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Note: While this post pertains to the OGL controversy, this is not a legal analysis. This is just my ramblings on how I live my life.
I had a Twitter conversation with a friend of mine. Here’s how it started.
And this is how it ended.
Because it was on Twitter, I didn’t give him a full argument. So, here it is.
Erik uses an iPhone, and we know that suicide and poor working conditions are problems at the infamous Foxxcon City where they’re made. The stakes with Dungeons & Dragons (“D&D“) aren’t nearly that high, but they are analogous. If you continue playing D&D, you’ll be allowing them to ignore the concerns of third-party publishers whose livelihoods have depended on OGL publishing for as many as 22 years. This is going to happen anyway because, as I’ve previously pointed out, the lifeblood of any business long-term is new customers. As long as Wizards of the Coast (“WotC”) is pulling in new customers that lack the knowledge of the controversy, WotC doesn’t care if they lose the old farts like Erik and me. But Erik’s thoughts are shared by many legacy players, so to the extent that some of the younger crowd might know about, and object to, the developments surrounding the OGL, Erik, et al. will offset that effect, making it just as unlikely to convince WotC to change course.
So, is Erik the bad guy after all? Yes, but not for this. 🙂
If Erik gave up his iPhone for a Samsung Android phone, would he avoid the ethical dilemma? No. Conditions at Samsung haven’t been much better. In short, Erik would have to stop using cell phones, which I’m sure he’d happily do the moment the rest of you give up yours. So it goes with D&D. Are you going to drop D&D because of this? What are you going to play? Savage Worlds? What are its creators’ opinions on abortion? What about Dragon Age RPG? Are its creators cat people or dog people? (They better be cat people.)
I know a lot of you think this way. You call for boycotts of companies based on a viewpoint allegedly or obviously held by a couple of high-level executives or owners with which you disagree. False appeals to Godwin’s Law notwithstanding, I’m not on board with that. Not only does it seem exceptionally arrogant, but it’s also counterproductive. The only people that go broke or have difficulties (if any) during a boycott are the employees that aren’t filthy rich and may even agree with you. I think that’s probably the case for WotC employees.
By all means, be aware of the problems with cobalt mines in the Congo, and write your congressmen about it, but don’t let that stop you from buying an electric car. I’m not willing to yell at someone who continues to live their life as fully as they can. The world sucks for a lot of people. If it doesn’t for you, you shouldn’t feel compelled to bring yourself down to that level. However, if you choose to take that stand individually, I won’t criticize that either. You have every right to spend your money according to your principles. There’s good arguments on either sides. Either way, I’d like you to consider funneling some of your money to third party publishers to make sure that remains a viable market during the era of OGL 1.1, 2.0, or whatever it winds up being called. I just don’t want anyone to forget who the actual bad guy is.
WotC Legal and Corporate. It’s WotC Legal and Corporate.
Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)