White Wolf's last copyright debacle: DRM disaster

Following on from last week's story about the weirdniks at White Wolf charging a license fee to people who organize gaming sessions where their games are played and money is collected, Brian Boyko provides a comprehensive look at the last White Wolf copyright debacle, when they released their games as DRMed PDFs and then spread a bunch of misinformation about how the DRM restricted your usage, a disaster that ended with them dropping the DRM from their games and offering them as plain, (albeit watermarked) PDFs:

Drive Thru RPG was started around 6/5/2004 (which was when the first posts started appearing on RPG.net and EnWorld), and started to offer DRM-Free versions of their e-books on 1/18/05.

White Wolf's Steve Weick's claims 1) You can back up files as easily as any other file 2) You can use them on multiple machines 3) I think you can loan them to a friend 4) You can print them 5) You can copy&paste from them. He also uses an unscientific RPGnow poll to "prove" that 1/3rd of all RPG customers are pirates.

Judas points out that Steve Weick is really skewing the numbers on the poll he uses to "prove" that a third of all RPGnow customers are 'pirates.'

JG Browning points out that Steve's claims about being able to back up files, viewing them on multiple machines, loaning to friends, and copying/pasting from them simply aren't true according to Adobe's FAQ (DTRPG used Adobe's DRM scheme) and points out some other goodies.

ChefKyle test trying to print at "three largest walk-in printing offices… in Melbourne" as well as tells what one can really do with the files.

Mike Zebrowski points out that you can't print the file on a computer you haven't registered.

JavaApp describes the problems with limiting cutting and pasting to 10 selections over 10 days with White Wolf's key fantasy product, "Exalted."

Ben W. Bell explains he could only get the file to work on the computer he downloaded it from – even when he had two other computers activated.

DrStalker points out that trying to get Exalted to read on another system using Acrobat activated to the same Passport account still needs access to DriveThruRPG to view the file (which means that if it goes out of business, you're out of luck.)

Steve Weick claims no "6 computer" limit. Sangrolu points out that Adobe states there IS a "6 computer" limit.

Tetsujin28 pointed out that the DRM crashed his Win2000 machine.

BTRC points out that the DRM can't be used on a Mac with OS9, and that the DRM is easily circumvented.

James Ojastee points out more real-life problems with the DRM.

DrStalker shows some more real-life problems he's had with the DRM:

Steve Wieck claims that DriveThru (the DRM publishers) is not White Wolf's site. Steve Wieck again claims that White Wolf is just a publisher client.

NPC Huh? points out that Steve Wieck (with his brother) own White Wolf. They also own PSI which in turn owns DTRPG.

In "An interview with Steve Wieck" (basically a DTRPG press release) Steve Wieck claims "We also had a number of people actively posting misinformation about our implementation of DRM, making false claims about restrictions the DRM placed on e-Book use." — ironic considering all the false claims he made about the restrictions the DRM placed on e-book use. He also admits owning Publisher Services, Inc. in the article/press release.

What may have prompted DTRPG to finally ditch DRM – just like its detractors predicted, the DRM didn't work when Adobe upgraded its software to version 7.0: From DriveThruRPG's website:"The DRM features of Acrobat 7 have not been implemented by Adobe. If you upgrade to 7, you will be unable to access your e-books. Please wait
until Adobe posts a corrected version. We will announce it here."

(Thanks, Brian!)