting that WotC do is the exact same thing you're insisting-- for the dozenth time-- that nobody wants to happen. Just with more steps. If you would agree with me that the government should not have the right to do this... I do not believe that Wizards of the Coast should have the right to do this, either.

I showed early in this thread that it is trivially easy to find it for free on the internet.
That is a felony offense in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and every other signatory to the Berne Convention on Copyrights. Enforcement efforts may be lackluster at best, and borderline technically impossible, but the civil and criminal penalties for infringing on someone else's copyrights are far harsher than the theoretical penalties for owning a "politically incorrect" book would be, even if that were possible.

So kindly, respectfully, please stop telling me that nobody wants to do the exact thing that you are explicitly trying to do.

We'll never know, but it makes me wonder. I also wonder if they donate the last two hundred sales, put a disclaimer, and make the pdf free to own, what would that do.
Minus the "refunds", it would only cost them the exact same amount of money that pulling it would. I would be satisfied; would you be? What would you think, of the majority of people requesting that it be taken down? Would they be satisfied?
 

To repeat the issue that I have with this:

1. This person is not calling out Drive Thru, he is calling out WoTC.
The owners of the material seem like good people to talk to about its sale

2. He is not demanding that it not be for sale, in fact, he has stated that he would be more angry if it was free.

3. This means that it is a call for it to be completely removed.
I was not aware he had said being free would be worse. But again, I was just wondering. There is this call that asking for this material to no longer be sold is "the destruction of art". And, while I am glad that DnD is art, I don't think that calls to "but now we have the technology to make things available forever" is looking at the full picture.

My inability to purchase Action Comics #2 or Tales From the Crypt #5 is not the destruction of art, is it? I mean, those comics could have some racist or sexist or classist materials and that is why PDFs of them are not available for purchase. I'm not even interested in reading those comics, but what if I suddenly was and they weren't available? Am I suddenly the victim of censorship?

Again, I didn't even know the OA 1st edition existed before this. It could have vanished from the Guild and my life would have been completely unaffected, but now it is a massive issue that has consumed out lives and is bringing about discussions of the death of freedom of expression.

As for The Trove. I mostly use it to get PDFs of books I already own. I see no moral problem in getting a digital copy of a book I already own, to make my life easier. I also wouldn't see a problem using it to get a pdf of material that is no longer sold or available, such as people are claiming 1st Edition OA would be.

After all, if you can't buy it anywhere, then you aren't stealing it by reading it for free.


Let's not quibble over semantics: there is no legal or political framework for the sale or possession of Oriental Adventures to be prohibited. Nobody's going to get arrested, nobody's going to burn someone else's books, and so on and so forth.

But what you are talking about is Wizards of the Coast exercising their rights under copyright law to make producing and/or selling new copies of Oriental Adventures illegal. The only copies in existence will be the only legal copies in existence ever, exactly as it was before Wizards of the Coast made them available electronically and print-on-demand.

What you are suggesting that WotC do is the exact same thing you're insisting-- for the dozenth time-- that nobody wants to happen. Just with more steps. If you would agree with me that the government should not have the right to do this... I do not believe that Wizards of the Coast should have the right to do this, either.



That is a felony offense in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and every other signatory to the Berne Convention on Copyrights. Enforcement efforts may be lackluster at best, and borderline technically impossible, but the civil and criminal penalties for infringing on someone else's copyrights are far harsher than the theoretical penalties for owning a "politically incorrect" book would be, even if that were possible.

So kindly, respectfully, please stop telling me that nobody wants to do the exact thing that you are explicitly trying to do.



Minus the "refunds", it would only cost them the exact same amount of money that pulling it would. I would be satisfied; would you be? What would you think, of the majority of people requesting that it be taken down? Would they be satisfied?
I'm not following. If posting a link to a PDF is illegal, then the only legal copies in existence are the ones that Wizards is providing, via PDF or print on Demand. So, how would removing it from the site change that? That is the current situation.

As for making it free? Me personally, I don't care if they sell it. I just want the disclaimer and for their new product to be better than something penned 50 years ago.

The people requesting it be taken down? Well, I've only heard of one person doing that, and he seems to have explicitly stated that making it free would be worse, so no, he wouldn't be satisfied. Does that mean we should do nothing at all and preserve the status quo?
 

FaerieGodfather

Aberrant Druid
I'm not following. If posting a link to a PDF is illegal, then the only legal copies in existence are the ones that Wizards is providing, via PDF or print on Demand. So, how would removing it from the site change that? That is the current situation.
If you remove it from DMs Guild/DriveThruRPG, there would be no legal way to obtain copies. That's the exact same legal situation as the book being "banned".

As for making it free? Me personally, I don't care if they sell it. I just want the disclaimer and for their new product to be better than something penned 50 years ago.
That's what I want, too. I posted about it at greater length, and I think you responded to it.

The people requesting it be taken down? Well, I've only heard of one person doing that, and he seems to have explicitly stated that making it free would be worse, so no, he wouldn't be satisfied. Does that mean we should do nothing at all and preserve the status quo?
Maybe? I don't think there's anything wrong with them continuing to sell and profit from a deeply problematic book they published thirty-five years ago, any more than I have a problem with Warner Bros continuing to sell and profit from even deeplier problematic cartoons they published eighty years ago. The status quo that needs to change is the quality of commercial artwork that is being produced and published now, and in the future; the Oriental Adventures they published twenty years ago was considerably less gross than the original, and whatever else they manage to fix the next time they tackle the subject matter, at least they won't repeat the damned title.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
If you remove it from DMs Guild/DriveThruRPG, there would be no legal way to obtain copies. That's the exact same legal situation as the book being "banned".
Being banned feels like not only can't you print it, but you can't re-sell it, or find it at the library.

Publishers deciding not to keep something in print feels totally different to me - the effect on the public not-withstanding. It's their IP, not the publics.

I assume you don't want to force publishers to keep things in print if they don't want to?
 

FaerieGodfather

Aberrant Druid
Publishers deciding not to keep something in print feels totally different to me - the effect on the public not-withstanding. It's their IP, not the publics.
That's a matter of opinion. I believe in the moral rights of the creator to control (to some extent) and profit from their work, but not at the expense of the public's interest-- copyright law exists and establishes the existence of "intellectual property", as an artificial monopoly, not as an extension of human rights but to promote the public's interest in the creation of artistic and literary works.

I assume you don't want to force publishers to keep things in print if they don't want to?
I can't advocate forcing publishers to spend money on keeping a product in print that they don't wish to keep in print-- for financial or moral reasons-- and when it comes down to it, I can't really advocate forcing them to keep a digital product available through an online retailer if they no longer wish to be associated with it.

But... I do think their decision to stop selling a product, whether or financial or moral reasons, should absolutely terminate their artificial legal right to prevent others from doing so-- since the moral purpose of copyright, after all, is to encourage the public availability of cultural works.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
But... I do think their decision to stop selling a product, whether or financial or moral reasons, should absolutely terminate their artificial legal right to prevent others from doing so-- since the moral purpose of copyright, after all, is to encourage the public availability of cultural works.
Four particular questions:

Should authors be required to keep all versions of their works in print (such as the earlier Star Wars runs, the copies of the Hobbit and LotR without the changes, etc...) or lose their rights to that particular version?

Should artists be required to make prints available of any peace of artwork they made the original of, even if they want each peace to be unique?

Should photographers have everything available for public sale regardless of who the picture is of?

Does it count as on sale if they just slap some really big $ amount?

None of the moral purpose of copyright is for artists, writers, and other creators to have possession of their own creation and profit from it?
 

FaerieGodfather

Aberrant Druid
Should authors be required to keep all versions of their works in print (such as the earlier Star Wars runs, the copies of the Hobbit and LotR without the changes, etc...) or lose their rights to that particular version?
Twenty years ago, that would have been a tough question-- keeping a work "in print" was a tremendous expense. On the one hand, if they're not selling it they're not profiting from it, but on the other hand, a publisher could be planning a major release that they can't afford yet.

Nowadays, keeping a work "in print" is as easy as not cancelling it. I am okay with saying that if a company revises their work after publishing it, they must keep the deprecated version available in order to maintain copyrights to it-- in the case of Star Wars I would argue this is absolutely in the public's interest to protect culturally significant works from vandalism at the hands of their own creators.

Details are hard, and technical, and political. You can pick at flaws in any proposal I make all day, and I could just as easily pick at the flaws in the current legal paradigm. The principle of the matter is still going to be that whether the government censors a book, or the government enforces the IP owner's right to remove it from sale, the practical result for the end user is the same: the book is no longer legally available for public consumption, and this is contrary to the purpose of the laws that make it possible.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Details are hard, and technical, and political.
Fair enough.

I hadn't decided if those were going to be my only four questions. If you want to answer the other three (about the particular selling cases, not the purpose of copyright), then I won't have any more :) Just curious what your responses would be.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Four particular questions:

Should authors be required to keep all versions of their works in print (such as the earlier Star Wars runs, the copies of the Hobbit and LotR without the changes, etc...) or lose their rights to that particular version?
Sticky question. For mass-produced works e.g. a book or a movie, there is I think a moral obligation to retain earlier versions (and, where possible, have them available even if not in their original physical form) rather than recall and-or destroy them. And as someone already astutely pointed out, retention and distribution is far easier now than even 20 years ago.

Should artists be required to make prints available of any peace of artwork they made the original of, even if they want each peace to be unique?
Following on from the last question, if the piece is meant to be unique (or of a set-number limited run) then there's no obligation for the artist to make prints available. However, one could argue the copyright only extends to the original(s); meaning that for a painting, say, someone couldn't paint another copy but could photograph it and distribute that photo (I wouldn't necessarily agree with this argument, but it can be made).

Should photographers have everything available for public sale regardless of who the picture is of?
This one depends on why the photo was taken in the first place, and of whom i.e. are the subjects public or famous figures who could reasonably expect photos of themselves to proliferate among the masses. Almost needs a case-by-case answer.

Does it count as on sale if they just slap some really big $ amount?
Yes, provided that someone paying that really big $ amount in good faith will in fact receive the product in return.

None of the moral purpose of copyright is for artists, writers, and other creators to have possession of their own creation and profit from it?
Here's the truly bizarre bit, at least for me: in the US, as of a few years ago when I asked at a legal seminar, it is in theory legally impossible for an artist or content producer to create a work and then intentionally release it into the public domain as copyright-free. Put another way, a creator cannot legally waive copyright even if he-she wants to; the only option is to sign it over to someone else, which completely defeats the point of making it copyright-free.
 

That's a matter of opinion. I believe in the moral rights of the creator to control (to some extent) and profit from their work, but not at the expense of the public's interest-- copyright law exists and establishes the existence of "intellectual property", as an artificial monopoly, not as an extension of human rights but to promote the public's interest in the creation of artistic and literary works.

I can't advocate forcing publishers to spend money on keeping a product in print that they don't wish to keep in print-- for financial or moral reasons-- and when it comes down to it, I can't really advocate forcing them to keep a digital product available through an online retailer if they no longer wish to be associated with it.

But... I do think their decision to stop selling a product, whether or financial or moral reasons, should absolutely terminate their artificial legal right to prevent others from doing so-- since the moral purpose of copyright, after all, is to encourage the public availability of cultural works.
Yeah, I think bringing copyright law into the equation makes this a very sticky situation. Especially since copyright is under massive scrutiny due to large problems on multiple levels, such as the new standards of "eternal copyright" that companies like Disney are able to get on works they hold the rights to, but never work on producing, which essentially locks them away and prevents their use for the public. A state that copyright was supposed to prevent from happening.
 

FaerieGodfather

Aberrant Druid
Put another way, a creator cannot legally waive copyright even if he-she wants to; the only option is to sign it over to someone else, which completely defeats the point of making it copyright-free.
That's the purpose of Creative Commons and other copyleft open licenses.
 

FireLance

Legend
We've kind of moved on in the conversation, but I just wanted to add that I thought the idea that there was a single, unified, monolithic Asian community that would take offense that OA, among other things, presented Asians as having a single, unified, monolithic culture to be truly amusing.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
We've kind of moved on in the conversation, but I just wanted to add that I thought the idea that there was a single, unified, monolithic Asian community that would take offense that OA, among other things, presented Asians as having a single, unified, monolithic culture to be truly amusing.
It's been covered in the thread. Of course, the thread is hyuuge.

Not all Asians or Asian Americans find the term "oriental" offensive. Not all Asian or Asian American gamers find the stereotyping in the book "Oriental Adventures" offensive or overly problematic. But many do. Enough that the term should be avoided and the book needs a solution, either removal from sale or a disclaimer in the front.

And WotC needs to do better in future products. Not just better than "Oriental Adventures", but better than the current 5E products as well.
 

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