As everyone has undoubtedly heard, the folks at OneBookShelf screwed up today. The super secret project of PDF’s being uploaded from Wizards of Coast was inadvertently flagged as being available to Featured Reviewers. Once the emails started pouring into their inboxes, people immediately began to speculate.
What does it mean?
Obviously, the accountants under the WoTC domain finally figured out that there’s a huge demand for out of print products. Duh. And the lawyers were assured that profits overtake piracy. Duh. Big companies don’t make big decisions quickly nor do they do so without pondering the bottom line.
Surely, they jest?
Well People Them with Monsters grabbed a screen shot of what was obviously a work in progress from dndclassics.com. I could link to the site but its a blank page. Not unexpected since OBS began the back pedal once they figured out they were leaching information.
From the screen shots and the various mentions, it appears to include a volume of works covering stuff from prior editions through modern incarnations. Products that were not previously available were uploaded and stuff that had been previously been available via OneBookShelf appear to be headed toward being once again available. Does it mean that OBS will return products to customers who already owned them before the rights were rescinded? No idea. One would hope so but I seriously doubt it. Big companies are all about the bottom line but they are working with a far smaller company.
How long has this been in the works?
Well before November 1st, 2012. That is the date that OBS registered dndclassics.com. Strangely, they may not have had much faith in the project since they only registered it for a couple of years. The registration details have since been set to private. I looked at the domain the information when it was leaked.
Lessons to Learn
You should not test major stuff on sites live on the Internet. You should validate the process with fake data to ensure that your process is correct. So, yeah, OBS, you screwed the pooch.
I doubt it will matter. If the project was key to Hasbro’s strategy, the dollar signs are still there. I doubt they will back out now. Doing so would require an endless series of meetings with a lot of PowerPoint slides. Even internally, they probably cannot stomach that.