Cease & Desist Letters From Wizards

Red Jason voiced some concern awhile back about some cease & desist letters that Wizards of the Coast was issuing against various sites. This naturally gave him cause for worry, mostly about the fact that the banner for this blog is a cropped image of the Dungeon Master's Guide. He didnt want to attract any negative flak from them, and thats something I can completely understand.

Having actually read about the sites that got the axe, I think that Wizards was right in what they did. Think about it, both sites were fronting complete stats for each power in the Player's Handbook. Thats a lot of content that amounts to much more than part of a single image. Some people are clamoring for a fansite kit, afraid that Wizards is going to tell them to knock if off if they do fan art of various D&D races or monsters, while others are afraid that their use of official D&D art is going to earn them a swift kick in the ass.

I think both sides are overreacting, especially when you stop for a moment and actually get the facts: those sites were making a large portion of the books freely available (and one of them charged you for storage space if you wanted to save your sheet to a database). I wonder what the owner's of these sites thought was going to happen. If I slap up pdfs that contain large portions of any book, I would fully expect them to crack down on me.
This has lead supporters of these sites to make claims that Wizards of the Coast is just trying to eliminate the competition, nevermind the fact that what the offenders were doing essentially amounts to theft.

I think that Wizards is one of the more lenient companies out there, considering that some like Palladium tend to go ape when you mention their games or numerous "copyrights" in any context at all. I'm very confident that they arent going to demand that I remove the picture of my tiefling warlord, or slap us on the wrists for cropping their art.

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