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Other Piracy

Discussion in 'Software' started by Zinfandel, 2 Aug 2010.

  1. phulshof

    phulshof What's a Dremel?

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    I think I'm with Elledan on this one. Certainly, copyright infringement is illegal, but that doesn't make it good business sense to act against every infringement nor to spend a fortune on useless prevention methods like DRM. In some cases it might even be beneficial to use copyright infringement of your software to your advantage; the business sense shows in knowing what to do when.

    Btw, equating copyright infringement with theft is both legally and morally incorrect. Btw, did you know that the punishment for copyright infringement is much higher than that of theft in most countries? Something to think about when you talk about equating them.
     
  2. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    I have never mentioned international law. I did make that clear earlier when you compared the Netherland's laws to the ones here in the UK, please do refrain from making grand statements yourself:D

    I can only speak about the laws here in the UK, I have no right and no place to speak about what happens in a country where I am not a resident, and have no knowledge myself of their legal system.
     
  3. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    I am saying, as has been said earlier, this:

    You have contradicted yourself a few times on how your company will or will not use piracy as a PR medium, I replied to this. I was giving my honest opinion on your suggestion that piracy could do a fledgling software house more good than bad. If you don't like my opinion that's fine, and I hope it does work out well for you. It's nothing to do with whether you should use DRM, which you keep referring to. It's about whether you decide to use piracy as a tool, and it was this that I was replying to. You seem to have either misinterpreted this, or evaded the issue.
     
  4. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

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    No, it's exactly what it's about. As a software developer who sells these products, there are two things one can do: either try to fight piracy using DRM, or try to see the positive side(s) of it. Since the former doesn't work at all, and there's proof that it has the opposite effect of the one intended according to independent research, my company opted to pick the latter, as it keeps us from implementing a solution which doesn't work (DRM) yet costs a lot of time and money which we don't have, and instead we do nothing. That's all. Nothing. Except pleasing our customers and trying to make as many of these 'pirates' into paying customers by offering a good product for a proper price.

    Now that's so horrible about that? It almost seems like you're accusing me and company owners with similar attitudes (like Blizzard) of being in league with pirates or so.
     
  5. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    No I am not suggesting that companies like yours are in league with pirates, but you would be acting no better if you used piracy as a PR medium. How could you claim to have the higher moral ground, when your company is considering potentially profiteering from the practice of piracy. That's just being a hypocrite, and is also condoning piracy as a legitimate practice. You can't have your cake and eat all the time you know!:sigh:

    Also, why do you keep changing your claims? I did quote you where you said you consider piracy to be of benefit to your company, but now you are claiming this was never said, and it was all about DRM.
     
  6. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    The trouble is though, that copyright infringement is seen as socially acceptable practice by many people. Theft is widely regarded to be socially unacceptable, but the two have similar consequences, especially so in the case of corporate piracy.

    As an example, I bet we all know the odd Arfur Daley wannabe type, who was knocking out the dodgy DVD and CD pirate copies. I also knew quite a lot of lads who were into knocking out the old 8 and 16 bit games, I used to buy off them. Now these people were never seen as criminals, and frequently sold their wares openly and freely. Maybe if the act of piracy had more stigma attached to it, then there would be less that would consider it a socially acceptable practice. Also, a thought on those who bought the pirate copies, or downloaded them, were they acting any better? They were still commiting the act of piracy, but because there is no financial gain, then that's alright? I don't think it is myself. As I just said, you can't criticise one, and condone the other.
     
  7. Pieface

    Pieface Modder

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    Sorry, but I don't get this. Are you saying that they should ignore those who do piracy as they wouldn't buy the game anyway? So pretty much ignoring the paying customers and alienating those. I have no intention of buying a Ferrari. Would it be OK for me to get one then without paying for it? Ferrari would just ignore me taking one as they have customers who pay for them anyway so it doesn't matter. I get a free ride?
     
  8. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    This was made in reference to the fact that Elledan had claimed that she would consider using piracy as a platform from which to promote her games. She would basically turn a blind eye to people who pirated her games, in the hope that it would later convert to sales. The point I was making was that she would then be reliant on the goodwill of those who had pirated her games, to generate any income from them. As her company is a startup, this would be dangerous practice. I can understand her logic behind her reasoning, but to use piracy as a tool has the very real danger of becoming a monster that she cannot control, thus leaving her with very little actual income from her products.

    I don't get your analogy, or how you could draw it from my statement.
     
  9. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

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    I'm not using piracy as a platform for anything. I'm just not turning a blind eye to reality. The reality is that piracy can not be stopped. Best thing I and others can do is to try to find the silver lining in it.

    I recognize that there are people who never pay for any of our games, even if they cost only 1 cent. I also recognize that they aren't our target market. They are completely irrelevant to our goals.

    I also recognize that there are people who just want to try out different games. Heck, I'm one of them, so I can find myself in that attitude. If I like a game I'll buy it. I trust that those others will do the same, even go as far as to recommend the game to others. I'll try to keep the price as reasonable as possible to stimulate this.

    How is this not pragmatism and good business sense? How would you approach this issue?
     
  10. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    Well for a start, you are claiming that those who obtain your games illegally (with no intention of ever buying one of your titles) are totally irrelevant to your goals. That's as may be, but to try and imagine them as irrelevant to your business and it's commercial wellbeing is extremely dangerous. I understand fully that you are hoping to target those who would feel morally obliged to purchase one of your titles after having played one or maybe more of your games with a prate copy. I think the overall percentage of this type of software pirate would be vastly smaller than those who will never buy the titles you produce.

    On what assumption am I basing this opinion? I have friends who pirate, and I have pirated myself. I deal with people who pirate on a daily basis at work. I have tried convincing people that they should show support for companies that produce software they utilise, by actually buying something from that company. I know that very often once you get into the habit of pirating, actually purchasing the titles once you have a pirate copy just does not happen. Obviously, there are those who genuinely use piracy as a "try b4 u buy" option, but I think you may be underestimating the number of those who couldn't give a flying feck about software houses, and the future financial wellbeing of these companies.

    What would I do about it?

    Well, if I had the answer to the problem, I would be in the software publishing business, and not the IT services industry. I can tell you what I wouldn't do though:

    I wouldn't be trying to justify the act of copyright infringement for any reason, regardless of whether it could have consequences within my organisation or not.

    I wouldn't be hypocritical with my reasoning concerning piracy. If it's not OK for commercial enterprises to infringe on my copyrighted materials, then it isn't OK for joe public to do so either.

    I would definitely not try and justify my own personal pirating habits on a public forum, where my market audience may just be lurking.

    I would certainly have some market research conducted on behalf of my company, to allow me to make a more formal estimation of the scale and scope, instead of using other companies business models and financial performance as examples of how to do things (ie. the blizzard comparison). What's good for the goose isn't always good for the gander.

    I would also take any threat to my companies revenue extremely seriously, whether it be potential, future, or realised. I would try to strike a balance between protecting my assets, and allowing freedom of use for my paying clients. If someone can find a way to do this, then they will be a very rich person, as you may have guessed, I don't have that way.

    I don't claim to have all the answers, because I simply don't. I do know that piracy can and does incur financial implications to software houses, and also right through the supply chain too. I also know it's a big enough problem, that it shouldn't be merely ignored, or even worse - promoted.
     
  11. Altron

    Altron Minimodder

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    What? Within the span of an hour, you've argued that Elledan won't make any money if she allows piracy of her games, and you've accused her of profiteering from piracy. You've posted two arguments that completely contradict each other, then call her the hypocrite?

    And, as stated before, there is a huge difference between not actively fighting piracy and assisting pirates. She doesn't have DRM, but it's not like she posts a link to a free torrent of the game on her website, or uploads it to a P2P site.
     
  12. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    Now who's twisting what's been said?:eyebrow:

    Elledan made it perfectly obvious that she saw piracy as an opportunity to promote her products, she even went as far as to say that it was a neccesity for small publishers like herself. Is this not then using piracy as a medium to promote her products?

    She is hoping to reap some benefit from piracy, thus condoning it as a legitimate practice.

    I then went on to point out that in fact, piracy could deprive her of some income. How is this hypocricy?
     
  13. phulshof

    phulshof What's a Dremel?

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    Well, considering that most of us live in a democracy, where we the people make the laws, perhaps that should tell you something. Perhaps copyright has been expanded so much in the past decades, that people simply refuse to accept it as "normal" anymore. I believe in California the penalty for stealing a 10 song cd is $1000. Copying that cd however, carries a maximum penalty of $1.500.000. You can see where your Joe Public may have trouble seeing this as "normal" or "the same".

    As for the similar consequences: could you point me to any independent study showing this? All the independent studies that have been published lately seem to point to the exact opposite, as strange as it may be to our expectations.
     
  14. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    So what will she do when someone posts up the torrent to her pirated game then, and someone downloads it for financial gain? There are still many people out there who sell piate materials, whether it be on a small or large scale. She says this is wrong, but how can she tell? By her own admission, she will see this as potential income, when in fact it could be robbing her of income.
     
  15. phulshof

    phulshof What's a Dremel?

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    What can she do? Considering the size of her company, it's impossible for her to litigate. Best she can hope for is that the game becomes popular enough through mouth to mouth to make enough on the sales she does get to make another game. It's not like popular games don't get pirated; it just gets bought (more than) enough to make the game company money.
     
  16. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    As I said 6 posts ago:

     
  17. phulshof

    phulshof What's a Dremel?

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    Well, the issue is: there IS no solution against non-commercial copyright infringement, and certainly not for a company like hers. All she can do is accept the fact that it will happen, and try to make the best of it. As studies have shown though: the biggest problem companies like hers suffer from is obscurity. If piracy can help solve that problem, then it might be more helpful than harmful to her.
     
  18. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    I agree, there is no sure way to combat piracy, I have never tried to claim otherwise. I think the only way we could make serious inroads would be to change public opinion, and that just isn't going to happen anytime soon. I think the government could take action to help reduce the problem though, and introducing measures to reduce the availibility and distribution of pirate materials would be a good step. May not be a popular choice, but how else can we begin to address the problem? Whether it would actually work or how this can be achieved effectively I do not know for 100%.

    We have witnessed companies trying to protect their assets as best they can, and they are severely criticised for doing so.....hence the DRM fiasco. I think people should take a step back and consider what they would do if it was their company, and they had their shareholders screaming at them that their profits were taking a hit at the hands of pirates and demanding measures. Fair enough, they failed, but ANY commercial enterprise in ANY other sector will try and protect their assets as best they can. Why is it that when it's a software house, they are the spawn of the devil?
     
  19. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    Not necessarily. That's the core issue you're working over in this thread - whether piracy is actually, really damaging with tangible consequences, rather than just hypothetical losses that make no difference - and if you're right about that issue, then public opinion could be changed in the future if that fact were brought to light and demonstrated more clearly. So far we've just had biased, unfounded assertions from developers themselves that piracy is "really very hurtful and costs us a lot...honest".

    This is a question that will only be resolved by statistics, by hard data. Until then, moral posturing isn't just redundant, it's impossible - whether or not piracy is wrong is, to my mind, determined by whether it's damaging or not. If it's not damaging at all, to anybody, then it's essentially a fabricated crime. If it is, then it's a new variant of theft and attitudes towards it (including mine :p) need to change.

    Of course, a shift in opinions won't stop the hardcore pirates, the ones who'd never have bought it to begin with, but it might make the more middling pirates think twice. If I knew pirating Bioshock would actually cause a loss I wouldn't have done it; I did so in perfect conviction that it made no difference. (I'm morally shored either way because I bought it afterwards.)

    Also, while we're talking about potential solutions, one thing that might solve the problem more effectively than DRM (which we all seem to be able to agree is not an effective solution) would be some sort of trial period system for games similar to that used by shareware apps and movie rentals from Amazon and Lovefilm. If I were able to download and try a game for free for a few days, after which it stopped working, that would essentially satisfy the need that piracy currently does - and I'm sure the same would be true for a lot of current pirates. In fact Steam already does this, and it works wonderfully.
     
  20. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    Well put argument, and I couldn't really disagree with any of that, even if I wanted to. Apart from the "I will continue until it's proven that I have generated a loss" part, for obvious reasons I think.

    In my case, or rather the case of my business, I have noticed several trends within my sales ledgers, which can be attributed to piracy. I'm not going to go into detail here, as the info is of a sensitive nature, but I can say with a high degree of certainty that piracy has had some negative impact on the sales side of my business. Whether anyone chooses to accept this or not, I know that this is the case.

    I do agree though, that more data is needed before we can say that this is as big a problem as the media moguls, or even small companies like mine claim. We don't need companies showing us how it affects them, we need quality, independant research to be conducted, and sooner rather than later. We need properly conducted analysis, without the usual hype that surrounds the issue, both from the pro and anti lobbies.



    This is something I would welcome. I often wonder why less companies are bothering with game demos too nowadays. They were all the rage many moons ago, and often helped me to decide whether to buy a game or not.

    I also think that the online, browser based games we are seeing from EA etc. such as Tiger Woods Golf etc. could be a step in the right direction, as long as they got their pricing models right, something I don't think they have at the mo.
     

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