Impossible (to beat) DRM

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fix-the-spade:
Fine, but there's an elephant in the room.

That assumes hackers are just a bunch of amateurs sitting at home doing it for fun/the challenge/som perverse sense of duty. That there is no money to be made selling advertising space on sites mirroring cracked games.

If 90% of PC players really are pirates, that's tens of millions of hits every time a new game comes out, that's a lot of bandwidth and potentially a lot of money. As in more than enough to be cracking games professionally.

I sincerely think that not matter how dumb, complicated or plain intrusive DRM gets there will be people sat down coding the crack however long it takes, there's money to be made.

The entire point of piracy is that it's free, how would the crackers make money?

And the point is that if they made it take so long nobody cared about the game anymore when it was finally cracked, piracy would be more or less over.

Dr_Steve_Brule:

Could you please link me to the article?
I would love to see that argument.
Edit: is it this article?
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_245/7285-Steam-A-Monopoly-In-the-Making
If so, I don't see the way it counters steam.

That or a corruption of this.

But "monopoles (or x) are bad therefor anything similar to a monopoly (or x) is bad" is the basic gist of the anti-steam sentiment in these parts. Also, something about "gamer's rights." I can't even figure out where that came from.

I assumed (ass out of me, not u) the argument came from somewhere, rather than simply being a corruption mixed with general animosity towards steam.

Seldon2639:

radio_babylon:
imagine the cognitive dissonance thats going to occur when someone finally does implement an unbreakable DRM, and the game STILL sells like crap. youll hear the sounds of executive's head exploding all over the place. meanwhile, indie devs will just tool right along, selling their games without DRM (and save money from not licensing DRM), develop a loyal customer base, and not sweat the "lost" non-sales from piracy just like they have been for a while now.

[Needs Citations]

You're like the Apple commercials touting how Macs don't get viruses, as if some part of the architecture of the machine makes it more resilient. Macs didn't get viruses because they were such a small market that it's not worth it to make a virus.

Indie games don't "lose" many sales due to piracy because they're simply much less popular in general. Lemme put it more simply:

I would wager that there's little piracy of even non-DRM indie games because there's a lot less exposure, and the games aren't as in demand. It's the reason I can simply lock my door, while the bank has armed guards. Yes, people can steal from me, but the reward from stealing from me is much less. Indie developers don't reject DRM because they 'don't sweat' it, it's because it's less of an issue for them. But, a hot property worth millions (or hundreds of millions) of dollars, you protect with everything you have.

*puts on computer nerd hat*
Actually, there is some part of the Mac architecture that makes it more secure than your average PC. It's called UNIX. But you are right in part... it's a smaller market share, so virus writers won't bother until more people own Macs.
*takes off computer nerd hat*

When you talk about the indie developers, that brings me back to the sad example set by World of Goo. The wonderful, creative little game was released by a small studio with no DRM on a "pay what you want" basis. It was a remarkable show of good faith toward the gaming community. The result? Piracy rates over 90% and the company has to file for bankruptcy.

If anything, small independent studios have more to lose from piracy because one failed game can mean the end.

I totally agree. As a PC gamer (primarily, anyway) I am sick to death of all this DRM rubbish. I remember a couple years back (?, not sure) a friend bought me Bioshock like two weeks after it came out. Good friend. Due to my internet situation, however, I ended up having to hunt for a crack so I could install it, even though I had a legitimate copy of the game.

Stuff like this is why PC gaming is dying/dead (no, I won't argue that point, this is the wrong place for it). When copy-protection (a valid idea, I don't mind buying games) gets in the way of being able to play the game, then things have gone wrong.

I will admit I have used pirate copies of games in the past, but they were used in the spirit of trial runs. If a game comes out, I'm usually not sure if I'll like it, and I refuse to fork out $AU100+ for a game I know nothing about. So I'll download it, play for a while, and if I like it THEN I'll buy it. After waiting a few weeks, anyway, I can be patient. While this sounds irrelevant, DRM development and rubbish like this only adds to the price and development time, which usually negatively affects gameplay. Which makes me less likely to buy the game.

In summary: DRM is necessary, or at least a valid idea, but the game is what's important.

danpascooch:
The entire point of piracy is that it's free, how would the crackers make money?

And the point is that if they made it take so long nobody cared about the game anymore when it was finally cracked, piracy would be more or less over.

Much the same way any site (this one included) makes money, sell advertising space.
There's other, more nefarious ways too, like adding spyware into the crack or taking people's email addresses and handing them to spammers.

Nobody knows the real number, but it's estimated the Pirate Bay pulls in $80'000+ per month, although official (0r officially used) figures run anywhere from $1million per year to around $100'000 per year. Funnily enough they don't publish accounts. Whatever the real numbers may be it's not exactly chump change.

The idea that a few weeks is too long to wait is plain daft. The end users will wait a month or so if it saves them $50 and the originators will see it as worthwhile because there's money to be made. Six weeks to get something for free is nothing, there'll be plenty who've waited.

Seldon2639:
[Needs Citation]. Show me the abundance of indie games which get pirated equivalent to the big-label games, and I'll accept I lost the bet. Bear in mind that I'm referring to absolute numbers, not percentages. Show me the indie game with a million downloads off of torrent, and I'll bow out. So, the 92% piracy rate for Ricochet Infinity doesn't mean much. I don't have the total number of players/pirates, but given that it's the 8,484th most popular game on Amazon tells me that its sales are low.

So, find me an indie game which had half the total number of pirated copies as Spore, and I'll back down. Until then, piracy for indie games is less of a problem because fewer people play them anyway...

Or it is a big problem, and the earlier poster's comments about the developers not caring and not having as much of a problem is false, and pirates are bastards even to those companies who attempt to not screw people with DRM.

Kind of says something, that Richochet Infinity (without DRM) had a piracy rate above 90%, doesn't it? Something in the neck of the woods of "pirates are greedy bastards, rather than people who don't like DRM", eh?

Oh, and you really like making statements of fact without any basis in reality, don't you?

I may have a long memory but I'm not especially skilled at finding old news. I couldn't find the article I read where they linked to exact numbers. There's been articles about indie games with high piracy numbers on this very site but I can't find them right now. Honestly, I don't even care if you believe me or not. I just get tired of your half-assed assumptions.

No basis in reality, indeed.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2008/11/acrying-shame-world-of-goo-piracy-rate-near-90.ars

Your assumption that pirates are all trying to "stick it to the man" is laughable. There are plenty of people who fall under the banner of "pirate" in spite of owning legal copies of every game they pirate. I wonder how this sits with your sense of legality. I'm sure they're all just thieves, right?

Taking numbers of downloads and trying to equate them to theft is speculative at best. I still contend that the entire copyright and patent systems either need a complete overhaul or they need to be expelled like the cancer they have become.

fix-the-spade:

danpascooch:
The entire point of piracy is that it's free, how would the crackers make money?

And the point is that if they made it take so long nobody cared about the game anymore when it was finally cracked, piracy would be more or less over.

Much the same way any site (this one included) makes money, sell advertising space.
There's other, more nefarious ways too, like adding spyware into the crack or taking people's email addresses and handing them to spammers.

Nobody knows the real number, but it's estimated the Pirate Bay pulls in $80'000+ per month, although official (0r officially used) figures run anywhere from $1million per year to around $100'000 per year. Funnily enough they don't publish accounts. Whatever the real numbers may be it's not exactly chump change.

The idea that a few weeks is too long to wait is plain daft. The end users will wait a month or so if it saves them $50 and the originators will see it as worthwhile because there's money to be made. Six weeks to get something for free is nothing, there'll be plenty who've waited.

Yeah, but the crackers could never make money that way, because as soon as they posted the crack, it would be stolen (ironic huh?) and put on all the other torrent sites.

Plus, the whole thing working for crackers is that there's a million of em out there and one of them is bound to figure it out, it'd be very hard to put together a team and a website.

Especially since in order to be paid you have to take credit for cracking it, in which case that money won't do a ton of good in jail.

Nimbus:
I'm betting Ubi made a loss on the PC version. Serves 'em right, too.

And the best part is that now that AC2 has been cracked, I suspect that any future Ubi titles will be popped WAY faster than AC2. Skidrow figured out how the DRM works and has now forced Ubisoft into a coding arms race. Ubi will have to alter how it works or deal with the fact that their games will be cracked progressively faster.

At least I'll finally be able to play AC2.

-This post has been made from a state ferry that I've been on for the past month and a half during the 45 minutes I have in port and have a slow, shaky internet connection while I'm on my downtime between shifts.-

LordZ:
I may have a long memory but I'm not especially skilled at finding old news. I couldn't find the article I read where they linked to exact numbers. There's been articles about indie games with high piracy numbers on this very site but I can't find them right now. Honestly, I don't even care if you believe me or not. I just get tired of your half-assed assumptions.

No basis in reality, indeed.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2008/11/acrying-shame-world-of-goo-piracy-rate-near-90.ars

Your assumption that pirates are all trying to "stick it to the man" is laughable. There are plenty of people who fall under the banner of "pirate" in spite of owning legal copies of every game they pirate. I wonder how this sits with your sense of legality. I'm sure they're all just thieves, right?

Taking numbers of downloads and trying to equate them to theft is speculative at best. I still contend that the entire copyright and patent systems either need a complete overhaul or they need to be expelled like the cancer they have become.

We used the same article as a counter-example to the same person. **Internet Hi-Five**
I read what you said earlier about the copyright/patent system. I agree with you in that the practice of using patents as a weapon to preemptively own someone else's technology is a deplorable business tactic. Throwing out the entire system would be a mistake, I think. The system is there to protect creative people who generate new ideas. Without some sort of protection, small-time inventors would be prey for larger corporations could simply wait for new products to be released, then redistribute them under their own brand.

dagens24:
Not only is the DRM gonna stop people from pirating their games, it's going to stop them from playing them all together.

Indeed, I didn't buy (nor pirated as I always buy my games, my cubboard full of dvd boxes and Steam account are there to proove it) AC2 and will stay well clear of Ubisoft games because of it; the Prince of Persia ending mess for PC players was already bad enough, but that drm was just one drop too many. :(

If software is good, piracy is moot - people actually will pay for good games, belive it or not. Lots of indie developers make some damn good games and make money with no DRMs in place. Huge, soulless mega-corporations that churn out a game a week are the only ones really complaining about "losing money" to "piracy".

Seldon2639:
The distinction you're trying to draw between tangible and intangible property is speculative at best, and without basis either philisophically or legally. You're making categorical statements without any supporting evidence, and which are simply incorrect. To steal labor does not only consist of hiring someone and then failing to pay them, it would also consist of taking a finished product without paying the people who created it, even if you didn't promise to pay them in the first place. You're talking about breach of contract, not theft of labor (or theft at all).

And, you're begging the question. You've stated that it's not theft to "copy" a game, because theft can only happen to tangible objects. And then prove that by saying "it's only theft if something is taken from the original"; "It's not stealing because you can't steal intellectual property, and you can't steal intellectual property because it's not stealing". Awesome.

The attempt to reframe the question as to whether theft of intellectual property is theft of labor is an interesting one, but fundamentally irrelevant. Insofar as intellectual property is defined under the law as undistinguished from tangible property, it doesn't have to be theft of labor to be considered theft. Incidentally, would we not count a copyright violation to be theft? A very direct question is: is it not theft for me to take J.K Rowling's books wholecloth and redistribute them?

And, please, refrain from falling back on the argument that a "product" isn't "labor", or that a company isn't a "person". Both arguments are legally bunk.

My apologies if I forget that common knowledge or just plain simple logic requires a Harvard study to be believable to someone like you. (Example: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/100179-Strong-Morals-Make-Strong-Bodies)

If you go by the route that it is illegal because the law says it is, sure, I'm not arguing this. However, if copying is theft why did they have to title it copyright infringement instead of just copyright theft?

In case you have some delusions about what infringement means:

1 : the act of infringing : violation
2 : an encroachment or trespass on a right or privilege http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/infringement

Again, if you feel this definition is inadequate, feel free to provide your own. I feel this makes my point about it not being "theft" though I reiterate that I never claimed it wasn't illegal. There's a lot of stuff that's illegal that shouldn't be.

Seldon2639:
Um... That's not really how it works. The company itself is the entity which owns the game. Let me give you an example from the real world. If you hire a construction company to fix your roof, and then refuse to pay, it's the company to whom you owe the money; the company did the "labor". Corporate law is funny like that. Incidentally, intellectual property is conveyed by contract (depending on the contract) to the employer. Thus, the owner of the property would be the developer, not the programmer.

Again, you're focused on the labor aspect, which is an interesting line of discussion, irrelevant to the question of whether pirating a game is theft of intellectual property, and thus theft.

You're arguing semantics and you were the one who claimed it was a theft of labor in your original post. If you weren't interested in that line of logic(as fallacious as it is), I have to wonder why you even brought it up.

Seldon2639:
I suppose we're going to have to agree to disagree here.

Ideas and thoughts are property of the person who created them. At a time in the world in which most of what we (at least in the developed world) do is revolving around computers, programs, and ideas and thoughts, it simply is property. Is a book not property? Should I be allowed to distribute (even for free) books which are still under copyright? Or do you believe there should be some protection of the hard work of the author, and the investment of the publisher?

If I acquire a method of making a chemical, and attempt to sell or distribute it (even not for profit), it is a theft of a trade secret. Use whatever word you like, I've stolen that product.

Anyone can come up with the same thought or idea as anyone else. Being the first to copyright the idea may give you a legal right to it as "property" but just because there is a law for it doesn't mean it is correct. You're basically saying that thoughts and ideas are property simply because the law makes it so.

I agree that it is ethically wrong to try to profit (regardless of success) from another person's creative work. I find it equally wrong to punish someone for doing so. Just because something is immoral does not mean it should be a crime. Honestly, I think the entire legal system needs reworking. Prison really isn't even effective. A person does something wrong so we give them an inordinately long time out for it? Is this really how we should be handling things? It would be less cruel to just execute anyone who would normally have to go to prison. Do not misunderstand, I'm not saying it's a good solution to go around executing people for every crime they commit. I'm saying it's a better solution than the current one, as a way to point out how terrible the current solution is.

Seldon2639:
If any arbitrary law is unlawful, all law is unlawful. All law draws arbitrary lines. It's legal to buy asprin, but not crack cocaine. It's legal to own a gun, but not certain types of guns. It's legal to own pornography, but not child pornography. It's legal to drink up to a certain limit, and drive, but not beyond that. It's legal to smoke, but only if you're over 18.

It's all about lines in the sand, and here's the difference:

If I copy a CD and give it to my friend (or copy a movie from TV to VCR and do the same), the distribution is still exceptionally limited. Strictly speaking, it's still illegal, it's still theft, but the damage is limited enough that it's not worth enforcing either civilly or criminally. The enforcement is arbitrary, not the law.

I can't find the quote I was looking for about arbitrary laws. However, Mr. Fair Use has a lot to say about your suggestion that copying from TV to VCR is illegal. http://w2.eff.org/IP/DRM/fair_use_and_drm.html

Seldon2639:

LordZ:
What's silly is your assumption that intellectual property even exists.

Not according to the law. Intellectual property exists, and is protected. It may be high time to get over it.

Sure, law defines absolutely what is right and wrong. How dare anyone question the ethics of a law. I'm sure that comes as great relief to the victims of the holocaust.

Seldon2639:
They demonize copying in a way that steals their product, yes. But they don't demonize copying. I demonize shooting a person, I don't demonize shooting a bottle of silly-string (it's awesome). You're making a bit old strawman, and not even making it persuasive.

You say that as if there's a difference between copying and copying. By the way, you clearly don't pay attention to most of the anti-piracy propaganda because many of them explicitly say that copying is piracy. Many of the publishers would be all too happy to make all forms of imitation (regardless of whether it is intentional or not) illegal.

Seldon2639:
I believe my point was that simply because we demonize an illegal action which can be phrased as being equivalent to a legal one. Don't make this into a silly argument about the war on drugs. My point was only that equivocating by calling "stealing intellectual property" copying, is a bit like calling "injecting heroin into my veins" "taking a pharmaceutical".

It's a bit like saying "I'm going to watch some pornography" when you're really "going to go see a little kid sexually abused". By using a general term which encompasses both a legal and illegal action as a way to say both the legal and illegal variations are morally and legally the same is simply wrong.

You really are a fan of apples to oranges hyperbole. I crafted my previous nazi hyperbole just for you.

Seldon2639:
You really don't see a difference between a company competing with another company with different products (both selling for some price), and the market deciding which was the better product, versus a pirate stealing a product and giving it away for free?

But, let me not take an ethical approach. If a second, competing, company released a completely duplicate game, and sold it, it would be theft. Why is a second, competing, company releasing a completely duplicate game for free not theft? Again, would you be in favor of allowing me to republish the Harry Potter books as my own, and sell them for massive profits? What if I made a duplicate product to the Ipod and sold it?

If the answer to those is "sure, I don't see the problem", I think we're at an impasse in terms of our discussion. And I really hope that no one in a position to make decisions regarding the legality of such actions ever, ever, listens to you.

Tell me, would you think it is still theft (or even infringement) if the two competing companies with the exact same product created their products independently? It amuses me to no end that you continue to call infringement as theft when the law itself doesn't even define it as such.

If both you and I farmed apples and oranges but I grew my apples and oranges from the seeds you sold me, would you call that theft? After all, I could grow identical apples and oranges to yours since I got my seeds from you. We could take this a step further and say I wasn't growing them but cloning them. Is it theft now? How is this functionally any different than copying data?

m_jim:
We used the same article as a counter-example to the same person. **Internet Hi-Five**
I read what you said earlier about the copyright/patent system. I agree with you in that the practice of using patents as a weapon to preemptively own someone else's technology is a deplorable business tactic. Throwing out the entire system would be a mistake, I think. The system is there to protect creative people who generate new ideas. Without some sort of protection, small-time inventors would be prey for larger corporations could simply wait for new products to be released, then redistribute them under their own brand.

I noticed that after submitting my post. **Returns Hi-Five**

I understand what you are saying. However, as someone who has tried to get into the business of making games, I find it terrible that I could unintentionally find myself at the mercy of an onslaught of lawsuits for making my own original game, just because it coincidentally resembles someone else' product. Perhaps abolishing it entirely isn't the right answer either. Unfortunately, the current system is so awful that I can't even conceive a way to fix it.

LordZ:
My apologies if I forget that common knowledge or just plain simple logic requires a Harvard study to be believable to someone like you. (Example: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/100179-Strong-Morals-Make-Strong-Bodies)

If you go by the route that it is illegal because the law says it is, sure, I'm not arguing this. However, if copying is theft why did they have to title it copyright infringement instead of just copyright theft?

Because you can infringe on a copyright without actually stealing the intellectual property. It's a difference in damages, severity, and intent. Infringement can be unintentional, usually non-damaging, and not too serious. Theft is blatant "I wanted to make this drug, too, so I took the formula, made the drug, and sold it". To put it another way: theft includes infringement, infringement doesn't include theft. Assault with a deadly weapon includes aggravated assault.

LordZ:

In case you have some delusions about what infringement means:

1 : the act of infringing : violation
2 : an encroachment or trespass on a right or privilege http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/infringement

Again, if you feel this definition is inadequate, feel free to provide your own. I feel this makes my point about it not being "theft" though I reiterate that I never claimed it wasn't illegal. There's a lot of stuff that's illegal that shouldn't be.

The argument we're having (or should be having) is over whether it should be illegal. Everything else is at least somewhat off topic. I believe that the misappropriation of creative works without compensation to the creator is simply wrong. Do you disagree?

LordZ:
You're arguing semantics and you were the one who claimed it was a theft of labor in your original post. If you weren't interested in that line of logic(as fallacious as it is), I have to wonder why you even brought it up.

That was a mistake on my part. Mea culpa. I went down the specific path of discussing whether it counts as theft, when our argument has always been about whether it (a) is wrong, and (b) should be illegal.

LordZ:
]Anyone can come up with the same thought or idea as anyone else. Being the first to copyright the idea may give you a legal right to it as "property" but just because there is a law for it doesn't mean it is correct. You're basically saying that thoughts and ideas are property simply because the law makes it so.

It's your property because you made it. If I develop a certain model of car, another company steals the blueprints, and makes the same exact car, selling it as a competitor to my work, it's simply wrong. I did the work to make the model, I should reap the rewards.

LordZ:

I agree that it is ethically wrong to try to profit (regardless of success) from another person's creative work. I find it equally wrong to punish someone for doing so. Just because something is immoral does not mean it should be a crime. Honestly, I think the entire legal system needs reworking. Prison really isn't even effective. A person does something wrong so we give them an inordinately long time out for it? Is this really how we should be handling things? It would be less cruel to just execute anyone who would normally have to go to prison. Do not misunderstand, I'm not saying it's a good solution to go around executing people for every crime they commit. I'm saying it's a better solution than the current one, as a way to point out how terrible the current solution is.

Well, there are varying sentences, and I agree we should tailor things a bit more specifically, but...

LordZ:
I can't find the quote I was looking for about arbitrary laws. However, Mr. Fair Use has a lot to say about your suggestion that copying from TV to VCR is illegal. http://w2.eff.org/IP/DRM/fair_use_and_drm.html

I should have been more direct. I meant to say that copying a VCR of a television show and distributing it in a competitive way with the actual product would be illegal. Given that piracy is by definition in competition with the original product, I thought the analogy would be more clear

LordZ:
Sure, law defines absolutely what is right and wrong. How dare anyone question the ethics of a law. I'm sure that comes as great relief to the victims of the holocaust.

Godwin's Law. But, you're going back and forth. First you argue it isn't stealing under the law, and intellectual property doesn't exist. I assumed you meant that you believed IP didn't exist under the law. I didn't realize we were discussing grand morality. I still think you're wrong, but we're on the same page.

LordZ:
You say that as if there's a difference between copying and copying. By the way, you clearly don't pay attention to most of the anti-piracy propaganda because many of them explicitly say that copying is piracy. Many of the publishers would be all too happy to make all forms of imitation (regardless of whether it is intentional or not) illegal.

Boy, talk about guilt by association. And few courts I've ever seen would consider an unintentional and completely coincidental similarity between products to be actionable. But, you've not responded to my point. Some copying is legal, some is illegal. Some drugs are legal, some are illegal. Some driving is legal, some is illegal. Some guns are legal, some are illegal. What's the difference I'm not seeing?

LordZ:
you really are a fan of apples to oranges hyperbole. I crafted my previous nazi hyperbole just for you.

It's not hyperbole to state that your implication that piracy should simply be considered "copying", as a way to try to frame the debate in the way most favorable to your beliefs is just as erroneous as stating that heroin use is just "using drugs", and (by implication) since we accept the use of asprin, we should accept heroin.

There's a distinction between legal copying and illegal copying. See above.

LordZ:
Tell me, would you think it is still theft (or even infringement) if the two competing companies with the exact same product created their products independently? It amuses me to no end that you continue to call infringement as theft when the law itself doesn't even define it as such.

If such true independence can be shown, most courts would throw out the action. There have been a lot of cases about that. But, infringement is a different beast altogether from the theft of intellectual property. The fact that you can't comprehend that distinction (under the law) doesn't really amuse me much.

LordZ:

If both you and I farmed apples and oranges but I grew my apples and oranges from the seeds you sold me, would you call that theft? After all, I could grow identical apples and oranges to yours since I got my seeds from you. We could take this a step further and say I wasn't growing them but cloning them. Is it theft now? How is this functionally any different than copying data?

Because you're profiting on your own work, not on mine. I sold you the seeds, relinquishing my right to those seeds. You then inputted labor and resources into creating a legitimate derivative product. You weren't taking my apples, relabeling them, and giving them away. You made your own apples based on the seeds I had provided. Perhaps (perhaps) if someone decided to make a derivative game from AC2, with different features, different storylines, and new characters, I would accept them using some basic code and intellectual property from the first game.

Amazingly, the courts already allow that sort of thing. I can use elements from a song, to remix, or re-record, or parody, or whatever. The question the courts ask is whether I put my own creativity and labor into it.

You made your own damned apples. Pirates aren't making their own game.

LordZ:

I understand what you are saying. However, as someone who has tried to get into the business of making games, I find it terrible that I could unintentionally find myself at the mercy of an onslaught of lawsuits for making my own original game, just because it coincidentally resembles someone else' product. Perhaps abolishing it entirely isn't the right answer either. Unfortunately, the current system is so awful that I can't even conceive a way to fix it.

I agree that the system shouldn't allow for suits based on independently-created, but similar, products. But, it's difficult, since how do you prove true independence?

But, here's what I'll say:

You're trying to compare apples to oranges. Having two games which are similar, but developed completely isolated from each other, is far different from having "two" games, one of which is a complete copy of the first, only removing the DRM. I'll accept that the system is flawed insofar as it doesn't always allow for independent creation of similar products, but the chances of you simultaneously and independently writing every line of code exactly the same as AC2, only without the DRM, boggles the mind in its low probability.

fix-the-spade:

danpascooch:
The entire point of piracy is that it's free, how would the crackers make money?

Much the same way any site (this one included) makes money, sell advertising space.
There's other, more nefarious ways too, like adding spyware into the crack or taking people's email addresses and handing them to spammers.

Crackers don't run pirate sites. Most groups can't be contacted in any way unless you know the right people.

As for malwaring their cracks... that would work once after which their rep would be fucked and no one would ever touch another of their cracks. Crackers value their rep more than anything.

The idea that a few weeks is too long to wait is plain daft

Yeah, 'a few weeks' is also widely known as 'the European release date'.

Seldon2639:
I agree that the system shouldn't allow for suits based on independently-created, but similar, products. But, it's difficult, since how do you prove true independence?

But, here's what I'll say:

You're trying to compare apples to oranges. Having two games which are similar, but developed completely isolated from each other, is far different from having "two" games, one of which is a complete copy of the first, only removing the DRM. I'll accept that the system is flawed insofar as it doesn't always allow for independent creation of similar products, but the chances of you simultaneously and independently writing every line of code exactly the same as AC2, only without the DRM, boggles the mind in its low probability.

I'm tired of long and multiple posts so this is a reply to both of your replies.

The reason our argument goes in circles is because you believe intellectual property exists. I do not. There's no way for either of us to prove to that the other is wrong because it is a perception. You say that a thought is your own creation but I say that thoughts belong to no one. Anything you can invent, I can also invent. I may take more or less time and I may or may not do it differently but that does not change the result. Saying you own an idea because you thought of it first is like claiming ownership to the Sun because you saw it first. The only property that can truly be called our own is our minds and bodies. Our thoughts and actions, however, are the domain of all that they effect.

The law may consider it possible to steal thoughts and ideas but I disagree.

You never even discussed the scenario where I bought apples and oranges from you and cloned them instead of growing them. Cloning data and cloning a plant are no different.

As for your example of AC2, similar situations have occurred. In each instance, the person who successfully processed the patent or copyright first won the case. Note, it did not necessarily go to the first to create/think of it. It's my belief that neither are guilty but yet the law feels it is necessary to say one is guilty and the other is not. I feel this is extremely wrong. To arbitrarily call someone wrong for inventing something that bares a great deal or significant resemblance to another invention is just plain wrong.

As for intentionally copying and unintentionally copying, I agree that intentionally copying without providing any sort of improvement is immoral, but I do not agree that it deserves a punishment. Even if you refuse to accept my view that thoughts and ideas are not property, it should be easy to see that a lot of the punishments related to copyright and patents are beyond excessive.

Edit: To go a bit further, it would be fair to say your view favors the individual while my view favors society. In your view, ideas and thoughts belong only to the first to think of it. In my view, ideas and thoughts belong to no one or another way to say is that they belong to all of society. I'm a firm believer in progress of the human race at the expense of personal gain. It seems that you favor personal gain over societal gain.

Without the copyright and patent systems, we would all reap the benefits of any and all knowledge. It could be seen as less of an incentive to be creative but I see it as a greater incentive. You aren't just helping yourself, you are helping everyone.

I have to wonder why you think libraries even exist.

One thing I'd like to point out about all this is

Shamus Young:
If the piratepublic server doesn't respond with the right data, then the game can fail silently in a lot of annoying ways.

Using a system like that would be a huge risk.

zakski:

Seldon2639:

LordZ:
You'd lose that wager. There are plenty of indie games (with or without DRM) that get pirated equally to any "AAA" title. Also, I take offense to your assumption that indie games are somehow worth less than a game that cost 10x as much to make. The monetary cost of development does not equate to overall value. Of course, not all indie games are great treasures to behold but that doesn't change that many are at least as fun as many games that cost a great deal more to produce.

You really enjoy comparing apples to oranges don't you?

[Needs Citation]. Show me the abundance of indie games which get pirated equivalent to the big-label games, and I'll accept I lost the bet. Bear in mind that I'm referring to absolute numbers, not percentages. Show me the indie game with a million downloads off of torrent, and I'll bow out. So, the 92% piracy rate for Ricochet Infinity doesn't mean much. I don't have the total number of players/pirates, but given that it's the 8,484th most popular game on Amazon tells me that its sales are low.

So, find me an indie game which had half the total number of pirated copies as Spore, and I'll back down. Until then, piracy for indie games is less of a problem because fewer people play them anyway...

Or it is a big problem, and the earlier poster's comments about the developers not caring and not having as much of a problem is false, and pirates are bastards even to those companies who attempt to not screw people with DRM.

Kind of says something, that Richochet Infinity (without DRM) had a piracy rate above 90%, doesn't it? Something in the neck of the woods of "pirates are greedy bastards, rather than people who don't like DRM", eh?

Oh, and you really like making statements of fact without any basis in reality, don't you?

World of Goo

Can somebody please get a different game for people to bring up. ONE GAME DOES NOT EQUAL EVERY GAME. PERIOD. END OF. OVER.

I will never purchase a game that requires an 'always on' connection as a boycott to that publisher and/or developer.

So while they may stop some piracy they will certainly stop legitimate sales.

Assuming they do make an unbreakable DRM system, who are they going to blame when all those pirated copies, not even a small fraction of them, don't net those 'lost sales'?

LordZ:
Being the first to copyright the idea may give you a legal right to it as "property" but just because there is a law for it doesn't mean it is correct.

Fortunately you can't copyright an idea. Though you can of course do it for style, aesthetics, story and so on.

LordZ:
I agree that it is ethically wrong to try to profit (regardless of success) from another person's creative work.

Lol, this would technically make publishers unethical, but I get what you mean, without permission.

m_jim:
When you talk about the indie developers, that brings me back to the sad example set by World of Goo. The wonderful, creative little game was released by a small studio with no DRM on a "pay what you want" basis. It was a remarkable show of good faith toward the gaming community. The result? Piracy rates over 90% and the company has to file for bankruptcy.

If anything, small independent studios have more to lose from piracy because one failed game can mean the end.

You know whats funny about everyone with their ass in the air about the war crimes against 2D boy? They came to that conclusion by comparing sales to connections to the online leaderboard thing. The actual percentage was 82%. around 300-400 thousand people connected to the online leaderboard... thing. Which means 2D boy made between 1.35 and 1.8 million dollars off world of goo. A game that was developed primarily as entry into a contest (tower of goo) which it won.

Whats even better, is if you ever cite a small independent venture praising piracy, "oh well thats just one isolated incident."

Negative reinforcement doesn't work. Punishment doesn't work. That's not how it works when you're trying to sell something.

You have to bribe your customers to pay you. Sometimes this is literal - money-back on a registered purchase, for example. Often it is figurative - downloaded benefits which are free, but inaccessible without a registered purchase.

This sort of tactic would be easy and inexpensive and far more effective than stomping out the free advertising of the people who know about the game because they heard about it from a player who happened not to have paid for it.

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: Impossible (to beat) DRM

Congratulations, Ubisoft, on making DRM so awful that it might eventually work.

Read Full Article

I can verify from a friend (since I am a console gamer) that there is a fully functional cracked version of AC2 out. Everything works and he is halfway through Venice. What's funny is that my friend had saved money to buy AC2, but when he heard about the DRM he decided not to do it and wait for a cracked version, if and when it came out. I expect that now that the pirates have some experience with this DRM, cracks for future games of the kind will come out much sooner.

m_jim:
When you talk about the indie developers, that brings me back to the sad example set by World of Goo. The wonderful, creative little game was released by a small studio with no DRM on a "pay what you want" basis. It was a remarkable show of good faith toward the gaming community. The result? Piracy rates over 90% and the company PUBLISHER has to file for bankruptcy.

If anything, small independent studios have more to lose from piracy because one failed game can mean the end.

Three problems with that statement.
1) The "pay anything you want" thing was a special promotion to celebrate the first anniversary of the game's release.
2) That piracy rate was calculated by counting the number of IP addresses against the number of sales. So if you have a dynamic IP, you get counted as a pirate. Likewise, if I install it on a laptop and go to a McDonalds and play it there, I would be counted as a pirate.
3) It was the publisher that closed down. And I think the publisher was redundant for World of Goo: 2D Boy self-published the US version pretty much everywhere, including getting it on OnLive. The publisher deal was made for the aborted EU version, and the EU folk got the US version several weeks late, and for the retail version. While it's heartening to see a large number of indies go retail (e.g. Audiosurf, Zeno Clash, Machineium, Killing Floor) it usually only happens months after the digital release, and I doubt the retail sales would compare to that digital release. Besides, there's 1001 possible reasons why the publisher went bust (dodgy deals, people buying it direct from the developers, strikes, etc. etc.). I doubt that piracy was a major factor in the publisher going bust.

dogstile:

zakski:

Seldon2639:

[Needs Citation]. Show me the abundance of indie games which get pirated equivalent to the big-label games, and I'll accept I lost the bet. Bear in mind that I'm referring to absolute numbers, not percentages. Show me the indie game with a million downloads off of torrent, and I'll bow out. So, the 92% piracy rate for Ricochet Infinity doesn't mean much. I don't have the total number of players/pirates, but given that it's the 8,484th most popular game on Amazon tells me that its sales are low.

So, find me an indie game which had half the total number of pirated copies as Spore, and I'll back down. Until then, piracy for indie games is less of a problem because fewer people play them anyway...

Or it is a big problem, and the earlier poster's comments about the developers not caring and not having as much of a problem is false, and pirates are bastards even to those companies who attempt to not screw people with DRM.

Kind of says something, that Richochet Infinity (without DRM) had a piracy rate above 90%, doesn't it? Something in the neck of the woods of "pirates are greedy bastards, rather than people who don't like DRM", eh?

Oh, and you really like making statements of fact without any basis in reality, don't you?

World of Goo

Can somebody please get a different game for people to bring up. ONE GAME DOES NOT EQUAL EVERY GAME. PERIOD. END OF. OVER.

You sit. He asked for one game, one indie game that was pirated in comparable numbers to spore. The fact that said game does not appeal to you or that you are sick of hearing about it does not matter to him. Also its a given that, one game != every game for games > 1, so unless you have only recently got a computer that can play more than just pong, stop trolling and posting inflammatory statements on an already hot topic.

As for m_jim's statement, I believe mr.Delusibeta is mostly correct, no.2 seems a bit too simplified, but then again without looking at the code they used I can't really comment in any detail.

dagens24:
Not only is the DRM gonna stop people from pirating their games, it's going to stop them from playing them all together.

Lol, I agree

Had to make an account just in order to reply to this thread. Before I begin, I'd like to thank LordZ and Seldon for their very civil and informative inputs, which have made my morning coffee ritual that much more entertaining.

I, however, would like to turn the spotlight to a somewhat different issue, which has been blatantly overlooked for the most part by previous commenters. Some backstory first: I live in SEE, a largely non-existent market for the games industry (our stores have only started stocking original games in the last 3-4 years). Yet I have been a hardcore gamer for the better part of the last 20 years. To say that I (and the rest of the society here) have been indulging in pirating would be a serious understatement. There is (or rather, was) no other option, besides buying originals once every 3-4 years when you got the Get Out Of Jail Free card (otherwise known as the travelling visa). So yes, in the past 20-odd years I've bought 4 original PC games. 3 of those were bought in the mid 90's, and the last one was Mass Effect, some two years back.

Now, to the meat of my argument: I cannot possibly start to describe my disappointment with what has happened to boxed editions of games. For all intents and purposes, I came right out of a time capsule form the 1994's issue of Dark Suns 2: Wake of the Ravager, with it's extensive and exquisitely written manual, a bestiary that I took with myself and studyed for two years untill my mind boggled. The box itself was something a kid would proudly put on a shelf and covet.

So there I am at a Virgin store on Oxford St, London, looking at the hyped up ME. I fork out the cash and rush home. I open the "box" (look how slim it was, I wondered). My eyes widen in disbelief. It's a 4-page quickstart guide and a measily disc. OH MY GOD. Where is my... my stuff? I fully expected a host of memorabilia and lore to be found in tangible form, together with the game, just like it used to be with Loom, Descent, Dark Sun and Rebel Assault (the entirety of my original gaming shelf).

Having studied marketing and advertising, I am fully aware that what I have experienced as the usual practice in boxed game retail is now considered to be a 20$ extra, as in Gold, Platinum, Kryptonite editions and what have you. As a hardcore gamer with a considerable experience under my belt, I can also compare the experiences and periceved quality of these newer games and make a (rather biased) judgment that they are watered down, poorly written, mass produced crap fests of special effects.

But enough of that. What I am convolutely saying, as a sort of a time traveller that I am, is that today's games aren't worth it, IMHO. For all the environmentalist BS about saving trees by not printing manuals, they've taken away what I considered essential to gaming - immersion, and spent that money to produce often meaningless prettier visuals and expensive advertising campaigns. The issue is much more complicated than "mean suits ruining my hobby", of course. Going digital has its sacrifices and the coveted manual seems to be one of them. The western society, vting with their wallets, decided that added-value items (lovely boxes and extra content) can go away, by bying games that didn't feature it, except in the Gold Edition form.

In a sense, the publishing business has stabbed itself in the back by taking on this approach: by pursuing cost savings described above, they have stripped their products of the intrinsic qualities that made having an original game a must, for any serious gamer. So, comes the DRM, which in itself is not a solution to the original problem, but rather a sloppy band-aid on the wound.

tl;dr
Gaming as a hobby is suffering from a rapidly spreading disease of low quality goods, stripped completely of what had made them wanted in the first place. Artificial hype building through marketing activities can only account for so much, therefore measures like DRM are introduced in order to cope with the diminishing returns. In my view, all boxed games need to come with more added value, as they once did. Pirating would still occur, but the memorabillia would make it obligatory for anyone who is a true fan to actually own the original.

Pirates are always going to be around, you can't get rid fo them, you can only slow them down or re direct them but either way there here to stay.

why do people hate us PC gamers?

nice work ya frencheis. now everyone will stop pirating your games. and playing them.

I accept that my analysis of WoG's 90% may be overly simplified, and 2D Boy themselves worked on it harder and came up with a figure of 82%, which I can't see a glaring hole in. But 2D Boy also quoted Riochet: Infinity's analysis over their piracy rate, and that they estimate that for every 1000 pirates stopped, they would have got 1 extra sale. Call me optimistic if you like, but I imagine that the sales generated per 1000 successful pirates would be more than one.

Of course, if you've pissed off the wider PC gaming community like Ubisoft have done, that last sentance won't apply.

In brief, anti-piracy measures are a waste of time, and the extra sales generated before the protection is cracked will never make up for your investment. Unless you're Valve, of course.

honestly i think DRM is a waste of time, people who like games enough tend to buy them, i know plenty of people who get pirated versions of the game just to see whether or not they like it, then if they do they will by the regular version when it gets to a decent price range, but to be more honest, if DRM must exist i think blizzard has found a better way with their Battle.net CD-Key system, which applies to them being used online but single player games still play fine without registration. install all you want, just cant have two people play the same key online at the same time. basically if you make pc games, sell them with some form of online play that people will want, then give them the ability to play single wherever so there friends can taste it. and when they get into it they will buy the real game to play online. bobs your uncle your making profit, and to increase that profit push out online only additions to games that require download from your online account. or perhaps just sell little bits of crack seperatly that people who play your game cant live without. like some celestial horse. frackin $25 for it and i see it everywhere. craziness. *i must have one...*

Cynical skeptic:

Dr_Steve_Brule:

Could you please link me to the article?
I would love to see that argument.
Edit: is it this article?
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_245/7285-Steam-A-Monopoly-In-the-Making
If so, I don't see the way it counters steam.

That or a corruption of this.

But "monopoles (or x) are bad therefor anything similar to a monopoly (or x) is bad" is the basic gist of the anti-steam sentiment in these parts. Also, something about "gamer's rights." I can't even figure out where that came from.

I assumed (ass out of me, not u) the argument came from somewhere, rather than simply being a corruption mixed with general animosity towards steam.

Yeah, Well, steam is not a monopoly.
Just because it's big does not mean it is a monopoly.
Edit: From what I can see, steam is getting praised here.
Evidence-"Steam isn't just an activation server, it's a universal backup for all your Steam games, it offers "free weekends" for popular titles, seamless matchmaking, friend lists, social networking, in-game chat, achievements, high-speed access to demos, and automated headache-free patching. It's got more features than Xbox live, and it's free. Yes, Steam does require you to register your game, but they give you a whole lot of features and freebies in return."

Well the fallacy still remains that pirates are customers.

You could stop piracy tomorrow and sales wouldn't change in any statistically significant fashion.

They are fighting for sales that don't exist and losing sales that do. It isn't more complicated than that.

Because the sales they DO get from pirates are sales they WOULD have gotten with or without DRM. You don't get sales because people buckle and buy your game, you get sales because people want to play it. The problem is developers make shiny shit and then think the world has betrayed them if every single person doesn't buy it.

Now people can argue 'morality' or something along that nature. But just strictly speaking about sales, there is nothing to gain from DRM because there is literally nothing lost from piracy. If you stop piracy people just won't play your games at all which doesn't earn you a single cent more it just makes you 'feel better'.

PS. I don't pirate, I'm just not retarded, which is how I deduced this painfully obvious reality.

Shamus, that's pretty brilliant.

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