I got into a discussion with my friend the other day about Ethics and the like. This particular discussion was centered on whether or not it was ethical for gamers to download/scan/ photocopy the codecies for Warhammer 40k and Fantasy. I wanted to bring it to the internets to see what you crazies all think.
Before we get into this discussion lets first cover the ground rules... I am not talking about "Illegal," Often what is illegal is not unethical and what is unethical is not always illegal. So don't give me the answer 'its illegal so its unethical,' that is a huge waste of a brain if that is all the logic your head can come up with. If you feel that it is unethical explain how and why and under what circumstances might it be ethical. Also, just to be clear I am not condoning or supporting illegal activity, I am only looking to have a discussion.
To help us in this discussion I turn to our friend, Webster: "Ethical: In accordance with principles of conduct that are considered correct, Esp those of a given profession or group."
Now that we have the ground rules set and the definition in place lets talk about a few scenarios.
Scenario 1: You come to a game store and the person you are playing against has a space marine army that is not painted, he tells you he will be using his SM models as tyranids, he then pulls out a photocopied Tyranids Codex. When you ask him if he is trying things out before buying the army, he says "No. I just wanted to play Tyranids today." Is this an ethical use of the codex?
Scenario 2: You show up to the same game store for a pick up game. You see a friend flipping through a binder, as you look at the binder you notice that there are 'tabs,' saying "Space Marines," "Blood Angels," "Tau," "Necron," "Eldar," etc. you notice all the codecies the Rule book and all the FAQ's are in this mega binder. Your friend isn't playing any of the armies (He has a codex for his army) and from time to time at store tourneys the binder will be used to verify lists. This binder is also used to help new players in deciding what army to play because the store doesn't have 'store copies,' and won't let you look at copies for sale. Is this an ethical use of the material? What if all the material was downloaded from the net? What if it is copies of things "the group," owns?
Scenario 3: You own every codex written as well as both versions of the rule book, which you bought at retail. While getting ready for a long road trip you scan every book into a PDF form so you can have 'reading material,' on the drive... You also plan on using the PDF's at the table while playing in a tournament to check opponents wargear and such. Is this an ethical use of the material?
Scenario 4: Similar to your "Tyranid," opponent in scenario 1, but you are planning on buying the goods (Codex included) if you like the army. you are just using the photocopy/PDF to help decide if you like the army. Is this an Ethical use of the Codex?
There you go folks... Open-ended discussion here, which one is ethical? Are they all unethical?