Piracy: How would you stop it?

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I wouldn't.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Zachary Amaranth, you are against piracy. Why wouldn't you try and stop it?"

Because I'm firmly against the notion of doing more harm than good. Piracy is a fact of life now, and it's not going away. To spend resources to harass people who may or may not be guilty and foster bad will for doing so just wastes time and money and leaves EVERYONE unsatisfied.

Except the pirates, because they're relatively unharmed.

There's no real way to stop piracy. What we've got here is a war of consumer attrition.

Economic reforms in Somalia and other pirate-heavy areas to help stabilize the region and reduce the profitability of piracy versus legit enterprising for healthy young men.

... Oh, you mean INTERNET piracy? Well I guess I'd just limit myself to more standardized DRM like CD keys, logging on to an online website to register your copy (with none of that "limited amount of installs" bullshit) etc. For music, I'd put some of my songs for free on YouTube and use that to advertise my albums and iTunes sales.

Keeping it simple makes customers happy, and happy customers are more likely to buy my product rather than pirate it. A lot of web piracy comes about because people are dissatisfied with copy protection and feel the need to circumvent it.

CpT_x_Killsteal:
Now plenty of people on the Escapist have made it clear that piracy is wrong.

Uh, no. No they haven't. That is an incredibly complex issue and neither side is entirely correct.

To answer your question, you can't.

A vast percentage of piracy is person to person file sharing. I have a copy of Dredd. My friend wants it. I rip it and send him a copy.

Thus, the only possible way would be total access to every computer on the planet which is not only impossible, but would cause a well-deserved riot.

The only option companies have REDUCE pirating is to make their stuff more accessible and user friendly.

verdant monkai:
6 month Prison sentences for anyone who tries to hack information, pirate media or steal anything digitally.

6 month prison sentence and a 2 year computer/internet access ban for anyone found making any kind of malicious virus.

I don't care if it seems harsh I just cant stand scrawny little twerps stealing from people via the internet. I'd like to see them try to steal something without the aid of a keyboard.

You're lucky we have such strict rules about directly insulting people...

Force companies to provide the service for their products in such a way that makes it more convenient to use than piracy. It isn't hard to achieve this, just remove any pointless DRM and add in something which auto updates their game/program/whatever.

Work on better ways to detect and track down pirates and then dish out some punishments to them, fines most likely, show them that there are some actual consequences to their actions. People who would never commit crimes in the outside world might commit piracy because they have the anonymity of the internet to hide behind.

You don't.

You can fight it though, unlike most 'thefts' (shut up, I know its not theft) you can take a large chunk out of the piracy rate by providing good customer service. Ripping the DRM out of everything is a good place to start since beating that is a game to them, not a deterrent. Online passes need to go to, cause again, beating that is just another thing for them to figure work around for. Disk Locked Content shouldn't exist anyway so that can go. Lastly, price, bring that shit down some as well.

Course, none of this will happen. The Big publishers would rather wring every last cent out of us, while pissing and moaning about how 'piracy is hurting them' when they done more to push people to it them away from it.

I feel like piracy would be nearly impossible to stop, but reducing it would be a matter of companies doing a better job at serving the consumers for a reasonable price while creating good content. Part of the reason people pirate is because $60 is too much for a new game. Yeah yeah, I know that AAA games have huge teams of artists and writes who have to work on them and everyone wants to get paid, but I have no problems with smaller type games with regular expansions and updates instead of these AAA titles that cost as much as a full blown film to produce. Valve has a decent handle on this idea, I paid full price for Left 4 Dead 2 when it came out, but have gotten so much FREE additional content that it more than made up for my initial investment. If episodic gaming actually worked like Valve intended (stupid Half Life 2....), I think I would be more than happy to pay $20-$30 for a new installment that gives me some sweet new levels and features every year or so, and then I could keep buying new expansions and such as they came out.

That got rambly, and I don't have time for a longer, more coherent post, so I'm done for now.

basically host the game on the company servers as well as save games. employ a large legal team to make an example out of anyone caught pirating, push for strict jail terms for piracy and banning from internet access for confirmed pirates. yes my plan would be to be worse than EA and ubisoft combined :)

Stealing can not EVER be stopped unless we cut everyone's hands off and lock them up. Which begs the question who would be cutting and locking up...

On topic.

If I would try to stop piracy I would start from the root of the issue. The publishers!
Long as I can get better service from pirate forums than official customer service - there is no need to even think about the question which I choose.
Long as they keep treating me like a pirate for BUYING and PAYING for their product. Then why should I have respect them - if I can better treatment from the criminals.

The problem has to be solved by pricing games based on their development costs. Example game that has had less resources spent shouldn't cost as much as a game that ton of resource behind it. LOWER the price point - 80 euros for new console release, 60 for PC - you joking me? And after 4-5 months I can get it for 20-30 euros. If you want to get your money back then focus on selling more instead of selling few and compensate it with price.
Customer support, if I pay for a game and it has an issue, DRM, patching bugs... etc then I expect to get support before the 14 day customer right for media returns expires.
Do not rush you material out of the door and then wonder why it doesn't sell.
Make sure you can offer better service than the pirates (not talking of the price)
Quality over quantity! Paying 60 euros for 4 hours of gameplay is't really worth it. I can get more value per euro from movie theaters.
Patching... DO NOT RELEASE A GAME THAT REQUIRES PATCHING THE FIRST DAY!
DLC - do not be assholes with it.
Do not split your community with pay-to-win material.
Get rid of always online DRM. Sometimes connections just break.
If I use something like Steam for my game downloads then let Steam work as the DRM instead of adding additional launchers and DRM on top of them.
STOP TREATING PAYING CUSTOMERS LIKE CRIMINALS!
STOP TREATING PAYING CUSTOMERS LIKE SHEEP!
STOP BEING ASSHOLES ABOUT CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS!
KEEP YOUR PROMISES IF YOU MAKE THEM!!!
And not everyone who uses your material for review or parody purposes is a criminal.
Stop thinking like your (publishers) laws apply everywhere. (looking at you Origin, you still haven't changed your EULA to comply with Finnish laws and you still sell with it here and force customers use it. Also I am still waiting for you to break the contract and release it's value to me - because you broke the law and rendered the contract null!)

Also... Forcing the illegal downloader to pay billions of dollars for a single item will not give you anything. It will only cause bad PR and more piracy. Hell there are people who call them selfs revenge pirates who pirate material just for revenge, even if they would never use it. It is a moral victory for them.

But you can't stop piracy... Pirates will always find a way. There is more people cracking a DRM and all the security methods you put in than there are people making them.
There is always a loophole. There is always a way. Even if you would destroy internet it would still go on hand to hand.

Make the game good, cut out over the top marketing and remove the publisher cut (stay independent) thereby meaning I can make the game cheap.

There's really no other way to beat piracy than making a good game and keeping it cheap.

Lilani:
It made them money in Russia, a country they were told to not bother with because piracy was so rampant.

It actually kinda shows how greedy and stupid other major publishers and game distributors are. As a Russian, I know exactly why piracy here is "rampant". The main reason, of course, is that your average Ivan has much less disposable income than your average Joe. But things aren't THAT bad, and Ivan has access to the Internet and can afford to own a PC or a console and buy games regularly. But the overwhelming majority of Russian gamers settle for the PC. You know why? Well, the thing is, there's no Gamestop in Russia. No major retail chain that supports used game sales. And console games are pretty hard to pirate. That means that the aforementioned Ivan has to pay full price for his games if he chooses to buy a console. And because major publishers and distributors have nothing to hold them back, console games in Russia may actually cost MORE than $60. Only yesterday I saw the PS3 version of Assasin's Creed 3 for the equivalent of $90. In Russia, where people have less disposable income than in Europe or the US. That's just stupid, and this is why there are fewer console gamers than PC gamers in Russia. This is why piracy is so "rampant" here. Not because Russians are bear-molesting nuke-building filthy digital pirates (okay, I admit, there are some nukes and a bit of piracy, but I personally never touched any bears), but because the people that are trying to sell us games are not thinking like merchants should think. You can't just charge into a foreign market and then whine about piracy when you are forced to adapt! Actually, If you go to almost any store that sells games ere in Russia, you'll notice that a brand new PC game almost never costs more than the equivalent of $30. Because the publishers and retailers are forced to compete with Steam and the pirates. What I'm trying to say is that maybe piracy has some positive effects on the industry. Maybe more companies will pull their heads out of their asses in the future, and we will get more good digital distribution services, MMOs with working, user-friendly f2p models and other nice things.

Two words:

Public Crucifixions.

they could prolly start in australia by not releasing everything 6 months (or 2 years in the case of TV and movies) later and charging 50-100% more

also i've said this before but add more online playable content. pirates don't crack that shit and in cases like little big planet or portal 2 it's irrelevant if you pirate cause basically all you are left with is an extended demo

AnarchistFish:

DoPo:

AnarchistFish:
Piracy is only wrong if you use it wrong.

Unfortunately that applies to a lot, if not most, people who do it

Good comment and cute avatar (who is that?) :)

Anyway, OT: stop piracy? Why sir, you must be joking. Anything short of making everything permutations of play 4 free (which would include some sort of analogue in movies, music, etc) is not going to actually work.

If you're looking to reduce piracy, then we can talk.

That's Mélanie Laurent. So many people ask me that, although you're the first person to do so on this particular site

Au revoir, Shoshanna!
Hehe sorry.

Yeah, about piracy. Aren't pirates older than ze Bible? I don't think piracy is something you stop with a corporate decision to DRM or whatever. I interviewed the head of sales of a certain big shot movie distributor (film school thing) who very politely let me have a peek at their charts on piracy. Those guys have everything under control, believe it or not. They calculate losses with the accuracy of a precision strike, and in actuality piracy (i.e. cam-cording in the theater, selling DVD rips, etc.) means next to nothing in terms of money loss. It's something they're very weary about but there's no plot to stop piracy, just calculate it in the charts.

Tyelcapilu:
If no property belongs to anyone whatsoever, then piracy can not exist.

It's good to see at least one person is thinking outside the box.

Park an actual pirate ship in front of the pirateer's house, and have real pirates pillage the internet pirate's house. Then fear shall instill.

I'd offer demos, keep the game DRM free (WOO GOG.COM), and keep putting it on sale while already at a lower price, and then guilt-trip the HELL out of anyone I found confessing to pirating it.

Offer better alternatives.
Like free streaming with commercials.

There's a reason why most people won't bother pirating South Park: they stream all their episodes online.

Games would require a different approach. Something more incentive based, instead of the DRM which only punishes people who buy the game.
Pirates don't care about DRM. They have cracks to get around most of it. If a game doesn't work, then they still have all their money, they're just short a couple hours of waiting for downloads and attempting work-arounds.

Kill...ALL THE PIRATES

....what?

uhh well to be serious the best way you can do it is NOT punish the paying customers

Steam.

What? It works. People adore Valve, it's instant service and their prices are reasonable, and even if they're not, they inevitably get reasonable.

I think price and effort are the main reasons behind piracy, and secondarily, companies are dicks. If the companies weren't dicks, and buying it was about as much hassle as pirating it, that would be a dramatic decrease.

Bacon. Bribe legitimate customers with bacon.

Wait. No.

Alright, so I can't kill piracy. But I do have a plan to deal with it.

Games released have their core content, and their expanded capacity. The core is the main game, the part that is wholly on the disc or in the download, and this bit is, although not made deliberately to be piratable, not subject to any particularly great level of countermeasures. None of this bullshit about copy protection that makes the thing harder to run or interferes with other software. The important thing here is that this be a whole, fully-functional game.

The expanded capacity is the extra goodies. By registering uniquely as the owner of this particular copy, the game fleshes out a bit more. If it's multiplayer, the core can do LAN. The expanded capacity includes use of the company's servers for online multiplayer. If it's one of those 4X games, you get bonus events or cosmetically distinctive ship hulls, or bonus music that it collects from their servers because you registered and here's the combat song remix.

The point of the goodies is to remind the user that the company recognises that the paying customer has supported them and this variant sword design or haircut or extended combo limit or additional possible weapon drop is their badger of honour for having given the company a reason to keep making games.

Rampant copying of the core isn't exactly encouraged, but the company greets it with less murderous rage and more of a 'Alright, if you're having fun with it, how about you put some cash on that and get these added features which are handy, if peripheral to the core gameplay?'

I'm with Gabe Newell on this one: provide a better service than the pirates.

Draconian DRM does nothing to curb piracy, as the pirates will almost always circumvent it while the user-base has to suffer with it. I believe that you could cut down a nice percentage of piracy by removing the DRM altogether, even more if you provide updates for free (because the pirates sure will!).

There'll always be some piracy. But by implementing more consumer-friendly practices, you can bring down piracy significantly. A good chunk of the piracy that occurs is out of inconvenience, not a lack of money or desire for free things. Make it more convenient to get than piracy does.

You can't. If you just happened to find yourself in a meeting with the CIA, tell them that.

You can't put the genie back in the bottle, piracy is an inherent part of the digital revolution, as the fundamental absolutely defining aspect of computers is that the user can endlessly copy and modify any of the data they get a hold of.

Computers do something that fundamentally undermines capitalism, that is they DESTROY scarcity of so many products. You can make as many copies as you like of something,and the internet means they can spread everywhere.

Ultimately you're going to have to accept that anything you create digitally people are going to get without paying for.

Let's wind the clock back to the time of another revolutionary information technology, the gutenberg press.

Now all the essential elements for the Gutenberg Press had been around for almost a millennia before. The movable type, paper, screw press, bound books and so on. The reason it was not invented till then was what was the point in being able to print thousands of copies of a book... IF HARDLY ANYONE COULD READ!

See in medieval Europe, that is where the information was controlled, by the few people who knew how to read. Usually the clergy.

The revolution of the Gutenberg Press was not the press itself, it was a manifestation of a greater change in the wider education of the population, where so many learned to read and read well and because it benefited them.

Ultimately the clergy lost their monopoly over information technology. That went to the capitalists who built and ran the big machines that copied information.

But that monopoly has been broken, now private individuals can make their copies.

Bottom line:

Make money elsewhere. Make money off services, off servers. Release you game free on torrent networks but give every incentive to use it on the company servers. That's not necessarily bad, as long as when the game does become unprofitable to serve, that power is turned over to the fanbase to keep servers alive.

verdant monkai:

Why's that? Are you feeling insecure because you are an information thief?

image

Yeah, I'm stealing your information right now, look at me:

verdant monkai:

Why's that? Are you feeling insecure because you are an information thief? These sort of people are not worth defending.

People who steal things from where honest people can't punish them make me sick.

As I said sorry if I upset anyone by being harsh, it's just my opinion cyber thieves are among the worst kind of people. So I suppose I am not sorry if you are a cyber thief. Think about it bank accounts are hacked, identities are stolen, army intelligence is stolen HECK game's stuff is stolen.

verdant monkai:

Why's that? Are you feeling insecure because you are an information thief? These sort of people are not worth defending.

People who steal things from where honest people can't punish them make me sick.

As I said sorry if I upset anyone by being harsh, it's just my opinion cyber thieves are among the worst kind of people. So I suppose I am not sorry if you are a cyber thief. Think about it bank accounts are hacked, identities are stolen, army intelligence is stolen HECK game's stuff is stolen.

verdant monkai:

Why's that? Are you feeling insecure because you are an information thief? These sort of people are not worth defending.

People who steal things from where honest people can't punish them make me sick.

As I said sorry if I upset anyone by being harsh, it's just my opinion cyber thieves are among the worst kind of people. So I suppose I am not sorry if you are a cyber thief. Think about it bank accounts are hacked, identities are stolen, army intelligence is stolen HECK game's stuff is stolen.

YESH! I'm stealing your information! Now you can't use the information in your argument any more because I've stolen it from you... that's what theft is.

You can no longer use the "cyber thieves are among the worst kind of peopl" not because that's incredibly dumb to compare bittorrent users to mass-murderers (who most definitely are the worst kind of people), but because I stole your information!

Oh, but you can't stop me, look I'm going to steal from Disney now:

image

MUUUAHAHAHA HAHA!!! Soon with my amazing powers of copy-and-paste I will steal all the information in the world!

PS: it's "just my opinion" that draconian corporate whores should be ridiculed before being completely ignored.

pps: if you can't see the distinction between identity fraud and cracking a game that has gone out of print decades ago then I shant waste another moment of my time on you. Well, maybe some teasing.

Stop making games.

No video games, no piracy.

If I had to actually continue making games, I would go after the sites that list many different torrents in a flash. If you closed down Thepiratebay and a few other big players, you'd see a huge drop in piracy, because people are lazy and it'd be easier to just go out and buy it.

Of course, there'd always be people who would still pirate, but making it very difficult to find torrents in the first place would turn a lot of people off.

I wouldn't use DRM, however, because I'm a non-sadistic human being that doesn't want all of his customers to revile him and not buy his games.

Treblaine:
snip

Love it.

OT: As many already said - You simply can't stop it. Pirates who don't want to buy something won't, but if you start fucking over your own loyal customers, then of course will we see an increase of pirates.

You can only minimize pirating of your stuff by respecting people that are willing to buy it, providing quality for such price and keeping it simple without all the DRM bullshit.

Well, there is one option


Good luck with that plan!

P.S. To be fair though, this is universal solution to any problem.

There is no way to stop piracy. You can build a wall to stop them, they'll go under, over or around. You can deter the weaker willed and the ones without the means. But the determined shall press forth to take what they want. Thats how its always been. Its like human nature. Damn near impossible to change.

Unless... we develop a..... no. I must not give them that idea. It would be a breach of our freedoms. One I can not allow.

Make a reasonable price and make it convenient. That's really all there is to it. You could have probably gotten every game on the last steam sale absolutely free on the pirate bay but people still buy them on steam because it doesn't put a hole in their pocket and it's convenient.

I'd say the main thing that needs an overhaul is computer programs. They are ridiculously insanely overpriced, and to use them you have to jump through so many verify this, register this etc. Then if you ever get a new computer or even reformat your old one, they expect you to buy it AGAIN.

Or you could pirate it once for free, have it work perfectly forever with no strings attached and use it on your new computer when you get one.

A few people have touched on some of the methods I would use.

- Stop fighting piracy, it will cost you more money than you save.

- No DRM will also make people happy, so better reviews!

- With the money you save not trying to stop the inevitable, pay your developers to make an awesomer game.

- Save money with digital distribution the vast majority of your target market has the internet now. If you're worried about it getting put on torrent sites don't worry, it would have happened even if you published it on giant stone tablets.

- Cut out middlemen. Huge publishers will take a lot of the profits from your game, then fire you and take even more.

- Now that you're costs are reduced and you don't have executives breathing down your neck, focus on making the game good rather than profitable. If the game is good to begin with your won't have to pay reviewers for good ratings!

I really see profit as more of a problem than piracy and whilst developers need to eat and support their families, so do gamers. Big corporations mess up the distribution of profits from games with huge amounts going to a small number of people whilst the ones doing the hard work are left with less and are usually the first ones up on the chopping block when it is time to make layoffs. It's usually the publishers who are pushing for increasingly more irritating DRM policies too. And the hardiest of pirates will just see DRM as a challenge, ultimately they will crack it and then someone has spent a lot of money on something that didn't work.

Ultimately, the best way to combat piracy is to make something people WANT to pay for. Even if it is collectors editions with free shineys.

Kill every single person that pirates anything.
Easier done than said.

I would realize the fact that it's a lost battle. Some say DRM prevents piracy, some say DRM causes piracy.

Neither of these are true. DRM is easily cracked and removed and is more of an annoyance to those who buy the game. However most who pay for a game can accept DRM or use a crack to remove it form legally purchased games. Piracy is when you simply don't want to or you're unable to pay for a product. The best thing to do would be to stop wasting money on DRM projects that pisses of consumers. It wont stop anything, but it will reduce expenses.

verdant monkai:

Sir Thomas Sean Connery:

verdant monkai:
6 month Prison sentences for anyone who tries to hack information, pirate media or steal anything digitally.

6 month prison sentence and a 2 year computer/internet access ban for anyone found making any kind of malicious virus.

I don't care if it seems harsh I just cant stand scrawny little twerps stealing from people via the internet. I'd like to see them try to steal something without the aid of a keyboard.

You're lucky we have such strict rules about directly insulting people...

Why's that? Are you feeling insecure because you are an information thief? These sort of people are not worth defending.

People who steal things from where honest people can't punish them make me sick.

As I said sorry if I upset anyone by being harsh, it's just my opinion cyber thieves are among the worst kind of people. So I suppose I am not sorry if you are a cyber thief. Think about it bank accounts are hacked, identities are stolen, army intelligence is stolen HECK game's stuff is stolen.

Except almost nothing in life is ever that simple.

There are so many points that make the "theft" part debatable. The item being digital not material so nothing is technically lost, whether the person would have bought it anyway, company/person they are pirating from, the numerous people who pirate, like it then buy it, etc. None of these things make it "right" or strictly "Ok", but they ABSOLUTELY have to be part of the discussion as it's simply naive to call every instance of it dirty slimy thieving.

And "Worst kind of people"? REALLY!?!? Even for a First-World Problem type thing, that statement STILL makes no sense.

Not charging so much for digital products would be a start.I see a lot of comic books for sale on Comixology for the same amount as the physical copies. And we all know how messed up the digital game prices are, right?

But plenty of people download this stuff because it's free. I don't think you could ever contend with that. To get the biggest audience, you need to make products that are worth the price. And that price shouldn't be as steep as it is. Those guy carry on pirating after that can't use the usual excuses and need to own up to what they do. Unfortunately, a lot of their stupid excuses have weight to them right now.

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