Chaosium Sells Stolen Goods – Part the Second

UPDATE – The check has arrived!

I’m posting these screenshots from Chaosium’s Facebook and Twitter pages as a record in case someone at Chaosium decides to scrub my posts. They should be able to. I’d suspect that they hadn’t noticed them except that I get emails when someone responds to my FB posts and tweets. Someone there should be noticing that I’ve been posting.

Between Facebook, private emails and looking around the web I’m finding a lot of folks who are pissed off at Chaosium. Sadly I’m not hearing from any defenders. The best I’ve gotten is “So far they’ve always paid me … but yeah, I’ve heard from a lot of people in your situation.”

It’s been recommended that I call and speak directly to Charlie Krank. That’s a good suggestion. For the moment, however, I’m still trying to be polite. In an email or a blog post I can think twice (thrice!) about what I’ve said before I pass it on to the world. In a phone conversation I’m more likely to be … surly. Also, unless I record the phone call, there’s no record of what was said. I like keeping records.

It’s also been suggested that I take Chaosium to small claims court. I’m seriously considering that one. Laws vary from state to state so I’ll have to see what the situation is here in Washington.

Here’s the thing – I have no illusions that Chaosium is getting rich by publishing stolen property. I’m sure they’re not. I’ve been a publisher. The publishing business has a narrow to non-existent profit margin. For every best seller there are thousands of books that barely cover their print costs. Chaosium publishes roleplaying game books for Call of Cthulhu and the Basic Roleplaying system, therefore they are niche publishers in a niche market. I’d be really surprised if a best seller in that market sold 10,000 copies. More likely it sells 5 thousand or less.

I wouldn’t be happy if they went out of business. I’m rarely happy to see a business fail. But, as I said yesterday I have to pay attention to getting paid. Chaosium has made it a habit to not pay people. I can’t, in good conscience, keep my mouth shut about that.

Chaosium could probably continue to exist if they restructured as hobbyists and paid contributors in copies of books printed. The RPG industry is fan driven. Folks work in it because they love it. They would still have writers and artists who would be happy be published. No one would expect to get paid and everyone could get along happily. Yeah.


4 thoughts on “Chaosium Sells Stolen Goods – Part the Second

  1. I saw on your wall (thanks for the FB invite BTW) that you posted a link to your first blog on Chaosium’s wall. Not surprisingly, they had deleted it when I checked. Personally, I think deleting it makes them look worse than leaving it up and refuting it or responding to it would have been because it shows that someone is paying attention but doesn’t care. It’s the “doesn’t care” part that irks me more than anything. You expect a level of professionalism in a company that’s been around as long as they have. If they can’t afford to pay, then they need to be up front about that. If they can afford to pay, then they need to get it together.

    Anyway, I hope something gets resolved for you.

  2. If you do call this jerk, it is possible to keep a record of the call. Take notes. You can even write yourself a script so you don’t go off message. I do this with corporations when dealing with their customer service reps, especially when it takes more than one call – I write down when I called, take down the name of the rep I talked to, I write down what they tell me and often tell them to repeat as I’m writing stuff down and, sorry, but I’m a slow notetaker. These sorts of notes would be treated seriously in a venue like small claims court.

    By the way, sorry this happened.

  3. G –

    It sucks but it’s forced me to finally be more rigorous with my art commissions. Now I’m asking for half on approval of the sketch and the rest upon completion of the final art.

    I did get an email from Charlie yesterday. I’m waiting to post about it until Monday in case the check really is in the mail.

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