Jimquisition: Piracy Episode One - Copyright

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Holy shit, i went from apprehensive about Jim Sterling to having deep respect for the man in only 6 episodes.

Thank god for Jim Sterling.

The interesting thing is that I never agreed with your original stance on piracy because of the current state of copyright law. I did appreciate the parrot and fake beard though.

Keep preaching the good word Jim!

Very good points and I agree wholeheartedly.
I think from now on whenever I pirate something (mostly music and anime) I'll do some research to find out who I am actually pirating from.

My only thing is when people get mad if someone owns a digital copy of a game they already bought. I can understand hate if someone buys a game makes copies and gives those copies to people. But copying a digital archive for personal use shouldn't be a issue and if you get rid of the digital copy when you lose or get rid of the physical copy it shouldn't be a issue.

Sober Thal:

Notch is such a jackoff, isn't he...

Id don't think that Jim is claiming that publishers shouldn't be able to demand rights when taking financial risk to support work. I think he take bigger issue with the rent seeking behaviour of publishers especially in the area of IP squatting.

But we aren't just talking about games here. This issue includes music, books, and films. Book and music publishers are now essentially obsolete with their remaining market value being the residual IP that they "own".

Big budget games and movies would not get made without publisher money but that shouldn't mean that they should be allowed to squat on IP for perpetuity stifling the creativity of derivative works.

I actually had a good experience with copyright law..i got to sue someone who used my work without my consent, but that was music...which seems a little more ways along in the independent publishing/distribution than the games industry.

wow...jims angry

I still dont agree with piracy though

and Nine Inch Nails FTW!!!

I've always wanted to play the Gamecube or Xbox version of Metal Arms. The PS2 version had horrible graphics, an extremely low frame rate, and only two player multi-player and I still loved it.

Great episode. Talk about how they are constantly trying to fu** over the customer with DRM as well! Bought an ubisoft game for PC lately, fu**ing unplayable because of DRM.

Well I am certainly blown by this. Jim saying he's wrong (which is very noble, and takes a lot of guts to clear out) thus nailing the issue at hand.. I give him props. Pirating is bad of course regardless who you're getting free stuff from yet the corporations are indeed becoming very careless as to how they treat their customers. It's like we're sheep to them, and they want to know how to horde as much money within an event as possible before moving on knowing we'll just buy their products anyhow despite the complaints.

SOPA is a new step though. After that took place, I noticed a lot more.. and I mean a lot more people are not just complaining but doing something about it. In a good manner of course, thus I am proud that we've managed to make congress reconsider passing SOPA (despite that it's a horrible idea with so many flaws that it'll eventually eat itself up). Still, Jim got me impressed with his claim and I think everyone's becoming more aware of the corruption with copyright intentions and other sources. Well done man, well done.

What might start changing things, is that independent developers form some sort of agreement not to sell their IP to a publisher without retaining rights or regaining rights after a length of time.

They make this known through the industry, and encourage new and growing developers to join in their agreement, basically creating a pool of new ideas and content as time passes that the corporate publisher fucks can't have access to unless they agree to contracts that allow creators to retain rights.

Obviously this would only work if developers maintain the agreement and gain enough numbers and support that the publishers won't be as quick to pass over because they can't own everything forever and can't snatch up new ideas as easily.

It'd be a long shot, but it's just a thought since solidarity among smaller developers could eventually stand up against big publisher owning copyrights to others' stuff.

image

Well made points sir. Bravo.

Copyright law is broken. It's strange you get frequent examples of creators of original material being barred from using it because someone else owns the copyrights to it. I mean... what? Isn't the sort of the very thing copyright law was meant to prevent? It kind of just gets passed over because we sort of expect it from people with money. And then we have to raise merry Hell to try and stop those mindless career politicians from giving them more unjust power. I'm not an advocate for piracy and I think Kim Dotcom and his lot at Megaupload are a group of fucking crooks for more than one reason - but when the big powerhouses of industry that exist only for their self-advancement try to fuck with the system in order to vacuum up more power, wealth and control and are allowed to then that's a shitty system that needs to be opposed.

The publisher getting the ip rights in many ways is a check on the developer. Let us say that publishers never take the ip, the developer could simply take a long ass time making a shitty product demanding more money. Holding the ip allows the publisher to cut a poor investment but keep good ip alive by giving it to someone else. We would not have the same quality AAA games we do today without publishers not only giving out, but making million and millions of dollars.

Is this perfect? No. However in the end the artist has the choice to get the money and give up the ip as collateral.

As a bit of a tangent, it seems like what peeves copyright holders the most is when others take their place, as it were. MegaUpload took 'their' property and 'sold' it in a manner of speaking, if premium memberships or whatnot are taken into account. Like a game store selling burned copies of games.

Anyway, just throwing that out there. I doubt it'd stop the RIAA from suing 12 year olds anyway.

Creator sells rights to publishers, then has seller's remorse as if it's justified?

Do you sell a car and then complain that you don't get to drive it anymore? Sorry, that doesn't justify piracy. No matter how much your SOPA induced rage wants it to be true.

For those going "that's the only logical choice", then it's a choice you don't have to make. Don't like the rules? Then take your ball and go home, but don't play ball then bitch about it later. Also: Indie developers are exception to the rule, but people pirate that shit anyway.

Jim made some good points, the publishers are by no means "nice guys", but 2 wrongs don't make a right. This sounds like another faulty logic justification, along the lines of "I'm not hurting the developer, so it's ok if I take his work without permission"... seriously? At least publishers paid the developer for it, what's your excuse?

I feel that it is also worth mentioning that all business work in similar ways. You have a great idea for some form of new shoes, but not the money to produce them. So a person/company gives your company money in exchange for stock in your company. Depending on how much you need they get more stock, and with that more power over your company. You suck at making these shoes? Well that stockholder takes back all their stock/original investment and leaves with zero lose, or if they own a large enough portion forces you out of your own company, and take control.

The issue with any creative project is that a producer leaving a bad ip mid way through will lose the investor money, and the project they invested in. This is a lose lose for a investor. When the investors lose, they take their large ball of money and go elsewhere.

Investors only invest to make money for themselves, welcome to capitalism.

Thank you Jim Sterling, you are my hero. Truly.

Itsthefuzz:

Sober Thal:

Dragon Age 2 was a great game

After browsing these forums for quite some time... I honestly, until now, didn't know you had a sense of humor.

Uhm...er... I think you failed maybe?

There is no humor in that post, nor this one. You could list 5 things that made DA 2 bad and I could probably agree with you that those things weren't good. I still loved that game more than the original. I would also bet you could list 5 games you think are better than DA 2, and I could list 5 things that made them not as great (for me) as DA 2.

I will also go on the record by saying I have never been paid by EA, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Valve, Actavision, ect ect ect...

At first my pillar of reality came crashing down around me, but then, Jim came and shone light into dark corners and rebuild my world with his strong and graceful words.

A first! This is the first Jimquisition I disagree with. There are two separate problems here: big publishers being dicks, and individual consumers thinking they have a divine right to experience any content they want to download for free. in neither case is the solution to devalue intellectual property by pirating content. Just because big money AAA publishers are being asses about this, does not give the individual carte blanche to in turn play the role of pirate. This is the kind of argument where it really does fail. Most of the games we're talking about here don't have one creator; they have hundreds, and by definition such titles can't get made unless you have a big money backer behind them.

Anyway, I advocate two things: first, big publishers stop treating me like a criminal with their DRM and SOPA support, and second, for all the pirates, knock it off, you do not have a right to free content no matter how much you dress up your petty belief that you somehow are "owed it" because the man made your diaper rash itch.

Now, when we're all NOT pirating and they continue to hose us over with garbage like DRM and SOPA, then we can legitimately start casting stones.

ACman:
Book and music publishers are now essentially obsolete with their remaining market value being the residual IP that they "own".

This is pretty much entirely wrong. Book and music publishers do quite a lot for each writer/artist. I don't know heaps about what happens to books but most of what music publishers do can be transferred across in one way or another. Music publishers, on top of distribution, they also market the band (which makes use of all the research they have done to see where best it would be advertised), record the band (which includes both mixing and mastering), help them get a sound which is accessible without compromising their integrity, sell and market their merch, get them gigs, do all their legal business and generally give them more exposure than they would get if they were independent.

While obviously some of the above gets warped (eg. producers have been known to COMPLETELY change a bands sound just to make them sell better, as in changing punk bands into pop-rock) and they have been known to grossly underpay their artists, a good record label will do what I have explained plus much more. In fact music publishers are so helpful that many bands try so hard to get signed; it's like one of the best things that can happen to a small band. While bands can certainly go indie and gain a heap of success, it requires much more work; they have to pay for people to do a lot of the legal and advertising stuff and give up, not only their day jobs, but also their social lives (most of the time anyway).

This is pretty much the same for books too, except changed around a lot and junk; the point is the same though.

Same Jim bro, I don't give a f*ck if they were thieves either. Good to see you aren't so furious at pirates anymore. It is a bit weird when people attack my crew of sea-dogs. I mean, my rum drinking game-cracking salvage expert friends. I mean, the crew of the f*ck you I want to check out this game and see if it is utter sh*t without parting with my dubloons thanks merchant "friend".

:D

Sit down and play some liar's dice with us.

Cureacao:

ACman:
Book and music publishers are now essentially obsolete with their remaining market value being the residual IP that they "own".

This is pretty much entirely wrong. Book and music publishers do quite a lot for each writer/artist. I don't know heaps about what happens to books but most of what music publishers do can be transferred across in one way or another. Music publishers, on top of distribution, they also market the band (which makes use of all the research they have done to see where best it would be advertised), record the band (which includes both mixing and mastering), help them get a sound which is accessible without compromising their integrity, sell and market their merch, get them gigs, do all their legal business and generally give them more exposure than they would get if they were independent.

While obviously some of the above gets warped (eg. producers have been known to COMPLETELY change a bands sound just to make them sell better, as in changing punk bands into pop-rock) and they have been known to grossly underpay their artists, a good record label will do what I have explained plus much more. In fact music publishers are so helpful that many bands try so hard to get signed; it's like one of the best things that can happen to a small band. While bands can certainly go indie and gain a heap of success, it requires much more work; they have to pay for people to do a lot of the legal and advertising stuff and give up, not only their day jobs, but also their social lives (most of the time anyway).

This is pretty much the same for books too, except changed around a lot and junk; the point is the same though.

I disagree. Independent digital distribution has cut out most of the importance of traditional publishing.

I agree that if you want to be on commercial radio then the studio system is probably the only way forward but its false to think that musicians need big studios to produce their music or get gigs.

I guess there will always be big commercial shit but its such a tiny percentage of music out there. You no longer need to be an enthusiast to know anything about independent music. I used to buy a couple of CDs a month but there's so much free music out there that I don't bother. music companies are no longer gate keepers to all music and they're going to take a hit.

Look at Louis CK recently and his digital release. He made 1 million dollars in a week. He estimated that that was 5 times more than he would have earned during the entire run if he had gone with a publisher. Now I agree that music an comedy aren't exactly the same as mixing and mastering require more finese but if that's the ratio then I can't see much advantage.

Digital books are going to mean the same thing. Making a physical book is a massive expense. But digitally you can offer the same content for a fraction of the cost. If you get a name through a publisher with one book or have a name for yourself already what is the incentive to go to through that again when you can take all revenue for yourself.

''He made a game along with his team, created a world, populated it with characters, and now has no say over any of it''

Yeah, but he got PAID to create that world and populate it with characters, paid by someone else, to create content for them, not for him or his team, for the people paying his and his teams salary.

If he really wanted control over Metal Arms, then he should have developed it himself. There is an option for these holy developers, go indi, or stop moaning when you don't have control of something you never owned in the first place.

Creators will never have control while they work for a company, duh! - they are being paid to create, and most likely paid pretty well.

The problem is that pirates don't have thief values, they take anything and put effort into providing it for free. A shoplifter probably wouldn't steal much from a corner shop, but might fill thier pockets in Marks and Spencer - Pirates don't even have that standard of decency. You think that pirates somehow prefer to hack big corporations games?, no - they want to be the first to hack a game, any game - whether it's funded and published by Activision, or a solo indi developer just trying to make a living.

Most people don't consider the publisher when downloading an illegal copy of anything, they just want it, and personally I don't think it should be so bloody easy, that anyone and everyone can have it for free. Once people discover how to get stuff for free, they don't all of a sudden decide to start paying again, they might intend to pay for the games they actually like, but how often does that happen. The main saving grace is multiplayer - much more difficult for pirates to hack multiplayer games, so they're more likely to lead to proper sales - but that tends not to apply to indi games. If pirates had any respect for indi developers, they would simply leave those games alone, not hack them anyway and add a karmatically appropriate message about buying the game if you like it. It would be good if this new militant attitude on the internet extended beyond peoples wallets.

ACman:
Look at Louis CK recently and his digital release. He made 1 million dollars in a week. He estimated that that was 5 times more than he would have earned during the entire run if he had gone with a publisher. Now I agree that music an comedy aren't exactly the same as mixing and mastering require more finese but if that's the ratio then I can't see much advantage.

He actually made a million dollars in 27 years and one week. And in that 27 years he's been performing stand up, he's been supported numerous times by various big media conglomerates as he appeared on the David Letterman Show, Jimmy Kimmel, etc not to mention a little company known as HBO releasing his first half hour special in 1996. Then an hour long special in 2007. Then in 2008 Showtime gave him an hour long special as well, and so on, and so on.

Now, would he have been unsuccessful without all this publicity they paid for? Probably not if he's any good as a comedian. But would he have been able to make a million bucks if he hadn't had multiple specials using traditional media companies under his belt already? I highly doubt it.

So to use him as an example of how people can go directly to the public now and thus the media conglomerates are obsolete is to completely ignore the fact that there's a history behind his success. A history that heavily involves the traditional publishing route.

Digital books are going to mean the same thing. Making a physical book is a massive expense. But digitally you can offer the same content for a fraction of the cost. If you get a name through a publisher with one book or have a name for yourself already what is the incentive to go to through that again when you can take all revenue for yourself.

"If you get a name through a publisher" entirely undercuts your argument that you don't need a publisher, as then you've taken the benefit of their marketing and distribution to offline mediums, etc. Now, if you make a name for yourself without a publisher, than you've managed essentially to win the lottery. Congrats. Suggesting that as a viable business model for people probably isn't the greatest way to go, however.

RobfromtheGulag:
As a bit of a tangent, it seems like what peeves copyright holders the most is when others take their place, as it were. MegaUpload took 'their' property and 'sold' it in a manner of speaking, if premium memberships or whatnot are taken into account. Like a game store selling burned copies of games.

Anyway, just throwing that out there. I doubt it'd stop the RIAA from suing 12 year olds anyway.

I thought they only sold data storage, management, and priority service.

If they wrote their terms and conditions in a certain way, they'll be able to wriggle out of any personal legal liability.

Of course, the way the court systems work, it's more like a wrestling match than a debate anyway...without the endurance, you lose by default.

€A would fit perfectly in there. since they have ruined westwood because they had a huge success with C&C so €A thinks they can rip off the fans by making the C&C games bad.

good episode. so true and sad at the same time. people working so hard on a game and in the end the company just rips them off by just cashing in and still cry when someone pirates the game. maybe in the next episode he will mention €A and probable ubisoft.

a friend of mine thinks that games these days dont deserve these prices they have. he even thinks that 10$ is too much for a game. doesnt matter if its a indie game or not or if the game has been out for years and cheap to get like quake 4 on steam.
for him, paying few $ for a copy is already expensive.

weirdguy:
I thought they only sold data storage, management, and priority service.

If they wrote their terms and conditions in a certain way, they'll be able to wriggle out of any personal legal liability.

You'd be wrong about that. MegaUpload actively encouraged and financially rewarded the sharing of unauthorised material. They repeatedly ignored takedown requests from copyright holders. They weren't just innocent bystanders running a file storage service. The intention of the service was clearly to profit from the distribution of illicit material.

It would be nice if people actually had some grasp of the facts before commenting, rather than just repeating mythical fantasies.

Aardvaarkman:

weirdguy:
I thought they only sold data storage, management, and priority service.

If they wrote their terms and conditions in a certain way, they'll be able to wriggle out of any personal legal liability.

You'd be wrong about that. MegaUpload actively encouraged and financially rewarded the sharing of unauthorised material. They repeatedly ignored takedown requests from copyright holders. They weren't just innocent bystanders running a file storage service. The intention of the service was clearly to profit from the distribution of illicit material.

It would be nice if people actually had some grasp of the facts before commenting, rather than just repeating mythical fantasies.

Wasn't that guy that is being extradited to the states in the same boat? He had multiple orders against him to to stop what he was doing, but the dumb kid decided to say fuck all, and now has to be made an example out of? He snuffed his nose at the states, and now they are going to make him realize his folly, eh?

When you profit from piracy, I vote for the trial by fire/punishment by fire method. These kids aren't going to learn otherwise.

People don't seem to realize that creators of a product have the right to decide how their IP is distributed.

double sigh

Aardvaarkman:

weirdguy:
I thought they only sold data storage, management, and priority service.

If they wrote their terms and conditions in a certain way, they'll be able to wriggle out of any personal legal liability.

You'd be wrong about that. MegaUpload actively encouraged and financially rewarded the sharing of unauthorised material. They repeatedly ignored takedown requests from copyright holders. They weren't just innocent bystanders running a file storage service. The intention of the service was clearly to profit from the distribution of illicit material.

It would be nice if people actually had some grasp of the facts before commenting, rather than just repeating mythical fantasies.

Wasn't that guy that is being extradited to the states in the same boat? He had multiple orders against him to to stop what he was doing, but the dumb kid decided to say fuck all, and now has to be made an example out of? He snuffed his nose at the states, and now they are going to make him realize his folly, eh?

When you profit from piracy, I vote for the trial by fire/punishment by fire method. These kids aren't going to learn otherwise.

People don't seem to realize that creators of a product have the right to decide how their IP is distributed.

double sigh

frankly the publishers know their days are numbered and are trying to not only delay the inevitable but destroy anyone who gets in their way.

im finding most of the games i get now are indy games. not because of a conscious choice to go indy but because thats where you find the creativity its where you find the niche games that wont see a retail shelf ever.

i dont usually comment on your videos mr sterling but for once i will. i dont blame you in the slightest and its an example of how bad things are getting when someone who once supported anti piracy now saying screw them

Yup, I could respect both Copyright (and largely Patent law) if it hadn't been turned into such a mockery of what it should be intended to do, protect the creators of certain works...

Companies are constantly lobbying for Copyright Extensions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Term_Extension_Act up to a ridiculous amount of years:

The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years. Since the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright would last for the life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The Act extended these terms to life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier.[1] Copyright protection for works published prior to January 1, 1978, was increased by 20 years to a total of 95 years from their publication date.

certain things like early Disney figures or the likes of Superman would be "Public Domain" e.g. a cultural good for everyone to use as they see fit, but for Superman for instance this was extended to 2033, and till we're there it'll be extended yet again... same with music and movies, some "made" it into public domain and are allowed to distributed and viewed freely: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_in_the_public_domain_in_the_United_States#Films but now there's new possibilities to "renew" copyrights and they're also lobbying to have the length of a copyright increased.

Aside from that, certain laws have been so far extended, that almost everyone is a "criminal"... ever photocopied a paper article and showed it to someone else? You're guilty of copyright infringement. Ever had a party with people you didn't directly know while music was running? You're guilty of copyright infringement. Ever used a picture of some other work on the internet as your avatar or some article you've written? You're guilty of copyright infringement.

Oh yeah, historians are also investigating if the lack of a Copyright Law and Patents actually helped countries like Germany outpace the British Empire who had them in place, all but hindering advancement: http://arstechnica.com/telecom/news/2010/08/drool-britannia-did-weak-copyright-laws-help-germany-outpace-the-united-kingdom.ars
Imagine if everyone was legally free to read and contribute to public knowledge and if patents would only give companies a few years head-start (like 3-5) to make use of the developed technology, upon which it turns "free to use" for everyone, going into a cycle of perpetually improving and innovating on what already exists without having to worry about patent trolling (companies buying large amounts of patents "just in case" to safeguard themselves and products being banned from a market because they "look similar" to other products e.g. look at Samsung vs Apple).

I made a thread about it here, titled "Piracy - It's Not a Black & White Issue" with a lot of arguments I could bring up and a bunch of sources, unfortunately it got locked after a while...
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.338788-Piracy-Its-not-a-Black-White-Issue#13708335

Nurb:
What might start changing things, is that independent developers form some sort of agreement not to sell their IP to a publisher without retaining rights or regaining rights after a length of time.

They make this known through the industry, and encourage new and growing developers to join in their agreement, basically creating a pool of new ideas and content as time passes that the corporate publisher fucks can't have access to unless they agree to contracts that allow creators to retain rights.

Obviously this would only work if developers maintain the agreement and gain enough numbers and support that the publishers won't be as quick to pass over because they can't own everything forever and can't snatch up new ideas as easily.

It'd be a long shot, but it's just a thought since solidarity among smaller developers could eventually stand up against big publisher owning copyrights to others' stuff.

Works in theory, until the publisher steals the indie's idea, changes a few details provided by their ample supply of lawyers, and sell the game to undercut the original.

Of course, it would also help if indie developers didn't get in to developing just to sell out their idea to a company for a six figure sum.

"If you disagree with that, fuck off, ya fuckin' thief. Worse than OJ Simpson. That's what you are, worse than OJ Simpson."

You are now worse than OJ Simpson, Jim.

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