The Needles: Michael Pachter, Ubisoft and the Perils of Rights and Wrong

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No, no he was not.

First, the video contained a lot more "information" than that one line, in which he outright shows that he has no idea whatsoever over certain things he is talking about and gets facts outright wrong, making his previous assessment, if nothing else weigh a lot less .

Secondly, even he didn't say he was right, but that it was his opinion (no matter how inane it might have been). Things like what is "right and wrong" aren't written in stone somewhere (well...) and change given times and public support. While slave labor and exploiting people or royalty to rule over whole countries were considered "right" at one point they are not that much anymore. Even strong issues like "murder" being right or wrong can't seem to polarize all people into one camp, because a lot believe that punishing someone by murder after he has done, or is deemed to have done certain things is "right", never mind morally ambiguous issues like "piracy" or "DRM".

So no, even you yourself aren't "right", stating something just makes it your opinion, which happens to coincide with the laws in large parts of the civilized world and corporate beliefs, but it sure as hell doesn't make you "right".

When I worked at Sun (the computer company not the paper) we had a term of attitudes such as Pachter's.
Sales prevention.

So you may think. But I don't think depriving people of their livelihood will ever be "right" in any advanced civilization.

And of course it's his opinion. I'm saying his opinion was correct. Game publishers have a right to use whatever DRM system they want (within the confines of the law) to protect their software. Is it right? Not necessarily. But it is most definitely their right.

Your right is to buy it, or not. That's where it stops. But the perceived "right" to "try before you buy" or whatever other bullshit excuses help people sleep at night are not at all rights. They're excuses and rationalizations. But people won't let them go because, as we can very easily see, they think they're right.

As long as that attitude remains common, nothing will change. The situation will get worse, PC gaming will be reduced to a rump of MMOGs and casual titles, and people will continue to whine about it. It's a terrible mess.

But thinking that game publishers don't have the right to protect their software, for good or ill, because it inconveniences your god-given right to play videogames is just foolish.

Sexual Harassment Panda:

Have you ever read an article in a newspaper or a magazine without having paid for it? If you have you have broken the law by your very strict definition of what theft is. Someone you know might have bought the newspaper, but you have consumed the data on the page without the writer being compensated, if I caught you doing it and called you out on it...you'd accuse me of being ridiculous, because in this instance we only see the physical product as being valuable. Which is somewhat of a double standard.

It's principly the same as buying a game and then copying it(or even just installing it on another machine) so your brother or friend can play it too, but that is illegal, industry destroying behaviour that the newspaper industry(which is dying, not flourishing like the gaming industry)apparently has no case to complain about.

As a professional musician AND music teacher, I can see exactly where you're wrong. It's not your fault, it just comes from (probably) not working in a field where you encounter these types of fair-use laws. I'll give you examples here:

If I buy a piece of written music for myself to perform, I can perform it as many times as I want from that copy. I can perform it anywhere I want from that copy. Depending on laws where you are, I can even make on "archival" copy as a backup in case the first is destroyed--as long as both copies are not in use at the same time. I'm NOT permitted to copy the piece for my friends, nor am I permitted to lend that copy to someone else.

The problem for the publisher, however, is one of enforcement. How can they know? Music (like newspapers) doesn't come with "cd keys" or other such electronic means of tracking who buys and who uses a piece of music. That doesn't mean it's legal, just that it's easily possible.

If I buy a piece of written music for my class (consisting of one score and dozens of parts), I can perform it as many times as I want from those copies. Most publishers are okay with making "rehearsal copies" to preserve the originals (mostly for those of us working with kids). What I cannot do is copy that music for a colleague, or let my students keep those rehearsal copies, or loan the whole bit out to some other band.

Again, it's about enforcement. If I'm not performing in high-profile venues, how is the publisher going to know? If they did find out, they COULD sue me (or the school). I wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

Now, in BOTH cases, if I lose parts of the music, they're gone. I'm not entitled to have them replaced. My ability to perform the piece at will only lasts as long as the physical copy remains intact. Think of it like getting a few free performances, but then I have to buy replacement parts to continue using it--or buy another copy entirely, if replacements aren't available.

Video games have the advantage of being electronic, and thus being internet-traceable to some degree. CD-Keys, online registration, all of that stuff was created so the company would get a notice each time the game was installed (or some limited guarantee that it wouldn't be installed multiple times from the same copy).

The whole idea of "3 installations and you're out" is severely limiting, but it's not unprecedented. If I buy a magazine and a cloudburst sends it into a sewer in a soggy heap, I can't write the company to get another for free. If something wipes the game from my system, it's not much different.

So everything you're saying is just a shade wrong here. People might call it ridiculous to get on someone for loaning a newspaper to a friend, but not because it's actually ridiculous. The law is very clear on that, but it's just so difficult to enforce in cases like this that people would have to go to SEEMINGLY ridiculous measures to prove it.

Video game companies are ahead of the curve on enforcement, and that's all that's different.

dastardly:

Sexual Harassment Panda:

Have you ever read an article in a newspaper or a magazine without having paid for it? If you have you have broken the law by your very strict definition of what theft is. Someone you know might have bought the newspaper, but you have consumed the data on the page without the writer being compensated, if I caught you doing it and called you out on it...you'd accuse me of being ridiculous, because in this instance we only see the physical product as being valuable. Which is somewhat of a double standard.

It's principly the same as buying a game and then copying it(or even just installing it on another machine) so your brother or friend can play it too, but that is illegal, industry destroying behaviour that the newspaper industry(which is dying, not flourishing like the gaming industry)apparently has no case to complain about.

As a professional musician AND music teacher, I can see exactly where you're wrong. It's not your fault, it just comes from (probably) not working in a field where you encounter these types of fair-use laws. I'll give you examples here:

If I buy a piece of written music for myself to perform, I can perform it as many times as I want from that copy. I can perform it anywhere I want from that copy. Depending on laws where you are, I can even make on "archival" copy as a backup in case the first is destroyed--as long as both copies are not in use at the same time. I'm NOT permitted to copy the piece for my friends, nor am I permitted to lend that copy to someone else.

The problem for the publisher, however, is one of enforcement. How can they know? Music (like newspapers) doesn't come with "cd keys" or other such electronic means of tracking who buys and who uses a piece of music. That doesn't mean it's legal, just that it's easily possible.

If I buy a piece of written music for my class (consisting of one score and dozens of parts), I can perform it as many times as I want from those copies. Most publishers are okay with making "rehearsal copies" to preserve the originals (mostly for those of us working with kids). What I cannot do is copy that music for a colleague, or let my students keep those rehearsal copies, or loan the whole bit out to some other band.

Again, it's about enforcement. If I'm not performing in high-profile venues, how is the publisher going to know? If they did find out, they COULD sue me (or the school). I wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

Now, in BOTH cases, if I lose parts of the music, they're gone. I'm not entitled to have them replaced. My ability to perform the piece at will only lasts as long as the physical copy remains intact. Think of it like getting a few free performances, but then I have to buy replacement parts to continue using it--or buy another copy entirely, if replacements aren't available.

Video games have the advantage of being electronic, and thus being internet-traceable to some degree. CD-Keys, online registration, all of that stuff was created so the company would get a notice each time the game was installed (or some limited guarantee that it wouldn't be installed multiple times from the same copy).

The whole idea of "3 installations and you're out" is severely limiting, but it's not unprecedented. If I buy a magazine and a cloudburst sends it into a sewer in a soggy heap, I can't write the company to get another for free. If something wipes the game from my system, it's not much different.

So everything you're saying is just a shade wrong here. People might call it ridiculous to get on someone for loaning a newspaper to a friend, but not because it's actually ridiculous. The law is very clear on that, but it's just so difficult to enforce in cases like this that people would have to go to SEEMINGLY ridiculous measures to prove it.

Video game companies are ahead of the curve on enforcement, and that's all that's different.

I appreciate the time and effort that must have gone into that post! Thank you.

But my issue isn't really in not knowing the law and the advantages that the gaming industry has in potentially enforcing it...I just don't agree with the law, and I think that DRM practices are unethical and shady as all hell.

My hard(and legitimate)copy of Bioshock is close to becoming a lemon because of the install limit and system failings, I don't accept your magazine analogy...I really don't think it's the same, my disc works for a start so it should still be a usable product, it's like losing the right to read your magazine because you bent the corners of a few pages, you screwed up but it's yours to screw up, they are not going to ban you from reading Radio Times because you spilled spaghetti sauce on Eamonn Holmes face.

That to me is the most salient point. Once you have sold something, you have relinquished control of it, that's how it is for basically all consumer products, but apparently not for gaming...and is that because it's right or because we are wrongly allowing the gaming industry to make up the terms of ownership to suit themselves?

There were plenty of instances of people being wrongly locked out of games due to DRM. Illegal serial key generators work on the same algorythm that is used to create the keys in the first place, so they can quite easily spit out somebody elses legitimately obtained key.

In my opinion, if they lock you out of your game, they have stolen from you, and that is unethical and "people who steal should be locked up".

Panda:

I see--I thought your argument was that, from a legal standpoint, there was no difference between the two. That was what I wanted to clear up. Now, if it's a question of personal values and feelings, I still think there are a few things we could look at differently.

... I don't accept your magazine analogy...I really don't think it's the same, my disc works for a start so it should still be a usable product, it's like losing the right to read your magazine because you bent the corners of a few pages, you screwed up but it's yours to screw up,...

The tricky thing here is deciding whether you're buying the DISK or buying the SOFTWARE. Legally, the whole idea of "intellectual property" still hasn't completely settled to everyone's satisfaction on matters like this, but outside the legal sphere you still have to look at what's going on for both sides.

You paid for one copy of the game. So, for that disk, only one copy should exist at a time. And really that means you're only entitled to one shot. It's like buying a model kit--you get enough supplies to try it once, but if you mess something up, that's it. You buy a new kit or request a replacement part. If the company decides, instead, to give you 3 copies of each part, there's your spares. It might not be enough for our tastes, but what they're doing isn't morally wrong. They're protecting themselves, however heavy-handed the effort may be.

That to me is the most salient point. Once you have sold something, you have relinquished control of it, that's how it is for basically all consumer products, but apparently not for gaming...and is that because it's right or because we are wrongly allowing the gaming industry to make up the terms of ownership to suit themselves?

You're right, this is the most salient point of the whole argument. Do you really relinquish ALL control of something once you sell it? If that were true, it would be perfectly acceptable for me to photocopy a magazine and distribute it myself as my own work--after all, it's not MY magazine, and everything in it... right?

Software itself is not a physical product. The disk is physical, and they have no further control over it once it leaves... but the software represents intellectual property, to which the originator retains some rights (see "All Rights Reserved" notices). Essentially, you AREN'T buying the game. You're licensing it. Otherwise, plagiarism is just fine as long as you paid for the book you're plagiarizing--after all, you own the book AND the information it contains.

It's about perspective. If I buy a hammer (a purely physical good), it's mine. No one can tell me what to do or what not to do with it. Of course, I also can't photocopy and distribute a hammer and little or no cost to myself.

Literature, music, and software are not purely physical goods. But because we, as consumers, experience the sale as "Give money, get disk/book/box," we (out of habit) conceptualize the product as a physical good. But what we're getting is not just the disk, book, or box, and that's not what we went to the store to come home with. We bought what's ON or IN it.

And what's on or in the box/disk cost money to make. It is the sum of financial and creative expenditures on the part of its creators. The unfortunate thing for them is that other people can copy and distribute that work at little or not cost to themselves. That wouldn't be fair at all. It's why the concept of copyright (and even patent and trademark) was created (long before video games)--to protect the creators of non-physical properties.

Try to understand their side, too--if they give up ALL control of the product once it's out there, the only way they could guarantee even a "break even" on the cost of production would be to sell that first copy for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead of doing that, they take steps to ensure that it's at least harder to copy their work.

Maybe the steps being taken aren't the best (I think only 3 installs is pretty limiting, too), but what they're doing is like trying to catch light in a jar--they've got to experiment with different kinds of containers until they find one that works.

Overall, I've found that the feeling of being "stolen from" by restrictive copy protection is really just the product of a misunderstanding on exactly what it is we're buying when we put that box on the counter.

I totally get these publishers don't want their games getting downloaded and copied and what not. However, anymore when it comes to companies like EA, and Ubisoft, and the issue of piracy I just see one group of thieves against another. The difference being one group happens to have the law on their side. It warmed my heart to see Ubisoft's offensively bad DRM get cracked. When EA was crying about Spore getting pirated to the moon after the shit they pulled I had a good laugh at their expense.

These companies anymore are all about squeezing you for as much of your money as they can and giving you as little as humanly possible. The pirates do the same thing to them in return. They take as much as they can and give as little as humanly possible in return. The publishers hide behind install limits, DRM, and DLC to mask the fact they are stealing your money. However, the pirates at least have the balls to be up front about what they do.

I think the next time one of these executives comes out whining about piracy and asking folks to stop ripping them off someone might suggest the same to them. How about they stop limiting the number of installs we can make. How about they include ALL the content in their games and don't intentionally hold back content to sell at a later date. How about they let us play our single player games w/o being needlessly connected to the internet. I say as long as they keep doing things like that I just mentioned every single illegal download is nothing less than they deserve.

No one listens to a thief when they argue about principles. And, since none of these software companies force you to buy their products, they're not thieves. You may feel you're not getting your money's worth, but that's separate from outright theft.

This is similar to the folks lobbying for the legalization of marijuana. They occasionally raise some very, very good points... but it all falls of deaf ears when they fall back into the "stoner" stereotypes and argue the wrong points.

If you want to change DRM, speak with your dollars and then speak with your mouth. This isn't an issue of human rights, where people would understand a bit of "civil disobedience." This is greedy people that want a game for free, complaining about how evil the publisher is for not giving it away. And then everyone else gets caught in the middle.

Someone has to start the cease-fire, and it should by rights be the ones who shot first (the pirates). If they'd take off the damn eyepatch, and maybe people could take them seriously when they argue about principles.

Sexual Harassment Panda:

I think it's sad when companies go bust, but my thinking is really that it's just too bad. I don't think we should allow industry insiders to tell us how we should feel about the issue, because there is such a ridiculously obvious bias there.

I just responded to someone else, I gave the newspaper industry as an example. If they were claiming that anyone who reads their newspaper without paying(your friend might hand it to you, you might find it lying around...whatever)is a thief and should be locked up. They would be laughed at, even though they would have a valid claim too as something has been consumed without the creators seeing any money. It's worth pointing out that the newspaper industry is dying whilst gaming is flourishing everywhere other than the PC platform, which is still making money...just less.

Alright, I see where you are going. While the creators don't like it when we buy used games, that is a perfectly legal thing to do and yes, they don't see any money for it. But you are still purchasing something from someone that was already paid for. Going back to the physical vs non-physical example, if I made 1 million DVDs and sold them, I will have gotta paid for them. Even if someone sold them or gave a DVD to their friend, I still made money from that copy. If someone took one of those DVDs and made digital copies and sent them out to 1 million more people, then that is 2 million copies of my DVD out there but only 1 million sold. Someone could argue that I already got the money coming to me from the 1 million that I sold, but that argument punishes success. And like it or not for the industry to tell us this, it is illegal according to the law (at least in the US).

Sexual Harassment Panda:

I'm not comfortable with letting the industry make up the rules as it goes along, it sets a nasty precedent where the consumer is obviously going to lose.

Now with that said, I will give you the fact that the DRM "solution" that Ubisoft has made does make it difficult or impossible to re-sell the game disc that I have purchased and that, in my view, is wrong for the consumer. And so, as a consumer, I have the right to not purchase from that publisher no matter how much I want to play game X. And they have the right to run with that DRM "solution". And hopefully if enough of us decide to not buy from them, they either A) go out of business due to a poor business plan or B) decide to treat their customers better. No where is there a right to play that game.

But I really hope "B" happens because I really want to play AC2. As it is, I probably will eventually pick it up used for a console. But Ubisoft is not getting any of my money until they change their perfectly-in-their-right-but-wrong-for-the-customer-imo DRM.

To put this simply, there are rights and there is good customer/producer relations

The pirates have neither, and Ubisoft only has one, the legal and moral "right".

They're still fucking their customer base (that would be me, and people like me), and for every game that someone bought because it took the Warez guys too long to get a good crack distributed, there's a guy like me, who didn't play AC2, even though he really liked the idea of the game and would have happily paid for it, if Ubi didn't treat its customers with such disrespect. And all the other games they'll produce that I won't buy between now and whenever (if ever) they redeem themselves.

Andy Chalk:

Therumancer:
That's functionally what the gaming industry is trying to do, and there are laws in place specifically to prevent that kind of thing.

Well, not exactly:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ProCD,_Inc._v._Zeidenberg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Corp._v._Harmony_Comps._%26_Elecs.,_Inc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Cartridge_Remanufacturers_Association_Inc._v._Lexmark_International_Inc.

http://www.eff.org/cases/blizzard-v-bnetd

I agree with you, I think, in that DRM in videogames, and copyright in the digital world in general, is a horribly broken, dysfunctional mess. But as long as both sides approach the issue with iron-clad certainty that they're right and the other guys are wrong, things aren't likely to change. If anything, they're going to get worse.

Piracy is not acceptable. Neither is balls-to-the-wall, good-luck-with-this-shit DRM.

So, publishers can implement shitty copy protection, and customers can refuse to buy their games. If we're serious about coming up with fair, workable solutions, that needs to be the starting point. But if all we really want is free games, well, that's a whole 'nother matter entirely and not one that the pirates are likely to be very inclined to "solve."

Okay, I did some very basic research and inquired with a couple of people I knew. I know others in this thread have mentioned cases where the EULA was shot down, however for whatever reason doing searches I have personally been unable to find many examples directly involving game software. I will however point out that in most of the cases you quoted there were other factors involved that probably lead to the ruling in addition to the EULA. Also in your first link it DOES mention that a big part of the ruling was the abillity to return the software in question. In the case of most video game software you can't return it due to store policy, thus I think that ruling would have gone the other way if it involved a game currently.

That said, during my inquiries it turns out that I am pretty much correct about the legality of this. However so far nobody has challenged this on the grounds that I have mentioned. In none of the cases you mentioned did anyone raise the issue of money being accepted before the contract. Or at least none that I have noticed.

At any rate, perhaps some of the other users that were agreeing with me, and mentioned EULAs being shot down on specific points could point out some of the cases they know, since I'm pretty sure I've heard of them myself but can't find any of them with a search.

So for the most part in this case I *DO* have to concede your correct in this case, since I can't (at the moment) challenge it.

At any rate I don't play to buy any Ubisoft games as long as they keep this DRM the way it is.

Piracy is not just civil disobedience, it is the poor's right to fight for Freedom, and defend their money from the prying hands of the powerfuls dominating the unforgiving jungle that is our "advanced" "civilisation" (I don't speak for the cheap bastards though).
In general we (as in a large part of humanity) want some fun before we die, and we'll spit on all maners of morality if we have to.
How much fun is enough depends on the person.

That may be what some think of falling into the "stoner sereotype" but from a purely objectivist (or nihilistic if you prefer) point of view that's how it is, and it is the real source of "piracy".

I, for one, do put my money where my mouth is.

See what I mean?

Some (many) people out there are just fundamentally incapable of separating "I want" from "I have a right" or "This is morally right."

You want the game. It's not a need by any stretch of the imagination, nor it is an entitlement by the same standard. You want it. You do not, however, want to pay for it--for whatever reason. It's not about not wanting to support that company, because you could do that WITHOUT pirating the game by just NOT BUYING the game.

It's about want. You don't want them to have your money, BUT you still want to have the game. And that's all there is to it. There's no moral undertone, no crusade, no "fight for freedom." There is "want - take."

Realize, as a human being, that you can WANT something that is WRONG. You can really, really, really want it, even--but that doesn't change whether or not it is wrong. You can NEED it, and still there's no change. I've shoplifted before. Did I return it? No. Did I feel particularly guilty? No. But did I in any way ever defend my decision to do so? Nope. I stole it because I wanted it and just couldn't be bothered to pay for it at that point in time.

To go to a popular example, though, "Would you steal to feed your starving family?" In a second, without pause, yes. I would. "Is it WRONG to steal to feed your starving family?" Yes, it is. I am taking something for which I have not worked or paid, and I'm taking it from someone else who's rightful property it is. You can couch the issue in all the "extenuating circumstances" you want, but I stole it and that is wrong. And I would still do it, because better him than me.

So just quit trying to defend piracy. Just cop to it--"Want. Take." Don't try to disguise the greed in some superhero tights.

I wonder why those pesky lawmakers and law professors came up with term of copyright infringement when they could call it simply stealing? It's not stealing it's piracy. When you say that it's enough to know the exact moral, legal, cultural and other implications of that deed.

It's like calling a car - a bicycle.

On the other side, technically he is right about Ubisoft: they can take a dump on a DVD case and sell it as a copy protection. However, people also have the right to complain about the smell.
And ethics and lawyers :P I wouldn't go in there.

Stealing is a broad category of other acts. In most countries, someone won't be charged with "stealing." Trying to argue this on definition is a losing battle.

Larceny isn't stealing--it's larceny. Theft isn't stealing--it's theft. All the different ways people obtain property to which they are not legally entitled, or that is someone else is specifically entitled to, are "stealing." Everything else is just legal finagling to pin down what was stolen and how, as different laws govern different kinds of stealing.

Copyright/trademark infringement or patent violations are all different ways of receiving an item, credit for an item, or the due consequences of the use of an item without permission or entitlement. That is stealing something. People "poo poo" it because you're not stealing a physical good.

Being of a lower severity of stealing doesn't mean it's not stealing. It clearly is by any sane definition of stealing. Calling it stealing is like calling both a car and a bike "Vehicles," which they both definitely are.

dastardly:
We all have a pretty firm grasp on all the things that the gaming industry is doing wrong. Their expectations on profit-per-box-sold are growing faster than the actual quality of their product. And to feed this habit, they're clamping down on the wrong folks.

...

"I stole this game because I wanted it, but I did not want to pay for it." Period. However noble your reasons for withholding the cash, the result is the same. You stole it. And in doing so, you lost any credibility you could have had in the argument to do away with overly-restrictive DRM.

Brilliant. Could not possibly agree harder.

dastardly:

Being of a lower severity of stealing doesn't mean it's not stealing. It clearly is by any sane definition of stealing. Calling it stealing is like calling both a car and a bike "Vehicles," which they both definitely are.

And both have their exact term. When you say stealing and by it is meant every crime that has some financial implication ( edit : against property ) i don't see what's the point. Pogo sticks, Trucks, The Space shuttle, gliders, trains... All vehicles. Nevertheless, we have the exact term that incorporates the specifics of that vehicle and clearly indicates the specifics of it compared to other means of transport.
Calling something piracy is just that.

EDIT 2 : And this is not splitting hairs it's the "I'm a lawyer" quote. He should know that laws do not "like" bad, imprecise semantics. Border cases are a huge pain then. :)

You know what, Andy? When the inferno has cooled from it's white hot intensity one thing will still be true.

All the people like myself who simply want the right to their privacy will still be screwed.

I'm talking about the right to purchase a game at retail, a physical copy of it, take it home, load it onto my privately owned hard drive and play it alone. No internet Obersturmfuhrer to check in with, no one looking over my shoulder in any fashion while I play my single player game as many times as I wish, on my desktop and my laptop if I wish BECAUSE I OWN THE COPY I PAID FOR.

Yet this exact set of actions constitutes the single greatest danger possible today. So it seems.

Any one who shares this desire with me is likely looking at the possible end of their gaming life on the horizon as well. Because none of the 'solutions' will allow me such simple privacy as playing my single player game without some internet gargoyle perched on my shoulder while I do it. And I don't care whose gargoyle it is, Steam, DRM, EA, check in via internet on load, it doesn't matter.

I want to play my single player game without an internet connection and no one bothering me as I do so. That's all.

Those who want what I do are the innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. I don't want to pirate, I am perfectly content to buy my games, as I have for years. And that means as the AAA titles have gone from $20+ to $60. If need be I am willing to be patient until the price comes down if money is tight.

Meanwhile I am crunched by the actions of people pirating, my freedoms are curtailed and by extension just by being a PC gamer my entire life, I am lumped in with those who steal. Guilty until proven innocent. What was my escapism activity has become a source of stress and unhappiness instead.

Everyone has a tipping point where they will no longer put up with something, that includes this mess. Not sure when or what might constitute that point, but if it's reached, then it will be time to hang up the USB controller except when dusting off some old game to replay, wipe Windows since it won't be needed as a gaming environment anymore, load a copy of Linux finally and look for another hobby. That is seriously the direction this appears to be heading for me.

And no more sales for Nvidia, Asus, Ballistix, Dell, Newegg or any of the other upgrade providers I have been financially supporting for 30 years either. But hey, who cares about that, right? Not those companies apparently, I haven't heard a peep out of any of them fighting for PC gamers.

Oh well, from Pong in the 70's until 20XX is a pretty good run I guess.

It baffles me how the average consumer can sit here and defend the publishers. Newsflash kids, nice guys finish last. I don't get how a such a large portion of the gaming community watch these companies do what they do and only muster enough backbone to give the occasional "Gee fellas it sure would be swell if maybe you guys could stop raping me with that dirty plunger at some point. . . .if not I understand".

Companies like Ubisoft, EA, Activision (excluding Blizz), and their kin couldn't be paid to give two moss covered pieces of rat shit about anything other than your money and they will do every underhanded thing that can think of to get you to part with it for as little as possible. You think crazy install limits aren't theft on some level? You don't think people paying two or three times over to play a game they've already purchased isn't one of the functions of these install limits?

I don't pretend that piracy isn't theft. Not for a second. However, when dealing with companies who have no problem screwing people out of their money I think turn about is more than fair play. The pirates may not be doing the right thing admittedly but at least they are doing something. Think about it, who gets more attention paid to them, the sheep writing angry messages on their forum threatening not to buy the next game if they don't remove the DRM (and 9 times out of 10 its just an empty threat) or the people out there pissing them off essentially saying "Yeah great game fellas, how about you boys get snappy making us another one to steal"?

Permanant Boycott from me and all my gaming friends for ubisoft while this model is in effect. The system has since been Defeated anyways so the pirates can still play all thier new releases. ALL of them..

Im not bummed about missing most of thier new releases anyways, lackluster un-original and very Generic is the impression im getting from the lion share of Reviews. Sigh.. And I have a TON of ubisoft titles from years gone by..

dastardly:
snip

That was very nicely presented and thought out, so I'm sorry to have snipped it...just getting a little lengthy. I very nearly missed that you had replied at all too as you didn't directly quote me, so I wasn't notified.

I think describing DRM as "heavy handed" is somewhat disconnected from reality, it's a system that exclusively punishes legitimate users(pirated versions have no install limits or need for a constant net connection), who are caring supportive. I am genuinly framing DRM practices as being comparable to beating your wife because someone said something mean to you at the pub. Aim those heavy fists at the right people or leave them hanging by your sides.

"Try to understand their side, too--if they give up ALL control of the product once it's out there, the only way they could guarantee even a "break even" on the cost of production would be to sell that first copy for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead of doing that, they take steps to ensure that it's at least harder to copy their work."

I think this is where my view diverges somewhat from many peoples. To put it simply...there is no security, you can't guarantee a healthy return, that's life, that's business...it's a bitch. I would argue that if you can't accept that then maybe you're in the wrong business, just as if you can't handle criticism you have no business being a performer.

I just don't see the logic, they spend money either developing or obtaining licenses for DRM that simply doesn't work, and puts their public image at risk. Which is a more pressing concern than ever before, people really become fans of devs these days. I wish more devs would self publish, I don't care if all I get is a disc with the game name written on in magic marker, if it's cutting out publishers who distribute and take a disproportionate cut for doing so I'm happy. Valve are the pc market leaders and an example for all other companies, self publish(even hard copies, Valve managed to cut out Sierra), lower prices, have more control without publishers being involved, remember that your customers are the only reason that you have a business at all.

If we only buy a heavily conditional license to a game these days, I think the price is way to steep.

Most of these arguments make my point: Meaningful conversations about DRM are all but impossible because people are so deeply entrenched in their positions and refuse to even poke their heads up for a look. I'm not even trying to talk about DRM or piracy here; I'm just talking about talking about it.

Try to look at the matter objectively and ask yourself, why are some game publishers so reliant on heavy DRM? What are pirates doing, and why are they doing it? Are there better ways to accomplish our goals? And be honest about that one: Are you really fighting for copyright reform, lower-priced games and better customer relations, or do you just want free games? These are the kind of humps we have to get over if we want to get away from this entirely unsatisfactory status quo.

Well my two cents and my first ever post on this site are sure companies have a right to protect their ip but consumers have a right to use the product they paid for which doesn't seem to be happening with ubisoft products. I always buy all my games but have stopped buying pc games from ubisoft voting with my euro on the issue. In one way I wonder does this drm comply with consumer legislation which cannot be contracted out of in most cases. Is a game of merchantable quality if you bring it home and find that you cant play the single player because of a problem with ubisofts drm. It could in fact be ubisoft who are breaking the law..........

For the record Patcher and I share the same profession.

I suppose my last comment was somewhat single minded though it is Quite true and honest.

Im an older gamer, and my hobby is my computer and games for the most part. Because of this its not crazy for me to spend upwards of 2000 bucks in a year on Games and the odd app. {Even more on hardware !! hehe lol}
Some of my freinds have a nice old mustang they rebuilt or perhaps a rare gun collection etc, Me, Im a hardware and gaming Geek.

While I understand and respect the position of any company that wants to protect its bottom line on investments and profit margins. Draconian DRM Has proven again and again to do less for protecting an Ip while Alienating and angering many honest paying customers like me.

There are SO many examples of how DRM has Diminished the experiance for customers worldwide. The main thing that comes to my mind is that there has NEVER been a rock solid DRM strategy, nor do I believe in my lifetime there will be one . No matter what a company does to protect its property , Scene group pirates WILL defeat it.
Sometimes it takes longer than others but in the end they always Crack it and make it available to those who would Steal .
While I do NOT approve of this its a fact and something everyone has to accept . At the end of the day your product WILL be cracked and Those who would steal it , will.

Knowing this I cannot understand why so much time , and money gets spent on more invasive and inconveniant forms of DRM. I look at the humble bundle, albeit a small market share in my opinion they have proved that money not spent on DRM is money saved. Yes its been pirated but show me a piece of software that hasnt. Game or otherwise. The answer is there are none. Still I would argue that they have made no less money than if there was DRM involved.

This is why I agree with People like Gabe newall, whos philosophy is that having a good relationship with your customers and good localization strategys are the best way to protect your IP and Get payed for it.

I think that this latest form of DRM from ubisoft has Likely created more piracy than it has to stop it. Simply by pissing off even more of thier install base. Sure you can be like me and just say "no" I wont buy it . Unfortunately I believe that a lot of people have taken the position of "fine be that way, ill just steal it"

The thing that makes me most angry about this is that its starting to effect the quality of newer games released this year and believe it will effect many that are yet to come. Time and money should be spent on a game.. not on walls built up to protect it from the enevitable.

I like steam, and can handle any kind of DRM that requires "activation online" etc. as long as i can access my content any time.. anywhere on my laptop or gaming tower Regardless of internet etc.. "offline mode" for example. As far as consoles go well in my opinion they are just as pirated and acutally even more Vulnerable to lost revenue because of Renting and resale. I do not approve of this as well.
Bottom line, make the majority of your install base happy or at least "satisfied" and you will get the best of your market share.

dastardly:

[snip]

THE PROBLEM HERE:

You don't have a right to play the game. If the ONLY company that makes the game you want is a company that you can't stand to do business with, your choices are two: suck it up and play, or forgo that game in the interest of principle.

[snip]

"I stole this game because I wanted it, but I did not want to pay for it." Period. However noble your reasons for withholding the cash, the result is the same. You stole it. And in doing so, you lost any credibility you could have had in the argument to do away with overly-restrictive DRM.

Actually, as "the ability to play the game should all of the on-box system requirements be met" is *precisely* what you have a right to. Because that's considered "Good Faith."

If the seller provides a product which they *KNOW* will not work even when the listed requirements are met, they're breaking the law.

Further, you aren't "stealing" anything. You're violating copyright. I wish people would stop using terms like "theft" when discussing copyright law.

*EDIT*

It should also be noted that, in many cases, you are violating the license agreement and/or copyright law if you play an audio CD, video, or game in the presence of another person, or allow them to participate in the listening/viewing/playing activity.

I feel at the core of this issue is a severe problem with entitlement on both the consumer and the publisher's side, and that problem with entitlement comes from legislation that is outdated and doesn't address reality in the correct terms.

We have assumed that copyright is the natural order of things, that it has always been in place and is the only way to handle intellectual property. This is not the case. Copyright is actually one of the most recent rights. It is the resolution of a very long struggle that is born with print about who owns the abstract content of a piece of art that can be mechanically reproduced.

And hey, to its credit, copyright was a valid solution all the way up until analogue methods of copying disappeared. It started showing its age around the time of the video recorder (people don't remember these days, but there was a lot of fighting about whether recording and copying shows broadcast on tv was legal or not) and it is just not fit to regulate the internet at all.

So Pachter is not right in that having control over who shares or copies information is not some God-given absolute right. I'm actually surprised that a lawyer doesn't show a more nuanced view on the matter.

The problem is that copyright can't handle the fact that digital copying doesn't incur in cost or loss of quality and can be done remotely over a network. That goes beyond the scope of it. It is originally in place to make sure that only the author or a printer entitled by the author of a book can reprint it and sell it. That's its actual purpose, everything else is a stretch, trying to extend the principles behind copyright to media that it was never meant to regulate.

If companies weren't so afraid of change and slow to react and governments weren't so ignorant and unwilling to legislate away from the international norm we could easily come up with a new form of intellectual property regulation to keep media industries viable without criminalizing people for using the most important new technology of the last 50 years in a way that is natural and obvious: to copy data remotely at zero cost. That possibility needs to be preserved on the net. We just need to find a way to make financial returns still come from creating intellectual property and distributing it.

My personal solution? Taxation. Analogue and physical copies can still be regulated by copyright. That works. Only if you have created a product or are licensed by the creator can you make physical copies to resell. Fair enough. On the internet? Free flow of content and a significant tax on the cost of internet and recording media that then gets redistributed among content creators based on metrics of success (IP owners already monitor downloads of their stuff, so this isn't as much of a stretch as it may seem. Packaged goods sales could also be used as a metric). In return, everybody who pays the fee (a bit like how British TV is financed by paying a fee on TV sets) gets full access to any digital copy of content on the Internet.

But even if you come up with a different solution that works, that would be ok. My point here is that copyright doesn't translate to the digitally networked world. It's a pragmatical issue of legal technicality, not a moral stance. It's neither calling people who use the internet thieves (they aren't) nor accusing the publishers of being stupid by protecting their income. It's about coming up with new, real solutions to a problem that is new and requires a change of paradigm.

I think the problem of DRM has nothing to do with piracy really. I think it comes down to basic business principles; make something that consumers want and make money from their desire to have it. You can put hilarious restrictions on a game that ultimately decrease its value as a product, and then try to stop the rules of capitalism from working when people find ways to get that product in its superior form (without the restrictions). But you will fail.

If you release a product with random bits of shit mixed in, dont be surprised if people start looking for ways to get that product without shit bits. I think tbh, learn from Valve. That generally seems to be the answer. Make those nasty bits actually seem good, and it will all work.

Sexual Harassment Panda:
I very nearly missed that you had replied at all too as you didn't directly quote me, so I wasn't notified.

Sorry about that--new to this particular notification style.

I am genuinly framing DRM practices as being comparable to beating your wife because someone said something mean to you at the pub. Aim those heavy fists at the right people or leave them hanging by your sides.

The problem with the comparison is that it is disingenuously inaccurate. You're comparing DRM to an act that is expressly forbidden by law (beating your wife), I assume in hopes that it will stir the same feeling of injustice in those who consider the comparison.

A better comparison would be a parent grounding both children because one of them broke the lamp and the culprit won't fess up. Yes, it punishes innocent parties, too. Yes, the one that is lying can sneak out and still enjoy free time, too. But it's not WRONG, IMMORAL, or ILLEGAL.

What could the parent do in this situation? Buy more durable lamps? (Doesn't address the problem) Fingerprint the broken lamp? (Tedious, not a guarantee of the last person to touch it) Just stop getting lamps entirely? (Still punishes everyone) See what I'm getting at here?

I think this is where my view diverges somewhat from many peoples. To put it simply...there is no security, you can't guarantee a healthy return, that's life, that's business...it's a bitch. I would argue that if you can't accept that then maybe you're in the wrong business, just as if you can't handle criticism you have no business being a performer.

Even so, copyright law exists to provide some security. And your comparison fails again in that it is not analogous to the situation being discussed. You, as a game designer, have no guarantee that people will LIKE your game--if you release a bad product, that's your fault. In THAT sense, yes, it's like a performer not being shielded from criticism. No one has to like the game, no one has to play the game.

But let's work with the concert performer analogy. BillyBob is putting on a concert in your town. You decide you like BillyBob, so you buy a ticket. Someone else doesn't like BillyBob, so he doesn't buy a ticket. Yet another person likes BillyBob, but not enough to pay live concert prices, so he doesn't buy a ticket. We're all okay so far. And BillyBob only has one person coming, because his stuff just isn't good enough to appeal to everyone equally--he has no protection from that except by increasing the quality of his own product.

Now, two other people like BillyBob, but just don't want to pay. One finds a back door to sneak into the concert and brings half a dozen of his friends. Another goes in with ten friends to buy ONE ticket, and all of them squeeze in with that one ticket. BillyBob SHOULD have protection from this, because these people ARE enjoying his product, but not compensating him for his work.

I just don't see the logic, they spend money either developing or obtaining licenses for DRM that simply doesn't work, and puts their public image at risk.

And this is a fine, logical, valid stance. You don't understand why they are doing what they are doing. Many times, I don't, either. But they are well within their legal and moral rights to do it, because it's THEIR company and it's THEIR product.

If we only buy a heavily conditional license to a game these days, I think the price is way to steep.

Another perfectly valid and concisely-expressed point. I don't think most would argue with that (except those that would say, right or not, that lower prices will lead to lower quality games). The piracy argument isn't about challenging this point, though--it's about challenging what people DO about this point.

You and I, we say "Price is too high. Not buying it." Others say "Price is too high. I'll just steal a copy." That's where problems start, and it only perpetuates the cycle as gaming companies try to fight loss of revenue--and apparently, up to this point, they are saving more with these measures than they are losing, since they're continuing to do it.

When that changes (ie, when WE as sensible CONSUMERS change it), they'll stop or try something different. They'll listen when people speak with their dollars, rather than sticky fingers.

dastardly:

Sexual Harassment Panda:
I very nearly missed that you had replied at all too as you didn't directly quote me, so I wasn't notified.

Sorry about that--new to this particular notification style.

I am genuinly framing DRM practices as being comparable to beating your wife because someone said something mean to you at the pub. Aim those heavy fists at the right people or leave them hanging by your sides.

The problem with the comparison is that it is disingenuously inaccurate. You're comparing DRM to an act that is expressly forbidden by law (beating your wife), I assume in hopes that it will stir the same feeling of injustice in those who consider the comparison.

A better comparison would be a parent grounding both children because one of them broke the lamp and the culprit won't fess up. Yes, it punishes innocent parties, too. Yes, the one that is lying can sneak out and still enjoy free time, too. But it's not WRONG, IMMORAL, or ILLEGAL.

What could the parent do in this situation? Buy more durable lamps? (Doesn't address the problem) Fingerprint the broken lamp? (Tedious, not a guarantee of the last person to touch it) Just stop getting lamps entirely? (Still punishes everyone) See what I'm getting at here?

I think this is where my view diverges somewhat from many peoples. To put it simply...there is no security, you can't guarantee a healthy return, that's life, that's business...it's a bitch. I would argue that if you can't accept that then maybe you're in the wrong business, just as if you can't handle criticism you have no business being a performer.

Even so, copyright law exists to provide some security. And your comparison fails again in that it is not analogous to the situation being discussed. You, as a game designer, have no guarantee that people will LIKE your game--if you release a bad product, that's your fault. In THAT sense, yes, it's like a performer not being shielded from criticism. No one has to like the game, no one has to play the game.

But let's work with the concert performer analogy. BillyBob is putting on a concert in your town. You decide you like BillyBob, so you buy a ticket. Someone else doesn't like BillyBob, so he doesn't buy a ticket. Yet another person likes BillyBob, but not enough to pay live concert prices, so he doesn't buy a ticket. We're all okay so far. And BillyBob only has one person coming, because his stuff just isn't good enough to appeal to everyone equally--he has no protection from that except by increasing the quality of his own product.

Now, two other people like BillyBob, but just don't want to pay. One finds a back door to sneak into the concert and brings half a dozen of his friends. Another goes in with ten friends to buy ONE ticket, and all of them squeeze in with that one ticket. BillyBob SHOULD have protection from this, because these people ARE enjoying his product, but not compensating him for his work.

I just don't see the logic, they spend money either developing or obtaining licenses for DRM that simply doesn't work, and puts their public image at risk.

And this is a fine, logical, valid stance. You don't understand why they are doing what they are doing. Many times, I don't, either. But they are well within their legal and moral rights to do it, because it's THEIR company and it's THEIR product.

If we only buy a heavily conditional license to a game these days, I think the price is way to steep.

Another perfectly valid and concisely-expressed point. I don't think most would argue with that (except those that would say, right or not, that lower prices will lead to lower quality games). The piracy argument isn't about challenging this point, though--it's about challenging what people DO about this point.

You and I, we say "Price is too high. Not buying it." Others say "Price is too high. I'll just steal a copy." That's where problems start, and it only perpetuates the cycle as gaming companies try to fight loss of revenue--and apparently, up to this point, they are saving more with these measures than they are losing, since they're continuing to do it.

When that changes (ie, when WE as sensible CONSUMERS change it), they'll stop or try something different. They'll listen when people speak with their dollars, rather than sticky fingers.

Honestly, how do they assess how many sales they're losing? Do they look at download statistics and assume these are lost sales? That wouldn't be a clear indication of anything, legitimate users are looking to spend wisely, and will only buy so many games a year. Pirates may well download everything(why not?...if it's free and you're ok with that)for the hell of it, whether they had any interest(the kind that might justify a purchase)or not, because there is nothing for them to lose. There have also been suggestions that a great number of the downloaders are living in low income areas/countries where it would be unrealistic to expect sales...the internet is worldwide.

Is anyone considering the fact that the quality of PC gaming has dropped immensely during this console generation? Nobody is making good exclusive PC games...we just get dodgey ports with bad controls and an odd looking field of view because it's designed for console and under the assumption that the player is going to be on the other side of the room...not a foot from the screen. Could bad games be to blame for bad sales? An example of customers being discerning in this regard would be Bad Company 2, they put out a good PC version that clearly wasn't just an afterthought. 16% of the sales for that game were on PC, and that number doesn't even include digital sales(steam etc), the number could be considerably higher, rivalling the consoles.

I think you are too quick to assert that DRM is "morally right", morality is both subjective and transient, and I think your examples are just as disingenuous as mine. You're equating game publishers with parents in the first, parents are clear authority figures, I would never accept a company being cast in that role...it's absurd. No company has a "right" to exist, they have no "right" to sales, they live and die by keeping our approval(that's why service industries make their employees smile until their faces hurt), we make 'em, we break 'em, that's business.

As for Billybob, I feel sorry for him, that's a shitty situation(although I do wonder why he working solidly on commision), but(as I explained above)I don't think that any figures that the gaming industry has to work with are anywhere near that clean cut, they would have to make enormous assumptions to come to such conclusions.

It's important to note that when a corporation makes a move towards DRM, they're doing it with the certain knowledge that they'll be losing out on some sales to people who are overly sensitive towards it.

The KNOW that some folks will refuse to buy out of some misguided moral outrage that "I'm being treated like a criminal!", and that a certain percentage of sales will be lost as a result.

They're betting, safely in most cases, that the percentage of sales they lose to that sort of moral posturing will be significantly smaller than the percentage of sales that they GAIN when people are unable to pirate the game and wind up buying it.

Because let's not kid ourselves; the majority of people who say "well, I wouldn't buy the games I play anyway" are LYING. What they really mean is: "I don't want to spend that money on games when I can get them for free; I'd rather spend it on things that I CAN'T steal easily and thus perpetuate a higher standard of living than the one I can have legally".

Confronted with absolutely perfect DRM, the vast majority of those who use that particular bit of self-justification would, in fact, knuckle down and buy at least SOME of the games that they steal.

Sexual Harassment Panda:
Honestly, how do they assess how many sales they're losing? Do they look at download statistics and assume these are lost sales? That wouldn't be a clear indication of anything, legitimate users are looking to spend wisely, and will only buy so many games a year.

There are firms full of people who make a living predicting and attempting to measure potential sales and things like this. The math gets pretty complicated, but the numbers are accurate enough for many major corporations to use in planning the next move. But that's ancillary.

You're right, there is no guaraneed 1-to-1 correlation between a pirated copy and a lost sale. But if at least SOME of those pirates WOULD have purchase the game (had the free option not come up), that's lost revenue. But more than that, EVERY SINGLE person who pirates a copy is taking advantage of the benefits of a product without paying the rightful cost for the product.

There have also been suggestions that a great number of the downloaders are living in low income areas/countries where it would be unrealistic to expect sales...the internet is worldwide.

Piracy is piracy, stealing is stealing. Pirating a copy of a game because they don't sell it in your country is still illegally obtaining that game. Perhaps instead you should pay the extra and order it from overseas. Or perhaps you should just shrug, e-mail the company so that they might know they're missing a potential market, and wait until they come around.

Is anyone considering the fact that the quality of PC gaming has dropped immensely during this console generation? Nobody is making good exclusive PC games...we just get dodgey ports with bad controls and an odd looking field of view because it's designed for console and under the assumption that the player is going to be on the other side of the room...not a foot from the screen. Could bad games be to blame for bad sales?

Sure they could. Every problem potentially has multiple simultaneous causes, and it could be that the current (aging) generation of gamers is sick of the same-old, a bit jaded, and feeling like the new games are just re-hash. And that is STILL not an excuse for stealing.

Don't think the game is worth the money? Don't buy it, and DON'T PLAY IT.

I think you are too quick to assert that DRM is "morally right", morality is both subjective and transient, and I think your examples are just as disingenuous as mine. You're equating game publishers with parents in the first, parents are clear authority figures, I would never accept a company being cast in that role...it's absurd.

You don't like the particular LABEL, but the ANALOGY holds firm. You're misunderstanding what it means to provide a "disingenuous example." You equated the use of restrictive DRM to beating one's wife--this causes your analogy to have a very clear meaning, "Restrictive DRM is likened to an illegal, immoral, and physically destructive act of violence."

My analogy, on the other hand, you just don't like the use of the word "parent." However, the gaming company IS an authority figure when it comes to the purchase and use of their product (like it or not). My analogy carries the meaning "Restrictive DRM can be likened to a punishment that is too broadly applied because the person doling out the punishment is unable to specifically determine who broke the rule, and the culprit is unwilling to fess up."

My example is far more accurate in its assessment of reality.

No company has a "right" to exist, they have no "right" to sales, they live and die by keeping our approval(that's why service industries make their employees smile until their faces hurt), we make 'em, we break 'em, that's business.

No one has argued this. They don't have a right to make sales, no... but they DO have a right to receive payment for their product when someone makes use of it according to the terms of sale they have provided. Basically, you have NO entitlement to use the product in ANY way until you sign the very first agreement you come across--the price tag. If you don't, you're violating the rights of the publisher.

No one is saying "The have a right to be guaranteed successful returns, and X amount of sales." No one WOULD say that, so to argue against it is just what is called a "strawman argument." What is being argued here is whether or not the company has the right, under law and under moral fairness, to expect that they be paid what they ask when someone uses a product that they have offered for sale.

The answer is clearly, "Yes." If I invent a widget, and I show you the widget, and I say to you "For 3 dollars, you can have this widget, which is good for 3 uses," then the ONLY way you get to even TOUCH that widget is if you agree to my terms. Why? Because it's MY DAMNED WIDGET. I invented it, and it is mine.

Even if I say "Okay, my widgets are 1 million dollars, and they are good for 1 use under close supervision," guess what? Either fork over 1 million dollars and agree to close supervision, or get your widgets elsewhere. Because, again, it's my damned widget. I invented it, and it is mine.

dastardly:

Sexual Harassment Panda:
Honestly, how do they assess how many sales they're losing? Do they look at download statistics and assume these are lost sales? That wouldn't be a clear indication of anything, legitimate users are looking to spend wisely, and will only buy so many games a year.

There are firms full of people who make a living predicting and attempting to measure potential sales and things like this. The math gets pretty complicated, but the numbers are accurate enough for many major corporations to use in planning the next move. But that's ancillary.

You're right, there is no guaraneed 1-to-1 correlation between a pirated copy and a lost sale. But if at least SOME of those pirates WOULD have purchase the game (had the free option not come up), that's lost revenue. But more than that, EVERY SINGLE person who pirates a copy is taking advantage of the benefits of a product without paying the rightful cost for the product.

There have also been suggestions that a great number of the downloaders are living in low income areas/countries where it would be unrealistic to expect sales...the internet is worldwide.

Piracy is piracy, stealing is stealing. Pirating a copy of a game because they don't sell it in your country is still illegally obtaining that game. Perhaps instead you should pay the extra and order it from overseas. Or perhaps you should just shrug, e-mail the company so that they might know they're missing a potential market, and wait until they come around.

Is anyone considering the fact that the quality of PC gaming has dropped immensely during this console generation? Nobody is making good exclusive PC games...we just get dodgey ports with bad controls and an odd looking field of view because it's designed for console and under the assumption that the player is going to be on the other side of the room...not a foot from the screen. Could bad games be to blame for bad sales?

Sure they could. Every problem potentially has multiple simultaneous causes, and it could be that the current (aging) generation of gamers is sick of the same-old, a bit jaded, and feeling like the new games are just re-hash. And that is STILL not an excuse for stealing.

Don't think the game is worth the money? Don't buy it, and DON'T PLAY IT.

I think you are too quick to assert that DRM is "morally right", morality is both subjective and transient, and I think your examples are just as disingenuous as mine. You're equating game publishers with parents in the first, parents are clear authority figures, I would never accept a company being cast in that role...it's absurd.

You don't like the particular LABEL, but the ANALOGY holds firm. You're misunderstanding what it means to provide a "disingenuous example." You equated the use of restrictive DRM to beating one's wife--this causes your analogy to have a very clear meaning, "Restrictive DRM is likened to an illegal, immoral, and physically destructive act of violence."

My analogy, on the other hand, you just don't like the use of the word "parent." However, the gaming company IS an authority figure when it comes to the purchase and use of their product (like it or not). My analogy carries the meaning "Restrictive DRM can be likened to a punishment that is too broadly applied because the person doling out the punishment is unable to specifically determine who broke the rule, and the culprit is unwilling to fess up."

My example is far more accurate in its assessment of reality.

No company has a "right" to exist, they have no "right" to sales, they live and die by keeping our approval(that's why service industries make their employees smile until their faces hurt), we make 'em, we break 'em, that's business.

No one has argued this. They don't have a right to make sales, no... but they DO have a right to receive payment for their product when someone makes use of it according to the terms of sale they have provided. Basically, you have NO entitlement to use the product in ANY way until you sign the very first agreement you come across--the price tag. If you don't, you're violating the rights of the publisher.

No one is saying "The have a right to be guaranteed successful returns, and X amount of sales." No one WOULD say that, so to argue against it is just what is called a "strawman argument." What is being argued here is whether or not the company has the right, under law and under moral fairness, to expect that they be paid what they ask when someone uses a product that they have offered for sale.

The answer is clearly, "Yes." If I invent a widget, and I show you the widget, and I say to you "For 3 dollars, you can have this widget, which is good for 3 uses," then the ONLY way you get to even TOUCH that widget is if you agree to my terms. Why? Because it's MY DAMNED WIDGET. I invented it, and it is mine.

Even if I say "Okay, my widgets are 1 million dollars, and they are good for 1 use under close supervision," guess what? Either fork over 1 million dollars and agree to close supervision, or get your widgets elsewhere. Because, again, it's my damned widget. I invented it, and it is mine.

You've taken a few things out of context, but nevermind, I will try to clear things up...in no particular order. I'm also no good with splitting up a post into small quote, no idea how that is done.

Yes, some sales are most definitly lost to piracy, some sales are also lost to DRM. We could go back and fourth on this point forever given that we have no hard evidence to disprove either point. What I will say is, attempting to control things is silly, we will never win the war on drugs, prostitution is still happening, and piracy isn't going anywhere. DRM is often not the developers choice anyway, we seem to be framing it as simply creative people protecting what they have created, often it's the publishers who insist on it despite the devs wishes. I've read articles where devs have said exactly that.

As for low income countries contributing to piracy...clearly you have a far greater respect for the law than I do, and a more firm view that piracy is very literally theft. People who can't afford the games(I'm not talking about slackers in wealthy countries, I'm talking about genuinely poor people who don't have the oppurtunity to make decent money)aren't your target market. They may not be being compensated for people playing the game but...if there isn't money to be had, why concern yourself?

Declining PC game quality - Didn't actually mention piracy... I was talking about people simply not buying games(which doesn't imply that they obtained them otherwise) because they are of poor quality.

Our analogies - To liken one situation to another is disingenuous by definition...so I don't know why you hold your examples in such high regard. I know I'm guilty of it too, but I'm fully aware that I am taking liberties, and that my wife beating example was silly...it was kinda meant to be.

Accusations of straw-man and another explaination of the law - Just as I know what "disingenuous" means, I also know what a strawman argument is. But that was a general feeling, I said it because that's how I feel, it wasn't a rebuttal to anything inparticular and is was definitly not an attempt to misrepresent you. I put quotation marks on "right" because I feel that we are putting too much emphasis on what peoples "rights" are...as if "rights" truly exist.

I tend to adhere to the "life isn't fair, get over it" philosophy, as well as holding a firm belief that trying to control things is silly(especially if you're spending money on it)and will only ever end up being a losing battle.

Widgets - Again, this is disingenuous. Widgets are fine, but they aren't games. Widgets don't have a fanbase of millions that are conflicted about buying their beloved widgets because of the terms of ownership that are now being applied, but would also hate to see widgets taken off the market because of a lack of sales if they should boycott.

...you made me type "widgets" far too many times. I'm sorry for the sloppy response, I'm tired and I don't know how to split up a quoted post.

For those who defend the idea of piracy, of the idea that 'this is my game and I should be able to do with it as I like' - A ton of people put a lot of work and effort into most games, especially the smaller studios and stuff like that. So, when you buy the game, you aren't just giving the store you got it from your money. And, it has to be ground up through publishers and other bullshit, so that end trickle finally goes back to the workers and studio. So if you decide it's within YOUR RIGHTS to rip off that work, well...

And if you really feel that a game that's anywhere from $20-$60 is 'too expensive' despite people spending years working on it, then but damn you're a tightass cheapo.

We're all hypocrites here. A lot of people are essentially driven to rip off things like Adobe products, because it's like $600 for the whole CS package and still expensive to get individual programs. People download music because even for 99c a song, that's still $1,000 for 1,000 songs which people very easily have on their media players nowadays.

I don't know. I guess the easiest way to try and understand is to just put yourself in their own damn shoes. I don't think you would be very kind if you and a few other folks worked hard to make something, put it in a shop where it would be a source of income for your collective, and then have someone just take it and then duplicate it among friends and strangers. And then say it's their right to do so because that object is now theirs.

The object itself is yours. The content inside? That's a lot more debatable.

Sexual Harassment Panda:
You've taken a few things out of context, but nevermind, I will try to clear things up...in no particular order. I'm also no good with splitting up a post into small quote, no idea how that is done.

Just enclose the desired passages for text within (quote) and (/quote) tags (replacing the parentheses with square brackets).

What I will say is, attempting to control things is silly, we will never win the war on drugs, prostitution is still happening, and piracy isn't going anywhere.

We will also never completely cure disease, never prevent all traffic accidents, never learn all there is to know about nuclear fission, or bake the perfect cake. But we try, and we get closer. Allowing a publisher to put DRM on their product is like allowing you and I to have locks on our cars--no, it won't prevent the most determined thief, but for the most part it pretty effectively keeps other people from using your car without permission.

DRM is often not the developers choice anyway, we seem to be framing it as simply creative people protecting what they have created, often it's the publishers who insist on it despite the devs wishes. I've read articles where devs have said exactly that.

Here's a place where things rightly get sticky. Developers don't own their games, but not because of theft--it's because of negotiations. They need money to develop the game, to package the game and move it to shelves, and to advertise it. They can self-publish and hope for the best, or they can rely on a proven publisher to do it for them--a company that specializes in doing exactly those things.

When they sign on (much like BillyBob and his record label), they give up some of the rights associated with their product. They don't have to do it, they can choose to go it alone, but if they DO sign on, they agree to the terms provided. Some publishers are extremely restrictive, while others are not. It's up to the developers to decide what is/isn't worth it.

Now, like pirates, if a developer were to violate the terms of the agreement with the publisher--say, they were to seek alternate means of distribution and sales without approval--they would be legally liable for that. If they don't like the terms of the contract, they can renegotiate (if the publisher is willing) or they can just do business elsewhere the next time around... but for now, they're stuck. And rightfully so--they made a promise in the form of a contract.

As for low income countries contributing to piracy... They may not be being compensated for people playing the game but...if there isn't money to be had, why concern yourself?

Because it's not about WHO is stealing. It's about the fact that there IS stealing. The internet isn't like a political map, with boundaries and borders and customs agents. It's like a giant pool of information. Pee in a little bit of the pool and it gets everywhere. People pirating copies means pirated copies are out there, regardless of the individual offender's reason for getting one. The distribution of pirated copies is the concern moreso than the individual offender's rationale.

Our analogies - To liken one situation to another is disingenuous by definition...so I don't know why you hold your examples in such high regard. I know I'm guilty of it too, but I'm fully aware that I am taking liberties, and that my wife beating example was silly...it was kinda meant to be.

Analogies can be acceptable insomuch as they accurately draw attention to a particular aspect of an issue--without also introducing incorrect associations. The illustrative devices a person chooses for their analogies provides insight into how they view the issue. In your example, the gaming companies are painted as behaving in a violently illegal way. In my example, they are painted as authority figures regarding their product (which they are, allowing a potentially parental "my house, my rules" way of things) who are too broadly applying a punishment.

I put quotation marks on "right" because I feel that we are putting too much emphasis on what peoples "rights" are...as if "rights" truly exist.

I tend to adhere to the "life isn't fair, get over it" philosophy, as well as holding a firm belief that trying to control things is silly(especially if you're spending money on it)and will only ever end up being a losing battle.

That will change when someone robs your house, I'm sure. You'll take SOME measure to try to deal with it. I sincerely doubt you'll just go, "Oh, well, can't stop every crime," and go out and by new things without so much as a call to the police.

Widgets - Again, this is disingenuous. Widgets are fine, but they aren't games. Widgets don't have a fanbase of millions that are conflicted about buying their beloved widgets because of the terms of ownership that are now being applied, but would also hate to see widgets taken off the market because of a lack of sales if they should boycott.

...you made me type "widgets" far too many times. I'm sorry for the sloppy response, I'm tired and I don't know how to split up a quoted post.

Widgets are exactly that. A widget is simply a representation of ANY product which someone creates and sells to another. It doesn't matter if I'm distributing a personally-written fan-fic or if it's a next-generation RPG with billions of fans. The laws and ethics surrounding it don't change based on how many people want it.

Again, we're back to the major distinction:

- Some DRM measures are unnecessarily restrictive, and can interfere with legitimate customers enjoying the game. This frustration can be compounded when people see that some of the more savvy pirates are still managing to get access.

- As long as the developer/publisher is making the game and owns the rights to it, the game is THEIRS. They could add or subtract whatever they want until such time as a sale is made--at which point both buyer and seller are contractually bound by what the package says is in there and what rights are entailed in the purchase.

- Nothing the publisher does or demands is forced upon the player--the player reads the package, sees the terms of the license, and either chooses to agree or not. If they choose "not," their only recourse is to go be entertained elsewhere. Nothing in any way provides them any sort of "right" or "expectation" or "entitlement" or ANYTHING that excuses or allows illegally obtaining a copy of the game.

So, 3 different statements being made:

1) "I do not like some of the DRM measures being taken by some publishers."
2) "As an intelligent consumer, I do not have to excuse, defend, or support these measures."
3) "But I still really want the game, so I'll just get it without paying for it so I don't have to deal with the DRM (or the pricetag)."

And #3 is where things go into the immoral, unethical, and illegal categories.

I'm always impressed by the rationalizations that pirates give for their actions. It's always something along the lines of 'games are too expensive' or 'I'm only stealing from an evil corporation', neither of which are really true.

On one occasion, on a particular message message board, a fellow was asking for help in pirating a copy of Torchlight. Apparently, he had foreseen his workday as being 8 hours of doing nothing in front of a computer, so he wanted a copy of that beloved darling of PC gaming.

Let me rephrase that. This was a man who had managed to weasel his way into a job where he could sit in front of a computer all day without doing any work, yet couldn't even be bothered to shell out a meager $20 for Torchlight.

When asked why he didn't simply buy the game, he stated that he didn't feel Torchlight was worth $20. Maybe if it was $15.

And then there's the World of Goo fiasco.

A game made by no more then three people, World of Goo made headlines when they announced that the PC version was going to be DRM-free...

...And then they made more headlines when it came out that only one out of every ten copies was legally purchased.

So there you have it. It's not about games being too expensive, or being made by faceless corporations, because they'll gladly steal budget priced titles from small scale studios without feeling even a touch of guilt.

When a game like World of Goo see's a 90% piracy rate, publishers see themselves justified in using DRM, no matter how brutal it may be. It's just a crying shame that as result, legitimate consumers end up being treated like criminals on parole in the process.

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