WotC Third party, DNDBeyond and potential bad side effects.

SlyFlourish

SlyFlourish.com
Supporter
Relevant to the conversation:


This problem is also the case with any platform where you can't download your products. We each have to recognize that, when we're paying for a product on a platform like D&D Beyond, Demiplane, or Roll 20 – it's a temporary license we pay for, not a product. I'm not sure that's the same with Foundry or Fantasy Grounds – someone will have to clarify that for me.

If you can't download it, put it on a USB drive, and stick it in a safe deposit box, you don't own it.
 

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Clint_L

Hero
If you can't download it, put it on a USB drive, and stick it in a safe deposit box, you don't own it.
That's a pretty broad statement, but I'll agree that it applies to most of the stuff that we are discussing here. However, I see this as a feature, not a flaw. I'm also paying a lot less up front, don't have to store a bunch of stuff, have access to it anywhere, it's searchable, more sustainable, and so on. I switched from paper books to a Kobo/Kindle years ago, and have saved thousands of dollars while not having to deal with boxes and boxes of dead trees anymore. YVMV, but I don't find the "ownership" argument a particular issue for me.
 

Relevant to the conversation:


This problem is also the case with any platform where you can't download your products. We each have to recognize that, when we're paying for a product on a platform like D&D Beyond, Demiplane, or Roll 20 – it's a temporary license we pay for, not a product. I'm not sure that's the same with Foundry or Fantasy Grounds – someone will have to clarify that for me.

If you can't download it, put it on a USB drive, and stick it in a safe deposit box, you don't own it.
For Foundry, it depends.

You can self-host your server and anything you've bought and imported into it, is yours. You can create backups and restore them to a different install so it's reasonably safe to say you own the content you've bought as long as you manage the files properly. Personally, I don't self-host; I use the paid hosting on Forge-VTT.com and all my data is stored there. I still have the option to back my files up (which I do, especially before I update anything) and could migrate my install to a local self-hosted solution if I wanted to. You just have to be mindful of how you're using the platform.
 

Oofta

Legend
Relevant to the conversation:


This problem is also the case with any platform where you can't download your products. We each have to recognize that, when we're paying for a product on a platform like D&D Beyond, Demiplane, or Roll 20 – it's a temporary license we pay for, not a product. I'm not sure that's the same with Foundry or Fantasy Grounds – someone will have to clarify that for me.

If you can't download it, put it on a USB drive, and stick it in a safe deposit box, you don't own it.
Same with every video game I've played for several years, e-books, probably a bunch of other things I'm probably not thinking of.

I get the reservation, but progress and change often comes with benefits and drawbacks. Meanwhile I have a searchable database and I can purchase just the bits and pieces from modules. It's cheaper and more convenient. Meanwhile the "old" content I have for monsters is simply listed as "legacy" and is still accessible if I want it. If DDB goes belly up someday, I'll still have my core books in dead tree format, but I don't envision that happening anytime in the foreseeable future so I'm okay with the minimal risk of resources being online.

EDIT: ninja'd by @Clint_L
 

That's a pretty broad statement, but I'll agree that it applies to most of the stuff that we are discussing here. However, I see this as a feature, not a flaw. I'm also paying a lot less up front, don't have to store a bunch of stuff, have access to it anywhere, it's searchable, more sustainable, and so on. I switched from paper books to a Kobo/Kindle years ago, and have saved thousands of dollars while not having to deal with boxes and boxes of dead trees anymore. YVMV, but I don't find the "ownership" argument a particular issue for me.
I was thinking about DDB the other day and how the material is available while reading an article discussing digital media. I think in the eventual situation that WotC pulls the plug for whatever the reason might be, the likely scenario IMO is they allow you to download all your books to the mobile app by a deadline they provide since those downloaded books are available offline and then it's up to you to manage that device moving forward so you'd have the books as long as you have the device. That's the closest I could think of for how DDB currently works that would enable customers to continue to access books in the event the service is ever shut down without keeping WotC on the hook to pay to maintain servers forever. Maybe they do something like Nintendo did with the 3DS/Wii U eShops where they no longer allow purchases, but you can still download things you've bought on those platforms. No idea what that costs Nintendo to maintain compared to an active marketplace that generates revenue.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Relevant to the conversation:


This problem is also the case with any platform where you can't download your products. We each have to recognize that, when we're paying for a product on a platform like D&D Beyond, Demiplane, or Roll 20 – it's a temporary license we pay for, not a product. I'm not sure that's the same with Foundry or Fantasy Grounds – someone will have to clarify that for me.

If you can't download it, put it on a USB drive, and stick it in a safe deposit box, you don't own it.
IMO. It really shouldn’t be that way though.

But part of that is that digital can be soo easily copied and shared. So as soon as one can freely do what you describe, it’s also available for the whole world.

To accommodate both interests probably need some legal provision mandating that digital works become public domain after so many years regardless of corporate interests.
 

Clint_L

Hero
I'd like to see a separate thread on digital ownership, perhaps by @Snarf Zagyg or someone who knows the law. I know it's really complicated and has a lot to do with the specific license that I agreed to without reading on a bunch of different sites.

I think SlyFlourish is correct that really what is happening is the shift to digital, and this creates a completely new dynamic by giving more control over the marketplace to those with the means to build and maintain digital platforms, particularly if, as in the case of D&D, one particular brand is overwhelmingly popular and also owns a growing chunk of distribution.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I'd like to see a separate thread on digital ownership, perhaps by @Snarf Zagyg or someone who knows the law. I know it's really complicated and has a lot to do with the specific license that I agreed to without reading on a bunch of different sites.

I think SlyFlourish is correct that really what is happening is the shift to digital, and this creates a completely new dynamic by giving more control over the marketplace to those with the means to build and maintain digital platforms, particularly if, as in the case of D&D, one particular brand is overwhelmingly popular and also owns a growing chunk of distribution.

It doesn't take a very long post, because it's both simple in the generality, and complex in the specifics.

As a general rule, we are moving toward a "licensing" economy when it comes to digital. Think of this in terms of car ownership. With the vast majority of digital products (aka, those that we get access to "on the cloud" or "through a service" or purchase "in a game" or whatever), we are, in effect, leasing a car. We are paying to use the vehicle. We don't own the vehicle.

It's complex, because different licensing will have different rules, different expectations, and different enforcement mechanisms. But when people keep talking about companies making money off of "services," that's what they're talking about. Getting people to pay a little money, regularly, to access stuff. You don't get to own the Audi/BMW/Lexus, but you get to drive one for a while.

This approach, as we've seen, necessarily gives more control to the entities that own the marketplace. To switch for a second- Amazon is able to control who gets to be on Amazon. They get a cut of the products that other people sell. They know the analytics for other products. They also get to leverage their control to make their own products better able to compete. Finally, they can extract further money simply by manipulating the marketplace- which products get shown first, which products get returned in searches, etc.
 

darjr

I crit!
IMO. It really shouldn’t be that way though.

But part of that is that digital can be soo easily copied and shared. So as soon as one can freely do what you describe, it’s also available for the whole world.

To accommodate both interests probably need some legal provision mandating that digital works become public domain after so many years regardless of corporate interests.
I guarantee you everything Sony had up was available to pirate. Probably before Sony had it for sale.

It’s the same with DnDBeyond.

The online only thing doesn’t stop piracy.
 


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