products_dndacc_217367200_lgpicWizards of the Coast yanked all PDF products from all online stores effective immediately and filed suit against eight defendents in the U.S., Poland, and The Phillipines for illegally distributing copies of the PDFs online.

The prase “throwing out the baby with the bathwater” comes to mind. Now, the only way to get electronic copies of the books is illegally; they yanked all the legal ways of buying them. I’m not the only one who notes this. Jukka also notes that Wizards is now looking into ways to release the material using DRM, so that future legally bought copies will be a pain to use, while illegal ones will be more useful.

The cynical attitude is that there will always be illegal copies of the books; they get leaked from HQ as much as they are passed around after purchasing. And there’s no concrete proof that illegal copies don’t boost sales of the physical products, by making the game more popular, or just because people like to own nicely-bound physical versions of D&D books when playing around a table (OTOH, D&D’s online moves might be making their physical books obsolete, so maybe not).

Wizards already made moves to releasing the core ruleset as open source; surely someone in the organization can help them figure out a business model that doesn’t rely on the selling and withholding of information.

(source, source)