Jimquisition: Piracy Episode One - Copyright

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Sober Thal:

Diana Kingston-Gabai:

Sober Thal:

What's wrong with that? Are publishers just supposed to gamble away money on possible crap product?

Why not? We (the customers) do...

How so? You mean the people that don't know how to research a product before they buy it?

Yeah, they gamble, and it's silly.

By research, does that include downloading a full game trial, to determine if your PC can run it, because the publishers didn't want to fund a demo and wanted you to buy blind?

lozfoe444:

I never understood why every single god damn pro-piracy video uses that "two people sharing a file with hearts" image when publishers make it pretty clear that it should be one person copying a paper while the other person (who is blind in this case) waves a knife around trying to hit them.

Publishers don't want to share their stuff. What makes you think that it's OK?

And here I was thinking you couldn't get any more awesome, Jim.

been waiting all day to see what jim had to say on the subject. I agree pretty much spot on with him. Copyright laws are pretty ridiculous now life time of author +70 years in the case of just regular copyrighted materials. And it started out at 28 years. Shit George lucas would still have been a millionare and his works would have lost copyright around 97. Harry potter doesn't lose copyright until 2117. Seriously...some things need to change, because these IP stop being about supporting the artists and supporting the long dead artists company instead.

I think the whole: big games are extremely expensive to produce angle is missing. Who pays for the production of big expensive games like call of duty? The publishers are the only ones with that kind of money, if it weren´t for them most studios would have to take the indie route and AAA titles would probably somewhat dissapear.

Adam Jensen:
Most publishers really are just a bunch of people who don't do anything and they get payed a lot for it. Why should they exist? The world would be a better place is all developers published their own stuff.

But what if developers don't want to publish their own stuff? If you're a video game developer, you're probably good at programming, or 3D graphics, or sound art, etc. It doesn't really make sense for a developer to divert attention away from what they do best - making games, and take on the burdens of distribution, marketing, licensing, accounting, legal issues, etc. Anybody who's run their own business in a creative field can tell you that dealing with the "business" side of things can quickly drain your passion for the creative things you got into the business for in the first place.

Also, it might work for a small developer with a fairly low-budget game, but what if a developer wants to make an epic "AAA" game that costs tens of millions of dollars to make? Where is that funding going to come from?

It's not like the internet magically makes publishing a non-trivial activity. There's a lot more to it than just throwing a file up on a server.

Adam Jensen:
Jim is 100% right about publishers being the middle man. And we need to cut the middle man out of the equation. It's a purely capitalist concept that's no longer necessary because of other ways of distributing material, thanks to technology development. Most publishers really are just a bunch of people who don't do anything and they get payed a lot for it. Why should they exist? The world would be a better place is all developers published their own stuff.

Do you really think that publishers like EA are a bunch of guys who get paid to do literally nothing? That's a bit ridiculous when you think about it.

If publishers did nothing that developers couldn't do, why would any dev ever have a publisher? Obviously, game developers value publishers to the extent that they find it worthwhile to get their help in a contract which they agreed to and signed.

Powerful video Jim, I really do appreciate your thoughts!

Agayek:

Marmooset:
You weren't wrong the first time. They are. What happens in another area does not change the nature of an individual's actions.
Your example, if taken to extremes, would give a partial justification for Swinging Ape to engage in piracy - not the sideline sitting parasites who actually do so. Another bad guy in the room does not preclude you from being one, too.

Pretty much this. Someone being a dick doesn't give you right to be a dick right back. It may be therapeutic, but it's far from justified.

That said, Jim is pretty much spot-on insofar as copyright law does need to change. Unfortunately, the changes it needs are directly opposed to the entertainment industry making piles of cash, and as such is not likely to pass.

I know. God forbid that someone accidentally writes a law for the good of the people and not for the good of big businesses.

Korten12:

... snip ...
But shouldn't there be the option to only allow some people to edit or expand on the works or none at all. For like, ever?

I don't think authors should have that power from beyond the grave. Art is for the living, not the dead. I think it's reasonable to try to make sure that the original author is credited for the original work. So for instance no one else than Tolkien can take credit for LOTR. I think it's also important to try preserve those original works of art so they can be compared to later interpretations and spinoffs.
But new artists needs to be able to renew these stories in a contemporary context. Maybe that results in a holo-deck version of LOTR where Boromir lives, thats the choice of the coming generations.

If you want publishers to respect the proper rights of developers, how's about you respect them first by not pirating brand-new stuff?

I got no beef with people who obtain and play games that are essentially "out of print". You could even make a case that copyright law needs to be rewritten to take into account such "abandonware". Are anyone's interests served by making it illegal to distribute for free stuff that nobody wants to buy? If it's *no longer possible* to buy a *new* copy of a book, record, video game, then who is harmed by people photocopying their old version and distributing it free? The owner has basically declared that their expected return no longer justifies continued investment in the property. Whoever is now distributing the work has made an investment without expectation of return. Shouldn't their investment be respected and entitle them, if not to collect money, at least to proceed without being harassed?

Heck, you could even go so far as to say that the distributor of such "reclaimedware" could legitimately be entitled to collect money--for the use of their service, if not for the IP itself. Maybe make it so they'd have to pay a certain legally-mandated, non-negotiable percentage of revenue in royalties to whoever owns the IP until it would normally enter the public domain. Then, if they don't and the owner finds out about this publishing, you have a VERY simple situation that's VERY easily resolved: the amount of money owing is VERY easily calculated and won't require years of litigation and stupid waste. And then you can very easily append a provision that if someone is distributing but not paying, THEN the owner has a legitimate right to demand that it be taken down.

In essence, you'd be inserting a third phase of copyright status in between "copyrighted" and "public domain", during which everyone exercises their rights in relation to their action toward that IP. If the owner throws it in the dumpster and moves on, the bum who comes along, tidies it up a bit, and makes some use of it isn't a criminal.

MrBaskerville:
I think the whole: big games are extremely expensive to produce angle is missing. Who pays for the production of big expensive games like call of duty? The publishers are the only ones with that kind of money, if it weren´t for them most studios would have to take the indie route and AAA titles would probably somewhat dissapear.

If people just stopped buying from big publishers that hate them (you know the ones who punish paying customers and support anti-consumer legislation), indie games would still be made. Budgets would shrink and in my opinion, that would be a good thing. The budgets NEED to shrink. 50 Million dollar games taking 5 years to make isn't sustainable anyway.

*is impressed*

I used to condemn pirates like jim did, but then I took an arrow to the knee then I watched the Jimquisition and could only think that this is very, very, sadly, true.

JMeganSnow:
If you want publishers to respect the proper rights of developers, how's about you respect them first by not pirating brand-new stuff?

I am going to make a few assumptions here, correct me if I get some wrong. I am going to assume that you:

- want publishers to respect the proper rights of developers
- you don't pirate games

Has your contribution made publishers more respectable to developers? I would say that the more money you give to publishers, the worse they act but that's just my opinion.

This is exactly the issue with modern intellectual property. Either one can choose to have a large audience and sacrifice financially or they can sell to a small audience for all of their profit. To people who want the world to be fair, this is bad. To realists, this is reasonable. Sorry, but I disagree with Jim's point. I hate SOPA and PIPA as much as the next guy, but defending piracy because businesses don't do what we want them to do is not the right answer either. Businesses get games out there for gamers to buy and play, it's the same thing with movies and music. If you don't like it, then invest in small franchises and indie games.

It's a matter of private principle, but using piracy to attack businesses that we don't like isn't the right answer. It's childish and, in the end, it's criminal.

Bostur:

Korten12:

... snip ...
But shouldn't there be the option to only allow some people to edit or expand on the works or none at all. For like, ever?

I don't think authors should have that power from beyond the grave. Art is for the living, not the dead. I think it's reasonable to try to make sure that the original author is credited for the original work. So for instance no one else than Tolkien can take credit for LOTR. I think it's also important to try preserve those original works of art so they can be compared to later interpretations and spinoffs.
But new artists needs to be able to renew these stories in a contemporary context. Maybe that results in a holo-deck version of LOTR where Boromir lives, thats the choice of the coming generations.

Authors should have some power from beyond the grave, but it should be *strictly limited in duration*. Otherwise, you'd have a problem where an author sells a novel or work of art, only to die a week later. It can't immediately go into public domain because then the person or persons who paid for the work have no chance to earn their deserved profits.

Now, I don't like the *current* time limitations. To me, they seem excessive. At *most*, it should be author's lifetime + 18 years, which is enough time for any of the author's minor children to reach adulthood. This should pertain even if the author retained no rights whatsoever to their work. Same expiration date. It doesn't necessarily even have to be that long--after all, IP creators can buy life insurance just like everybody else.

The principled thing to do, in my mind, would be to make the copyright last until the owner takes it out of production. If they want to keep printing new copies or maintaining the website where you can download it, they still own it. If the book is out of print or the video game servers are shut off, that seems like as good a time as any to have the copyright expire. It'd also make IP owners think long and hard about whether they're truly done with it before they shut down their site or whatever.

It'd also be a great thing to distinguish between copyright and trademark or brand. The copyright should expire. Maybe the trademark/brand should function differently. No, it SHOULD function differently, because it IS different.

My god Jim, have you met some enlightening deity that we should all know about?

looks appropriate for this vid...

Robert B. Marks:

Carnagath:
[quote="Robert B. Marks"

Robert B. Marks:

4. If anybody wants to say that game companies are not injured by computer game piracy, I would ask them to take a moment and count the number of PC game companies that hopped ship to the smaller console market over the last 10 years. Compared to 2002, the computer game world is considerably sparser than it used to be.

Hmm... Nope, getting nothing. Do tell. Which PC game companies jumped ship? I can't think of a single one that abandoned the PC market and devoted themselves exclusively to consoles. Many of them realized the market expansion in consoles and turned their releases multiplatform, sure, some of them may even have decided to not release some of their titles on the PC due to specific logistics of those particular titles, but can't think of a single one that has written the PC off. Example of the above: Rockstar. Yes, they did not release Red Dead Redemption for the PC, but they did release LA Noire and will release Max Payne 3. I can however think of a multitude of examples of studios that were bought by behemoth publishers over the last 10 years, who agreed to fund and promote their projects, but instead cannibalized them and their intellectual property. How ironic...

I'm not going to reply in this thread more than once - I have found that online arguments don't tend to be worth the time. But, if you want your example, here's one: Epic. They started as a PC company called Epic Megagames, and have since moved to consoles. Their console titles do get PC releases, but by a different company.

But, if you really want a better picture, read this: http://www.tweakguides.com/Piracy_5.html

That link is from a website that did a proper analysis of the numbers, and talked about why the migration from a PC market measured in billions of PCs to a console market of under 100 million consoles took place.

And that's all I have to say on the subject.

Pretty hilarious article there. Disembodied statements by some devs that basically claim they'd be BILLIONAIRES if it wasn't for piracy (you're right, J. Carmack, piracy is why Rage didn't sell well). If they say so, it must be true! I also love how the writers of that article are trying to prove that the explanation for the fact that some titles (they mention COD as an example) sell better on the consoles than on the PC, even though the PC userbase is larger and console titles are more expensive, is because most PC gamers are pirates, and they mention nothing about the fact that consoles are "trendy" and, if you are a young gamer aged 15-24 and you want to buy the version of COD that will most likely allow you to play with present and future friends and classmates, Xbox Live is definitely the way to go. Nope, none of that matters, if there are more gaming PC's than consoles then COD should sell more on PC's. Because they say so. Also, your best example of "one the many" PC studios that abandoned PC gaming for consoles is a studio that... releases all its games on PC, but outsources some of the multiplatform workload. Cool story bro.

I'm not going to write a massive detailed post about this either. If you are "above" online arguments, then you are really better off not posting.

Yes Jim, I forgot about the often used "if they're rich enough, go ahead and steal from them" clause that is placed in the law.

Ultimately, the creator owns the IP until they choose to sell it to EA so that their game can be made. Is this a system that is in dire need of fixing? Hell yeah. Is stealing from the companies the way to do it? Hell No.

Crono1973:

JMeganSnow:
If you want publishers to respect the proper rights of developers, how's about you respect them first by not pirating brand-new stuff?

I am going to make a few assumptions here, correct me if I get some wrong. I am going to assume that you:

- want publishers to respect the proper rights of developers
- you don't pirate games

Has your contribution made publishers more respectable to developers? I would say that the more money you give to publishers, the worse they act but that's just my opinion.

Something like that is hard to measure, but I'd say yes, because the developers I *like* and buy products from are still in existence and still making money, even though a lot of them have swapped publishers.

Has it prevented the developers from signing away too many of their rights? No. But that's on them. Now, if I bought any random dreck that came out of a publishing house, that'd be a problem. I buy only specific games by studios I like, and if I get a game I don't like, I abandon that series. That's why I didn't get Mass Effect 2 and won't be getting ME3, even though I quite like the Dragon Age series by the same studio. I support only the particular products I want.

Interesting... you brought up some things I had never really thought about before, particularly the Copyright stuff. I'd say this was a good episode. :o

JMeganSnow:

Authors should have some power from beyond the grave, but it should be *strictly limited in duration*. Otherwise, you'd have a problem where an author sells a novel or work of art, only to die a week later. It can't immediately go into public domain because then the person or persons who paid for the work have no chance to earn their deserved profits.

Now, I don't like the *current* time limitations. To me, they seem excessive. At *most*, it should be author's lifetime + 18 years, which is enough time for any of the author's minor children to reach adulthood. This should pertain even if the author retained no rights whatsoever to their work. Same expiration date. It doesn't necessarily even have to be that long--after all, IP creators can buy life insurance just like everybody else.

The principled thing to do, in my mind, would be to make the copyright last until the owner takes it out of production. If they want to keep printing new copies or maintaining the website where you can download it, they still own it. If the book is out of print or the video game servers are shut off, that seems like as good a time as any to have the copyright expire. It'd also make IP owners think long and hard about whether they're truly done with it before they shut down their site or whatever.

It'd also be a great thing to distinguish between copyright and trademark or brand. The copyright should expire. Maybe the trademark/brand should function differently. No, it SHOULD function differently, because it IS different.

Yeah good points. I think I meant to say they shouldn't have eternal influence from beyond the grave. :)

I think it's a flawed concept to base the expiration of copyright solely on time. Your idea to base it on active use could work. This would also solve the differences in longevity between media, for instance the fact that software usually doesn't have commercial viability for as long as written texts. It's a bit silly if MS-DOS and Pacman gets protection for more than a century.
There is also the issue that if a company is the original 'author', how do we measure the time of death of that company? Basing copyright expiration on active use would solve that problem as well.

Man, I always thought that Kojima was just a madman, but Metal Gear Solid 2 and 4 are actually fucking happening! It's good to realize this now, so that when EA and Activision start handing out shots that say will enhance your video game experience, we'll know not to take them unless you want nano machines in your bloodstream that'll force you to buy all their games.

And also good to hear of someone else who appreciates Metal Arms. I never owned it, but I did play it a lot at the demo xbox in Gamestop, then called Funcoland, back in the day.

JMeganSnow:

Crono1973:

JMeganSnow:
If you want publishers to respect the proper rights of developers, how's about you respect them first by not pirating brand-new stuff?

I am going to make a few assumptions here, correct me if I get some wrong. I am going to assume that you:

- want publishers to respect the proper rights of developers
- you don't pirate games

Has your contribution made publishers more respectable to developers? I would say that the more money you give to publishers, the worse they act but that's just my opinion.

Something like that is hard to measure, but I'd say yes, because the developers I *like* and buy products from are still in existence and still making money, even though a lot of them have swapped publishers.

Has it prevented the developers from signing away too many of their rights? No. But that's on them. Now, if I bought any random dreck that came out of a publishing house, that'd be a problem. I buy only specific games by studios I like, and if I get a game I don't like, I abandon that series. That's why I didn't get Mass Effect 2 and won't be getting ME3, even though I quite like the Dragon Age series by the same studio. I support only the particular products I want.

So what developers have received more respect from their publishers that you buy games from?

Just saying "Don't pirate and publishers will respect devs more" doesn't make any sense. It's like saying "If you want McDonalds to stop messing up your order, keep giving them money".

Well put Jim, big money publishers are a bunch of dildos, fuck them.

Piracy is bad, but publishers are worse, hang them all I say!

And another one has seen the light.
Good episode, Jim.

everyone here is in big trouble! the forum rules clearly states that posts cannot advocate or discuss piracy! enjoy your suspensions! especially YOU jim!

A strong speech, and not because of the swearing...

How so fickle. Just because one does wrong against another does not give excuse to commit wrong in retaliation. There is also the fact that in the case of the creator not having the rights to his/her own creation, as I understand, that is a result of that creator consigning those rights to the publisher in exchange for publicity and marketing. Yes, it is a dick move that companies hold onto these rights and do nothing with them. However, it was a conscious choice on the part of the original creator to hand those rights to the publisher, and so, it is 100% legitimate. If you agree to something, then you accept the full consequences of that agreement, until such time as the agreement is annulled or rescinded, either by the parties with whom the agreement was made or by higher authority.

-----

In the past, a publisher was more necessary because it was difficult for individuals and small groups to execute the entire process of creating, refining, and marketing their works. The publisher acted to assist these individuals and groups, and because the publisher was a necessary partner in the endeavor, the publisher had significant power to negotiate such onerous terms as has lead to the complete gang-rapeage that content creators are suffering from.

However, the advances in technology, the advent of the internet, and numerous digital content outlets have paved the way to allow self-publication. The publisher is no longer a necessary partner. Yet, many content creator are still hesitant or at least uncertain about going the independent/self-publishing route. Thus, they continue to constrain themselves to an outdated paradigm that only screws them over in the end.

To be sure, the publishers themselves are fighting to maintain relevance in a changing market environment, and it's rather sad that it has been the technology companies, not the publishers, that have devised the new means by which the market can continue and flourish into the future. The publishers are dinosaurs, and their extinction is inevitable because they refused so long to adapt to the changes in the market and failed to recognize new opportunities for new business models that would help them to continue. Their insistence on maintaining the old ways of doing business has doomed them to perdition.

Even further, the incumbent publishers have sealed their fates with the generation of growing resentment for their policies and tactics and their failure to serve the needs of the market. In my opinion, the market, as a whole, having tried everything up to this point to give the existing publishers the benefit of the doubt and encourage them toward the products and services that are desired, making abundantly clear those things for which we would gladly give our money and being summarily ignored or dismissed by the publishers, is at a point of exhausted patience and now should seek to take matters into its own hands with publicly generated content. Essentially, if the current incumbent publishers can not or will not serve the demands of the market, then the market must find its own solution without them. The publishers have had their chance and been given ample opportunity. They were given the choice to join us to venture forth into the future or be left behind to die. They have chosen death.

In my opinion, the way forward is self-publication and publicly generated digital content. Current technology has made such content extremely easy to create, market, distribute, and discover. I foresee the cusp of a new market reality in which the old hegemony of big content publishers is extinguished and in its place will be a new collection of self-publishers, public content, and digital distribution services(things like Amazon, iTunes, Steam, etc. but perhaps with better search, discovery, and community features). Granted the quality of such content is not necessarily going to be that great at the outset(of course, it's not like the current content from many of the big publishers is hitting it out of the park), but, in time, the market is likely to further adapt to be more discerning and provide opportunity for methods, services, and technologies that help separate the wheat from the chaff.

One thing that the incumbent publishers are not understanding is the social nature of today's fans of content. People no longer passively take in content like hooking a hose to a garbage disposal unit. Instead, they like to involve themselves with the content and share that involvement with others. Fans today like to develop a community around the content and express their love and appreciation of the content by creating their own derivatives of that content(check out fanfiction.net sometime for just one example of what I mean). In my opinion, it is critical for any content creator or content service going forward to allow, encourage, and cultivate that community because it builds loyalty and enthusiasm for the works, which can serve to boost sales. Understand, I am not talking about piracy, I am talking about community cultivation in which fans are freely able to show their love of the content through their own works based on that content(bootlegging would still be illegal).

So to summarize: piracy is still a bad thing, regardless how one feels about the tyranny of the current content publishing regime. However, the current publishers are doomed precisely because of their tyrannical actions which has garnered them nothing but antipathy from the market. Further, technology has advanced to the point that the old business models are no longer needed or functional; yet, the current publishing regime has failed to recognize this and adapt accordingly. It is now necessary for the market to proceed into the future of content creation and distribution via self-publishing and publicly created content that is uninhibited by the whims of the current publishers; in essence, it's time to just leave them behind to die. In going forward with these new business models, it is important to account for the desire of the market to socialize and become emotionally invested in the content through community building.

Didn't mean to end up with a wall-o-text on this, but this is just my opinion.

Hey, I might begin to watch this again now.

Sober Thal:

Jimothy Sterling:

Sober Thal:
Fun fact. The artists and developers own 100% of their IP. They then decide to sell the rights away for money and more resources. Duh.

That's what happens when the rights-buyers have rigged the game in their favor before the artists create their art. Duh.

Creators have a choice to sign these contracts. Are we implying that these people who make games don't know how to read?

That's like - to use an example from Australia - a farmer selling his produce to Coles and/or Woolworths. Either the farmer agrees to accept any price that they demand, even if that means he runs at a loss, or he doesn't sell any produce. I'd say Coles and Woolworths own around 80-90% of the food market (not to mention others, like the liquor market).

And I'm willing to bet that it's the same for most of these game developers who want to get their games well known and distributed to as many people as they can. Either they accept whatever these publishers offer them, or they sit around and get nothing. And Steam really only advertises inside of Steam, so only a set amount of people will really know about indie games on there (I could be wrong about that - I've never seen a Steam advertisement outside of Steam).

There is a reason why I haven't bought a game from EA etc for about 2 years. Mostly because their games suck. But I suppose that's most of the problem. As the publishers find things that work they then repackage and re-release their old works. In order to make more money and do nothing for it. Whilst at the same time killing anyone who wants to do anything new. So while I do buy games from Bethesda and Mojang (the ONLY companies I have bought things from in the last 2 years) I simply refuse to play anything from anyone else almost. If EA decides to make a good game and not be cunts about it. Then I may buy it. But if it ends up like spore. Then they are going to have fun trying to stitch their own necks back together.

eh... It really does seem like all the good games are either old or made by Lesser known devs.

Well that does me. I'm just keen for good games
EDIT:

To the mods. I have not pirated for the last 2 years I have only bought and played about 3 games.

Therefore I am not a pirate. Unless of cause modding SKyrim/New vegas/fallout 3 counts as piracy which under SOPA/ACTA/PIPA could.

That was great Jim
Thanks. : 3

Oh dear lord no.

This will be, and probably has been (not reading through five pages) twisted into "fuck yea piracy is freedom and rebellion we're fighting the corporate power fuck da police".

Now, I do agree that that kind of situation is an exception, but piracy is still a crime and pirates deserve to be punished.

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