It was an eventful Monday for Wizards of the Coast. First, the company discontinued all sales of its products in PDF form, through sites such as DriveThruRPG and Paizo.com. The same day that WotC took its digital product marbles and went home, the company filed suit against eight defendants, in the United States, Poland and the Philippines, for copyright infringement of the Player’s Handbook 2 (released last month). According to the lawsuit, the defendants allegedly engaged in the illegal distribution of electronic copies of the PHB2 through file sharing websites.
Wizards of the Coast press release follows:
WIZARDS OF THE COAST SUES EIGHT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
April 6, 2009 — Wizards of the Coast LLC today filed three lawsuits in US District Court for the Western District of Washington against eight individuals, including named defendants located in the United States, Poland and the Philippines, for copyright infringement of its recently-released Dungeons & Dragons® Player’s Handbook® 2. The lawsuits allege that the defendants illegally distributed the Player’s Handbook 2 via free file-sharing websites and that these illicit uploads resulted in a substantial number of lost sales and lost revenue to Wizards of the Coast.
“Violations of our copyrights and piracy of our products hurt not only Wizards of the Coast’s financial health but also the health of whole gaming community including retailers and players,” said Greg Leeds, President of Wizards of the Coast. “We have brought these suits to stop the illegal activities of these defendants, and to deter future unauthorized and unlawful file-sharing.”
The complaint alleges, among other things, that one or more of the defendants purchased digital copies of Player’s Handbook 2 and then illegally posted the copies onto popular file-sharing sites for free access and download by the general public.
Wizards of the Coast is the leader in entertaining the lifestyle gamer. The company holds an exclusive patent on trading card games (TCGs) and their method of play and produces the premier trading card game, MAGIC: THE GATHERING®, among many other trading card games and family card and board games. Wizards is also a leading publisher of roleplaying games, such as DUNGEONS & DRAGONS®, and publisher of fantasy series fiction with numerous New York Times best-sellers. For more information, visit the Wizards of the Coast website at www.wizards.com.
Wizards of the Coast, Dungeons & Dragons, Player’s Handbook, and Magic: The Gathering are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. © 2009 Wizards