In my question about legal 5e PDF's, it has, more than once, attracted answers advocating piracy or even linking to pirated versions of these PDF's. Is our policy just to downvote and move on, or should we actively flag these answers?
I think my answer regarding the (now defunct) DndTools.eu site is relevant. It goes something like this:
- The legality of linking to infringing material is unclear, with conflicting legal precedents, and different ones in different countries. It's legal in the US though, so long as DMCA takedowns are processed in a timely fashion (which SE does).
- Regardless of legality of linking, these files are clearly illegal and will inevitable be taken down (as DnDTools.eu was recently), rendering the links useless.
- Answers that will become useless in the near future make our site worse.
My conclusion there applies here:
So, legally, we could leave these links alone, but we are compromising the quality of our site while doing so. This is a case where legality is not the only relevant concern. I think we should, despite the lack of legal liability, prohibit these links as a matter of maintaining the quality of the answers the site generates.
So these answers aren't really illegal (maybe), but they do us no good either way. Leaving them also gives the wrong impression that we're blasé and pirate-friendly, when we're actually quite careful about how we quote and use game text. For practical reasons, rather than legal reasons, we should kill 'em on sight.
Answers that are in clear violation of copyright should be deleted. (or flagged if you cannot vote to delete)
A lot of the material we share on this site is copyrighted in some way that limits reproduction. A lot of the excerpts we source to improve the quality of our answers could be seen in breach of that copyright given the amount we source, however our nature as a Q&A site and our practice of deleting pirated/copyright infringement links keeps us from receiving a DMCA notice to remove those excepts from our site. This is not a strictly written policy, but a best practice the majority of the community follows.