A Disappointing Update on Expanded Petty Gods
Richard LeBlanc over at Save vs. Dragon posted this morning that someone lodged a copyright complaint with Lulu.com in regards to Expanded Petty Gods. And Lulu.com deleted his account, because of course they did.
The project was distributed as a gift to the community and was made available as a free PDF or at-cost in print from Lulu.com & DriveThruRPG; it made for a hefty and gorgeous hardback.
But now, as a preemptive measure, Richard has pulled EPG from DriveThruRPG. As a result, there is no longer an official channel to download the PDF or order print copies.
While I am saddened that such a tremendous community project is no longer available in print, there are plenty of PDF copies floating around the internet. I'm not going to point you to those places, though; let's just say Google is your friend.
And to whomever it was that lodged the copyright complaint, I hope you are happy with yourself for depriving the DIY gaming community of one of the most massive projects to arise out of selfless goodwill and enthusiasm. You could have reached out to any of the editors listed on the title page (Richard, Greg Gorgonmilk, or me) to discuss whatever possible infringement issue existed, but instead, you yourself decided to be petty (oh, the irony).
Of course, there is also the possibility that this was a software algorithm that detected and filed an infringement claim, but we'll never know.
Ultimately, I guess this serves as a warning to anyone in the DIY publishing community: don't use Lulu.com. The company doesn't offer a clearly articulated process for creators to respond to or counter infringement claims before their accounts are deleted.
Suspending a product from distribution and allowing account holders to view and respond to possible infringement claims would be a better way of handling this. Instead, Lulu.com has decided to act on accusations without providing creators any recourse whatsoever. It is probably best to avoid doing business with them for any multi-creator community project.