Monday, October 21, 2013

New Use License

Effective immediately, I have changed the acceptable use policies of this blog. Please see the updated Use License page for details.


Charles Akins said...

A fair and righteous move considering the dickery that was done with your entry.

Can't wait to see your new stuff as you do a pretty good job.

mwschmeer said...


Thanks, Chuck. But it wasn't just my entry--it was everyone's entry.

If the whole affair had been openly discussed--not on the walled gardens of "need to join to see" social media sites, but on a blog post or forum -- then maybe my reaction would not have been so knee-jerk. Most likely I would have just kicked myself for missing the discussion and shrugged my shoulders about it. But that didn't happen.

No, my problem is that this project was done on the sly.

Alex is the contest coordinator and had everyone's contact info because entries were submitted via email. He has no excuse for failing to contact the entrants to give them a head's up. Alex knew this book was in process and kept mum about it except on a few random posts on a select number of social media sites--two of which require membership to see posts. That's not cool any way you slice it.

How many of us in the "share and share alike" spirit of the online RPG community (and the subset of the OSR gaming community) thought that the entries would be bound and sold for a profit -- with the blessing of the contest coordinator, no less?

Let me be clear. It is perfectly legal for anyone to print and sell any entry in the contest because of the specific Creative Common Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License the contest requires. The entries in the 2009 contest were gathered into a PDF and offered for "sale" (actually a free download) on RPGNow (which requires an account). Members of the online gaming community supported a Kickstarter to bring the 2009 1PDC book into print, too (well, 27 of them did). Bothe both of these efforts were widely announced and discussed ahead of time.

There is a difference between what is legal and what is ethical. It's the disregard for a simple ethical principle that irked me. A simple "hey, just to let you know we are doing this" would have been nice.

I'm humble enough to know that my entry isn't/wasn't as good as many in the contest--it was a friggin' flowchart, for crying out loud! I do not have delusions of grandeur. I wanted an explanation and I got it, which is what I asked for (rather pointedly) in my original post. Alex isn't a bad guy and now it's clear he's not out to bilk anyone. He just handled this extremely poorly.

At any rate, the outcome was educational. I now know more about the Creative Commons options than I did before and that's a good thing.